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Researchers Find Protein That Could Control Weight Loss and Lead To Radical New Treatments For Obesity

Monday, December 29, 2014

Researchers have uncovered a protein they say controls how the body produces fat cells.

Called Thy1 it has a fundamental role in controlling whether a primitive cell decides to become a fat cell, the Daily Mail reports. Experts say it could be harnessed in obesity treatments.

We believe that weight gain is not necessarily just a result of eating more and exercising less, said lead author Richard Phipps of the University of Rochester. The Rochester team 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.

Read More: Researchers Find Protein That Could Control Weight Loss and Lead To Radical New Treatments For Obesity

Decoding Fat Cells: Discovery May Explain Why We Gain Weight

Thursday, December 11, 2014

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.

Read More: Decoding Fat Cells: Discovery May Explain Why We Gain Weight

Biochemistry & Biophysics Secondary Faculty Featured in Rochester Review

Friday, December 5, 2014

We were pleased to see Gloria Culver, Ph.D., a secondary faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, mentioned in the Rochester Review Magazine in an article titled Going After Harmful Bacteria:

One challenge in killing off harmful bacteria is that many of them develop resistance to antibiotics. Now researchers are targeting the formation of the protein-making machinery, or ribosomes, in those cells as a possible way to stop the bacteria. Gloria Culver, Professor of Biology, has, for the first time, isolated the middle steps in the process that creates the ribosomes.

Published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Culver’s work—conducted with graduate student Neha Gupta—captures a piece of ribosomal RNA in one of the intermediate states of being pared down to fit with protein molecules.

Read More: Biochemistry & Biophysics Secondary Faculty Featured in Rochester Review

NGP Student Wins Grand Prize

Monday, November 24, 2014

Jennifer Stripay, NSC PH.D. Candidate

Jennifer Stripay, NSC PH.D. Candidate

Congratulations to NGP student Jennifer Stripay from the Mark Noble Lab, who has won the Grand Prize at the recent Wilmot Cancer Institute's 19th Annual Scientific Symposium.

Well done Jennifer!

Jonathan Macoskey Wins ASA Undergraduate Research Award

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jonathan Macoskey (BME Class 2015) was the recipient of the 2014 Robert W. Young Award for Undergraduate Student Research in Acoustics from the Acoustical Society of America. The Robert W. Young Award will provide resources for Jonathan to complete his proposed research project focused on developing a high-frequency ultrasound technique to visualize and quantify material properties of engineered tissue constructs. Jonathan is an undergraduate research assistant working in Professor Diane Dalecki’s biomedical ultrasound laboratory, and his project contributes to a joint collaboration between Professor Dalecki and Professor Denise Hocking (Pharmacology and Physiology) dedicated to developing new ultrasound technologies for tissue engineering.

Department Welcomes New Faculty Member!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Photo of Xin Li, Ph.D.

Xin Li, Ph.D.

The Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics welcomes the arrival of Xin Li, Ph.D., who is a new Assistant Professor. Dr. Li studies the roles of PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) in the development of germ cells and to causes of infertility in humans and animals.

Dr. Li was previously a postdoctoral fellow with Philip Zamore at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Please feel free to visit his personal and lab websites and view his CV.

URMC Researchers Receive $6.1M to Develop LungMAP

Thursday, October 30, 2014

researchers at University of Rochester Medical Center have launched a five-year effort to develop such a map. The project, called the Human Lung Molecular Atlas Program, or LungMAP, includes researchers from several other institutions and is supported by more than $20 million from the National Institutes of Health, $6.1 million of which was awarded to URMC.

With a detailed map of human lung development, health care providers will be able to more readily identify children who may be at risk for lung problems. For example, physicians know that infants who are born prematurely are more likely to develop emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adulthood or later in life.

But we don’t always know which ones, or how severe their complications will be, said Gloria Pryhuber, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine and the study’s lead researcher at URMC. So that’s what this is really all about — we need to know more about how the lung is formed and heals normally, in order to encourage pre-term infants to develop more normally, and to help adult lungs to heal from diseases like pneumonia and emphysema.

Read More: URMC Researchers Receive $6.1M to Develop LungMAP

Doug Portman Elected to Succeed Krystel Huxlin as Next President of the Rochester Chapter of SfN

Monday, October 20, 2014

Douglas Portman will start his term as President of the Chapter January 1st, 2015.
Thank you for everyone who participated in the first presidential elections.
Thank you Krystel for serving as the first President and for reviving the Chapter.

Read More: Doug Portman Elected to Succeed Krystel Huxlin as Next President of the Rochester Chapter of SfN

'Red Effect' Sparks Interest in Female Monkeys

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ben Hayden, Ph.D.

Ben Hayden, Ph.D.

Recent studies have indicated that the color red tends to increase human attraction toward others, feelings of jealousy, and reaction times. New research by Ben Hayden, assistant professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, shows that female monkeys also respond to the color red, suggesting that biology, rather than culture, may play a fundamental role in red responses.

Read more about Red Effects...

"

Male Brains Wired to Ignore Food in Favour of Sex, Study Shows

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Douglas Portman, Ph.D.

Douglas Portman, Ph.D.

Males can suppress their hunger in order to focus on finding a mate, a new scientific study of a species of worm has shown.

The study, conducted by Douglas Portman at the University of Rochester Medical Center, points to how subtle changes in the brain's circuitry dictate differences in behaviour between males and females.

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

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.

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

University Mourns the Sudden Loss of David Knill

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

David Knill

David Knill

David C. Knill, professor of brain and cognitive sciences, and associate director of the Center for Visual Science, passed away suddenly on October 6th at the age of 53.

The University has more information in their newscenter.


The Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences has created a memorial website. From this site, you can post tributes or stories about Dave and invite friends and colleagues to post their own contributions.

Colleagues Pay Tribute to Phil Fay

Monday, October 6, 2014

Drs. Sriram Krishnaswamy of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia & University of Pennsylvania, and Peter Lollar of Emory University recently wrote a fitting tribute to our friend and colleague, Dr. Philip Fay, who passed away June 25, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. The two are researchers working in the same field as did Dr. Fay and published the tribute in Thrombosis and Haemostasis, a leading journal in the field. You can read the tribute here.

Professor Diane Dalecki and Professor Denise Hocking Receive NIH Grant

Friday, October 3, 2014

Diane Dalecki, Ph.D. (BME) and Denise C. Hocking, Ph.D. (Pharmacology & Physiology) have received a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) for their project titled Ultrasound standing wave fields for vascular engineering. The goal of this 4-year project is to advance a novel ultrasound technology to fabricate complex, functional microvascular networks within three-dimensional engineered constructs.

Collaborators on this project are Maria Helguera, Ph.D. (Imaging Sciences, RIT), Ingrid Sarelius, Ph.D. (Pharmacology & Physiology) and Angela Glading, Ph.D. (Pharmacology & Physiology).

New, versatile vascularization strategies are needed to produce small-scale 3D tissue models and are critical for the fabrication of large-scale engineered tissues. The noninvasive capacity of ultrasound also enables innovative capabilities for fabricating microvessel networks within hydrogels injected within tissues. The successful completion of this project will provide new tools for tissue engineering and for a variety of clinical reconstructive and vascular surgery applications.

Making PhDs More Employable: New Education Initiative Paves the Way

Thursday, October 2, 2014

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.

Read More: Making PhDs More Employable: New Education Initiative Paves the Way

Ph.D. Students Receive Awards

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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.

Communities Considering Fracking Face Questions

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A new report examines potential health-related issues facing communities in areas of the country suitable for natural gas extraction. The hope is that the study, which was coauthored by Katrina Korfmacher, director of the University's Environmental Health Sciences Center’s Community Outreach and Engagement Core, will shape future research around communities’ health questions and inform their decision-making.

Read More: Communities Considering Fracking Face Questions

Gerald Fink Provides Fitting Tribute to Fred Sherman at 2014 Yeast Genetics Meeting

Friday, September 12, 2014

On July 29th - August 3rd at the Yeast Genetics Meeting in Seattle, Washington, Gerald Fink provided a fitting tribute for Fred Sherman. Gerald Fink, Ph.D. is an American biologist, who was Director of the Whitehead Institute at MIT from 1990-2001. He graduated from Amherst College in 1962 and received a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1965, having elucidated the histidine pathway in the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The above video is a tribute to Gerry's friend and colleague, Fred Sherman, Ph.D. who he and many others have called 'The Founder of Yeast Molecular Biology'. Sherman was the American scientist who pioneered the use of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model for studying the genetics and molecular biology of eukaryotic cells.

Dr. Sherman passed away on September 16, 2013 after a long and distinguished career at the University of Rochester, in the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, for which he was the former Chair (1982-1999). Among Fred's many awards, publications and accolades, none was more deserving than his induction into the National Academy of Sciences.

"Read More: Gerald Fink Provides Fitting Tribute to Fred Sherman at 2014 Yeast Genetics Meeting

NGP Alumna and NGP Faculty Publication in J. Neuroscience

Friday, September 12, 2014

Alumna, Maria Diehl, and NGP faculty, Lizabeth Romanski, published a paper in August 2014 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience on Responses of Prefrontal Multisensory Neurons to Mismatching Faces and Vocalizations.Read More: NGP Alumna and NGP Faculty Publication in J. Neuroscience

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

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.Read More: Site Asks, What's the Future of Scientific Research?

Michele Saul Accepts Faculty Position at St. John Fisher

Monday, September 1, 2014

Michele Saul, PhD

Michele Saul, PhD

Dr. Michele Saul has accepted a position as Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology beginning this Fall. Michele was a popular instructor in ANA 258 here at the UR, where she worked with Dr. Martha Johnson-Gdowski. In addition to her new faculty position, she will continue part-time as a Postdoctoral student in our lab developing her studies on adolescent stress models in rodents.

Make sure to congratulate her!!

Deadly Viruses Are Put On Notice

Friday, August 29, 2014

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.

Read More: Deadly Viruses Are Put On Notice

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

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.

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

Maquat Receives Prestigious NIH MERIT Award

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D., the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, has received a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health to continue her research in RNA biology.

Maquat is an internationally recognized expert in the field of RNA biology, in which she works to discover new cellular pathways and clues to the molecular basis of human disease. She is the Founding Director of the University’s Center for RNA Biology and in 2011 was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She is one of three faculty members from SMD who have been appointed to the Academy and the only woman.

The MERIT award (the acronym stands for Method for Extending Research In Time) was established by NIH in 1986 to provide stable, long-term grant support to help top scientists pursue ambitious projects that require more time to develop -- with the idea that higher-risk research can lead to higher-impact findings. The award also lifts the burden of applying for new grants to fund their research. MERIT recipients receive five years of funding and are afforded a simplified renewal for a second five-year period, cutting out the complex reapplication process, as long as they meet certain criteria showing that their research has yielded results.

Scientists cannot apply for the award; they are nominated by the funding NIH institute. Less than five percent of NIH-funded investigators are selected.

Environmental Health Sciences Center Summer 2014 Newsletter Now Available

Monday, August 11, 2014

The University of Rochester Environmental Health Sciences Center Summer 2014 newsletter is now available.

Topics highlighted in this newsletter include:

Recent findings linking air pollution to Autism and Schizophrenia

Environmental Health Sciences Center Updates

  • Increasing Awareness of Chemicals in Personal Care Products
  • Research and Local Activism Address the Health Effects of Tobacco Smoke
  • March of Dimes Symposium: Early-life Exposures
  • Environmental Epigenomics Workshop
  • Enhancing Perinatal Environmental Health Education

Recognitions and Awards

New Center faculty and Toxicology graduate students

Please feel free to read the entire EHSC Newsletter.

Read More: Environmental Health Sciences Center Summer 2014 Newsletter Now Available

Elena Rustchenko Awarded R01 Grant

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Photo of Elena Rustchenko, Ph.D.

Elena Rustchenko, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Elena Rustchenko, Ph.D. has been awarded an R01 grant from NIH, section Drug Discovery and Resistance, for her proposal Molecular mechanisms of caspofungin resistance in the pathogen Candida albicans. This is a three year grant totaling $675,000 and starting immediately.

The Rustchenko-Bulgac Lab has focused for many years on the chromasomal instability of the human fungal pathogen, Candida albicans. Congratulations Elena!

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

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.

2014 NGP Student Award Recipients

Friday, August 1, 2014

Congratulations to this year's Award Recipients

  • Grayson Sipe won a travel award from the Schmitt Program in Integrative Brain Research to attend the EMBL Conference, Microglia: Guardians of the Brain, held on 26-29 March 2014 in Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Heather Natola won a travel award from the Schmitt Program in Integrative Brain Research to attend the 45th annual American Society of Neurochemistry meeting in Long Beach, CA, March 8-12, 2014.
  • Adrianne Chesser received a travel award to attend the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on July 12-17, 2014 where she presented a poster.
  • Julianne Feola received a travel award from Graduate Women in Science to attend the Gordon Research Conference in Italy from June 29 - July 4,2014.
  • Ryan Dawes was awarded a Trainee Scholar Award from the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society.

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Celebrates 15-Year Service Awards

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sara Connelly and Shelley Burns

Sara Connelly (left) and Shelley Burns

We are pleased to celebrate Shelley Burns’ and Sara Connelly’s milestone anniversaries of working for the University of Rochester for 15 years in July 2014!

Shelley is an Administrator who wears many hats in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. She is an expert Grants Administrator for the department and has an uncanny knowledge of NIH forms and regulations, and she keeps the faculty on time and compliant with all grant applications. She also coordinates recruitment and hiring of postdoctoral fellows, manages renovations, and is an authority on immigration and human resources rules and regulations.

Sara is a Technical Associate in the lab of Mark Dumont, Ph.D.. She is a highly accomplished scientist with knowledge and experience in areas ranging from yeast genetics to G protein coupled receptors to HIV envelope protein. She also performs vital roles in managing the Dumont lab (often referred to as the Connelly lab), providing instruction and guidance to students, and making the 3-7500 hallway a fun place to work. We are deeply appreciative of Shelley’s and Sara’s many years of service to our department!

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

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.

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

Marit Aure, PhD, Shares 1st Place in World-Wide Dental Research Contest

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Postdoctoral associate Marit Aure, PhD, of the Center for Oral Biology in the Eastman Institute for Oral Health and member of Catherine Ovitt's lab, tied for first place at the highly-competitive International Association for Dental Research/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition held recently in Cape Town, South Africa.

The judges determined that the science presented by Aure and Joo-young Park, affiliated with the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health, was exemplary in both projects, surpassing 36 other researchers from around the world in their category. There was no second place winner.

Aure had qualified for the international competition by earning second place in the American Association of Dental Research/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition, held in Charlotte, North Carolina in March. For the international round of the competition, all participants were required to condense the research talk into a four-slide, 10-minute presentation to be given in front of three judges.

Telling the whole story in 10 minutes and four slides was especially challenging, said Aure, who said the poker-faced judges had some very tough questions. My reaction to winning was a mix of surprise, excitement and joy! It feels really good to get positive feedback and exposure for the salivary research we’re doing.

Read More: Marit Aure, PhD, Shares 1st Place in World-Wide Dental Research Contest

William "Bill" O'Neill Retires from URMC

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bill O'Neill

William E. O'Neill, PhD

After more than 35 years of service to URMC, Bill has retired to devote more time to personal endeavors. He will remain deeply involved in the studies of his current students who appreciate his wealth of expertise.

Bill was Associate Professor in both the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at the Medical Center and for Brain/Cognitive Sciences on the River Campus. He will be deeply missed.

Make sure to congratulate him when you see him.

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Mourns the Loss of Dr. Philip Fay

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dr. Philip Fay, Ph.D.

Dr. Philip Fay, Ph.D.

We are very saddened to relay the passing of our colleague and friend Phil Fay, Ph.D, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Phil passed away Wednesday June 25th after a long and courageous battle with cancer. His incredible strength of character through a most difficult time remains an inspiration to us all.

Calling hours will be 3-6 pm Sunday June 29 at Anthony Funeral Chapel, Brighton, 2305 Monroe Ave. Rochester, NY, US, 14618. His Funeral Mass will be 11 am Monday June 30 at St. Louis Church, 64 S Main St, Pittsford. Burial will follow at White Haven Cemetery, 210 Marsh Road Pittsford, with a reception to follow at the Country Club of Rochester. His Obituary can be found here.

Among numerous awards and significant accomplishments in an esteemed career, Phil and research assistant professor, Hironao Wakabayashi, M.D., Ph.D. were recently nominated for the 2014 RIPLA Distinguished Inventor of the Year Award given by the Rochester Intellectual Property Law Association (RIPLA). They were nominated for their work in the field of Factor VIII technology for treatment of hemophilia A patients.

On July 8th, 2014 the flags at the University of Rochester will be lowered in honor of Dr. Fay.

Wilmot Cancer Institute Scientists Receive $2M Award from NCI

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The National Cancer Institute awarded more than $2 million to a team at the Wilmot Cancer Institute to continue their study of a gene network that controls cancer progression, with a focus on pancreatic cancer.

The five-year grant will fund a series of new scientific experiments involving a gene known as Plac8. In earlier work, Wilmot investigators showed that by inactivating Plac8 they could stop or slow pancreatic tumor growth in mice and significantly extend survival – making Plac8 an attractive target for drug development.

Principle investigator Hartmut Hucky Land, Ph.D., and co-investigator Aram Hezel, M.D., had been studying a wider system of genes and cellular events involved in cancer, when they discovered that Plac8 is a key driver in malignancies but is not essential to the function of normal tissue.

Read More: Wilmot Cancer Institute Scientists Receive $2M Award from NCI

Yelena Lerman Receives Medical Faculty Council Travel Award

Monday, June 23, 2014

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 Pharmacology 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.

Five Recognized for Research Excellence

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Five Eastman Institute for Oral Health professionals were recognized at this month’s American Association for Dental Research’s local meeting.

Thirty researchers from the Rochester area participated in oral and poster presentations covering a wide range of basic and translational science topics, such as fluoride varnish effectiveness, use of therapy dogs in pediatric dental settings and the success of implants, among many others.

Dr. Catherine E. Ovitt, Ph.D., associate professor of Biomedical Genetics in EIOH's Center for Oral Biology, delivered the keynote address, Saving Saliva: Where do We Start? where Marit Aure, Ph.D. a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. Ovitt's lab, won the William H. Bowen award for her poster presentation, Mechanisms of Acinar Cell Maintenance in the Adult Salivary Gland.

Read the full article.

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

Thursday, June 12, 2014

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.

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

Paige Stepping Aside as Chair of Neurobiology & Anatomy

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gary D. Paige, M.D., Ph.D., is stepping down after 16 years of service as chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy. M. Kerry O’Banion, M.D., Ph.D., will serve as interim chair effective July 1, 2014 while a national search for a permanent chair is conducted.

New Evidence Links Air Pollution to Autism, Schizophrenia

Friday, June 6, 2014

New research from the University of Rochester Medical Center describes how exposure to air pollution early in life produces harmful changes in the brains of mice, including an enlargement of part of the brain that is seen in humans who have autism and schizophrenia.

The new findings are consistent with several recent studies that have shown a link between air pollution and autism in children. Most notably, a 2013 study in JAMA Psychiatry reported that children who lived in areas with high levels of traffic-related air pollution during their first year of life were three times as likely to develop autism.

Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that air pollution may play a role in autism, as well as in other neurodevelopmental disorders, said Deborah Cory-Slechta, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester and lead author of the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Read More: New Evidence Links Air Pollution to Autism, Schizophrenia

Professor Mahin Maines Issued Two Patents

Friday, June 6, 2014

HeLa Cancer Cells

HeLa cancer cells dramatically increased in size
and morphology when human BVR is introduced.

Biochemistry and Biophysics Professor Mahin Maines has been issued two patents for identification and development of a novel cell proliferation and differentiation factor (US patent 6, 969,610), and for Identification of Biliverdin Reductase as a Leucine Zipper-Like DNA Binding/Transcription Factor. (US, Canada, Europe and Australia 2002360742).

Striking increase in BVR in a human
kidney tumor compared to normal kidney tissue.

Striking increase in BVR in a human
kidney tumor compared to normal kidney tissue.

The Maines laboratory has identified Biliverdin Reductase (BVR) in human cells as a novel regulator of cell proliferation and differentiation. Her research shows that HeLa cancer cells dramatically increase in size and morphology when human BVR levels are elevated within the cells by artificial means. Her lab also discovered a striking increase in BVR levels in a human kidney tumor compared to normal tissue (see images, above and below). They found that BVR regulates and/or modulates activity of protein kinases downstream of the insulin/IGF-1 signaling cascade, including MAPK/ERK1/2 signaling, and that BVR is essential for activation of the ERK1/2 kinases that control cell proliferation and growth. The work has implications for the treatment of cancer and has resulted in a patent issued in US, Canada, Europe and Australia for Identification of Biliverdin Reductase as a Leucine Zipper-Like DNA Binding/Transcription Factor. (US patent 6, 969,610).

Maines is a leading expert in BVR research and has uncovered many applications for this enzyme, including diabetes and a US patent was recently issued for this discovery. She also discovered two enzymes, HO-1 and HO-2 that are part of the same metabolic pathway as BVR. Her research in this area has opened up possible new therapeutic approaches to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other disorders.

Brian Palmer Wins Two Awards at Toxicology Retreat

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Brian Palmer with Award

Brian Palmer

Congratulations to Brian Palmer, a Toxicology graduate student in Lisa DeLouise's lab on winning two awards at the Annual Toxicology Retreat. Brian won the department 'Question" Award given to the student who asks the most insightful questions throughout the year at department seminars and also won the McGregor Award for best poster presentation by a first year graduate student.

Toxicology PhD Program Holds Annual Retreat

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Louis Guillette Jr., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical University of South Carolina, is the keynote speaker at the Department of Environmental Medicine Toxicology PhD Program annual retreat today. Guillette's talk, "Health or Disease: Environmental Contaminants, Epigenetics and the Developing Embryo" starts at 11 a.m. in the Class of '62 Auditorium (G-9425), Medical Center. Platform presentations will follow from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the Ryan Case Method Room (1-9576) and a poster session will be held from 3 to 4:30 in Flaum Atrium.

NGP Alumna Links Playing Fantasy Sports with Neuroscience

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Renee M. Miller, Ph.D. earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester. Her current research is focused on sex differences in behavioral choices. She is a Lecturer in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences where she teaches several neuroscience courses to undergraduates. Dr. Miller is an avid fantasy player, enjoying seasonal as well as daily fantasy NFL, NBA, and MLB. Recently, Dr. Miller published a book entitled Cognitive Bias in Fantasy Sports: Is Your Brain Sabotaging Your Team?

Richard Aslin Inducted into National Academy of Sciences

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Richard Aslin, the William R. Kenan Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and director of the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging, was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences at its 151st annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Read More: Richard Aslin Inducted into National Academy of Sciences

Fay, Wakabayashi & Maines Featured in Democrat & Chronicle as Nominees for Inventor of the Year

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Among the other nominees for Inventor of the Year were B & &'s very own Drs. Philip Fay and Wakabayashi and Mahin Maines. Fay and Wakabayashi were nominated for the development of Factor VII proteins and Maines was nominated for discovering an unprecedented approach to mimic insulin action and increase glucose uptake for the treatment of diabetes.

Donald S. Rimai was named Distinguished Inventor of the Year at the ceremonies held at the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Rimai received 111 patents during his 34-year career at Eastman Kodak Co. The entire Democrat and Chronicle article is available here.

Pilot Awards Support Three Projects

Thursday, May 22, 2014

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 & amp; Biophysics, as well as the Center for RNA Biology general interest in understanding the mechanisms of protein expression, folding and degradation. We investigate 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.

B & B Dept Graduate Student Wins Best Poster Award

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Biochemistry and Biophysics graduate student Chinmay Surve has won the Best Poster Award at the recently concluded American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics society's, Upstate NY Pharmacological Society meeting in Buffalo, NY. Chinmay works in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Smrcka where he is looking at signaling molecules downstream of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in neutrophils which play a role in neutrophil chemotaxis and how dynamism between these molecules regulate neutrophil chemotaxis.

Microbiology & Immunology Class of 2014 Commencement

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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

Tara Capece Receives Trainee Poster Award at 2014 AAI Meeting

Thursday, May 15, 2014

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.

Patrick Murphy Receives Trainee Abstract Award at 2014 AAI Meeting

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

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.

Yelena Lerman Receives Trainee Abstract Award at 2014 AAI Meeting

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Graduate student, Yelena Lerman received the Trainee Abstract Award at the 2014 AAI Immunology Conference for her work, Exacerbated tissue homing of neutrophils during sepsis and TLR2-induced cytokine production are regulated by integrin a3b1.

Yelena currently works in Dr. Minsoo Kim's lab.

NGP Student Receives Trainee Award

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ryan Dawes, a third year NGP student in Dr. Ed Brown's lab was awarded a Trainee Award from the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society.

NGP Student Wins Travel Award

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Congratulations to NGP graduate student Julianne Feola who won a travel award from Graduate Women in Science to attend the Gordon Research Conference in Italy from June 29 – July 4, 2014.

Gene Discovery Links Cancer Cell ‘Recycling’ System to Potential New Therapy

Thursday, May 1, 2014

University of Rochester scientists have discovered a gene with a critical link to pancreatic cancer, and further investigation in mice shows that by blocking the gene’s most important function, researchers can slow the disease and extend survival.

Published online by Cell Reports, the finding offers a potential new route to intrude on a cancer that usually strikes quickly, has been stubbornly resistant to targeted therapies, and has a low survival rate. Most recent improvements in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, in fact, are the result of using different combinations of older chemotherapy drugs.

The research led by Hartmut Hucky Land, Ph.D., and Aram F. Hezel, M.D., of UR Medicine's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, identifies a new target in the process of garbage recycling that occurs within the cancer cell called autophagy, which is critical to pancreatic cancer progression and growth.

Read More: Gene Discovery Links Cancer Cell ‘Recycling’ System to Potential New Therapy

David Williams Named to National Academy of Sciences

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Vision scientist David Williams, the William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics, Dean for Research in Arts, Sciences & Engineering, and Director of the Center for Visual Science, has been named a member of the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Two NGP Students Win Schmitt Program on Integrative Brain Research Travel Awards

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Grayson Sipe, a 4thNGP student in Dr. Ania Majewska's lab and Heather Natola, a second-year student in Dr. Christoph Pröschel and Margot Mayer-Pröschel labs won the travel awards. Grayson used this award to attend the EMBL Conference: Microglia: Guardians of the Brain, March 26-29, 2014, held in Berlin, Germany, and Heather used it to travel to the 45th annual American Society of Neurochemistry meeting in Long Beach, CA, March 8-12, 2014

Dept Faculty Members Fay and Wakabayashi Nominated for the Distinguished Inventor of the Year

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dr. Philip Fay, Ph.D.

Hironao Wakabayashi, M.D., Ph.D.

Hironao Wakabayashi, M.D., Ph.D.

Biochemistry & Biophysics professor, Philip Fay, Ph.D. and research assistant professor, Hironao Wakabayashi, M.D., Ph.D. have been nominated for the 2014 RIPLA Distinguished Inventor of the Year Award given by the Rochester Intellectual Property Law Association (RIPLA). They were nominated for their work in the field of Factor VIII technology for treatment of hemophilia A patients.

Ongoing studies in the Fay lab include physical and biochemical analyses of factor VIII structure, inter-subunit interactions, and intermolecular interactions with other components of the clotting cascade. Dr. Fay's research program is aimed at gaining fundamental insights into the structure, activity and regulation of a protein central to hemostasis. This information will have specific implications for understanding hemophilia A and developing superior therapeutics for its treatment.

Drs. Fay and Wakabayashi's nomination and significant accomplishments will be recognized before the community at the Award Ceremony on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 from 6 to 9 pm at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC). The department would like to extend our congratulations to both!

URMC Researchers Win $3M Influenza Grant

Thursday, April 10, 2014

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.

Three BME Students Awarded Whitaker Scholarships

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Biomedical Engineering students Echoe Bouta, Jason Inzana, and Amanda Chen have been awarded a 2014-2015 Whitaker International Program Scholarship grant. Echoe is a PhD candidate from Professor Edward Schwarz's Lab and will be pursuing her post-doctoral training at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. Jason is a PhD candidate in Professor Hani Awad's Lab and will be pursuing his post-doctoral research at the AO Research Institute in Davos, Switzerland. Amanda is currently a senior working in Danielle Benoit's Lab and will be pursuing a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, working with Professor Nigel Slater.

Congratulations to all of you!

NGP Alumna Jill Weimer Receives her First R01

Friday, April 4, 2014

Study will explore intracellular trafficking

A grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will provide Sanford Research’s Jill Weimer, PhD, with $1.75 million over five years to study intracellular trafficking in neurological disorders such as the rare pediatric Batten disease.

Read More: NGP Alumna Jill Weimer Receives her First R01

Allison Greminger Defends Thesis & Receives Prize for Best Graduate Student Publication at Toxicology Retreat

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Allison Greminger successfully defended her thesis entitled, Characterizing the Neurodevelopmental Sequalae in a Dual Insult Model of Gestational Iron Deficiency and Lead (Pb) Exposure. Her work was especially acknowledged at the Annual Retreat Dinner and Awards Ceremony on May 29th, where she received the prize for the best publication by a graduate student in the 2014 Environmental Medicine Toxicology Training Program.

Congratulations Allison!

Amanda Chen Receives Prestigious National Science Foundation Research Fellowship

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Amanda Chen, a senior BME student and undergraduate research assistant in the Benoit Lab, received a prestigious National Science Foundation Research Fellowship, and first year BME graduate student Bentley Hunt, received an NSF Honorable Mention. The fellowship, which is part of a federally sponsored program, provides up to three years of graduate study support for students pursing doctoral or research-based master's degrees.

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Department Alumnus Selected as part of a "Next Gen" Crystallographer Group for 2014 International Year of Crystallography

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Andrew T. Torelli (Ph.D. Biophysics 2008) was invited to attend the Opening Ceremony for the 2014 International Year of Crystallography (IYCr) held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris and served on a discussion panel as a representative of next-gen crystallographers. Many distinguished speakers, UN officials, international scientists, students and several hundred guests attended this historic event. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, addressed the assembly by video, followed by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and the heads of multiple international scientific organizations. Keynote speakers included Jenny Glusker, who delivered a rich historical perspective of crystallography, and Brian Kobilka, who recounted his 2012 Nobel Prize work with Robert Lefkowitz involving G protein-coupled receptors. Other fascinating talks included efforts to expand X-ray crystallography in emerging nations, cutting edge technologies, the first extraterrestrial diffraction measurements used to interpret the mineralogy of Mars, and applications of crystallography and symmetry in the study of art. The Discussion Panel included eight selected, early-career crystallographers from around the world, and communicated critical issues facing the next generation of crystallographers to policy makers and sovereign delegations.

Announcing Faculty Promotions and Awards

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics is proud to announce the following well-deserved promotions, recently approved by the Board of Trustees and signed by President Seligman:

  • Alan Grossfield, promoted to Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Josh Munger, promoted to Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Joe Wedekind, promoted to Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Yi-Tao Yu, promoted to Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics

We were also very pleased to learn of the following awards in recognition of two very deserving Faculty:

  • Eric Phizicky, to receive the 2014 William H. Riker University Award for Graduate Teaching
  • Alan Grossfield, promoted to Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Josh Munger, promoted to Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Joe Wedekind, promoted to Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Yi-Tao Yu, promoted to Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics

We were also very pleased to learn of the following awards in recognition of two very deserving Faculty:

  • Eric Phizicky, to receive the 2014 William H. Riker University Award for Graduate Teaching
  • Doug Turner (B&B secondary appointment) will receive the 2014 Doctoral Commencement Award for Lifetime Achievement in Graduate Education.

Both of these awards will be presented at the 2014 Doctoral Commencement on Saturday morning, May 17, 2014, at the Eastman Theater.

Please join us in congratulating these faculty! We are grateful for all of their hard work and service they offer our department, and for the contributions they make to the University. We look forward to hosting a party to celebrate their achievements sometime in the coming months.

">Doug Turner (B&B secondary appointment) will receive the 2014 Doctoral Commencement Award for Lifetime Achievement in Graduate Education.

Both of these awards will be presented at the 2014 Doctoral Commencement on Saturday morning, May 17, 2014, at the Eastman Theater.

Please join us in congratulating these faculty! We are grateful for all of their hard work and service they offer our department, and for the contributions they make to the University. We look forward to hosting a party to celebrate their achievements sometime in the coming months.

Biochemistry & Biophysics Professor selected to Speak at Master's Commencement Ceremony

Monday, March 24, 2014

Professor Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., The J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics has been selected to be the speaker at the University of Rochester Master's Degree Ceremony. The ceremony is to be held at noon on May 17th, at the Eastman Theater.

Congratulations to Michael Hoffman for a successfully defending his Ph.D. Thesis!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Congratulations to Michael Hoffman for a successfully defending his Ph.D. Thesis! Michael worked in the Benoit Lab, and his project, Tissue Engineered Periosteum Approaches to Heal Bone Allograft Transplants, was supported by an NIH T32 training grant 'Training in Orthopaedic Research’.

Match Day 2014: Medical Scientist Training Program Matches 9 Students Across the Nation

Monday, March 24, 2014

By Kyle Koster, Public Relations Chair

Friday, March 21 was a bright day for the Medical Scientist Training Program. As the seconds ticked closer to noon, the buzz in Helen Wood Hall escalated, only to be replaced by a sudden silence as MSTP and medical students tore open envelopes revealing the programs to which they matched for residency training. This year was a particularly interesting and successful year for the MSTP. Students matched to top choices across the country; four MSTP students matched to West Coast programs and three to East Coast programs, with one student remaining in Rochester and another on to New Mexico. The choice of specialties was similarly broad, with four students matching into surgical specialties, two students into internal medicine, and three into the behavioral sciences.

This May, the program graduates nine students, all of whom matched on Friday. The MSTP congratulates its Class of 2014 with a graduation brunch at Mario's on April 27.

MSTP MATCH LIST 2014

Melisa Carrasco
Univ. of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD
Pediatrics-Preliminary/Child Neurology
Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
Child Neurology
Joanna Olsen
Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Anesthesiology/Critical Care Medicine
Scott Peslak
Hospital of the U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Internal Medicine–ABIM Research Track
Phillip Rappold
University of Rochester Medical Center, NY
Surgery-Preliminary/Urology
Danny Rogers
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Pediatrics-Preliminary/Child Neurology
Mercedes Szpunar
University of California, San Diego Medical Center, CA
Psychiatry–Research Track
Edward Vuong
North Shore-LIJ Health System, Manhasset, NY
Internal Medicine
Ethan Winkler
University of California, San Francisco, CA
Neurological Surgery
Michael Wu
University of California, San Francisco, CA
Anesthesiology–Research Track

Duje Tadin is the 2014 winner of the Elsevier/Vision Sciences Society Young Investigator Award

Friday, March 21, 2014

Associate Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Center for Visual Science, Department of Ophthalmology, University Of Rochester, NY, USA

Duje Tadin is the 2014 winner of the Elsevier/VSS Young Investigator Award.

Trained at Vanderbilt, Duje Tadin was awarded the PhD. in Psychology in 2004 under the supervision of Joe Lappin. After 3 years of post-doctoral work in Randolph Blake's lab, he took up a position at the University of Rochester, where he is currently an associate professor.

Duje's broad research goal is to elucidate neural mechanisms that lead to human visual experience. He seeks converging experimental evidence from a range of methods, including human psychophysics, computational modeling, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), neuroimaging, research on special populations, collaborations on primate neurophysiology, and adaptive optics to control retinal images.

Marit Aure Places 2nd in the AADR/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Marit Aure, a Postdoctoral Associate from Catherine Ovitt's lab, has earned 2nd place in the AADR/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition. She will now compete in the IADR Unilever Hatton Competition and Awards at the 92nd General Session & Exhibition of the IADR in Cape Town, South Africa, June 25-28, 2014.

Congratulations Marit!

Understanding Autism

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Loisa Bennetto, director of the developmental neuropsychology lab in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, will present a talk on Understanding Autism at the next "Got Health?" event on Thursday, March 20. The free lecture will be held from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. in the Rundel Auditorium at the Rochester Central Library, 115 South Ave. The talk is sponsored by the Center for Community Health in partnership with the Central Library.

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Department of Neurology is pleased and proud to announce that Dr. Laurie Seltzer, DO, Senior Instructor of Child Neurology and Epilepsy recently received an award from the editors of Pediatric Neurology for the best paper submitted in 2013 by a resident or fellow. The paper, Intraoperative EEG Predicts Postoperative Seizures in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease was published online on December 23rd 2013 and will also appear in a forthcoming print issue of the journal. The research was supported in part by a NIH Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (K12 NS 066098).

In this prospective, observational study, Dr. Seltzer and her co-investigators reviewed preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative EEG of 32 infants who underwent cardiac surgery. Among 17 of the children, the surgery involved deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA). Specific intraoperative EEG patterns seen in two patients undergoing prolonged DHCA were predictive of postoperative seizure within 2 days after surgery. The results suggest that the intraoperative EEG may be used not only as a tool for monitoring current status during surgery, but also as a predictive tool to determine risk for postoperative seizure in infants undergoing surgery with DHCA.

Dr. Seltzer’s accomplishment will be recognized at the 2014 Child Neurology Society Meeting in Columbus, OH.

Biochemistry & Biophysics Alum Patrick Brandt, To Give Seminar on Strategies for Choosing a Postdoc

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Patrick Brandt

Patrick Brandt, who received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry working with Dr. Robert Bambara in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, will present a seminar entitled Thinking Strategically About Your Postdoc Training on Friday March 21, 2014 in the Hellen Wood Hall Auditorium, 1W304. A reception will follow the talk, 4 pm - 5 pm. Patrick is also giving an additional talk on Friday, March 21: Using Microsoft Word to Format Your Dissertation in the Neuman Room (1-6823) from 9–10:30 AM.

Patrick is the Director of Science, Training and Diversity at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Dentistry. All graduate students are encouraged to attend! For more information about Patrick, visit the UNC Science, Training and Diversity page.

Read More: Biochemistry & Biophysics Alum Patrick Brandt, To Give Seminar on Strategies for Choosing a Postdoc

Crossing Elmwood: Using ultrasound for tissue engineering

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tissue engineering has resulted in some remarkable achievements: skin substitutes, cartilage replacements, artificial bladders, urethral segments, blood vessels, bronchial tubes and corneal tissue substitutes.

But these advances have been confined primarily to fairly simple organs comprised of thin structures, Denise Hocking, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology, noted at last week's presentation in the Crossing Elmwood seminar series.

Read More: Crossing Elmwood: Using ultrasound for tissue engineering

Researchers Awarded $3.5 Million in NYS Stem Cell Grants

Thursday, March 13, 2014

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.

Read More: Researchers Awarded $3.5 Million in NYS Stem Cell Grants

Free Webinar: 'The Future of RNA-based Therapies'

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Faculty Perspectives, an online lecture series sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations, will feature Lynne Maquat, director of the Center for RNA Biology and the J. Lowell Orbison Distinguished Service Alumni Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, on Thursday, March 6. Maquat will discuss the molecular basis of human diseases and new RNA-centric therapies to treat them. The free webinar starts at 1 p.m.

Grayson Sipe Awarded Individual Pre-doctoral Fellowship from NINDS

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Grayson Sipe, 4th year Neuroscience Graduate Program student in Dr. Ania Majewska's lab was awarded NIH (NRSA) Individual Pre-doctoral Fellowship from NINDS. The title of his project is: Role of P2Y12 and Purinergic Signaling in Microglia-Mediated Synaptic Plasticity (2013-2016). Congrats Grayson!

Congratulations to Andrew Shubin for a Successful Qualifying Exam!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Congratulations to Andrew Shubin for a Successful Qualifying Exam! Andrew is currently a graduate student in the Benoit Lab, and his current project is Developing hydrogels for the regeneration of salivary glands.

Air Pollution Exposure May Increase Risk of Autism, Schizophrenia

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Air pollution exposure has long been suspected to increase the risk of both heart and lung diseases, but another important organ may also be at risk of injury from this contaminated air: the brain. Researchers at the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) annual meeting in Chicago recently detailed the impact that constant exposure to air pollution may have on the developing brain. According to the panel, a series of mouse models have suggested that constant inhalation of air pollution may lead to enlargement of the brain’s ventricles – a hallmark of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.

According to the organizer of the panel, Dr. Deborah Cory-Slechta, air pollution is a cocktail of various metals and gases, often consisting of many different sized particles. The larger particles typically do not pose a risk to the body, as they are often coughed up and disposed, but the very small particles are the ones that health experts say pose the biggest health threat.

The component people worry about the most are the smallest particles – the ultrafine particles, Cory-Slechta, professor in the department of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com. And the reason is because those go all the way down into the bottom of the lung. Once they get to the bottom of the lung, they can be absorbed into the blood stream.

Read More: Air Pollution Exposure May Increase Risk of Autism, Schizophrenia

Chinmay R. Surve Wins Travel Award to Attend the American Society Experimental Biology Meeting

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chinmay R. Surve, a graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry was recently awarded a Graduate Student Travel Award to attend the American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics section of the Experimental Biology Meeting in San Diego, CA (2014). Chinmay works in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Smrcka where he is looking at signaling molecules downstream of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in neutrophils which play a role in neutrophil chemotaxis and how dynamism between these molecules regulate neutrophil chemotaxis.

Rahman Group's Study Featured on the February 2014 Cover of the Journal of Proteome Research

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cover of the Journal of Proteome Research

Exposure to cigarette smoke is known to cause changes in the chromatin -- the complex of DNA and proteins that make up a cell's nucleus. This can lead to chronic lung disease. UR researchers Irfan Rahman, Professor of Environmental Medicine and Pulmonary Diseases, and Alan Friedman, Assistant Professor of Environmental Medicine, are shedding light on the role of histones in this process. Histones are key proteins that pass along genetic information from parents to children, play a role in gene expression, and act as spools for DNA to wind around.

Their study, featured on the cover of the Journal of Proteome Research (February 2014), reports that cigarette smoke induces specific post translational modifications in histones H3 and H4, which could serve as biomarkers to help identify and predict chronic lung diseases (COPD and lung cancer) induced by cigarette smoke. Their data may also help in our understanding of the epigenetic changes that occur during the development of these diseases.

Read More: Rahman Group's Study Featured on the February 2014 Cover of the Journal of Proteome Research

Local Researchers Develop Possible Treatment for Parkinson's

Monday, February 10, 2014

Astrocyte Photo

Researchers in Rochester have developed a new cell therapy that could treat Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder which affects motor function. The study from the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests this new approach could not only halt progression of the disease, but also reverse its impact on the brain.

Now, researchers have found a way to use supporter cells known as astrocytes to spur wider recovery throughout the brain. So we can think of them as a work crew that delivers multiple tools at the same time, each of which can target a different cell population, says lead author Chris Proschel.

Proschel says they were careful to begin their treatment only after their lab mice had developed signs of Parkinson’s disease. He says this delay is important because it mimics the way therapies are actually used in humans, where damage has occurred and symptoms have presented before any treatment is carried out.

Read More: Local Researchers Develop Possible Treatment for Parkinson's

Finding Points to Possible New Parkinson’s Therapy

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A new study shows that, when properly manipulated, a population of support cells found in the brain called astrocytes could provide a new and promising approach to treat Parkinson’s disease. These findings, which were made using an animal model of the disease, demonstrate that a single therapy could simultaneously repair the multiple types of neurological damage caused by Parkinson’s, providing an overall benefit that has not been achieved in other approaches.

One of the central challenges in Parkinson’s disease is that many different cell types are damaged, each of which is of potential importance, said Chris Proschel, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Biomedical Genetics at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and lead author of the study which appears today in the European journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. However, while we know that the collective loss of these cells contributes to the symptoms of the disease, much of the current research is focused on the recovery of only one cell type.

Read More: Finding Points to Possible New Parkinson’s Therapy

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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

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.

Biologist Sina Ghaemmaghami Honored with a National Science Foundation Early Career Award

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sina Ghaemmaghami, an assistant professor of biology and member of the Biology & Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Structural & Computational Biology graduate programs at the University of Rochester, has been recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a scientist who exemplifies the role of teacher-scholar. The NSF has named Ghaemmaghami a winner of its Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER).

The award includes a five-year grant totaling $950,000 to fund Ghaemmaghami's research into protein folding. Sina is already recognized as one of the brightest in his field," said John Jaenike, chair of the University's Department of Biology. His work on protein folding and proteomic turnover is of central importance to understanding basic cell physiology.

As an early-career scientist, this award will go a long way in helping me establish a viable long-term research program at the University, said Ghaemmaghami. I especially appreciate the special focus this award places on the integration of education, which will lead to research opportunities for more undergraduates.

Read More: Biologist Sina Ghaemmaghami Honored with a National Science Foundation Early Career Award

In Memoriam: Fred Sherman - The First Yeast Molecular Biologist

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The journal Genetics has published an article in memory of Dr. Fred Sherman, who died September 16, 2013 at the age of 81 years after a long illness. A renowned molecular biologist, Fred obtained his Ph.D. with Robert Mortimer at the University of California, Berkeley, followed by postdoctoral training with Boris Ephrussi in France and Herschel Roman in Seattle. He spent his entire career as a Professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Fred received many awards, including election to the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Irfan Rahman's Article About the "Grandmother" Clock Featured on Cover of FASEB Journal

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cover of FASEB Journal

The Clockmaker, c. 1735, color engraving, Engelbrecht, Martin (1684–1756). Engelbrecht, a noted print-seller and engraver, was best known for his miniature theater dioramas. Eight scenery-like cards are inserted into a peep-box, aligned one behind the other, creating a three-dimensional view. These popular home-theaters have been cited by photographers and cinematographers for their dramatic optical effects. Some even suggest that they are forerunners of cable television. Our grandmother clock, an 18th-century Rococo extravaganza of ormolu scrolls and miniature dragons, stands stage center against a backdrop of cedar trees. Her body consists of two timepieces: one resting on her bosomy mantel and the other, a longcase model resting on curlicued paws. In her right hand, she dangles a pendulum—perhaps a reference to Galileo's discovery. The theatrical image may also be a tribute to Engelbrecht's hometown of Augsburg, the chief supplier of highly ornamental clocks to all of Europe. In this issue, we learn how tobacco smoke disrupts the circadian rhythm of clock gene expression, increasing lung inflammation to produce emphysema in mice via sirtuin 1 (SIRT1)-dependent acetylation of the core clock gene, brain and muscle aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like 1 (BMAL1). Image courtesy of Bibliothèque des Arts décoratifs, Paris, France/Archives Charmet/Bridgeman Art Library; Ann Weissmann, fine arts editor.

Environmental Medicine professor, Irfan Rahman's current article has been featured on the cover of the Journal of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The article, entitled Circadian clock function is disrupted by environmental tobacco/cigarette smoke, leading to lung inflammation and injury via a SIRT1-BMAL1 pathway, deals with patients with obstructive lung diseases display abnormal circadian rhythms in lung function. The Rahman lab determined the mechanism whereby environmental tobacco/cigarette smoke (CS) modulates expression of the core clock gene BMAL1, through Sirtuin1 (SIRT1) deacetylase during lung inflammatory and injurious responses.

Read More: Dr. Irfan Rahman's Article About the "Grandmother" Clock Featured on Cover of FASEB Journal

Want To Sleep Peacefully? Quit Smoking, Study

Friday, January 3, 2014

A University of Rochester study has found that smokers can have a good night's sleep just by giving up the habit. Researchers said that smoking leads to sleep deprivation, depression and anxiety, cognitive decline and mood disorders. Lack of sleep can result in lethargy, crankiness and bad temper.

This study has found a common pathway whereby cigarette smoke impacts both pulmonary and neurophysiological function, Dr. Irfan Rahman from the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York said in a press release. We envisage that our findings will be the basis for future developments in the treatment of those patients who are suffering with tobacco smoke-mediated injuries and diseases.