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 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.

  • 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 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 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.


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