Research Education News
UR Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) 2021 Mentoring-Up Resolution Challenge CONTEST RESULTS
Monday, May 24, 2021
Full-time UR grad students (gender-inclusive) in biomedical, biological, or chemical sciences took charge of their futures by setting and, through mentoring-up, achieving professional and personal goals for Spring 2021. Participants submitted their goals in a January write-up and progress reports on their professional goals in May. The anonymous faculty evaluation committee selected finalists to present on May 20th. All four presenters were selected to win $1500 ea. in technology-related (hardware, software and/or peripherals) prizes. Of note, submissions for this contest were received from graduate students of 12 different programs!
Congratulations, Mentoring-Up Resolution Challenge Winners:
Immunology, Microbiology & Virology Grad Student
4th year | Gerber Lab
Biophysics, Structural & Computational Biology Grad Student
3rd year | Grossfield Lab
Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology Grad Student
3rd year | Lueck Lab
Neuroscience Grad Student
5th year | Briggs Lab
Medina Afandiyeva, Chemistry Grad Student, 1st year, Kennedy Lab
Sara Ali, BSCB Grad Student, 2nd year, Mathews Lab
Debamitra Chakraborty, Materials Science Grad Student, 3rd year, Sobolewski Lab
Brandon Davis, BMB Grad Student, 4th year, O’Connell Lab
Lananh Ho, Biomedical Engineering Grad Student, 1st year, rotating
Mary Moran, IMV Grad Student, 4th year MBI/1st year MPH, Beck & Gill Labs
Kuan-Lin (Zona) Yeh, Nursing Grad Student, 3rd year, Groth Lab
Frances Tolibzoda Zakusilo, Neuroscience Grad Student, 3rd year, Gorbunova & O’Banion Labs
Sponsored by GWIS, an initiative of the NIH T32 Predoctoral Training Grant in Cellular, Biochemical and Molecular Sciences.
Graduate Women in Science Receives 2021 Best of Rochester Award
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Graduate Women in Science has been selected for the 2021 Best of Rochester Award in the University category by the Rochester Award Program.
Each year, the Rochester Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Rochester area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2021 Rochester Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Rochester Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Rochester Award Program
The Rochester Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Rochester area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Rochester Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.
Researchers find breastfeeding linked to higher neurocognitive testing scores
Monday, April 26, 2021
New research finds that children who were breastfed scored higher on neurocognitive tests. Researchers in the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) analyzed thousands of cognitive tests taken by nine and ten-year-olds whose mothers reported they were breastfed, and compared those results to scores of children who were not.
“Our findings suggest that any amount of breastfeeding has a positive cognitive impact, even after just a few months.” Daniel Adan Lopez, Ph.D. candidate in the Epidemiology program who is first author on the study recently published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health. “That's what's exciting about these results. Hopefully from a policy standpoint, this can help improve the motivation to breastfeed.”
Hayley Martin, Ph.D., a fourth year medical student in the Medical Scientist Training Program and co-author of the study, focuses her research on breastfeeding. “There’s already established research showing the numerous benefits breastfeeding has for both mother and child. This study’s findings are important for families particularly before and soon after birth when breastfeeding decisions are made. It may encourage breastfeeding goals of one year or more. It also highlights the critical importance of continued work to provide equity focused access to breastfeeding support, prenatal education, and practices to eliminate structural barriers to breastfeeding.”
Researchers reviewed the test results of more than 9,000 nine and ten-year-old participants in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. Variations were found in the cumulative cognitive test scores of breastfed and non-breastfed children. There was also evidence that the longer a child was breastfed, the higher they scored.
“The strongest association was in children who were breastfed more than 12 months,” said Lopez. “The scores of children breastfed until they were seven to 12 months were slightly less, and then the one to six month-old scores dips a little more. But all scores were higher when compared to children who didn’t breastfeed at all.” Previous studies found breastfeeding does not impact executive function or memory, findings in this study made similar findings.
“This supports the foundation of work already being done around lactation and breastfeeding and its impact on a child’s health,” said Ed Freedman, Ph.D., the principal investigator of the ABCD study in Rochester and lead author of the study. “These are findings that would have not been possible without the ABCD Study and the expansive data set it provides.”Read More: Researchers find breastfeeding linked to higher neurocognitive testing scores
Ian Krout wins the People’s Choice award for SOT’s 3 Minute Thesis, 2nd place in the University of Rochester's 3 Minute Thesis Competitions
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Congratulations to Ian Krout for winning the People’s Choice award for SOT’s 3 Minute Thesis and 2nd place in the University of Rochester's 3 Minute Thesis Competitions! Krout is a 3rd year Toxicology student, in Matt Rand's Lab, whose interests lie in both methylmercury toxicity as well as the gut microbiomes role in the field of toxicology. His research is focused on elucidating the microbial mechanisms of the gut that give rise to inter-individual differences in methylmercury elimination from person to person. It is focused on investigating the bacterial species at play in the microbiome, the mechanisms used for biotransformation, and what this means for the overall elimination rate and subsequent toxicity of differing mercury compounds.
Wedekind lab research featured on the cover of JBC “The Year in JBC: 2020" issue
Friday, February 12, 2021
Congratulations to Shashank Chavali, Dr. Sachitanand Mali, Dr. Jermaine Jenkins, Dr. Rudi Fasan, and Dr. Joseph Wedekind for being featured on the cover of JBC “The Year in JBC: 2020" issue. Their recent research article, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) December 4, 2020 issue, titled “Co-crystal structures of HIV TAR RNA bound to lab-evolved proteins show key roles for arginine relevant to the design of cyclic peptide TAR inhibitors” has been selected as the representative ‘RNA’ article for 2020 retrospective collection called “The Year in JBC: 2020.”
The cover art below, shows a collage of fluorescence complementation experiments between the [4Fe-4S]-transferring NFU1 and potential partners (performed by Roland et al.), crystal structure overlays of HIV-1 TAR RNA with lab-evolved TAR-binding proteins (reported by Chavali et al.), nonmelanized yeast cells (explored by Chrissian et al.) and a cryo-EM structure of STEAP1, now thought to function as a ferric reductase in heterotrimer form (reported by Oosterheert and Gros). Artwork created by EJ Marklin.
Read More: Wedekind lab research featured on the cover of JBC “The Year in JBC: 2020" issue
Lynne Maquat Awarded 2021 Wolf Prize in Medicine
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D., the founding director of the Center for RNA Biology at the University of Rochester, was honored with the 2021 Wolf Prize in Medicine. The acclaimed international award is given to outstanding scientists from around the world for achievements that benefit mankind.
Maquat was selected for “fundamental discoveries in RNA biology that have the potential to better human lives.” She has spent her career deciphering the many roles that RNA plays in sickness and in health, and is well known for her discovery of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay or NMD. One of the major surveillance systems in the body, NMD protects against mistakes in gene expression that lead to disease. Maquat’s lab also revealed that NMD helps our cells adjust to changes in development and in their environment, and more rapidly respond to certain stimuli.
Maquat shares the award with Joan Steitz, Ph.D., Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale School of Medicine and Adrian Krainer, Ph.D., St. Giles Foundation Professor and Cancer Center Deputy Director of Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Steitz and Krainer were also honored for discoveries in RNA biology.
The Wolf Foundation, which celebrates exceptional achievements in the sciences and the arts, is based in Israel, where Maquat’s quest to unravel the intricacies of NMD began. In 1980 she traveled to Jerusalem to retrieve bone marrow samples from four children suffering from thalassemia major, the most severe form of the inherited blood disorder thalassemia. Maquat wanted to learn why the children’s marrow contained no beta-globin protein, which is necessary for the oxygen-carrying function of red blood cells. Her 1981 breakthrough manuscript, “Unstable beta-globin mRNA in mRNA-deficient beta0 thalassemia,” published in Cell, was the first to reveal the role of NMD in human cells and how it can lead to disease.
“Lynne’s work on nonsense-mediated mRNA decay is the bedrock of an ever-growing body of research on how mRNAs are monitored and regulated,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “Her dedication to her science and to the field of RNA biology has opened the door to the development of RNA-based therapeutics for a wide range of disorders that you can’t reach with conventional drugs. We’re thrilled that her contributions are being recognized with this prestigious award.”
RNA secured its place in the public eye in 2020 with the development and approval of multiple mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Years of research by Maquat, Steitz and Krainer helped set the stage for the rapid development of these vaccines.
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, Maquat is the recipient of several other significant honors, including:
Winners of the Wolf Prize are selected annually by an international jury committee of the Wolf Foundation; prizes are awarded regardless of religion, gender, race, geographical region, or political view. The official announcement of this year’s prize by the President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, was made on February 9, 2021.Read More: Lynne Maquat Awarded 2021 Wolf Prize in Medicine
Miriam Barnett chosen to be a 2021 ASPET Washington Fellow
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Miriam Barnett, a Pharmacology graduate student in Dr. Jean Bidlack’s lab, was chosen to be a 2021 American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Washington Fellow. The mission of the ASPET Washington Fellows Program is to enable developing and early career scientists interested in science policy to learn about and become more engaged in public policy issues. Miriam’s selection was based on her strong interest in science and its intersection with public policy. As an ASPET Washington Fellow, Miriam will meet with congressional representatives and staff to advocate for the importance of biomedical research.