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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

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

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.

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?

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Mosmann Awarded Novartis Prize for Basic Immunology

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.

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.

Read More: Mosmann Awarded Novartis Prize for Basic Immunology

Stephen Dewhurst Named Vice Dean for Research at UR School of Medicine and Dentistry

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

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!

Michael R. Elliott Receives 2012 Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research Grant

Friday, December 7, 2012

Michael R. Elliott, Ph.D. was recently announced as a recipient of a Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research (CNIHR) research grant at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. The CNIHR program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the NIH-supported Centers for AIDS Research (CFARs) and the International AIDS Society (IAS) with the aim to promote innovative research and novel ideas from early stage investigators whose primary focus has previously been in fields of scientific inquiry other than HIV. Dr. Elliott will work with Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D. to complete a research project, entitled Apoptotic cell clearance signaling and HIV-associated inflammation. An interview with Dr. Elliott describing this project can be viewed below:

Read More: Michael R. Elliott Receives 2012 Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research Grant

Long-Term Health Effects of Environmental Factors Is Focus of New $1.75-Million Study

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How exposure to chemicals and other environmental factors from the earliest months of life – even before we are born – affect our long-term health is the subject of a new five-year study by a scientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

B. Paige Lawrence, Ph.D., associate professor of Environmental Medicine and of Microbiology and Immunology, has been awarded $1.75 million by the National Institutes of Health to study how early exposure to factors in the environment affect our immune system.

Read More: Long-Term Health Effects of Environmental Factors Is Focus of New $1.75-Million Study

Researchers Seek to Make Cavity-Causing Bacteria Self-Destruct

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The ability of Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) to survive in acid is one reason that the species is the main driver of tooth decay worldwide. Past research has shown that this ability has several components including a bacterial enzyme called fatty acid biosynthase M (FabM), which when shut down, makes S. mutans almost precisely 10,000 times more vulnerable to acid damage.

Our first goal is to force the major bacterium behind tooth decay to destroy itself with its own acid as soon as it eats sugar, said Robert G. Quivey, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and principal investigator for the grant. “After that, this line of work could help lead to new anti-bacterial combination therapies for many infections that have become resistant to antibiotics.

Quivey's partners in the grant application were Elizabeth Grayhack, Ph.D., research associate professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics, Robert Marquis, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology & Immunology, and Eric Phizicky, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics.

Read More: Researchers Seek to Make Cavity-Causing Bacteria Self-Destruct

Protein Helps Immune System Mount Instant Strike Against Deadly Flu Viruses

Friday, February 20, 2004

Researchers at the University of Rochester have identified a protein in the immune system that appears to play a crucial role in protecting against deadly forms of influenza, and may be particularly important in protecting against emerging flu viruses like the avian flu. The researchers believe that a vaccine made with a live but weakened strain of flu virus - such as the inhaled flu vaccine introduced last year - may activate this part of the immune system and offer the best defense against avian flu.

The findings demonstrate that when confronted by a potentially deadly flu strain, an effective first strike by T cells in the lungs can mean the difference between life and death. To immunologist David Topham, Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester and lead author of the study, the findings reveal something else: a shortcoming in the world’s most widely administered flu vaccines.

Read More: Protein Helps Immune System Mount Instant Strike Against Deadly Flu Viruses