2011 News

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  • October 11, 2011

    Biophysics, Structural and Computational Biology Graduate Program Holds Annual Retreat

    Faculty members, students, staff, and postdoctoral fellows attend a presentation at the 2011 BSCB Retreat.

    The Biophysics, Structural and Computational Biology Retreat took place on Monday, October 10, 2011 at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY. There was a great turnout for the event with presentations by postdoctoral fellow's and students from the Dumont, Mathews, Miller, Miao, Kielkopf and Wedekind labs.

    In addition to those talks, Dr. Tom Gunter who recently retired from the Biophysics program gave a retrospective talk of the history of the Biophysics program. There was also a Career Panel Discussion featuring Dr. Lea Michel (alumnus, Dr. Kara Bren's lab) from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Dr. Thomas Gaborski who is the President and CEO of SiMPore Inc. as well as Dr. Jack Daiss, Consultant and Chief Scientific Officer at Codevax. The retreat also featured over 20 poster presentations.

  • October 6, 2011

    Biochemistry and Biophysics Graduate Students Receive Fellowship Awards

    Graduate Students, Sarah Amie (far left) and Dejun Lin (third from left) after receiving their Graduate Fellowship Awards.

    At this year's opening convocation on October 5, two graduate students from the department of Biochemistry & Biophysics received Graduate Fellowship's. Dejun Lin, a Ph.D. student in the Biophysics, Structural and Computational Biology graduate program, was awarded the Leon L. Miller Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship, established by the Miller family, honors Dr. Leon Miller, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry & Biophysics, for his contributions to science and the School of Medicine and Dentistry. It is awarded anually to a student with interest in developing a biophysics-related research career.

    Sarah Amie, a Ph.D. student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate program, was awarded the Elmer H. Stotz Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship, established by the Stotz family to honor Dr. Elmer Stotz, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Biochemistry, is awarded to a Ph.D. student in biochemistry.

  • June 15, 2011

    Changing Genetic ‘Red Light’ to Green Holds Promise for Treating Disease

    DNA Double Helix

    In a new study published today in the journal Nature, scientists discovered an entirely new way to change the genetic code. The findings, though early, are significant because they may ultimately help researchers alter the course of devastating genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and many forms of cancer.

    The ability to manipulate the production of a protein from a particular gene is the new miracle of modern medicine, said Robert Bambara, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. This is a really powerful concept that can be used to try to suppress the tendency of individuals to get certain debilitating, and sometimes fatal genetic diseases that will forever change their lives.

    This is a very exciting finding, said Yi-Tao Yu, Ph.D., lead study author and associate professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Medical Center. No one ever imagined that you could alter a stop codon the way we have and allow translation to continue uninterrupted like it was never there in the first place.

  • May 13, 2011

    Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Holds Annual Awards Ceremony

    Department Chair, Robert Bambara, Ph.D. and recent Biochemistry & Biophysics Graduates.

    The department of Biochemistry & Biophysics held its annual awards ceremony to celebrate those students that received their doctoral degree this year. Awards were also given out to various students and faculty members for their respective research and teaching contributions. The following awards were given:

    Walter Bloor Award for Excellent Ph.D. Thesis
    Keith Connolly and Christopher Hine
    George Metzger Award for Excellence in Biophysics Ph.D. Thesis
    Jessica Snyder
    Marvel-Dare Nutting Award Recognizing an Outstanding Biochemistry Ph.D.
    Tamara Caterino
    William Neuman Award in Biophysics
    Paul Black
    William Neuman Travel Awards
    Paul Black, He Fang, Nicholas Leioatts, and Wenhua Wang
    Excellent Student Seminar Presentations
    Wen Shen, Karyn Schmidt, Krystle McLaughlin, and Nicholas Leioatts
    Faculty Teaching Awards
    David Mathews, Ph.D. and Lynne Maquat, Ph.D.
    Staff Recognition Award
    Melissa Vera
  • May 6, 2011

    9th Annual Fred Sherman Lecture Highlights Genetics Day 2011

    The department of Biomedical Genetics 23rd Annual Genetics Day was highlighted by the 9th Annual Fred Sherman Lecture. Dr. Fred Sherman, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry & Biophysics has been honored for his contributions to Genetics and Yeast Genetics for the past nine years with a lecture named after him. The NIH has funded Fred for a remarkable 44 years, during which time he has published over 280 papers, with more on the way.

    In 1970, Fred initiated the famous yeast course at Cold Spring Harbor, which has trained scores of today's leading investigators. He served as an instructor in this course for 17 years. Fred's many landmark contributions to several fields of molecular biology were recognized by his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1985.

  • May 4, 2011

    Dr. Lynne Maquat Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

    Dr. Lynne Maquat was elected to join an elite group of exceptional scientists that make up the National Academy of Sciences. Her election was based on her development of the field of nonsense mediated message decay described in detail on her laboratory website. Her accomplishments include leading this area that focuses on mechanisms by which cells recognize and remove flawed RNAs before they can encode defective proteins, publishing in journals such as Cell and Nature, and training highly successful students and fellows. She is only the third faculty member in the University of Rochester Medical Center with this honor and joins Dr. Fred Sherman as the second member of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Academy.

    The 2010-2011 Faculty & Student Honors Slideshow can be viewed here

  • March 18, 2011

    Scientists Find a Key to Maintaining Our DNA

    Humans have two routes for DNA replication and repair – a standard route that processes DNA quickly but less accurately, and a high-accuracy route that processes DNA slowly but more accurately.

    DNA contains all of the genetic instructions that make us who we are, and maintaining the integrity of our DNA over the course of a lifetime is a critical, yet complex part of the aging process. In an important, albeit early step forward, scientists have discovered how DNA maintenance is regulated, opening the door to interventions that may enhance the body's natural preservation of genetic information.

    The new findings may help researchers delay the onset of aging and aging-related diseases by curbing the loss or damage of our genetic makeup, which makes us more susceptible to cancers and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's. Keeping our DNA intact longer into our later years could help eliminate the sickness and suffering that often goes hand-in-hand with old age.

    Our research is in the very early stages, but there is great potential here, with the capacity to change the human experience, said Robert Bambara, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at the University of Rochester Medical Center and leader of the research. Just the very notion is inspiring.

  • February 9, 2011

    Scientists Discover Gene Regulation Mechanism Unique to Primates

    Scientists have discovered a new way genes are regulated that is unique to primates, including humans and monkeys. Though the human genome – all the genes that an individual possesses – was sequenced 10 years ago, greater understanding of how genes function and are regulated is needed to make advances in medicine, including changing the way we diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of diseases.

    It's extremely valuable that we've sequenced a large bulk of the human genome, but sequence without function doesn't get us very far, which is why our finding is so important, said Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D., lead author of the new study published today in the journal Nature.

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