Friday, November 22, 2013
Cochlear inner hair cell from an adult mouse, viewed as a three-dimensional reconstruction from a whole mount confocal stack. The inner hair cell is labeled with Myo7a (grey), ribbon synapses and hair cell nuclei are labeled with CtBP2 (red), and glutamate receptors are labeled with Gria2/3 (green). This technique was used to analyze the role of Foxo3 in the adult mouse cochlea. For more information see Gilels et al..
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Patricia White's most recent publication, Mutation of Foxo3 Causes Adult Onset Auditory Neuropathy and Alters Cochlear Synapse Architecture in Mice has been featured in the November edition of the Journal of Neuroscience. In addition, an image of a cochlear inner hair cell from the article was also selected as the cover for that journal.
Dr. White received her bachelor's degree in Biology from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 1989. She completed her Ph.D. degree in Developmental Biology, also at Caltech, in 2000, where she researched neural stem cells. She began post-doctoral work in hearing regeneration at the House Ear Institute, and joined the faculty at the University of Rochester Medical and Dental Center in 2010.
The White lab's goal is to find a biological treatment to reverse noise-induced hearing loss through a better understanding of the function of different genes in the cochlea.
Read More: NBA's Patricia White's Research Featured in Journal of Neuroscience
Professor Laurel Carney Receives NIH-NIDCD Grant Renewal
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Professor Laurel Carney received a renewal for another five years for her NIH-NIDCD grant entitled
Auditory Processing of Complex Sounds. The new emphasis for the next five years is to investigate neural coding of speech sounds, starting with vowels. This new direction is possible thanks to the collaboration with Professor Joyce McDonough from the Linguistics Department. This grant will support graduate students and a post-doc in BME, Linguistics, or related fields who are interested in speech coding in the brain.
Friday, November 1, 2013
The University of Rochester Medical Center is currently recruiting subjects with JNCL for a clinical trial. This research study will focus on evaluating whether an investigational drug is safe and well tolerated in children with JNCL. Mycophenolate mofetil (also known as Cellcept) is a medication that suppresses the immune system. The study is 22 weeks long with a total of 8 in-person visits and 4 telephone contacts. Four visits require travel to University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, and four visits are with your child’s local physician. Four contacts take place by telephone. Travel costs are covered by the study. Children enrolled in the study will take mycophenolate syrup twice a day, and will have blood drawn at each study visit to monitor safety.
More information on the trial can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov, Time Warner Cable News (Rochester, NY television affiliate) and the URMC Newsroom.
For further information, please contact Amy Vierhile at (585) 275-4762.Read More: Clinical Trial for Children with Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (JNCL)
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Find a space with total darkness and slowly move your hand from side to side in front of your face. What do you see? If the answer is a shadowy shape moving past, you are probably not imagining things. With the help of computerized eye trackers, a new cognitive science study finds that at least 50 percent of people can see the movement of their own hand even in the absence of all light.
Read More: Seeing in the Dark
Seeing in total darkness? According to the current understanding of natural vision, that just doesn't happen, says Duje Tadin, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester who led the investigation.
But this research shows that our own movements transmit sensory signals that also can create real visual perceptions in the brain, even in the complete absence of optical input.
Bethany Winans Receives Young Investigator Award
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Bethany Winans, a graduate student in the Lawrence lab received an American Association of Immunologists Young Investigator Award at the New York Immunology Conference in Bolton Landing, NY.
Dumont Wins Outstanding Course Director Award
Friday, October 11, 2013
Professor Mark Dumont, Ph.D., was recently presented the Outstanding Course Director Award for 2013. Mark has served as course director for Biochemistry IND 408, a core course in the graduate studies curriculum within the School of Medicine and Dentistry, for over 10 years. Previous to this service, Mark served as director of Biochemistry of Macromolecules, BCH 412, for 5 years. As noted by Professor Eric Phizicky, Ph.D., who lectures in IND 408,
Mark has shown an uncanny ability, coupled with exceptional effort, to continually evolve the course to more up-to-date topics and to more sophisticated analysis of existing topics. Almost alone among course directors, he attends most lectures most years, allowing him to evolve a highly coherent course. Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics remarks that
Mark's commitment to his students and efforts on their behalf has rightfully earned him the high opinion of both his colleagues and his students, and serves as an exemplary example for all those involved in teaching.
Established in 2013, this award is given to an Outstanding Graduate Course Director. The selection of the awardee is based on the course’s record of excellence, course-instructor survey evaluations and letters of recommendation from students enrolled in the course, and is presented by the Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.
Paper of the Week, The Journal of Biological Chemistry
Friday, October 11, 2013
A journal article by Kamil J. Alzayady, Larry E. Wagner II, Rahul Chandrasekhar, Alina Monteagudo, Ronald Godiska, Gregory G. Tall, Suresh K. Joseph, and David I. Yule was selected as a Paper of the Week by The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Alzayady KJ, Wagner LE 2nd, Chandrasekhar R, Monteagudo AM, Godiska R, Tall GG, Joseph SK, and Yule DI. (2013) Functional inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors assembled from concatenated homo- and heteromeric subunits. J Biol Chem. 288:29772-29784. (Paper of the Week)
Click here to view Kamil Alzayady's Author Profile.
Dr. Catherine Ovitt Accepted to the 2013 Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Dr. Catherine Ovitt has been accepted to the 2013 Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar to be held in Austin, TX in mid December. This three and a half-day seminar is primarily designed for women physicians and scientists holding medical school appointments at the Associate Professor level, and holding leadership positions within their discipline, department or institution. Seminar faculty members are chosen from various schools in the US and Canada for their demonstrated leadership abilities and offer knowledge, inspiration and valuable career advice to participants.
Students Receive Awards at Neuroscience Retreat
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Anasuya Das, a former student in Dr. Krystel Huxlin's lab who defended her PhD thesis on July 18, 2013 was awarded the Doty Award for Excellence in Neuroscience Dissertation Research during 2013 Neuroscience Retreat.
Christina Cloninger, a 4th-year student in Dr. Gary Paige's lab, won second place in the John Bartlett Poster Session during 2013 Neuroscience Retreat, Rochester, NY.
Ryan Dawes, a third-year student in Dr. Ed Brown's lab, won a travel award from the Schmitt Program on Integrative Brain Research. Ryan plans to use this award to attend the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Advances in Breast Cancer Research Conference, which is being held in San Diego from October 3rd-6th, 2013.
Paige Lawrence Receives New R01 Grant from NIEHS
Monday, September 30, 2013
Dr. Paige Lawrence, professor in the departments of Environmental Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology has received a new R01 grant from the National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), entitled Transgenerational exposures as modifiers of host defense against infection.
Along with UR Collaborators Steve Gill, Ph.D. and Sally Thurston, Ph.D., this project will explore exposure to pollutants can cause transgenerational changes in biological processes and contribute to disease. Since very little of this research has focused on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of changes in immune function, the proposed research will direct address this deficit, and will study how a family of common pollutants perturbs the development and function of the immune system across generations.
The objective of this project is to define key parameters involved in transgenerational inheritance of alterations in the function of the mammalian immune system that occur as a result of environmental exposure. The immune system is fundamentally important to public and individual health, and even slight modifications in its function can have a profoundly negative impact on health and disease. For instance, influenza virus infections pose significant global health threats, infecting over 1 billion people annually. Evidence points to prenatal and early life exposure to pollutants as overlooked contributors to poorer clinical outcomes following influenza and other respiratory infections.
Doctor Left Behind Story in Search of Ending
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
We live in the new age of Sherlock Holmes, what with movie and television versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's moody but brilliant detective popping up like foggy nights in London town.
But it would seem that the late Dr. Robert J. Joynt, the former dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and an internationally recognized neurologist, was ahead of the Holmes revival. In addition to his formidable record of academic publication, Joynt, a Pittsford resident who died in April 2012 at age 86, had begun to turn out a series of short stories, five of which were published in Neurology, a medical journal.
Each mystery featured Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson confronted with a puzzler that had a solution grounded in neurology, the study of the nervous system. Joynt's sixth, and presumably last, Holmes mystery was found unfinished on his computer after his death.
Now the editors of Neurology are asking readers to complete the neurologist's story in 1,500 words or less. The winning entry will be published in Neurology. The author of the new material will share credit with Joynt. The uncompleted mystery and the contest rules can be found by going to Neurology.org and searching for
The Case of the Locked House, the title of the incomplete story. (When you get to the story, click on Full Text.)
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
A team from the University of Rochester Medical Center has shown scientifically what many women report anecdotally: that the breast cancer drug tamoxifen is toxic to cells of the brain and central nervous system, producing mental fogginess similar to
However, in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers also report they've discovered an existing drug compound that appears to counteract or rescue brain cells from the adverse effects of the breast cancer drug.
Corresponding author Mark Noble, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Genetics and director of the UR Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute, said it's exciting to potentially be able to prevent a toxic reaction to one of the oldest and most widely used breast cancer medications on the market. Although tamoxifen is more easily tolerated compared to most cancer treatments, it nonetheless produces troubling side effects in a subset of the large number of people who take it.Read More: Mental Fog with Tamoxifen is Real; Scientists Find Possible Antidote
Congratulations to Amy Van Hove for a Successful Qualifying Exam!
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Congratulations to Amy Van Hove for a Successful Qualifying Exam! Amy is currently a graduate student in the Benoit Lab, and her current project is Therapeutic Biomaterials for Wound Healing Applications (Supported by an HHMI Med-Into-Grad Fellowship).
Dirken Wins Convocation Award
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Dr. Robert T. Dirksen was selected as the 2013 recipient of the Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award. This award is presented to a postdoctoral mentor who shows dedication to postdoctoral trainees, as well as evidence of contributing significantly to their career development and professional advancement and was presented at the School of Medicine and Dentistry Convocation, September 12, 2013.
Neuroscience Retreat to Feature Nobel Laureate
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The annual Neuroscience Retreat, sponsored by the Neuroscience Graduate Program and the University Committee for Interdisciplinary Studies, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at the Memorial Art Gallery. The retreat will feature keynote speaker Martin Chalfie, University Professor at Columbia University and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; talks from current and former faculty and graduate students; and a poster session. The event is free and open to the University community but advance registration is required. To register or for more information, visit the retreat website.
Ethan Winkler Wins 2013 Vincent du Vigneaud Commencement Award
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
The 2013 Vincent du Vigneaud commencement award for PhD research went to Ethan Winkler, an MD/PhD student in Dr. Zlokovic's lab. To date, Ethan has 12 publications, six of which he is first author or shares that position with Dr. R. Bell. These include publications in some of the very best journals like Nature and Nature Neuroscience. Congratulations, Ethan!
Tara Capece and Patrick Murphy Appointed to Immunology Training Grant
Thursday, August 15, 2013
CVBI students, Tara Capece (Minsoo Kim lab) and Patrick Murphy (Rusty Elliot lab), were appointed to a position on the Immunology Training Grant (T32 AI007285). There was considerable competition with many strong candidates. The center would like to congratulate both on such a distinct honor.
NGP Student, Helen Wei, Awarded the HHMI Med-Into-Grad Fellowship
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Helen Wei, Neuroscience and MD/PhD student in Dr. Maiken Nedergaard's lab was awarded the HHMI Med-Into-Grad Fellowship (September 2013-August 2014). Helen's current project is astrocytes in neurodegenerative disease. Congrats Helen!
NGP Student, Jennifer Stripay, Awarded Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from NIH
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Jennifer Stripay, 3rd year Neuroscience Graduate student in Dr. Mark Noble's lab was awarded F31 NIH (NRSA) Individual Pre-doctoral Fellowship for her project entitled:
Identifying c-Cbl as a critical point of intervention in glioblastoma multiforme (September 2013-August 2016). Congrats Jennifer!
Friday, August 9, 2013
Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair & Professor, Biochemistry & Biophysics, Director of the University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology, and Chair of the University of Rochester Graduate Women in Science, has been selected to receive The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) 2014 William C. Rose Award. The William C. Rose Award recognizes outstanding contributions to biochemical and molecular biological research and a demonstrated commitment to the training of young scientists, as epitomized by the late Dr. Rose. A part of the Award includes transportation to the 2014 ASBMB Annual Meeting to present a lecture, April 26-30, 2014 in San Diego. For more on Dr. Maquat and her research program please visit the Maquat Lab.Read More: URMC Biochemistry Professor Receives 2014 ASBMB William C. Rose Award
NGP Students Adam Pallus, Rebecca Lowery, and Brianna Sleezer Awarded a Competitive Graduate Fellowship From Center for Visual Science
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Adam Pallus, NGP graduate student in Dr. Ed Freedman's lab, Rebecca Lowery, NGP student in Dr. Ania Majewska's lab, and NGP student, Brianna Sleezer in Dr. Ben Hayden's lab were awarded a competitive graduate fellowship from the University of Rochester Center for Visual Science from 7/1/13 to 12/31/13. CVS offers competitive graduate fellowships for graduate students working in the lab of a CVS faculty member. Applications are made by a student's advisor to the vision training committee in CVS. Fellows receive full stipend support as well as funds to cover one academic conference per year.
NGP Students Christina Cloninger and Colin Lockwood Awarded Graduate Fellowship
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Christina Cloninger and Colin Lockwood have been awarded a Hearing, Balance, and Spatial Orientation Training Grant by the National Institutes of Health. The Hearing, Balance, and Spatial Orientation Training Grant (T32) is funded by the NIH National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The grant involves the collaborative efforts of the Departments of Otolaryngology, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurobiology & Anatomy. The grant supports PhD students, MD-PhD students, Post-doctoral fellows and Medical Residents in BME, Neuroscience, and Otolaryngology who are involved in research related to the auditory and vestibular systems. This Training Grant is an important resource for the University of Rochester's Center for Navigation and Communication Sciences, which provides technical and administrative support for 25 faculty members who are conducting research in this area. The grant provides financial support for several trainees each year. In association with the Training Grant, a graduate-level course entitled Hearing and Balance: Structure, Function and Disease is offered.
NGP Students Matthew Cavanaugh, Michael Chen, Heather Natola, Felix Ramos-Busot, Rebecca Rausch, Aleta Steevens Awarded Graduate Fellowships
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Matthew Cavanaugh, Michael Chen, Heather Natola, Felix Ramos-Busot, Rebecca Rausch, and Aleta Steevens have been awarded a competitive graduate fellowship, the Neuroscience Training Grant. This grant is funded by the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This prestigious appointment provides stipend, tuition support, travel funds as well as funds to cover trainee related expenses. Students are appointed to the NSC Training Grant by the NGP committee.
Faculty to Be Featured on Radio Show
Monday, August 5, 2013
Several University faculty members are scheduled to be featured this week on WXXI's 1370 Connection. Benjamin Hayden, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences, will be the guest at noon today. He'll talk about neuroeconomics—the intersection of neuroscience and financial matters (e.g. gambling, investing in the stock market). At 1 p.m., the guests will be James McGrath, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Gregory Gdowski, executive director of the Center for Medical Technology Innovation. They'll discuss the process of converting biomedical research into commercially viable devices. Tomorrow at noon, Lynda Powell, professor of political science, will be on the program to talk about the effects of campaign contributions on the political process.
Dr. Mahin Maines Granted Patent
Friday, August 2, 2013
On June 4, 2013 Dr. Mahin Maines' patent application #8,455,427: Methods of Modifying Insulin Signaling Using Biliverdin Reductase was granted by the US Patent Trademark Office. The application of the technology is treatment of type 2 diabetes. The patent was issued for therapeutic use of a 7 residue peptide that activates insulin receptor kinase (IRK) and increases glucose uptake more effectively than insulin or IGF-1. The peptide is derived from biliverdin reductase, which itself is a kinase/kinase, a scaffold protein and intracellular transporter in the insulin/IGF-1/PI3-K/MAPK pathways. Additional patent applications for use of the reductase in regulation of the noted pathways are pending.
Laura Yunes-Medina Receives Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award
Friday, July 19, 2013
Congratulations and best wishes to Laura Yunes-Medina for being awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships! This grant will support her research work on defining CHOP-10 dependent adaptive ER stress pathways in neurons.
Friday, July 19, 2013
Oyagen Inc, a biotech company founded and directed by Harold C. Smith, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and the Center for RNA biology has produced a video describing how the AIDS virus reproduces and how novel drugs being developed by the company to enable naturally occurring host defense factors to block the virus. The video was produced in conjunction with a recently graduated RIT student Tang Tao.
Read More: Professor's Company Produces Video
CVBI Postdoctoral Fellow Receives Vaccine Fellowship Award
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Milan Popovic, a post-doctoral fellow in Minsoo Kim's Lab, was awarded the 2013 Rochester Vaccine Fellowship award. Selection for the fellowship was a unanimous decision by three independent reviewers who praised Milan for his outstanding achievement in vaccine-related research.
Monday, July 1, 2013
Tim R. Mosmann, Ph.D., Director of the David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, was awarded the 2013 Novartis Prize for Basic Immunology. He shares the prize, which is awarded every three years for breakthrough contributions to the fields of basic and clinical immunology, with Robert L. Coffman, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Dynavax.
The prize was awarded for Mosmann and Coffman’s research on how the body responds to different invaders, for example, bacteria versus parasitic worms. In the early 1980’s, they zeroed in on a group of white blood cells called helper T cells or TH cells, which communicate with other cells to activate the immune system and wipe out intruders. They discovered that TH cells fall into two distinct groups: TH1 cells, designed to eliminate bacteria and viruses; and TH2 cells, which are more effective against extracellular organisms, like worms and other parasites.
Read More: Mosmann Awarded Novartis Prize for Basic Immunology
When Tim started this research, scientists thought that helper T cells could be divided into at least two subgroups, but no one had been able to prove this, said Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical Center.
Tim elegantly showed that these cells could be divided into two subsets that produced different secreted proteins (cytokines) and that had different functions – a finding that profoundly changed the way people think about the immune system.
Ovitt Article Featured on NIDCR Website
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Drs. Catherine Ovitt & Szilvia Arany's article,
Nanoparticle-mediated gene silencing confers radioprotection to salivary glands in vivojournal Molecular Therapy, has been featured on NIDCR website. The results of the study suggest that optimization of in vivo siRNA-mediated silencing for clinical application could be an effective means of protecting salivary glands in the radiation treatment of head and neck cancer. They also pointed out that the approach has significant advantages over alternative methods, as it is limited to the salivary glands, does not involve viruses, and the block in Pkcδ protein expression is only temporary.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Above is Part 3 of ISSCR's video blogs from the 2013 ISSCR annual meeting. This video introduces the fascinating research in cell-based CNS repair done by Dr. Christoph Pröschel.
Dr. Pröschel’s most recent work has focused on using human glial progenitor cells to repair damage to the CNS caused by spinal cord injury. In a 2011 study published in PLoS One, Dr. Pröschel and colleagues describe how human glial precursors were able to restore motor function to spinal cord-injured rats. In our interview, Dr. Pröschel explains the difference between replacement and repair in cell-based regenerative medicine, a theme that fellow spinal cord injury researcher Dr. Aileen Anderson of UC Irvine also frequently touches on. In our video, Dr. Pröschel also has some remarks about direct lineage reprogramming.
Friday, June 14, 2013
The Provost's Multidisciplinary Award provides pilot funding for especially exciting scholarly research with a high probability of future support from external sources of funding. The Award is designed to foster collaboration between departments and across schools at the University of Rochester. Five diverse research projects at the University were selected as recipients of the sixth annual Provost's Multidisciplinary Awards. The initiative provides $250,000 each year to support faculty research that crosses disciplines.
Read More: Department Faculty Awarded 2013 Provost's Multidisciplinary Award
Monday, June 3, 2013
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center, have identified a new mechanism that appears to suppress tumor growth, opening the possibility of developing a new class of anti-cancer drugs.
Writing in this week's online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Willis X. Li, PhD, a professor in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego, reports that a particular form of a signaling protein called STAT5A stabilizes the formation of heterochromatin (a form of chromosomal DNA), which in turn suppresses the ability of cancer cells to issue instructions to multiply and grow.
Co-authors are Xiaoyu Hu, Amy Tsurumi and Hartmut Land, Department of Biomedical Genetics, University of Rochester Medical Center; Pranabananda Dutta, Jinghong Li and Jingtong Wang, Department of Medicine, UCSD.Read More: Potential New Way to Suppress Tumor Growth Discovered
Biochemistry & Biophysics Students Win Fellowships
Friday, May 24, 2013
Graduate students Nick Leioatts and Will McDougall were recently awarded an Elon Huntington Hooker Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year. The doctoral students were selected for their achievements in research from among graduate student applicants campus-wide. Nick's research focuses on using computational methods to understand ligand-induced structural changes in G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and is carried out in the laboratory of Alan Grossfield. Will's research focuses on the role of the HIV host-defense factor APOBEC3G and its inactivation by RNA binding, which may provide novel drugable targets for HIV treatment and prevention. His research is carried out in the laboratory of Harold Smith. Congratulations Nick and Will!
Thursday, May 23, 2013
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose brains are better at automatically suppressing background motion perform better on standard measures of intelligence.
The test is the first purely sensory assessment to be strongly correlated with IQ and may provide a non-verbal and culturally unbiased tool for scientists seeking to understand neural processes associated with general intelligence.
Read More: Motion Quotient
Because intelligence is such a broad construct, you can't really track it back to one part of the brain, says Duje Tadin, a senior author on the study and an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.
But since this task is so simple and so closely linked to IQ, it may give us clues about what makes a brain more efficient, and, consequently, more intelligent.
New RNA Structure - the Wedekind Lab has it Covered!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Crystal structure of the preQ1-II riboswitch.
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Associate Professor Joseph Wedekind and members of his research group (Joseph Liberman, Mohammad Salim and Jolanta Krucinska) published a paper in the June 2013 issue of Nature Chemical Biology. The work describes the structure of an RNA molecule called the preQ1 class II riboswitch (featured on the journal's cover) that functions as a gene regulatory element for bacteria within the Firmicutes phylum, including human pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumoniae. The RNA structure is bound to the small molecule preQ1, which is the last soluble metabolite in the biosynthetic pathway that produces queuosine, a hypermodified base at the wobble position of certain tRNAs that promotes accurate genetic decoding. Because preQ1 is unique to the bacterial metabolome, the class II preQ1 riboswitch has potential as an antibacterial drug target.
The research was performed primarily at the University of Rochester and made extensive use of the Structural Biology and Biophysics Facility. The work also required the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (Menlo Park, CA), as well as Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (Ithaca, NY) where crystals were subjected to X-ray diffraction analyses. The work in Wedekind' lab was funded by the National Institutes of Health/ National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIH/NIGMS).
The preQ1-II riboswitch structure reveals the chemical details of preQ1 binding in a pocket formed at the junction of three RNA helices. Complementary work from Wedekind's lab showed that preQ1 promotes a more compact shape that leads to blocking of a signal that is necessary for protein synthesis, which leads to lower levels of preQ1 in the cell. Of special note was the lab's observation that the mechanism of action used by the preQ1-II RNA riboswitch is entirely different than that used by the class I preQ1 riboswitch, whose structure and mode of preQ1 binding were reported previously by Wedekind's lab. Overall the results expand the known repertoire of metabolite-binding modes used by regulatory RNAs.
Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics Holds Annual Awards Ceremony
Friday, May 17, 2013
The Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics held its annual Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 17, 2013.
Congratulations to our 2013 Graduates:
Ph.D. Program in Biochemistry
- Jennifer DeAngelis
- Kimberly Dean
- Rozzy Finn
- Jason Gloor
- Chenguang Gong
- Athena Kantartzis
- Geoffrey Lippa
- Jessica McArdle
- Adam Miller
- Sharon Pepenella
- Karyn Schmidt
- Wen Shen
- Cody Spencer
- Guowei Wu
Ph.D. Program in Biophysics
- Prahnesh Akshayalingam Venkataraman
- Paul Black
- Zhenjiang Xu
Our department was particularly honored this year to receive the University of Rochester's prestigious Wallace O. Fenn Award named after the first Chairman of the Department of Physiology. This award is given annually to a graduating student from any program within the Medical Center judged to have completed especially meritorious Ph.D. thesis research.
This year, the award was given to two recipients for their thesis originality, creative thinking and excellence in research and both recipients were students from the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics! Congratulations to Paul Black and Chenguang Gong!
For a complete list of all awards, please see the Awards Ceremony Program. Photos of the event can be viewed on the B&B event photos page.
W. Spencer Klubben Wins Walt and Bobbi Makous Prize
Friday, May 17, 2013
The second recipient of the Walt and Bobbi Makous Prize has been awarded to: W. Spencer Klubben, a Biomedical Engineering senior working in Ania Majewska's laboratory. As a biomedical engineer, Spencer concentrated in medical optics and developed a strong interest in visual perception and development. Spencer's work has primarily focused on quantifying microglia's effect on neuroplasticity within the visual cortex and visual system. Most experimental methods have been focused around the utilization of optical imaging to analyze neuronal activity within mouse cortex. Experiments were conducted on mice with a varying dosage of CX3CR1, a single allele genetic fractalkine receptor responsible for the mobility of microglia. Spencer will receive the Makous Prize at a College-wide award ceremony on Saturday, May 19.
The Walt and Bobbi Makous Prize was established this year by the Center for Visual Science, a research program of more than 30 faculty at the University dedicated to understanding how the human eye and brain allow us to see. The prize is named for Walt Makous, who was Director of the Center for Visual Science at the University of Rochester throughout the 1980s, and his wife Bobbi. The prize honors the graduating senior who has made the most outstanding contribution to vision research at Rochester.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Children with autism see simple movements twice as fast as other children their age, a new study finds. Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Rochester were looking to test a common theory about autism which holds that overwhelming sensory stimulation inhibits other brain functions. The researchers figured they could check that by studying how kids with autism process moving images.
Read More: Kids With Autism Quick To Detect Motion
One can think of autism as a brain impairment, but another way to view autism is as a condition where the balance between different brain processes is impaired, says Duje Tadin, a co-author of the study out this week in the Journal of Neuroscience.
That imbalance could lead to functional impairments, and it often does, but it can also result in enhancements.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Children with autism see simple movement twice as quickly as other children their age, according to a new study. Scientists think this hypersensitivity to motion may provide clues to what causes the disorder. The findings may explain why some people suffering with autism are sensitive to bright lights and loud noises.
We think of autism as a social disorder because children with this condition often struggle with social interactions, but what we sometimes neglect is that almost everything we know about the world comes from our senses. Abnormalities in how a person sees or hears can have a profound effect on social communication, says Duje Tadin, one of the lead authors on the study and an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.
Although previous studies have found that people with autism possess enhanced visual abilities with still images, this is the first research to discover a heightened awareness of motion. The findings were reported in the Journal of Neuroscience by Tadin, co-lead author Jennifer Foss-Feig, a postdoctoral fellow at the Child Study Center at Yale University, and colleagues at Vanderbilt University.Read More: Autistic Children See Movement Twice as Quickly as Those Without Condition
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Children with autism see simple movement twice as quickly as other children their age, and this hypersensitivity to motion may provide clues to a fundamental cause of the developmental disorder, according to a new study.
Such heightened sensory perception in autism may help explain why some people with the disorder are painfully sensitive to noise and bright lights. It also may be linked to some of the complex social and behavioral deficits associated with autism, says Duje Tadin, one of the lead authors on the study and an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.
Read More: Enhanced Motion Detection in Autism May Point to Underlying Cause of the Disorder
We think of autism as a social disorder because children with this condition often struggle with social interactions, but what we sometimes neglect is that almost everything we know about the world comes from our senses. Abnormalities in how a person sees or hears can have a profound effect on social communication.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., has been named vice dean for research at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. A faculty member since 1990 and past senior associate dean for basic research, Dewhurst will lead the School’s research strategic planning process and help advance its research priorities by identifying areas of excellence in which to make strategic investments; strengthening the research infrastructure; improving education and training; and promoting collaborations and alliances that will result in increased research funding.Read More: Stephen Dewhurst Named Vice Dean for Research at UR School of Medicine and Dentistry
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Dr. Richard Aslin
Richard Aslin, the William R. Kenan Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and director of the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging at the University of Rochester, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Membership in the academy is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. Aslin will be inducted into the academy next April during its 151st annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Read More: Richard Aslin Elected to National Academy of Sciences
This honor is richly deserved. Dick is a pioneer in the field of cognitive development, said Peter Lennie, provost and the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.
His work has opened up a major new field and has transformed our understanding of how infants learn.
Tara Capece Wins Second Place at Graduate Student Society Poster Competition
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Tara Capece, a CVBI student in Minsoo Kim lab, won Second Place at the Graduate Student Society Poster Competition in recognition of outstanding presentation of thesis work The competition was held in the Sarah Flaum Atrium in April and involved students from all graduate programs at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Congratulations Tara!
Wilmot Cancer Center Update - May 2013
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Mark Noble, Ph.D. and doctoral student Hsing-Yu Chen studied the molecular mechanism that allows basal-like breast cancer cells to escape the secondary effects of tamoxifen, and discovered that two proteins are critical in this escape.
The research, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, shows how to exploit tamoxifen's secondary activities so that it might work on more aggressive breast cancer—a promising development for women with basal-like breast cancer, sometimes known as triple-negative disease.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Tamoxifen is a time-honored breast cancer drug used to treat millions of women with early-stage and less-aggressive disease, and now a University of Rochester Medical Center team has shown how to exploit tamoxifen’s secondary activities so that it might work on more aggressive breast cancer.
The research, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, is a promising development for women with basal-like breast cancer, sometimes known as triple-negative disease. Led by doctoral student Hsing-Yu Chen and Mark Noble, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Genetics at URMC, the team studied the molecular mechanism that allows basal-like breast cancer cells to escape the secondary effects of tamoxifen, and discovered that two proteins are critical in this escape. Read More: Researchers Identify New Pathway, Enhancing Tamoxifen to Tame Aggressive Breast Cancer
URMC Biochemistry Professor Authors Paper in Science
Monday, April 22, 2013
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Professor Mark Dumont was the senior author on a paper published in the March 29, 2013 issue of Science. The work described the structure of the protein Ste24p, one of the proteins responsible for processing lipid-modified proteins in yeast and humans.
Molecular structure of the protein Ste24p.
The research was performed in collaboration with scientists from the University of Virginia and the Hauptman Woodward Institute in Buffalo, as part of the Membrane Protein Structural Biology Consortium (MPSBC), funded by the National Institutes of Health Protein Structure Initiative. MPSBC is one of 9 membrane protein structure determination centers established in July 2010 as part of the NIGMS PSI: Biology Initiative.
MPSBC aims to establish a pipeline to generate multiple target constructs for expression studies followed by pre-crystallization screening to identify stable protein:detergent complexes. The complexes then undergo high-throughput crystallization screening and optimization followed by structure determination. Targets include transporters, transmembrane enzymes involved in lipid synthesis and lipid attachment, and membrane protein complexes.
NGP Graduate Student Kelli Fagan Wins Poster Award
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Kelli Fagan, a third-year NGP student in Doug Portman's lab, won first place in the
Multicellular/Organismal category the Graduate Student Society poster session held on Apr. 5, 2013. Kelli's poster was entitled
Sexually dimorphic neuromodulatory signaling elicits sex differences in sensory behavior. Along with this honor comes an $800 travel award that will allow Kelli to present her work at the upcoming Cell Symposium on Genes, Circuits and Behavior in Toronto, Canada. Congratulations, Kelli!"
BME Rochester Teams Advance in Business Plan Contest
Monday, April 8, 2013
MedThru ICT (Alvin Lomibao,
Nick Lewandowski, Sarah
Catheline, Nirish Kafle)
Among the six University teams that have advanced to the New York Business Plan Competition finals, the Department of Biomedical Engineering has two teams vying for the top spot. The finalists include BME undergraduate team, TrakOR (W. Spencer Klubben, Ankit Medhekar, Michael Nolan, Sonja Page, Matt Plakosh, Erin Schnellinger) in the biotech/healthcare category and graduate team, MedThru ICT (Sarah Catheline, Nirish Kafle, Nick Lewandowski, Alvin Lomibao) in the information technology/software category.
Through the clinical rotations in the CMTI masters program, I was able to get a sense of a day in the life of staff members in the cardiac catheterization laboratory--how they interact with technology and medical devices, what they're really good at, and what frustrates them. In developing the MedThru ICT system, we've considered a number of these pain points and developed a way to facilitate resource management when critical decisions need to be made. This way, providers can really focus on the patient and not on logistics. We hope that downstream this system can have applications in other hospital units, decreasing the cost of healthcare overall, says Alvin Lomibao.
The finals will take place in Albany on April 26, where the two teams will vie for $225,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. The New York Business Plan Competition is the only leading collegiate business competition that is a regionally coordinated, collaborative statewide program, which sets it apart from all other competitions. It is one of the largest collegiate business competitions in the nation.
Monday, April 8, 2013
There are a handful of cities we think of, when we think of high-tech innovation and startups: San Francisco, New York, London, Bangalore, Tel Aviv . . . but today, high-tech development has been democratized. Easy and cheap availability of cloud-based resources, sophisticated telecommunications tools, platforms-as-a-service and lean models that accelerate the development and deployment process, and – sorry, California – a net outmigration from traditional tech centers, has already started to shift high-tech development to the most unlikely places.
One of these places is Rochester, NY, where roughly half a billion dollars worth of research is conducted annually at RIT and UR. A portion of the healthy $749,994 grant from the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Scholarship Program awarded to UR in 2012 is allocated to addressing the shortage of highly qualified math and science teachers in the area by providing full-tuition scholarships to undergraduates pursuing these educational careers.
Read More: Rochester Named One of Techie.com's Most Most Unexpected Cities for High-Tech Innovation
NGP Graduate Student, Revathi Balasubramanian, Wins Award for Excellence in Teaching
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Revathi Balasubramanian and her mentor,
Dr. Barbara Davis.
Revathi Balasubramanian, a Neuroscience Graduate Program student in Dr. Lin Gan's lab, studying the role of transcription factors in retinal neurogenesis, has been named a winner of the 2013 Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student. Only a handful of these are awarded each year, and all this year's nominees were extremely well-qualified. Congratulations Revathi!
NGP Graduate Student Ryan Dawes Awarded Grant from the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Neuroscience graduate student, Ryan Dawes, has been awarded a 2013 Breast Cancer Research Grant, from the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. The 1-year, $50,000 grant will fund his project, entitled Breast Cancer Exosomes, Novel Intermediaries in Psychosocial Stress-induced Tumor Pathogenesis and was only one of two applications to be awarded this prestigious grant. This work will investigate if psychosocial stress can modulate the number or content of secreted small vesicles (exosomes), and determine if this can alter the process of tumorigenesis in an animal model of spontaneous breast cancer as Ryan continues his research in Dr. Edward Brown's lab.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
A human glial cell (green) among normal mouse glial cells (red). The human cell is larger, sends out more fibers and has more connections than do mouse cells. Mice with this type of human cell implanted in their brains perform better on learning and memory tests than do typical mice.
For more than a century, neurons have been the superstars of the brain. Their less glamorous partners, glial cells, can't send electric signals, and so they've been mostly ignored. Now scientists have injected some human glial cells into the brains of newborn mice. When the mice grew up, they were faster learners. The study, published Thursday in Cell Stem Cell by Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc. and Dr. Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., not only introduces a new tool to study the mechanisms of the human brain, it supports the hypothesis that glial cells - and not just neurons - play an important role in learning.
Today, glial research and Dr. Goldman were featured on National Public Radio (NPR) speaking about the glial research that is outlined in this current publication.
I can't tell the differences between a neuron from a bird or a mouse or a primate or a human, says Goldman, glial cells are easy to tell apart.
Human glial cells - human astrocytes - are much larger than those of lower species. They have more fibers and they send those fibers out over greater distances.
In collaboration with the Nedergaard Lab, newborn mice had some human glial cells injected into their brains. The mice grew up, and so did the human glial cells. The cells spread through the mouse brain, integrating perfectly with mouse neurons and, in some areas, outnumbering their mouse counterparts. All the while Goldman says the glial cells maintained their human characteristics.Read More: NPR Features Current Nedergaard-Goldman Publication; Glial Research
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Glial cells – a family of cells found in the human central nervous system and, until recently, considered mere
housekeepers – now appear to be essential to the unique complexity of the human brain. Scientists reached this conclusion after demonstrating that when transplanted into mice, these human cells could influence communication within the brain, allowing the animals to learn more rapidly.
The study, out today in the journal Cell Stem Cell, suggests that the evolution of a subset of glia called astrocytes – which are larger and more complex in humans than other species – may have been one of the key events that led to the higher cognitive functions that distinguish us from other species.
Read More: Support Cells Found in Human Brain Make Mice Smarter
The role of the astrocyte is to provide the perfect environment for neural transmission, said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-senior author of the study and director, along with Dr. Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., of the URMC Center for Translational Neuromedicine.
As the same time, we've observed that as these cells have evolved in complexity, size, and diversity – as they have in humans – brain function becomes more and more complex.
Josh Munger, Ph.D. Discusses Jobs in Biochemistry and Biophysics with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Monday, February 25, 2013
Joshua Munger was studying to become a veterinarian, but a microbiology requirement in college — in which he learned about the constant fight between host cells and the viruses that attack them — changed everything.
There's this evolutionary battle between the two,” he said. “I enjoyed learning about how they're always one-upping each other, how they're always trying to either cause infection or to limit the infection.
Munger, 37, has been an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester Medical Center since 2008. His work, which looks at how viral infection changes the metabolism of cells, has implications for cancer research and other areas.
URMC Biochemistry Professor Named a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology
Friday, February 15, 2013
Eric Phizicky, Ph.D.
Eric M. Phizicky, Ph.D., dean's professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and member of the University's Center for RNA Biology, has been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology (Academy). The Academy is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the world's oldest and largest life science organization. The mission of the Academy is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public.
Over the last 50 years, over 2,700 distinguished scientists have been elected to the Academy. Fellows are elected through a highly selective, annual, peer review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. Each elected Fellow has built an exemplary career in basic and applied research, teaching, clinical and public health, industry or government service. Academy Fellows are eminent leaders in the field of microbiology and are relied upon for authoritative advice and information on critical issues in microbiology. Election to Fellowship indicates recognition of distinction in microbiology by one's peers.
We couldn't be more pleased that Eric has been awarded this honor and recognition for his excellence and creativity in the microbiological sciences, said Jeffrey J. Hayes, Ph.D., professor and acting chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Medical Center. On behalf of the department, please join me in offering his well-deserved congratulations!
Phizicky, who came to the Medical Center in 1987, has spent his career working to understand how tRNA is made and how it does its job in the cell, which is to help with the translation of genes into proteins. His lab also focuses on the design, construction and implementation of genomic methods to analyze protein structure and function, work that's conducted in collaboration with Elizabeth Grayhack, Ph.D., associate professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
NGP Student, Simantini Ghosh, Wins Travel Award to AD/PD Conference
Monday, February 11, 2013
Simantini receiving the award from AD/PD conference chair,
Dr. Roger Nitsch.
Congratulations to NGP Graduate Student, Simantini Ghosh on winning a travel award to present her work at the 11th
International Conference on Alzheimer's & Parkinson's Disease in Florence, Italy on March 6-10, 2013. Simi works in Dr. Kerry O'Banion's lab
, studying the effects of sustained Interleukin 1 beta overexpression on Alzheimer's disease pathology in transgenic mice.
NGP Student, Anasuya Das, Wins Travel Award to ECVP
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Congratulations to NGP Graduate Student, Anasuya Das on winning a travel award to present her work at the European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) in Alghero, Italy on September 2-6, 2012. Anasuya works in Dr. Krystel Huxlin's lab in the Visual Training & Rehabilitation Lab. Her poster was entitled, Beyond blindsight: perceptual re-learning of visual motion discrimination in cortical blindness improves static orientation discrimination.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
A new study out today in the journal Science turns two decades of understanding about how brain cells communicate on its head. The study demonstrates that the tripartite synapse – a model long accepted by the scientific community and one in which multiple cells collaborate to move signals in the central nervous system – does not exist in the adult brain.
Read More: Study: Model for Brain Signaling Flawed
Our findings demonstrate that the tripartite synaptic model is incorrect, said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., lead author of the study and co-director of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine.
This concept does not represent the process for transmitting signals between neurons in the brain beyond the developmental stage.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, with 2013 Diversity Award winners Suzanne Piotrowski (THSP), Kevin Graham (THSP), Alyssa Cannarozzo (THSP), Lynne Maquat of the Medical Center, Kim Muratore (THSP), and Vice Provost for Faculty Development & Diversity Vivian Lewis.
Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair & Professor, Biochemistry & Biophysics; Director, University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology: From Genome to Therapeutics; Chair, University of Rochester Graduate Women in Science, has been selected to receive one of two 2013 Presidential Diversity Awards for exemplary contributions to the University's diversity and inclusion efforts. Dr. Maquat is being honored for combining her groundbreaking research agenda with a lifelong commitment to helping women succeed in science. Her remarkable accomplishments include the networking and mentoring programs she initiated as president of the RNA Society; her creation in 2003 of the University of Rochester Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) program; and her award and renewal of an NIH training grant that supports graduate students, including underrepresented minorities, in the cellular, biochemical and molecular sciences.
The Presidential Diversity Awards were created in 2009 by President Joel Seligman to recognize faculty, staff, students, units, departments or teams that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion through recruitment and retention efforts, teaching, research, multi-cultural programming, cultural competency, community outreach activities, or other initiatives.
Read More: URMC Biochemistry Professor Named University of Rochester 2013 Presidential Diversity Award Recipient
A Trip to Mars Could Increase Chances of Alzheimer's for Astronauts
Thursday, January 3, 2013
As if space travel was not already filled with enough dangers, a new study out today in the journal PLOS ONE shows that cosmic radiation – which would bombard astronauts on deep space missions to places like Mars – could accelerate the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
Galactic cosmic radiation poses a significant threat to future astronauts, said M. Kerry O'Banion, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy and the senior author of the study.
The possibility that radiation exposure in space may give rise to health problems such as cancer has long been recognized. However, this study shows for the first time that exposure to radiation levels equivalent to a mission to Mars could produce cognitive problems and speed up changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer's disease.