2014 News

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  • April 16, 2014

    Dept Faculty Members Fay and Wakabayashi Nominated for the Distinguished Inventor of the Year

    Dr. Philip Fay, Ph.D.

    Hironao Wakabayashi, M.D., Ph.D.

    Biochemistry & Biophysics professor, Philip Fay, Ph.D. and research assistant professor, Hironao Wakabayashi, M.D., Ph.D. have been nominated for the 2014 RIPLA Distinguished Inventor of the Year Award given by the Rochester Intellectual Property Law Association (RIPLA). They were nominated for their work in the field of Factor VIII technology for treatment of hemophilia A patients.

    Ongoing studies in the Fay lab include physical and biochemical analyses of factor VIII structure, inter-subunit interactions, and intermolecular interactions with other components of the clotting cascade. Dr. Fay's research program is aimed at gaining fundamental insights into the structure, activity and regulation of a protein central to hemostasis. This information will have specific implications for understanding hemophilia A and developing superior therapeutics for its treatment.

    Drs. Fay and Wakabayashi's nomination and significant accomplishments will be recognized before the community at the Award Ceremony on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 from 6 to 9 pm at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC). The department would like to extend our congratulations to both!

  • March 27, 2014

    Department Alumnus Selected as part of a "Next Gen" Crystallographer Group for 2014 International Year of Crystallography

    Andrew T. Torelli (Ph.D. Biophysics 2008) was invited to attend the Opening Ceremony for the 2014 International Year of Crystallography (IYCr) held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris and served on a discussion panel as a representative of next-gen crystallographers. Many distinguished speakers, UN officials, international scientists, students and and several hundred guests attended this historic event. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, addressed the assembly by video, followed by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and the heads of multiple international scientific organizations. Keynote speakers included Jenny Glusker, who delivered a rich historical perspective of crystallography, and Brian Kobilka, who recounted his 2012 Nobel Prize work with Robert Lefkowitz involving G protein-coupled receptors. Other fascinating talks included efforts to expand X-ray crystallography in emerging nations, cutting edge technologies, the first extraterrestrial diffraction measurements used to interpret the mineralogy of Mars, and applications of crystallography and symmetry in the study of art. The Discussion Panel included eight selected, early-career crystallographers from around the world, and communicated critical issues facing the next generation of crystallographers to policy makers and sovereign delegations.

  • March 25, 2014

    Announcing Faculty Promotions and Awards

    The Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics is proud to announce the following well-deserved promotions, recently approved by the Board of Trustees and signed by President Seligman:

    • Alan Grossfield, promoted to Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
    • Josh Munger, promoted to Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
    • Joe Wedekind, promoted to Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
    • Yi-Tao Yu, promoted to Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics

    We were also very pleased to learn of the following awards in recognition of two very deserving Faculty:

    • Eric Phizicky, to receive the 2014 William H. Riker University Award for Graduate Teaching
    • Doug Turner (B&B secondary appointment) will receive the 2014 Doctoral Commencement Award for Lifetime Achievement in Graduate Education.

    Both of these awards will be presented at the 2014 Doctoral Commencement on Saturday morning, May 17, 2014, at the Eastman Theater.

    Please join us in congratulating these faculty! We are grateful for all of their hard work and service they offer our department, and for the contributions they make to the University. We look forward to hosting a party to celebrate their achievements sometime in the coming months.

  • March 24, 2014

    Biochemistry & Biophysics Professor selected to Speak at Master's Commencement Ceremony

    Professor Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., The J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics has been selected to be the speaker at the University of Rochester Master's Degree Ceremony. The ceremony is to be held at noon on May 17th, at at the Eastman Theater.

  • March 18, 2014

    Biochemistry & Biophysics Alum Patrick Brandt, To Give Seminar on Strategies for Choosing a Postdoc

    Patrick Brandt, who received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry working with Dr. Robert Bambara in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, will present a seminar entitled Thinking Strategically About Your Postdoc Training on Friday March 21, 2014 in the Hellen Wood Hall Auditorium, 1W304. A reception will follow the talk, 4 pm - 5 pm. Patrick is also giving an additional talk on Friday, March 21: Using Microsoft Word to Format Your Dissertation in the Neuman Room (1-6823) from 9–10:30 AM.

    Patrick is the Director of Science, Training and Diversity at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Dentistry. All graduate students are encouraged to attend! For more information about Patrick, visit the UNC Science, Training and Diversity page.

  • March 5, 2014

    Free Webinar: 'The Future of RNA-based Therapies'

    Faculty Perspectives, an online lecture series sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations, will feature Lynne Maquat, director of the Center for RNA Biology and the J. Lowell Orbison Distinguished Service Alumni Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, on Thursday, March 6. Maquat will discuss the molecular basis of human diseases and new RNA-centric therapies to treat them. The free webinar starts at 1 p.m. Register here.

  • March 3, 2014

    Biochemistry & Biophysics Professor's Company Featured in Article

    Professor Harold Smith's company OyaGen was recently featured in a 2-page article in the February issue of A&U Magazine, a publication devoted to art, activism, and current events related to the HIV-affected community. The article discussed exciting new potential treatments being developed at OyaGen and can be read online here.

  • February 18, 2014

    Chinmay R. Surve Wins Travel Award to Attend the American Society Experimental Biology Meeting

    Chinmay R. Surve, a graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry was recently awarded a Graduate Student Travel Award to attend the American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics section of the Experimental Biology Meeting in San Diego, CA (2014). Chinmay works in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Smrcka where he is looking at signaling molecules downstream of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in neutrophils which play a role in neutrophil chemotaxis and how dynamism between these molecules regulate neutrophil chemotaxis.

  • January 16, 2014

    Lynne Maquat Wins 2014 Athena Award

    Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D.

    Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D., the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, was named the 2014 Athena Award winner today at a special luncheon at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. The award, presented annually by the Women's Council of the Rochester Business Alliance, recognizes women who excel in their professions, give back to their communities and mentor other women for leadership roles.

    Maquat is an internationally recognized expert in the field of RNA biology in which she works to discover new cellular pathways and clues to the molecular basis of human disease. She is the Founding Director of the University's Center for RNA Biology and in 2011 received one of the highest honors possible for any scientist - election to the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, having spent her career advocating for young women in the sciences, Maquat founded the University of Rochester Graduate Women in Science Program (GWIS) in 2003. Elected for her exceptional research, which has been published in more than 110 peer reviewed scientific journals, Maquat is one of only three faculty members from the University of Rochester Medical Center who have been appointed to the Academy and the only woman.

    The Athena award program was founded in 1982 to recognize and honor the achievements of outstanding female leaders and introduced to Rochester in 1987. This year, Maquat was one of thirteen women chosen as finalists by the Rochester Women's Council for their professional excellence, community service and active and generous assistance in helping other women develop leadership skills.

    To read more please see the Democrat & Chronicle article about the award, as well as on Rochester Homepage.net.

  • January 10, 2014

    Biologist Sina Ghaemmaghami Honored with a National Science Foundation Early Career Award

    Sina Ghaemmaghami, an assistant professor of biology and member of the Biology & Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Structural & Computational Biology graduate programs at the University of Rochester, has been recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a scientist who exemplifies the role of teacher-scholar. The NSF has named Ghaemmaghami a winner of its Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER).

    The award includes a five-year grant totaling $950,000 to fund Ghaemmaghami's research into protein folding. Sina is already recognized as one of the brightest in his field," said John Jaenike, chair of the University's Department of Biology. His work on protein folding and proteomic turnover is of central importance to understanding basic cell physiology.

    As an early-career scientist, this award will go a long way in helping me establish a viable long-term research program at the University, said Ghaemmaghami. I especially appreciate the special focus this award places on the integration of education, which will lead to research opportunities for more undergraduates.

  • January 9, 2014

    Memorial Service Held for 'Father of Yeast Genetics'

    A memorial gathering in honor of Fred Sherman was held Dec. 6 at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Fred Sherman, a major figure in molecular biology, died after a long illness on Sept. 16, 2013. The event was attended by friends, co-workers, former students, former post-docs, and other admirers from around the U.S. After introductory remarks by Dr. Bradford Berk, Chief Executive Officer of the University of Rochester Medical Center, an overview of Fred’s scientific contributions and personal reminiscences of Fred were presented by Dr. Gerald Fink, Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor of Biology at MIT, who co-taught a course in yeast genetics at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with Fred for 17 years. This course is credited with introducing many eminent molecular biologists to the field of yeast genetics. Additional reminiscences were provided by Mark Dumont, Michael Hampsey, James Hicks, Letian Kuai, Susan Liebman, David Pearce, Eric Phizicky, Rolf Sternglanz, and Kenneth Zaret. Elena Rustchenko-Bulgac provided closing remarks.

    A video recording of the complete service is available here. Also, please see the links to the printed program from the memorial (including excerpts of some comments about Fred from people who could not attend the service, and a song about Fred written by Tom Fox and the late Ira Herskowitz) and obituaries of Fred that have recently appeared in the journals Science and Genetics.

  • January 8, 2014

    Dr. Lynne Maquat Named Finalist for 2014 Athena Award

    On January 16, the Women's Council, an affiliate of the Rochester Business Alliance, will honor thirteen women chosen as this year's finalists for the Athena Award, based on their significant professional achievements, their community service endeavors, and their leadership in the advancement of other professional women. Among them is Dr. Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair and Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She is also founding director of the UR Center for RNA Biology, and founding chair of UR Graduate Women in Science.

    In 2011, she received one of the highest honors possible for a scientist, election to the National Academy of Sciences, for her exceptional research in the field of RNA biology discovering new cellular pathways and the molecular basis of human diseases. She has been published in more than 110 peer reviewed journals, written 23 book chapters and edited 4 books on the topic. Maquat was also elected in 2006 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Maquat has spent her career advocating for young women in the sciences. Her many mentoring awards include the 2013 University of Rochester President's Diversity Award and the 2014 William C. Rose Award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She has been inspired by male professors who, unlike some, believed there is a place for women in science.

  • January 7, 2014

    In Memoriam: Fred Sherman - The First Yeast Molecular Biologist

    The journal Genetics has published an article in memory of Dr. Fred Sherman, who died September 16, 2013 at the age of 81 years after a long illness. A renowned molecular biologist, Fred obtained his Ph.D. with Robert Mortimer at the University of California, Berkeley, followed by postdoctoral training with Boris Ephrussi in France and Herschel Roman in Seattle. He spent his entire career as a Professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Fred received many awards, including election to the National Academy of Sciences.

  • January 6, 2014

    Science Magazine Celebrates Career of Fred Sherman

    Fred Sherman, a brilliant geneticist who popularized the use of baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a genetic model system of eukaryotic cells, died on 16 September at the age of 81. Budding yeast are now used at virtually all research centers worldwide, largely due to Fred’s efforts and mentoring of many of the leaders in the fi eld. Indeed, Randy Schekman, who shared this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, was introduced to yeast in the Cold Spring Harbor course that Fred taught for 17 summers with his friend and colleague Gerald Fink. Many students and postdoctoral fellows who were trained in Fred’s own laboratory also helped shape the fi eld of yeast genetics. Fred taught by example how to think about science, how to do it, and how to enjoy it. He lived life fully, with joy, humor, and dance (ballet), and without ever really separating life from science.

    For more on the life and accoplishments of Dr. Sherman, please read Science Magazine's retrospective.

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