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Spiritual Well-Being in Family Caregivers for Those with Parkinson’s
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Benzi Kluger, professor in the Department of Neurology and Medicine and director of the Palliative Care Research Center and Neuropalliative Care Service at URMC, recently studied predictors of spiritual well-being in family caregivers for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. His work appeared in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.
Kluger has been doing work specific to palliative care for people with Parkinson’s for almost 10 years, but says his work can be applied to those caring for individuals with dementia, brain cancer, ALS and other chronic illnesses.
His team collected data on spirituality 1 in hopes to more quickly be able to anticipate and identify people who are at risk for poor spiritual well-being and determine what can be done to build up resilience.
1It’s important to define what is meant by “spiritual” in this research. The focus is not on religion, but on how people connect with the world, where they find meaning. This could be nature, work, family, etc.
Read More: Spiritual Well-Being in Family Caregivers for Those with Parkinson’s
Vera Gorbunova, Ph.D. Kicks off Dean's Lecture Series
Sunday, December 12, 2021
Vera Gorbunova, Ph.D. is a Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Biology and Medicine and is co-director of the University of Rochester Aging Research Center. Her research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of longevity and genome stability and on the studies of exceptionally long-lived mammals. Her work has received awards from the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Glenn Foundation, the American Federation for Aging Research, and the National Institutes of Health.
Gorbunova gave the inaugural lecture of the newly established Dean's Lecture Series on Dec. 6, 2021. The series is intended to showcase high-caliber research and high-impact topics in clinical medicine and related biomedical fields. The presentations are targeted to a broad audience of investigators and trainees from multiple areas of clinical medicine, public health, and life science research, as well as for interested members of the university community and the public at large. The George D. and Freida B. Abraham Foundation are sponsoring this series.
Check out the full replay of Gorbunova's lecture: Mechanisms of Longevity: Lessons from Long-Lived Mammals with Vera Gorbunova, Ph.D
Stay tuned for information on future Dean's Lecture Series events.
Represent UofR in This Year’s STAT Madness Bracket Competition
Thursday, December 2, 2021
This year marks the sixth annual STAT Madness competition, where universities, medical schools, and nonprofit research institutions compete for recognition that they have produced the most exciting biomedical discovery or innovation of the past year. We want Rochester to be represented and we need your help!
Have you and your lab or team worked on a particularly interesting, innovative or cool project in the past year? If you have, please send a high-level synopsis (3-5 sentences) to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 31, 2021 to be considered for entry into the competition. Please do not fill out the entry form on the STAT Madness site. Our Communications team will submit up to three entries on behalf of SMD. To learn more about the competition check out the official rules and FAQs.
During the competition, we’ll be posting all about your extraordinary science on the SMD social media channels, encouraging the entire UofR community to get behind your work and vote. Let’s go Rochester!
Grant to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy in Adolescents
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Researchers in Environmental Medicine have received an award from NIH to address vaccine hesitancy and improve health literacy among middle and high school students. The team will work with Rochester-area teachers and health professionals to teach students about how COVID-19 spreads, how COVID testing works, what RNA is, and how the vaccine works.
Read More: Grant to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy in Adolescents
All eyes on vision restoration with latest NEI Audacious Goals Initiative Grant
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Read More: All eyes on vision restoration with latest NEI Audacious Goals Initiative Grant
Juliette McGregor, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, leads one of three new projects funded by the National Eye Institute's Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI) aimed at testing regenerative therapies for blindness due to retinal degeneration and monitoring transplanted cells as they integrate with host tissues.
UR Researchers Part of Effort to Create Atlas of Cells to Study Age-Related Diseases
Monday, November 8, 2021
University of Rochester scientists are part of a consortium of institutions recently awarded $31 million to build a molecular atlas of human senescent cells. These cells, which are not very well understood, are believed to contribute to a number of age-related diseases, including chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and cancer.
Read More: UR Researchers Part of Effort to Create Atlas of Cells to Study Age-Related Diseases
Pediatric Practice Provides Roadmap for COVID-19 Vaccination of Patients and Caregivers
Monday, October 18, 2021
Golisano Children’s Hospital (GCH) Pediatric Practice in Rochester, NY demonstrated success in vaccinating eligible patients as well as their caregivers by offering the vaccine to both during pediatric visits and provides a model for addressing vaccine hesitancy and barriers, according to an October 8th article published in JAMA Pediatrics’ Viewpoint.
Read More: Pediatric Practice Provides Roadmap for COVID-19 Vaccination of Patients and Caregivers
Ann Falsey, M.D. Recognized for Leadership in RSV Research
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Ann Falsey, M.D., was recognized for her contribution to research on the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) during IDWeek, the largest annual gathering of infectious disease researchers in the U.S. Falsey delivered the named John F. Ender Lecture and also presented new clinical trial results on an RSV vaccine being developed by Janssen.
Read More: Ann Falsey, M.D. Recognized for Leadership in RSV Research
Lancet Review: Mental illness and suicide among physicians
Thursday, October 7, 2021
Dr. Ronald Epstein, M.D., professor in the department of Family Medicine, and other researchers highlight the need for individual and organizational interventions to better protect the mental wellbeing of physicians in a new review featured in The Lancet.
Read More: Lancet Review: Mental illness and suicide among physicians
Three PhD Students Honored with SMD Equity and Inclusion Award
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
The School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) welcomed students, honored excellence, and marked the official start of a new academic year with Opening Convocation held on Sept. 20.
Read More: Three PhD Students Honored with SMD Equity and Inclusion Award
A record-breaking start for 155 new SMD graduate students!
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Read More: A record-breaking start for 155 new SMD graduate students!
Despite being in the midst of a worldwide pandemic during our 2021 graduate school application cycle, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry received 1,063 applications for Ph.D. programs – the highest on record. In addition, there were 346 applications for master’s programs and 44 for advanced certificate programs.
Grad students are helping make research more accessible
Monday, September 13, 2021
Mark Stoessel and Kathryn-Mary Wakim, part of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Rochester, were bench mentors for two of the eight students in the NEUROCITY program.
Read More: Grad students are helping make research more accessible
Clinical Cardiovascular Research Center Awarded $17M in New Grants
Thursday, July 15, 2021
The University of Rochester Clinical Cardiovascular Research Center (CCRC) has received five new grants totaling more than $17 million over five years from both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Abbott. The grants will support research in treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF), device therapy for heart failure, and management of Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) patients. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/clinical-cardiovascular-research/news.aspx
Read More: Clinical Cardiovascular Research Center Awarded $17M in New Grants
UR Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) 2021 Mentoring-Up Resolution Challenge CONTEST RESULTS
Monday, May 24, 2021
Read More: UR Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) 2021 Mentoring-Up Resolution Challenge CONTEST RESULTS
Congratulations, Mentoring-Up Resolution Challenge Winners!
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!
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
Read More: Researchers find breastfeeding linked to higher neurocognitive testing scores
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."
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
Read More: Lynne Maquat Awarded 2021 Wolf Prize in Medicine
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.
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.