2015 News

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  • May 29, 2015

    13 things to know about biomedical research at UR

    The Democrat and Chronicle was one of 12 Gannett newspapers that partnered with a USA Today investigation, Biolabs in Your Backyard, about the concerns and dangers that can accompany biomedical research.

    The investigation focused on more than 200 high-containment biomedical labs around the nation that are equipped to handle select agents and other dangerous research.

    Research involving select agents is considered by the federal government to be the most worrisome biomedical lab work because of potential health risks and security concerns, especially since some of these agents and toxins can be used in biological warfare.

    The University of Rochester has one high-containment lab at its medical center that in recent years has worked with Francisella tularensis, which is a Tier I select agent, the highest level of concern.

  • May 6, 2015

    2015 Awards Announced

    The 2015 Vincent duVignaeud Award for excellence in basic research will be awarded at this year's commencement to Dr. Steven Baker who completed his Ph.D. in Luis Martinez-Sobrido's lab.

    The 2015 Wallace O. Fenn Award for excellence in basic research will be awarded at this year's commencement to Dr. Julie Sahler who completed her Ph.D. in Richard Phipps' lab.

    Award Recipients for the Melville A. Hare Award for Excellence in Research have been awarded to Dr. Denise Skrombolas who completed her Ph.D. in the lab of John Frelinger and Dr. Benson Cheng who completed his Ph.D. in Luis Martinez-Sobrido's lab.

    The Melville A. Hare Award for Excellence in Teaching has been awarded to Jennifer Colquhoun. Jennifer is in Paul Dunman's laboratory.

    A Departmental Peer Mentoring Award was established this year. The recipient of the 2015 award is Lisbeth Boule. Lisbeth is in Paige Lawrence's laboratory.

  • April 30, 2015

    URMC Start-up Takes Aim at Memory and Cognitive Problems

    Medications are available to treat many of the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, but there is no drug or other therapy that improves the memory and cognitive problems that often plague patients. A new start-up company, built around research conducted at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, hopes to change that.

    Camber NeuroTherapeutics Inc., founded based on discoveries made in the laboratories of Harris “Handy” A. Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D.  and Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., plans to attack the cognitive component of neurodegenerative diseases using a completely new approach: stopping the inflammation in the brain, so-called neuroinflammation, that impairs the function of nerve cells and the vast networks they create. These neural networks allow us to store and recall memories, plan and prioritize, focus on particular tasks, and process sensory information.

  • March 16, 2015

    WATCH: NY Med Schools Ask Legislature to Invest in Retention of Top Biomedical Researchers

    Medical Schools in New York State are asking the legislature to include $50 million for faculty development in the state budget. University leadership calls the NYSTAR Faculty Development Program an investment needed to grow programs that will attract high-profile entrepreneurial biomedical researchers.

  • March 12, 2015

    Microbiologist Barbara Iglewski Named to National Women’s Hall of Fame

    Barbara H. Iglewski, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame later this year, an incredible honor that puts her aside women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony, former first lady Betty Ford, and founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Nancy Brinker.

  • March 5, 2015

    Anna Bird Awarded Pilot Project Grant

    Anna Bird, an IMV graduate student in the Anolik lab has been awarded pilot project grant through the Pilot Studies Program of the CTSI. Anna's application entitled, Neutrophils as a driver of inflammation in lupus bone marrow was felt to be highly meritorious and received a priority score enabling her proposal to be funded.

  • March 2, 2015

    Mini-symposium for young investigators in memory of Dr. Robert Marquis to be held March 10, 2015

    Robert Marquis Mini-Symposium for Young Investigators
    Tuesday, March 10, 2015
    Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA

    About Robert Marquis

    Dr. Robert Marquis

    Dr. Robert E. Marquis, PhD, was chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and a beloved teacher to many students who trained at the medical school and at the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. He died in January 2014 at the age of 80. Originally from Ontario, Canada, “Bob” earned his M.S. and PhD degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where he studied under the guise of Peter Mitchell, a British biochemist who was awarded the 1978 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    Bob began his career at the University of Rochester in 1963 as a senior instructor in Microbiology and was continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health until his retirement as a professor in 2012. During his early years at the medical school, he studied energy transduction – how cells and bacteria develop energy from food. From the 1970s until the end of his career he focused on oral streptococci, a type of bacteria present in the mouth that are major contributors to tooth decay. He had a secondary appointment in the Center for Oral Biology and his work on the effects of fluoride on cavity-producing bacteria earned him international recognition and the 2006 Distinguished Scientist Award for Research in Dental Caries from the International Association for Dental Research.

    As passionate as Bob was about his research, he was equally, if not more passionate about the colleagues, trainees, and students he worked with every day. He influenced the lives of many graduate students who considered him to be a remarkable colleague, mentor and friend. It is not surprising then that many of Bob’s graduate students went on to assume distinguished careers in academia, industry, or public health service.

    Bob's influence also included undergraduate students on the University of Rochester’s River Campus, where he was a founding director of the Undergraduate Program in Biology and Medicine. This program combines the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine and Dentistry to provide courses for undergraduate students with lectures, laboratory work, specialty seminars and research experiences. Bob helped start the program in the early 1980’s and it led to the creation of the Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Biological Sciences, which includes tracks in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, and Neuroscience. Thanks to Bob’s work, the program is a major conduit for undergraduate students into research labs at the medical school.

    Outside of the University, Bob loved the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and was a huge fan of theater, traveling annually to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. He was also known to fly to London with his wife on a regular basis to catch plays in London’s West End. Another hobby was custom brewing, an art that he shared and passed on to many.

    Purpose

    This mini-symposium honors the memory of the late Robert E. Marquis and the knowledge he eagerly shared with students, trainees and early career faculty members. Its main objective is to promote information exchange among scientists who engage in oral microbiology and immunology research and clinical studies pertaining to oral health and disease, and to provide a forum through which new investigators entering the field can network with established investigators and so create contacts that can help nurture their research progress and productivity.

    Scientific Program

    8:00 am Continental Breakfast and Sign-in

    8:30 am Dr. Robert Quivey, PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Oral Biology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY

     “Well actually……, 40 years of bacterial physiology, from the late Robert E. Marquis.”

    9:00 am Alejandro Aviles-Reyes, PhD candidate, (2015 recipient of the Arnold Bleiweis Travel Grant), University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 

     “S. mutans modification of Cnm by a novel glycolytic pathway” 

    9:25 am Dr. Roger M. Arce, DDS, MS, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Periodontics, College of Dental Medicine, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA

     “Exploring the in-vivo effects of pathogen-differentiated dendritic cells”

    9:50 am Dr. Lauren Mashburn Warren, PhD Senior Research Scientist, Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH 

     “A novel approach to target the removal of caries-causing bacteria.”

    10:15 am Dr. Octavio Gonzalez, DDS, MS, PhD, Assistant Professor, Center for Oral Health Research, College of Dentistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY  “Adult and aged periodontitis: Two clinically similar but molecularly different lesions.”

    10:40 am Dr. Peng Zhou, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, OK

     “Role of veillonellae catalase in oral biofilm ecology”

    11:05 am Dr. Brendaliz Santiago, PhD, Post-doctoral fellow, Center for Oral Biology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY

     “Amino acid metabolism: Acid adaptation and transcriptional regulation in S. mutans.”

    11:30 am Natasha Singh, DDS candidate, University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

     “Development of a novel surveillance method to monitor bacterial biomarkers under chronic periodontitis.”

    11:55 am Yun-ji Kim, Master’s candidate, School of Dentistry, Department of Oral Microbiology and Immunology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

     “Dysbiosis of oral microbiota in recurrent aphthous ulcers.”

    12:20 pm Dr. Jessica Kajfasz, Postdoctoral Associate, Center for Oral Biology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY

     “Transcription of oxidative stress genes is directly activated by SpxA proteins of Streptococcus mutans.”

    12:45–1:15pm: Lunch and Discussion

    1:20 pm Stephen Kasper, PhD candidate, (2015 recipient of the Susan Kinder Haake Award) SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University of Albany, Albany, NY 

     “Natural product-based nanocapsules for sustained delivery of anti-biofilm agents”

    1:45 pm Josefine Hirschfeld, DMD, Periodontology Resident/Research Associate, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany

     “Role of macrophage migration inhibitory factor in periodontal tissue destruction.”

    2:10 pm Christina Sim, PhD candidate, National Dental Centre of Singapore, Singapore

     “Development of an in vitro polymicrobial biofilm model of dental caries.”

    2:35 pm Keum Jin Baek, Master’s candidate, School of Dentistry, Department of Oral Microbiology and Immunology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

     “Association of the invasion ability of Porphyromonas gingivalis with the severity of periodontitis”

    3:00 pm Dr. Zhimin Feng, Senior Instructor, Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine, Cleveland, OH

     “Further studies of Acinetobacter baumannii interaction with human oral epithelial cells: Invasive capacity and induction of hBD3.”

    3:25–3:35pm Coffee/Refreshment Break

    3:35 pm Dr. Samta Jain, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, Boston University Department of Medicine, Boston, MA

     “Trafficking of Porphoymonas gingivalis virulence factor Kgp to human endothelial cells.”

    4:00 pm Dr. Kenneth Barth, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, Boston University Department of Medicine, Boston, MA

     “Porphyromonas gingivalis gingipain-mediated modification of cellular kinases impairs host innate immune signaling.”

    4:25 pm Dr. Carolyn Kramer, Postdoctoral Associate, Boston University Department of Medicine, Boston, MA

     “The Oral Microbiome in Patients with Oral Cancers.”

    4:50 pm Dr. George Papadopolous, PhD candidate, Boston University Department of Medicine, Boston, MA

     “Pathogen-induced Th17 cells link oral infection with systemic inflammation.”

    5:15 pm Concluding Remarks

  • February 1, 2015

    MSTP Announces 40th Anniversary Celebration!

    Edward M. Eddy Rubin

    The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is excited to announce a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the MSTP NIH training grant on Friday, October 9, 2015.

    The keynote speaker will be an MSTP alumni from the Class of 1980: Edward Rubin, MD, PhD, Director, DOE Joint Genome Institute.

    Edward M. Eddy Rubin is an internationally-known geneticist and medical researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, where he became head of the Genomic Sciences Division in 1998. In 2002 he assumed the directorship of the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) to lead the JGI ’s involvement in the Human Genome Project (HGP).

    For more information and schedule of events for the day, please visit the MSTP 40th Anniversary page.

  • January 30, 2015

    Alejandro Avilés Reyes Receives 2015 Arnold Bleiweis Travel Award

    Alejandro Avilés Reyes

    Alejandro Avilés Reyes, a graduate student in the Lemos Lab and lab of Jacqueline Abranches, Ph.D., has been selected for the 2015 Arnold Bleiweis Travel Award, to present his work entitled "Modification of Streptococcus mutans Cnm by a novel glycosylation pathway". Mr. Avilés Reyes will give his presentation during the upcoming General Session of the International Association for Dental Research Conference, to be held March 10-14, 2015 in Boston, MA, as part of the first Robert Marquis Mini-Symposium for Young Investigators in Microbiology and Immunology.

    Alejandro is currently working on the characterization of Cnm, a collagen-binding protein produced by invasive Streptococcus mutans. The Lemos-Abranches lab focuses on characterization of the stress-response mechanisms of Gram-positive bacteria and their contribution to virulence and disease.

  • January 13, 2015

    UR Tests HIV Vaccine Pill

    Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are testing a new oral vaccine to prevent infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The vaccine is unique because it is given as a pill, unlike most HIV vaccines tested to date that have been given as shots

    The study is funded and designed by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), which received support for a Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The URMC team and BIDMC are collaborating with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, which is helping to organize the study through its Vaccine Product Development Center to provide services to BIDMC grantees. This is one of the first studies to benefit from this partnership and URMC is the only center in the world testing this vaccine.

  • January 5, 2015

    New Study Probes Link Between HIV Drugs and Vascular Disease

    A new $3.8 million grant will bring together clinical and bench researchers to better understand why individuals who receive anti-retroviral treatment for HIV are at greater risk for heart disease and stroke.

    The good news is that the drugs being used to fight HIV are increasing life expectancy to normal levels, said University of Rochester neurologist Giovanni Schifitto, M.D., one of the co-leaders of the study. However, one of the long-term complications is that these treatments, the infection itself, or a combination of the two are increasing risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease in this population.