2014 News

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  • December 11, 2014

    Decoding Fat Cells: Discovery May Explain Why We Gain Weight

    University of Rochester researchers believe they're on track to solve the mystery of weight gain – and it has nothing to do with indulging in holiday eggnog.

    hey discovered that a protein, Thy1, has a fundamental role in controlling whether a primitive cell decides to become a fat cell, making Thy1 a possible therapeutic target, according to a study published online this month by the FASEB Journal.

    The research brings a new, biological angle to a problem that's often viewed as behavioral, said lead author Richard P. Phipps, Ph.D. In fact, some diet pills consist of antidepressants or anti-addiction medications, and do not address what's happening at the molecular level to promote fat cell accumulation.

  • October 9, 2014

    Researchers Receive $4 Million to Study Common and Costly Cause of Death: Sepsis

    A diverse team of immunologists, engineers and critical care clinicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center received $4 million from the National Institutes of Health to study sepsis, an over-the-top immune response to an infection that leads to organ failure and death in about one third of patients. Beyond administering antibiotics, fluids and other supportive measures, physicians have no specific treatment to stop the syndrome, which is the most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

  • October 2, 2014

    Making PhDs More Employable: New Education Initiative Paves the Way

    Preparing graduate students and post-doctoral trainees for jobs outside of academia is the goal of a new career-training program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD), supported by $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health.

    The award to Principal Investigator Stephen Dewhurst Ph.D.,Vice Dean for Research at the SMD, comes at a time when fewer opportunities for tenure-track faculty positions exist, and yet graduate students in biomedical sciences don't always have the awareness, robust training, connections, or transferable skills needed to identify and succeed in a range of other careers.

  • September 24, 2014

    Ph.D. Students Receive Awards

    Steven Baker won Best Poster Presentation Award for young scientists at the Fifth ESWI Influenza Conference in Riga, Latvia. Steven also received this year's Melville A. Hare Award for excellence in Graduate Research along with Julie Sahler.

    Daniel Martinelli received this year's Melville A. Hare Award for excellence in Teaching.

    Shannon Loelius was the recipient of J. Newell Stannard Graduate Student Scholarship Award presented to her at the School of Medicine and Dentistry Convocation.

  • September 12, 2014

    Site Asks, What's the Future of Scientific Research?

    Virologist Steve Dewhurst, vice dean for research at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and associate vice president for health sciences research, shares his thoughts about the next 20 years of scientific discovery as a featured guest on a new website designed to prompt conversations on the future of federal support for scientific research in the United States. The site, Science 2034, is an initiative of the Science Coalition, a group that represents about 60 major research universities, including Rochester.

  • August 29, 2014

    Deadly Viruses Are Put On Notice

    I am a virologist, and have spent my professional career on HIV/AIDS research. In 2034, I expect to be working on something else – because AIDS will no longer be a problem.

    Improved prevention efforts – including vaccines, microbicides and antiviral drugs – will have prevented all new infections with HIV. And those already infected with the virus will have been cured using powerful DNA-editing enzymes that can target and remove integrated proviral DNA from the chromosomes of infected cells.

  • August 28, 2014

    Researchers Receive $3.4 million to Study Experimental Drug Combination in HIV

    Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center and University of Nebraska Medical Center have received a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study an experimental drug combination that appears to rid white blood cells of HIV and keep the infection in check for long periods. While current HIV treatments involve pills that are taken daily, the experimental drugs' long-lasting effects suggest the possibility of an HIV treatment that could be administered monthly, or perhaps a few times a year.

  • August 4, 2014

    Brandon Walling Accepted into Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med-into-Grad Fellowship

    Brandon Walling, an IMV graduate student in the Minsoo Kim Lab, has been accepted into the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med-into-Grad Fellowship in Cardiovascular Science.

    In 2005, HHMI launched the Med into Grad (MIG) Initiative to address the growing gap between basic biology and medicine. The Institute recognized that biomedical scientists could benefit from additional training to help them translate biological knowledge into effective medical treatments and diagnostics. MIG training includes the fundamentals of pathobiology, an introduction to how medicine is practiced, and a survey of the problems and challenges faced by medical practitioners.

    HHMI has held two MIG Initiative competitions, awarding $26 million in grants to 25 graduate institutions. This funding has enabled them to initiate or enhance existing programs designed to help students obtain the skills necessary to partner with clinician-scientists in the application of emerging biological knowledge to medical practice. These programs train students to recognize and capitalize on translational opportunities that may arise from their research and, in some cases, may influence the direction of their future investigations.

  • July 18, 2014

    NIH Awards Team of U of R Scientists $9 Million to Study Immune System in Action

    Since the early days of Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb, Rochester-area innovators have been making astounding discoveries in optics and imaging. Researchers at the University of Rochester are beginning a major study that will add to the region's imaging expertise, while also advancing global understanding of how the body's immune system works.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a five-year, $9 million Research Program Project Grant (PO1) to scientists in the School of Medicine and Dentistry to adapt and develop cutting-edge imaging techniques, allowing them to view the immune system while it is fighting infection and disease.

  • June 23, 2014

    Yelena Lerman Recieves Medical Faculty Council Travel Award

    Yelena Lerman is the recipient of the Medical Faculty Council Travel Award in Basic Science Research for Spring 2014. Yelena is in her sixth year of the Pharamacology PhD program under the mentorship of Dr. Minsoo Kim in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. Yelena gave an oral and poster presentation of her work on Exacerbated tissue homing of neutrophils during sepsis and TLR2-induced cytokine production are regulated by integrin a3b1 at the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) meeting in May 2014. Her work evaluated the surface expression kinetics of b1 and b3 integrin heterodimers on neutrophils during sepsis in both mice and humans. She showed that only integrin a3b1 is significantly upregulated during sepsis. Previous studies suggested a role for IL-10 as a regulator of the transition from mild sepsis to irreversible septic shock. Thus, sepsis progression could be modulated by altering IL-10 release and α3β1 upregulation.

  • June 12, 2014

    Anisha Gundewar Receives 2014-15 Fulbright U.S. Student Grant Award

    Anisha Gundewar (B.S., Class of 2014) was awarded a 2014-15 Fulbright U.S. Student Grant. This fall, Anisha, will pursue an independent research project in India through the 2014-15 Fulbright U.S. Student Grant program.

  • May 22, 2014

    Pilot Awards Support Three Projects

    The Center for Integrative Bioinformatics and Experimental Mathematics in the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology has awarded two projects pilot awards: Identification of Interferon Stimulated Genes Regulating Viral Latency from Jian Zhu, assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Modeling Immune Response in 3-D Bioreactor Cultures of Human Secondary Immune Organ Cells from David Wu, professor of Chemical Engineering. One pilot project awarded last year, Quantitative Proteomic Analysis of Influenza-infected Mice from Sina Ghaemmaghami, assistant professor of Biology, received a second-year renewal with supplementary funding.

    Ghaemmaghami, a secondary faculty member in Biochemistry & Biophysics, is focused on understanding the mechanisms of protein expression, folding and degradation. His lab investigates how cells maintain a homeostatic balance between these processes, and how this homeostasis is effected by disease and aging. The projects in the lab draw on a number of disciplines including cell biology, biochemistry, systems biology and computational biology.

  • May 20, 2014

    Microbiology & Immunology Class of 2014 Commencement

    Commencement was held for the Department of Microbiology & Immunology's Ph.D., Masters and Bachelors programs the weekend of May 17th. Congratulations to all of our graduates!

    Ph.D. Degree Awarded: Sarah Amie, Waaqua Daddacha, Nan Deng , William Domm, Anthony Gaca, Joanne Lim, John Muchiri , Akeisha Sanders, Jacqueline Tung

    Masters Degree Awarded: Anna Bird, Matthew Brewer, Anthony DiPiazza, Alison Gaylo, Kun Hyoe Rhoo, Letitia Jones, Dillon Schrock, Jason Sifkarovski, Madeline Sofia, Zhuo-Qian Zhang

    BS/MS Program: Maksym Marek, Alexander Wei

    Bachelors Program: Woori Bae, Robert Bortz, Natasha Chainani, Amanda Chan, Phillip Cohen, Hillary Figler, Anisha Gundewar, Zachariah Hale, Saad Ali Khan, Beom Soo Kim, Justin Kim, Soyeon Kim, Yo-El Kim, Kevin Koenders, Fang Liu, Clare C. Ma, Abhiniti Mittal, Bryan Myers, Ugochi Ndubuisi, Joo-Eun Park, Valerie Pietroluongo, Prishanya Pillai, Priyanka Pillai, Patrick Schupp, Vaidehi Shah, Meng-Ju Wu, Isabel Wylie

  • May 15, 2014

    Tara Capece Receives Trainee Poster Award at 2014 AAI Meeting

    Graduate student, Tara Capece received the Trainee Poster Award at the 2014 AAI Immunology Conference for her work, Regulation of the integrin LFA-1 in T cell activation.

    Tara is currently working on LFA-1 in T cell activation and migration in Dr. Minsoo Kim's lab. The Kim lab is focused on understanding how T cells and neutrophils home to and migrate within tissues.

  • May 13, 2014

    Patrick Murphy Receives Trainee Abstract Award at 2014 AAI Meeting

    Graduate student, Patrick Murphy received the Trainee Abstract Award at the 2014 AAI Immunology Conference for his work, Apoptotic cells suppress TNF production by tissue resident macrophages through a CD73-dependent mechanism.

    Patrick is currently working on Purinergic regulation of macrophage inflammatory responses in Dr. Rusty Elliott's lab. The Elliott lab is focused on understanding the signaling pathways that regulate how phagocytes locate and engulf apoptotic cells and how this process impacts the immune system in normal and disease states.

  • April 10, 2014

    URMC Researchers Win $3M Influenza Grant

    University of Rochester Medical Center researchers have won a $3 million grant to support influenza research. The award from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is going to support ongoing research by New York Influenza Center of Excellence, a 7-year-old flu research center led by URMC scientists John Treanor M.D. and David Topham, Ph.D..

    This award is an acknowledgement of the highly productive contributions our center has made to the overall understanding of how the immune response to flu is regulated, Treanor said.

  • March 19, 2014

    James Roger Christensen, Ph.D. Emeritus Professor and Past Chair of Microbiology and Immunology Dies

    Dr. James Roger Christensen passed away suddenly at his home in Colorado Springs on March 17, 2014, at the age of 88.   Dr. Christensen started at the University of Rochester September 1, 1955 and became Professor Emeritus July 1, 1990. He was the Chair of Microbiology and Immunology 1982-1984.

    On behalf of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, our deepest condolences go out to Dr. Christensen’s family and friends.

  • March 13, 2014

    Researchers Awarded $3.5 Million in NYS Stem Cell Grants

    Six scientists from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry have been recommended awards of more than $3.5 million by NYSTEM. The grants are for a wide range of research programs in the fields of neurological disorders, bone growth and repair, and cancer.

    The diversity of these awards demonstrates that stem cell biology has become an essential research tool in a wide range of diseases, said Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. State investments in stem cell research – both for individual research programs and to create resources such as the Upstate Stem Cell cGMP Facility – has enabled many promising discoveries in this field to continue to move forward. In many instances, this research may have otherwise stalled for lack of funding support from other sources.

    Among the 6 researchers are Biomedical Genetics' own Wei Hsu, Mark Noble, Margot Mayer-Pröschel and Jianwen Que.

  • January 12, 2014

    Tara Capece Awarded NIH/NIAID F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellowship

    Tara Capece, MS/MPH was awarded an NIH/NIAID F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellowship for the grant titled: Regulation of the integrin LFA-1 during T cell migration and activation. Tara, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in , Minsoo Kim's lab, was awarded a two and a half year fellowship from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to investigate how the integrin LFA-1 is modulated by chemokine signals and T cell receptor signals to serve different functions, as the former induces cell migration while the later mediated stable cell-to-cell contact. Answering these questions will provide novel insight for vaccine and immunomodulatory drug design.