Skip to main content
Explore URMC
menu

News

20192018201720162015 Archive

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 lab (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 Fudge 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.

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
  • 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.

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 recent 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.

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.

NBA's Patricia White's Research Featured in Journal of Neuroscience

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cochlear Inner Hair Cell

Cochlear inner hair cell from an adult mouse, viewed as a three-dimensional reconstruction from a whole mount confocal stack. The inner hair cell is labeled with Myo7a (grey), ribbon synapses and hair cell nuclei are labeled with CtBP2 (red), and glutamate receptors are labeled with Gria2/3 (green). This technique was used to analyze the role of Foxo3 in the adult mouse cochlea. For more information see Gilels et al..


Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Patricia White's most recent publication, Mutation of Foxo3 Causes Adult Onset Auditory Neuropathy and Alters Cochlear Synapse Architecture in Mice has been featured in the November edition of the Journal of Neuroscience. In addition, an image of a cochlear inner hair cell from the article was also selected as the cover for that journal.

Dr. White received her bachelor's degree in Biology from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 1989. She completed her Ph.D. degree in Developmental Biology, also at Caltech, in 2000, where she researched neural stem cells. She began post-doctoral work in hearing regeneration at the House Ear Institute, and joined the faculty at the University of Rochester Medical and Dental Center in 2010.

The White lab's goal is to find a biological treatment to reverse noise-induced hearing loss through a better understanding of the function of different genes in the cochlea.

Read More: NBA's Patricia White's Research Featured in Journal of Neuroscience

Professor Laurel Carney Receives NIH-NIDCD Grant Renewal

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Professor Laurel Carney received a renewal for another five years for her NIH-NIDCD grant entitled Auditory Processing of Complex Sounds. The new emphasis for the next five years is to investigate neural coding of speech sounds, starting with vowels. This new direction is possible thanks to the collaboration with Professor Joyce McDonough from the Linguistics Department. This grant will support graduate students and a post-doc in BME, Linguistics, or related fields who are interested in speech coding in the brain.

Clinical Trial for Children with Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (JNCL)

Friday, November 1, 2013

The University of Rochester Medical Center is currently recruiting subjects with JNCL for a clinical trial. This research study will focus on evaluating whether an investigational drug is safe and well tolerated in children with JNCL. Mycophenolate mofetil (also known as Cellcept) is a medication that suppresses the immune system. The study is 22 weeks long with a total of 8 in-person visits and 4 telephone contacts. Four visits require travel to University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, and four visits are with your child’s local physician. Four contacts take place by telephone. Travel costs are covered by the study. Children enrolled in the study will take mycophenolate syrup twice a day, and will have blood drawn at each study visit to monitor safety.

More information on the trial can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov, Time Warner Cable News (Rochester, NY television affiliate) and the URMC Newsroom.

For further information, please contact Amy Vierhile at (585) 275-4762.

Read More: Clinical Trial for Children with Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (JNCL)

Seeing in the Dark

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Find a space with total darkness and slowly move your hand from side to side in front of your face. What do you see? If the answer is a shadowy shape moving past, you are probably not imagining things. With the help of computerized eye trackers, a new cognitive science study finds that at least 50 percent of people can see the movement of their own hand even in the absence of all light.

Seeing in total darkness? According to the current understanding of natural vision, that just doesn't happen, says Duje Tadin, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester who led the investigation. But this research shows that our own movements transmit sensory signals that also can create real visual perceptions in the brain, even in the complete absence of optical input.

Read More: Seeing in the Dark

Bethany Winans Receives Young Investigator Award

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bethany Winans, a graduate student in the Lawrence lab received an American Association of Immunologists Young Investigator Award at the New York Immunology Conference in Bolton Landing, NY.

Congrats Bethany!

Dumont Wins Outstanding Course Director Award

Friday, October 11, 2013

Professor Mark Dumont, Ph.D., was recently presented the Outstanding Course Director Award for 2013. Mark has served as course director for Biochemistry IND 408, a core course in the graduate studies curriculum within the School of Medicine and Dentistry, for over 10 years. Previous to this service, Mark served as director of Biochemistry of Macromolecules, BCH 412, for 5 years. As noted by Professor Eric Phizicky, Ph.D., who lectures in IND 408, Mark has shown an uncanny ability, coupled with exceptional effort, to continually evolve the course to more up-to-date topics and to more sophisticated analysis of existing topics. Almost alone among course directors, he attends most lectures most years, allowing him to evolve a highly coherent course. Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics remarks that Mark's commitment to his students and efforts on their behalf has rightfully earned him the high opinion of both his colleagues and his students, and serves as an exemplary example for all those involved in teaching.

Established in 2013, this award is given to an Outstanding Graduate Course Director. The selection of the awardee is based on the course’s record of excellence, course-instructor survey evaluations and letters of recommendation from students enrolled in the course, and is presented by the Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

Paper of the Week, The Journal of Biological Chemistry

Friday, October 11, 2013

A journal article by Kamil J. Alzayady, Larry E. Wagner II, Rahul Chandrasekhar, Alina Monteagudo, Ronald Godiska, Gregory G. Tall, Suresh K. Joseph, and David I. Yule was selected as a Paper of the Week by The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Alzayady KJ, Wagner LE 2nd, Chandrasekhar R, Monteagudo AM, Godiska R, Tall GG, Joseph SK, and Yule DI. (2013) Functional inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors assembled from concatenated homo- and heteromeric subunits. J Biol Chem. 288:29772-29784. (Paper of the Week)

Click here to view Kamil Alzayady's Author Profile.

Dr. Catherine Ovitt Accepted to the 2013 Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dr. Catherine Ovitt has been accepted to the 2013 Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar to be held in Austin, TX in mid December. This three and a half-day seminar is primarily designed for women physicians and scientists holding medical school appointments at the Associate Professor level, and holding leadership positions within their discipline, department or institution. Seminar faculty members are chosen from various schools in the US and Canada for their demonstrated leadership abilities and offer knowledge, inspiration and valuable career advice to participants.

Students Receive Awards at Neuroscience Retreat

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Anasuya Das, a former student in Dr. Krystel Huxlin's lab who defended her PhD thesis on July 18, 2013 was awarded the Doty Award for Excellence in Neuroscience Dissertation Research during 2013 Neuroscience Retreat.

Christina Cloninger, a 4th-year student in Dr. Gary Paige's lab, won second place in the John Bartlett Poster Session during 2013 Neuroscience Retreat, Rochester, NY.

Ryan Dawes, a third-year student in Dr. Ed Brown's lab, won a travel award from the Schmitt Program on Integrative Brain Research. Ryan plans to use this award to attend the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Advances in Breast Cancer Research Conference, which is being held in San Diego from October 3rd-6th, 2013.

Paige Lawrence Receives New R01 Grant from NIEHS

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dr. Paige Lawrence, professor in the departments of Environmental Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology has received a new R01 grant from the National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), entitled Transgenerational exposures as modifiers of host defense against infection.

Along with UR Collaborators Steve Gill, Ph.D. and Sally Thurston, Ph.D., this project will explore exposure to pollutants can cause transgenerational changes in biological processes and contribute to disease. Since very little of this research has focused on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of changes in immune function, the proposed research will direct address this deficit, and will study how a family of common pollutants perturbs the development and function of the immune system across generations.

The objective of this project is to define key parameters involved in transgenerational inheritance of alterations in the function of the mammalian immune system that occur as a result of environmental exposure. The immune system is fundamentally important to public and individual health, and even slight modifications in its function can have a profoundly negative impact on health and disease. For instance, influenza virus infections pose significant global health threats, infecting over 1 billion people annually. Evidence points to prenatal and early life exposure to pollutants as overlooked contributors to poorer clinical outcomes following influenza and other respiratory infections.

Doctor Left Behind Story in Search of Ending

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We live in the new age of Sherlock Holmes, what with movie and television versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's moody but brilliant detective popping up like foggy nights in London town.

But it would seem that the late Dr. Robert J. Joynt, the former dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and an internationally recognized neurologist, was ahead of the Holmes revival. In addition to his formidable record of academic publication, Joynt, a Pittsford resident who died in April 2012 at age 86, had begun to turn out a series of short stories, five of which were published in Neurology, a medical journal.

Each mystery featured Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson confronted with a puzzler that had a solution grounded in neurology, the study of the nervous system. Joynt's sixth, and presumably last, Holmes mystery was found unfinished on his computer after his death.

Now the editors of Neurology are asking readers to complete the neurologist's story in 1,500 words or less. The winning entry will be published in Neurology. The author of the new material will share credit with Joynt. The uncompleted mystery and the contest rules can be found by going to Neurology.org and searching for The Case of the Locked House, the title of the incomplete story. (When you get to the story, click on Full Text.)

Mental Fog with Tamoxifen is Real; Scientists Find Possible Antidote

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A team from the University of Rochester Medical Center has shown scientifically what many women report anecdotally: that the breast cancer drug tamoxifen is toxic to cells of the brain and central nervous system, producing mental fogginess similar to chemo brain.

However, in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers also report they've discovered an existing drug compound that appears to counteract or rescue brain cells from the adverse effects of the breast cancer drug.

Corresponding author Mark Noble, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Genetics and director of the UR Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute, said it's exciting to potentially be able to prevent a toxic reaction to one of the oldest and most widely used breast cancer medications on the market. Although tamoxifen is more easily tolerated compared to most cancer treatments, it nonetheless produces troubling side effects in a subset of the large number of people who take it.

Read More: Mental Fog with Tamoxifen is Real; Scientists Find Possible Antidote

Congratulations to Amy Van Hove for a Successful Qualifying Exam!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Congratulations to Amy Van Hove for a Successful Qualifying Exam! Amy is currently a graduate student in the Benoit Lab, and her current project is Therapeutic Biomaterials for Wound Healing Applications (Supported by an HHMI Med-Into-Grad Fellowship).

Dirken Wins Convocation Award

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dr. Robert T. Dirksen was selected as the 2013 recipient of the Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award. This award is presented to a postdoctoral mentor who shows dedication to postdoctoral trainees, as well as evidence of contributing significantly to their career development and professional advancement and was presented at the School of Medicine and Dentistry Convocation, September 12, 2013.

Neuroscience Retreat to Feature Nobel Laureate

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The annual Neuroscience Retreat, sponsored by the Neuroscience Graduate Program and the University Committee for Interdisciplinary Studies, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at the Memorial Art Gallery. The retreat will feature keynote speaker Martin Chalfie, University Professor at Columbia University and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; talks from current and former faculty and graduate students; and a poster session. The event is free and open to the University community but advance registration is required. To register or for more information, visit the retreat website.

Ethan Winkler Wins 2013 Vincent du Vigneaud Commencement Award

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ethan Winkler

The 2013 Vincent du Vigneaud commencement award for PhD research went to Ethan Winkler, an MD/PhD student in Dr. Zlokovic's lab. To date, Ethan has 12 publications, six of which he is first author or shares that position with Dr. R. Bell. These include publications in some of the very best journals like Nature and Nature Neuroscience. Congratulations, Ethan!

Tara Capece and Patrick Murphy Appointed to Immunology Training Grant

Thursday, August 15, 2013

CVBI students, Tara Capece (Minsoo Kim lab) and Patrick Murphy (Rusty Elliot lab), were appointed to a position on the Immunology Training Grant (T32 AI007285). There was considerable competition with many strong candidates. The center would like to congratulate both on such a distinct honor.

NGP Student, Helen Wei, Awarded the HHMI Med-Into-Grad Fellowship

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Helen Wei, Neuroscience and MD/PhD student in Dr. Maiken Nedergaard's lab was awarded the HHMI Med-Into-Grad Fellowship (September 2013-August 2014). Helen's current project is astrocytes in neurodegenerative disease. Congrats Helen!

NGP Student, Jennifer Stripay, Awarded Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from NIH

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Jennifer Stripay, 3rd year Neuroscience Graduate student in Dr. Mark Noble's lab was awarded F31 NIH (NRSA) Individual Pre-doctoral Fellowship for her project entitled: Identifying c-Cbl as a critical point of intervention in glioblastoma multiforme (September 2013-August 2016). Congrats Jennifer!

URMC Biochemistry Professor Receives 2014 ASBMB William C. Rose Award

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair & Professor, Biochemistry & Biophysics, Director of the University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology, and Chair of the University of Rochester Graduate Women in Science, has been selected to receive The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) 2014 William C. Rose Award. The William C. Rose Award recognizes outstanding contributions to biochemical and molecular biological research and a demonstrated commitment to the training of young scientists, as epitomized by the late Dr. Rose. A part of the Award includes transportation to the 2014 ASBMB Annual Meeting to present a lecture, April 26-30, 2014 in San Diego. For more on Dr. Maquat and her research program please visit the Maquat Lab.

Read More: URMC Biochemistry Professor Receives 2014 ASBMB William C. Rose Award

NGP Students Adam Pallus, Rebecca Lowery, and Brianna Sleezer Awarded a Competitive Graduate Fellowship From Center for Visual Science

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Adam Pallus, NGP graduate student in Dr. Ed Freedman's lab, Rebecca Lowery, NGP student in Dr. Ania Majewska's lab, and NGP student, Brianna Sleezer in Dr. Ben Hayden's lab were awarded a competitive graduate fellowship from the University of Rochester Center for Visual Science from 7/1/13 to 12/31/13. CVS offers competitive graduate fellowships for graduate students working in the lab of a CVS faculty member. Applications are made by a student's advisor to the vision training committee in CVS. Fellows receive full stipend support as well as funds to cover one academic conference per year.

NGP Students Christina Cloninger and Colin Lockwood Awarded Graduate Fellowship

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Christina Cloninger and Colin Lockwood have been awarded a Hearing, Balance, and Spatial Orientation Training Grant by the National Institutes of Health. The Hearing, Balance, and Spatial Orientation Training Grant (T32) is funded by the NIH National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The grant involves the collaborative efforts of the Departments of Otolaryngology, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurobiology & Anatomy. The grant supports PhD students, MD-PhD students, Post-doctoral fellows and Medical Residents in BME, Neuroscience, and Otolaryngology who are involved in research related to the auditory and vestibular systems. This Training Grant is an important resource for the University of Rochester's Center for Navigation and Communication Sciences, which provides technical and administrative support for 25 faculty members who are conducting research in this area. The grant provides financial support for several trainees each year. In association with the Training Grant, a graduate-level course entitled Hearing and Balance: Structure, Function and Disease is offered.

NGP Students Matthew Cavanaugh, Michael Chen, Heather Natola, Felix Ramos-Busot, Rebecca Rausch, Aleta Steevens Awarded Graduate Fellowships

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Matthew Cavanaugh, Michael Chen, Heather Natola, Felix Ramos-Busot, Rebecca Rausch, and Aleta Steevens have been awarded a competitive graduate fellowship, the Neuroscience Training Grant. This grant is funded by the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This prestigious appointment provides stipend, tuition support, travel funds as well as funds to cover trainee related expenses. Students are appointed to the NSC Training Grant by the NGP committee.

Faculty to Be Featured on Radio Show

Monday, August 5, 2013

Several University faculty members are scheduled to be featured this week on WXXI's 1370 Connection. Benjamin Hayden, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences, will be the guest at noon today. He'll talk about neuroeconomics—the intersection of neuroscience and financial matters (e.g. gambling, investing in the stock market). At 1 p.m., the guests will be James McGrath, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Gregory Gdowski, executive director of the Center for Medical Technology Innovation. They'll discuss the process of converting biomedical research into commercially viable devices. Tomorrow at noon, Lynda Powell, professor of political science, will be on the program to talk about the effects of campaign contributions on the political process.

Dr. Mahin Maines Granted Patent

Friday, August 2, 2013

On June 4, 2013 Dr. Mahin Maines' patent application #8,455,427: Methods of Modifying Insulin Signaling Using Biliverdin Reductase was granted by the US Patent Trademark Office. The application of the technology is treatment of type 2 diabetes. The patent was issued for therapeutic use of a 7 residue peptide that activates insulin receptor kinase (IRK) and increases glucose uptake more effectively than insulin or IGF-1. The peptide is derived from biliverdin reductase, which itself is a kinase/kinase, a scaffold protein and intracellular transporter in the insulin/IGF-1/PI3-K/MAPK pathways. Additional patent applications for use of the reductase in regulation of the noted pathways are pending.

Study: No Link Between Mercury Exposure and Autism-like Behaviors

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Since the mid-1980s, the Seychelles Child Development Study (SCDS) has studied potential health effects of methylmercury (MeHg) in Seychelles islanders. Most recently, SCDS director Dr. Edwin van Wijngaarden studied whether there might be a link between a mother’s MeHg level during labor and autism-like behaviors in her child. As reported in this news release, Dr. van Wijngaarden and his colleagues found no association between fetal exposure to MeHg and autism-like symptoms in children. Read more...Read More: Study: No Link Between Mercury Exposure and Autism-like Behaviors

Laura Yunes-Medina Receives Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award

Friday, July 19, 2013

Congratulations and best wishes to Laura Yunes-Medina for being awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships! This grant will support her research work on defining CHOP-10 dependent adaptive ER stress pathways in neurons.

Professor's Company Produces Video

Friday, July 19, 2013

Oyagen Inc, a biotech company founded and directed by Harold C. Smith, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and the Center for RNA biology has produced a video describing how the AIDS virus reproduces and how novel drugs being developed by the company to enable naturally occurring host defense factors to block the virus. The video was produced in conjunction with a recently graduated RIT student Tang Tao.

Read More: Professor's Company Produces Video

CVBI Postdoctoral Fellow Receives Vaccine Fellowship Award

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Milan Popovic, a post-doctoral fellow in Minsoo Kim's Lab, was awarded the 2013 Rochester Vaccine Fellowship award. Selection for the fellowship was a unanimous decision by three independent reviewers who praised Milan for his outstanding achievement in vaccine-related research.

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

Ovitt Article Featured on NIDCR Website

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Drs. Catherine Ovitt & Szilvia Arany's article, Nanoparticle-mediated gene silencing confers radioprotection to salivary glands in vivojournal Molecular Therapy, has been featured on NIDCR website. The results of the study suggest that optimization of in vivo siRNA-mediated silencing for clinical application could be an effective means of protecting salivary glands in the radiation treatment of head and neck cancer. They also pointed out that the approach has significant advantages over alternative methods, as it is limited to the salivary glands, does not involve viruses, and the block in Pkcδ protein expression is only temporary.

@ISSCR 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Above is Part 3 of ISSCR's video blogs from the 2013 ISSCR annual meeting. This video introduces the fascinating research in cell-based CNS repair done by Dr. Christoph Pröschel.

Dr. Pröschel’s most recent work has focused on using human glial progenitor cells to repair damage to the CNS caused by spinal cord injury. In a 2011 study published in PLoS One, Dr. Pröschel and colleagues describe how human glial precursors were able to restore motor function to spinal cord-injured rats. In our interview, Dr. Pröschel explains the difference between replacement and repair in cell-based regenerative medicine, a theme that fellow spinal cord injury researcher Dr. Aileen Anderson of UC Irvine also frequently touches on. In our video, Dr. Pröschel also has some remarks about direct lineage reprogramming.

Department Faculty Awarded 2013 Provost's Multidisciplinary Award

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Provost's Multidisciplinary Award provides pilot funding for especially exciting scholarly research with a high probability of future support from external sources of funding. The Award is designed to foster collaboration between departments and across schools at the University of Rochester. Five diverse research projects at the University were selected as recipients of the sixth annual Provost's Multidisciplinary Awards. The initiative provides $250,000 each year to support faculty research that crosses disciplines.

Read More: Department Faculty Awarded 2013 Provost's Multidisciplinary Award

Huntington's Brain Cells Regenerated, in Mice

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Huntington's disease, like other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, is characterized by the loss of a particular type of brain cell. This cell type has been regenerated in a mouse model of the disease, in a study led by University of Rochester Medical Center scientists.

Mice whose received this brain regeneration treatment lived far longer than untreated mice. The study was published online Thursday in Cell Stem Cell.

We believe that our data suggest the feasibility of this process as a viable therapeutic strategy for Huntington's disease, said senior study author Steve Goldman, co-director of Rochester's Center for Translational Neuromedicine, in a press release.

Read More: Huntington's Brain Cells Regenerated, in Mice

Potential New Way to Suppress Tumor Growth Discovered

Monday, June 3, 2013

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center, have identified a new mechanism that appears to suppress tumor growth, opening the possibility of developing a new class of anti-cancer drugs.

Writing in this week's online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Willis X. Li, PhD, a professor in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego, reports that a particular form of a signaling protein called STAT5A stabilizes the formation of heterochromatin (a form of chromosomal DNA), which in turn suppresses the ability of cancer cells to issue instructions to multiply and grow.

Co-authors are Xiaoyu Hu, Amy Tsurumi and Hartmut Land, Department of Biomedical Genetics, University of Rochester Medical Center; Pranabananda Dutta, Jinghong Li and Jingtong Wang, Department of Medicine, UCSD.

Read More: Potential New Way to Suppress Tumor Growth Discovered

Biochemistry & Biophysics Students Win Fellowships

Friday, May 24, 2013

Graduate students Nick Leioatts and Will McDougall were recently awarded an Elon Huntington Hooker Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year. The doctoral students were selected for their achievements in research from among graduate student applicants campus-wide. Nick's research focuses on using computational methods to understand ligand-induced structural changes in G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and is carried out in the laboratory of Alan Grossfield. Will's research focuses on the role of the HIV host-defense factor APOBEC3G and its inactivation by RNA binding, which may provide novel drugable targets for HIV treatment and prevention. His research is carried out in the laboratory of Harold Smith. Congratulations Nick and Will!

Motion Quotient

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose brains are better at automatically suppressing background motion perform better on standard measures of intelligence.

The test is the first purely sensory assessment to be strongly correlated with IQ and may provide a non-verbal and culturally unbiased tool for scientists seeking to understand neural processes associated with general intelligence.

Because intelligence is such a broad construct, you can't really track it back to one part of the brain, says Duje Tadin, a senior author on the study and an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. But since this task is so simple and so closely linked to IQ, it may give us clues about what makes a brain more efficient, and, consequently, more intelligent.

Read More: Motion Quotient

New RNA Structure - the Wedekind Lab has it Covered!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Crystal structure of the preQ1-II riboswitch

Crystal structure of the preQ1-II riboswitch.

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Associate Professor Joseph Wedekind and members of his research group (Joseph Liberman, Mohammad Salim and Jolanta Krucinska) published a paper in the June 2013 issue of Nature Chemical Biology. The work describes the structure of an RNA molecule called the preQ1 class II riboswitch (featured on the journal's cover) that functions as a gene regulatory element for bacteria within the Firmicutes phylum, including human pathogens such as Streptococcus pneumoniae. The RNA structure is bound to the small molecule preQ1, which is the last soluble metabolite in the biosynthetic pathway that produces queuosine, a hypermodified base at the wobble position of certain tRNAs that promotes accurate genetic decoding. Because preQ1 is unique to the bacterial metabolome, the class II preQ1 riboswitch has potential as an antibacterial drug target.

The research was performed primarily at the University of Rochester and made extensive use of the Structural Biology and Biophysics Facility. The work also required the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (Menlo Park, CA), as well as Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (Ithaca, NY) where crystals were subjected to X-ray diffraction analyses. The work in Wedekind' lab was funded by the National Institutes of Health/ National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIH/NIGMS).

The preQ1-II riboswitch structure reveals the chemical details of preQ1 binding in a pocket formed at the junction of three RNA helices. Complementary work from Wedekind's lab showed that preQ1 promotes a more compact shape that leads to blocking of a signal that is necessary for protein synthesis, which leads to lower levels of preQ1 in the cell. Of special note was the lab's observation that the mechanism of action used by the preQ1-II RNA riboswitch is entirely different than that used by the class I preQ1 riboswitch, whose structure and mode of preQ1 binding were reported previously by Wedekind's lab. Overall the results expand the known repertoire of metabolite-binding modes used by regulatory RNAs.

Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics Holds Annual Awards Ceremony

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics held its annual Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 17, 2013. Congratulations to our 2013 Graduates:

Ph.D. Program in Biochemistry

  • Jennifer DeAngelis
  • Kimberly Dean
  • Rozzy Finn
  • Jason Gloor
  • Chenguang Gong
  • Athena Kantartzis
  • Geoffrey Lippa
  • Jessica McArdle
  • Adam Miller
  • Sharon Pepenella
  • Karyn Schmidt
  • Wen Shen
  • Cody Spencer
  • Guowei Wu

Ph.D. Program in Biophysics

  • Prahnesh Akshayalingam Venkataraman
  • Paul Black
  • Zhenjiang Xu

Our department was particularly honored this year to receive the University of Rochester's prestigious Wallace O. Fenn Award named after the first Chairman of the Department of Physiology. This award is given annually to a graduating student from any program within the Medical Center judged to have completed especially meritorious Ph.D. thesis research. This year, the award was given to two recipients for their thesis originality, creative thinking and excellence in research and both recipients were students from the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics! Congratulations to Paul Black and Chenguang Gong! For a complete list of all awards, please see the Awards Ceremony Program. Photos of the event can be viewed on the B&B event photos page.

W. Spencer Klubben Wins Walt and Bobbi Makous Prize

Friday, May 17, 2013

The second recipient of the Walt and Bobbi Makous Prize has been awarded to: W. Spencer Klubben, a Biomedical Engineering senior working in Ania Majewska's laboratory. As a biomedical engineer, Spencer concentrated in medical optics and developed a strong interest in visual perception and development. Spencer's work has primarily focused on quantifying microglia's effect on neuroplasticity within the visual cortex and visual system. Most experimental methods have been focused around the utilization of optical imaging to analyze neuronal activity within mouse cortex. Experiments were conducted on mice with a varying dosage of CX3CR1, a single allele genetic fractalkine receptor responsible for the mobility of microglia. Spencer will receive the Makous Prize at a College-wide award ceremony on Saturday, May 19.

The Walt and Bobbi Makous Prize was established this year by the Center for Visual Science, a research program of more than 30 faculty at the University dedicated to understanding how the human eye and brain allow us to see. The prize is named for Walt Makous, who was Director of the Center for Visual Science at the University of Rochester throughout the 1980s, and his wife Bobbi. The prize honors the graduating senior who has made the most outstanding contribution to vision research at Rochester.

Kids With Autism Quick To Detect Motion

Friday, May 10, 2013

Children with autism see simple movements twice as fast as other children their age, a new study finds. Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Rochester were looking to test a common theory about autism which holds that overwhelming sensory stimulation inhibits other brain functions. The researchers figured they could check that by studying how kids with autism process moving images.

One can think of autism as a brain impairment, but another way to view autism is as a condition where the balance between different brain processes is impaired, says Duje Tadin, a co-author of the study out this week in the Journal of Neuroscience. That imbalance could lead to functional impairments, and it often does, but it can also result in enhancements.

Read More: Kids With Autism Quick To Detect Motion

Autistic Children See Movement Twice as Quickly as Those Without Condition

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Children with autism see simple movement twice as quickly as other children their age, according to a new study. Scientists think this hypersensitivity to motion may provide clues to what causes the disorder. The findings may explain why some people suffering with autism are sensitive to bright lights and loud noises.

We think of autism as a social disorder because children with this condition often struggle with social interactions, but what we sometimes neglect is that almost everything we know about the world comes from our senses. Abnormalities in how a person sees or hears can have a profound effect on social communication, says Duje Tadin, one of the lead authors on the study and an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.

Although previous studies have found that people with autism possess enhanced visual abilities with still images, this is the first research to discover a heightened awareness of motion. The findings were reported in the Journal of Neuroscience by Tadin, co-lead author Jennifer Foss-Feig, a postdoctoral fellow at the Child Study Center at Yale University, and colleagues at Vanderbilt University.

Read More: Autistic Children See Movement Twice as Quickly as Those Without Condition

David Mathews Heads Working Group Within New Center For Aids Research

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dr. David Mathews will head one of the primary units within the recently announced $7.5M Center for Aids Research at the University. The NIH-funded center is one of only 18 in the country and brings together University scientists from numerous disciplines. Dr. Mathews, Associate Director of the Center for RNA Biology and Associate Professor within the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, will head the working group focused on the biology of the AIDS virus genome, which is comprised of RNA.

Read More: David Mathews Heads Working Group Within New Center For Aids Research

Enhanced Motion Detection in Autism May Point to Underlying Cause of the Disorder

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Children with autism see simple movement twice as quickly as other children their age, and this hypersensitivity to motion may provide clues to a fundamental cause of the developmental disorder, according to a new study.

Such heightened sensory perception in autism may help explain why some people with the disorder are painfully sensitive to noise and bright lights. It also may be linked to some of the complex social and behavioral deficits associated with autism, says Duje Tadin, one of the lead authors on the study and an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.

We think of autism as a social disorder because children with this condition often struggle with social interactions, but what we sometimes neglect is that almost everything we know about the world comes from our senses. Abnormalities in how a person sees or hears can have a profound effect on social communication.

Read More: Enhanced Motion Detection in Autism May Point to Underlying Cause of the Disorder

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

Richard Aslin Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Richard Aslin

Dr. Richard Aslin

Richard Aslin, the William R. Kenan Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and director of the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging at the University of Rochester, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Membership in the academy is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. Aslin will be inducted into the academy next April during its 151st annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

This honor is richly deserved. Dick is a pioneer in the field of cognitive development, said Peter Lennie, provost and the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. His work has opened up a major new field and has transformed our understanding of how infants learn.

Read More: Richard Aslin Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Tara Capece Wins Second Place at Graduate Student Society Poster Competition

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tara Capece, a CVBI student in Minsoo Kim lab, won Second Place at the Graduate Student Society Poster Competition in recognition of outstanding presentation of thesis work The competition was held in the Sarah Flaum Atrium in April and involved students from all graduate programs at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Congratulations Tara!

Wilmot Cancer Center Update - May 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mark Noble, Ph.D. and doctoral student Hsing-Yu Chen studied the molecular mechanism that allows basal-like breast cancer cells to escape the secondary effects of tamoxifen, and discovered that two proteins are critical in this escape.

The research, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, shows how to exploit tamoxifen's secondary activities so that it might work on more aggressive breast cancer—a promising development for women with basal-like breast cancer, sometimes known as triple-negative disease.

Researchers Identify New Pathway, Enhancing Tamoxifen to Tame Aggressive Breast Cancer

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tamoxifen is a time-honored breast cancer drug used to treat millions of women with early-stage and less-aggressive disease, and now a University of Rochester Medical Center team has shown how to exploit tamoxifen’s secondary activities so that it might work on more aggressive breast cancer.

The research, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, is a promising development for women with basal-like breast cancer, sometimes known as triple-negative disease. Led by doctoral student Hsing-Yu Chen and Mark Noble, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Genetics at URMC, the team studied the molecular mechanism that allows basal-like breast cancer cells to escape the secondary effects of tamoxifen, and discovered that two proteins are critical in this escape.

Read More: Researchers Identify New Pathway, Enhancing Tamoxifen to Tame Aggressive Breast Cancer

URMC Biochemistry Professor Authors Paper in Science

Monday, April 22, 2013

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Professor Mark Dumont was the senior author on a paper published in the March 29, 2013 issue of Science. The work described the structure of the protein Ste24p, one of the proteins responsible for processing lipid-modified proteins in yeast and humans.

Molecular structure of the protein Ste24p.

Molecular structure of the protein Ste24p.

The research was performed in collaboration with scientists from the University of Virginia and the Hauptman Woodward Institute in Buffalo, as part of the Membrane Protein Structural Biology Consortium (MPSBC), funded by the National Institutes of Health Protein Structure Initiative. MPSBC is one of 9 membrane protein structure determination centers established in July 2010 as part of the NIGMS PSI: Biology Initiative.

MPSBC aims to establish a pipeline to generate multiple target constructs for expression studies followed by pre-crystallization screening to identify stable protein:detergent complexes. The complexes then undergo high-throughput crystallization screening and optimization followed by structure determination. Targets include transporters, transmembrane enzymes involved in lipid synthesis and lipid attachment, and membrane protein complexes.

NGP Graduate Student Kelli Fagan Wins Poster Award

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kelli Fagan, a third-year NGP student in Doug Portman's lab, won first place in the Multicellular/Organismal category the Graduate Student Society poster session held on Apr. 5, 2013. Kelli's poster was entitled Sexually dimorphic neuromodulatory signaling elicits sex differences in sensory behavior. Along with this honor comes an $800 travel award that will allow Kelli to present her work at the upcoming Cell Symposium on Genes, Circuits and Behavior in Toronto, Canada. Congratulations, Kelli!

BME Rochester Teams Advance in Business Plan Contest

Monday, April 8, 2013

Photo of the MedThru ICT team

MedThru ICT (Alvin Lomibao,
Nick Lewandowski, Sarah
Catheline, Nirish Kafle)

Among the six University teams that have advanced to the New York Business Plan Competition finals, the Department of Biomedical Engineering has two teams vying for the top spot. The finalists include BME undergraduate team, TrakOR (W. Spencer Klubben, Ankit Medhekar, Michael Nolan, Sonja Page, Matt Plakosh, Erin Schnellinger) in the biotech/healthcare category and graduate team, MedThru ICT (Sarah Catheline, Nirish Kafle, Nick Lewandowski, Alvin Lomibao) in the information technology/software category.

Through the clinical rotations in the CMTI masters program, I was able to get a sense of a day in the life of staff members in the cardiac catheterization laboratory--how they interact with technology and medical devices, what they're really good at, and what frustrates them. In developing the MedThru ICT system, we've considered a number of these pain points and developed a way to facilitate resource management when critical decisions need to be made. This way, providers can really focus on the patient and not on logistics. We hope that downstream this system can have applications in other hospital units, decreasing the cost of healthcare overall, says Alvin Lomibao.

The finals will take place in Albany on April 26, where the two teams will vie for $225,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. The New York Business Plan Competition is the only leading collegiate business competition that is a regionally coordinated, collaborative statewide program, which sets it apart from all other competitions. It is one of the largest collegiate business competitions in the nation.

Rochester Named One of Techie.com's Most Most Unexpected Cities for High-Tech Innovation

Monday, April 8, 2013

photo of the Frederick Douglass–Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge

Rochester, NY

There are a handful of cities we think of, when we think of high-tech innovation and startups: San Francisco, New York, London, Bangalore, Tel Aviv . . . but today, high-tech development has been democratized. Easy and cheap availability of cloud-based resources, sophisticated telecommunications tools, platforms-as-a-service and lean models that accelerate the development and deployment process, and – sorry, California – a net outmigration from traditional tech centers, has already started to shift high-tech development to the most unlikely places.

One of these places is Rochester, NY, where roughly half a billion dollars worth of research is conducted annually at RIT and UR. A portion of the healthy $749,994 grant from the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Scholarship Program awarded to UR in 2012 is allocated to addressing the shortage of highly qualified math and science teachers in the area by providing full-tuition scholarships to undergraduates pursuing these educational careers.

NGP Graduate Student, Revathi Balasubramanian, Wins Award for Excellence in Teaching

Thursday, April 4, 2013

NGP student Revathi Balasubramanian and Dr. Barbara Davis

Revathi Balasubramanian and her mentor,
Dr. Barbara Davis.

Revathi Balasubramanian, a Neuroscience Graduate Program student in Dr. Lin Gan's lab, studying the role of transcription factors in retinal neurogenesis, has been named a winner of the 2013 Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student. Only a handful of these are awarded each year, and all this year's nominees were extremely well-qualified. Congratulations Revathi!

NGP Graduate Student Ryan Dawes Awarded Grant from the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Neuroscience Graduate Program student, Ryan Dawes, has been awarded a 2013 Breast Cancer Research Grant, from the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. The 1-year, $50,000 grant will fund his project, entitled Breast Cancer Exosomes, Novel Intermediaries in Psychosocial Stress-induced Tumor Pathogenesis and was only one of two applications to be awarded this prestigious grant. This work will investigate if psychosocial stress can modulate the number or content of secreted small vesicles (exosomes), and determine if this can alter the process of tumorigenesis in an animal model of spontaneous breast cancer as Ryan continues his research in Dr. Edward Brown's lab.

NPR Features Current Nedergaard-Goldman Publication; Glial Research

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Human glial cell within mouse glial cells

A human glial cell (green) among normal mouse glial cells (red). The human cell is larger, sends out more fibers and has more connections than do mouse cells. Mice with this type of human cell implanted in their brains perform better on learning and memory tests than do typical mice.

For more than a century, neurons have been the superstars of the brain. Their less glamorous partners, glial cells, can't send electric signals, and so they've been mostly ignored. Now scientists have injected some human glial cells into the brains of newborn mice. When the mice grew up, they were faster learners. The study, published Thursday in Cell Stem Cell by Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc. and Dr. Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., not only introduces a new tool to study the mechanisms of the human brain, it supports the hypothesis that glial cells - and not just neurons - play an important role in learning.

Today, glial research and Dr. Goldman were featured on National Public Radio (NPR) speaking about the glial research that is outlined in this current publication. I can't tell the differences between a neuron from a bird or a mouse or a primate or a human, says Goldman, glial cells are easy to tell apart. Human glial cells - human astrocytes - are much larger than those of lower species. They have more fibers and they send those fibers out over greater distances.

In collaboration with the Nedergaard Lab, newborn mice had some human glial cells injected into their brains. The mice grew up, and so did the human glial cells. The cells spread through the mouse brain, integrating perfectly with mouse neurons and, in some areas, outnumbering their mouse counterparts. All the while Goldman says the glial cells maintained their human characteristics.

Read More: NPR Features Current Nedergaard-Goldman Publication; Glial Research

Support Cells Found in Human Brain Make Mice Smarter

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Glial cells – a family of cells found in the human central nervous system and, until recently, considered mere housekeepers – now appear to be essential to the unique complexity of the human brain. Scientists reached this conclusion after demonstrating that when transplanted into mice, these human cells could influence communication within the brain, allowing the animals to learn more rapidly.

The study, out today in the journal Cell Stem Cell, suggests that the evolution of a subset of glia called astrocytes – which are larger and more complex in humans than other species – may have been one of the key events that led to the higher cognitive functions that distinguish us from other species.

The role of the astrocyte is to provide the perfect environment for neural transmission, said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-senior author of the study and director, along with Dr. Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., of the URMC Center for Translational Neuromedicine. As the same time, we've observed that as these cells have evolved in complexity, size, and diversity – as they have in humans – brain function becomes more and more complex.

Read More: Support Cells Found in Human Brain Make Mice Smarter

Josh Munger, Ph.D. Discusses Jobs in Biochemistry and Biophysics with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Monday, February 25, 2013

Joshua Munger was studying to become a veterinarian, but a microbiology requirement in college — in which he learned about the constant fight between host cells and the viruses that attack them — changed everything. There's this evolutionary battle between the two,” he said. “I enjoyed learning about how they're always one-upping each other, how they're always trying to either cause infection or to limit the infection.

Munger, 37, has been an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester Medical Center since 2008. His work, which looks at how viral infection changes the metabolism of cells, has implications for cancer research and other areas.

URMC Biochemistry Professor Named a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology

Friday, February 15, 2013

Eric Phizicky, Ph.D.

Eric Phizicky, Ph.D.

Eric M. Phizicky, Ph.D., dean's professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and member of the University's Center for RNA Biology, has been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology (Academy). The Academy is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the world's oldest and largest life science organization. The mission of the Academy is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public.

Over the last 50 years, over 2,700 distinguished scientists have been elected to the Academy. Fellows are elected through a highly selective, annual, peer review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. Each elected Fellow has built an exemplary career in basic and applied research, teaching, clinical and public health, industry or government service. Academy Fellows are eminent leaders in the field of microbiology and are relied upon for authoritative advice and information on critical issues in microbiology. Election to Fellowship indicates recognition of distinction in microbiology by one's peers.

We couldn't be more pleased that Eric has been awarded this honor and recognition for his excellence and creativity in the microbiological sciences, said Jeffrey J. Hayes, Ph.D., professor and acting chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Medical Center. On behalf of the department, please join me in offering his well-deserved congratulations!

Phizicky, who came to the Medical Center in 1987, has spent his career working to understand how tRNA is made and how it does its job in the cell, which is to help with the translation of genes into proteins. His lab also focuses on the design, construction and implementation of genomic methods to analyze protein structure and function, work that's conducted in collaboration with Elizabeth Grayhack, Ph.D., associate professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

NGP Student, Simantini Ghosh, Wins Travel Award to AD/PD Conference

Monday, February 11, 2013

Simantini Ghost receiving Travel Award at AD/PD Conference

Simantini receiving the award from AD/PD conference chair,
Dr. Roger Nitsch.

Congratulations to NGP Graduate Student, Simantini Ghosh on winning a travel award to present her work at the 11th International Conference on Alzheimer's & Parkinson's Disease in Florence, Italy on March 6-10, 2013. Simi works in Dr. Kerry O'Banion's lab, studying the effects of sustained Interleukin 1 beta overexpression on Alzheimer's disease pathology in transgenic mice.

NGP Student, Anasuya Das, Wins Travel Award to ECVP

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Congratulations to NGP Graduate Student, Anasuya Das on winning a travel award to present her work at the European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) in Alghero, Italy on September 2-6, 2012. Anasuya works in Dr. Krystel Huxlin's lab in the Visual Training & Rehabilitation Lab. Her poster was entitled, Beyond blindsight: perceptual re-learning of visual motion discrimination in cortical blindness improves static orientation discrimination.

Hocking, Roy Image Selected as Cover Art for Tissue Engineering, Part B

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cover Art for Tissue Engineering, Part B

 

An image by Dr. Denise C. Hocking and Dr. Daniel C. Roy was selected as cover art for Tissue Engineering, Part B: Reviews, Volume 19, Number 1, February 2013. The image consists of human mesenchymal stem cells adherent to a recombinant fibronectin mimetic substrate polymerize an endogenous fibronectin matrix (green) using α5β1 integrins (red).

Study: Model for Brain Signaling Flawed

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A new study out today in the journal Science turns two decades of understanding about how brain cells communicate on its head. The study demonstrates that the tripartite synapse – a model long accepted by the scientific community and one in which multiple cells collaborate to move signals in the central nervous system – does not exist in the adult brain.

Our findings demonstrate that the tripartite synaptic model is incorrect, said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., lead author of the study and co-director of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine. This concept does not represent the process for transmitting signals between neurons in the brain beyond the developmental stage.

Read More: Study: Model for Brain Signaling Flawed

URMC Biochemistry Professor Named University of Rochester 2013 Presidential Diversity Award Recipient

Thursday, January 10, 2013

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, with 2013 Diversity Award winners

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, with 2013 Diversity Award winners Suzanne Piotrowski (THSP), Kevin Graham (THSP), Alyssa Cannarozzo (THSP), Lynne Maquat of the Medical Center, Kim Muratore (THSP), and Vice Provost for Faculty Development & Diversity Vivian Lewis.

Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair & Professor, Biochemistry & Biophysics; Director, University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology: From Genome to Therapeutics; Chair, University of Rochester Graduate Women in Science, has been selected to receive one of two 2013 Presidential Diversity Awards for exemplary contributions to the University's diversity and inclusion efforts. Dr. Maquat is being honored for combining her groundbreaking research agenda with a lifelong commitment to helping women succeed in science. Her remarkable accomplishments include the networking and mentoring programs she initiated as president of the RNA Society; her creation in 2003 of the University of Rochester Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) program; and her award and renewal of an NIH training grant that supports graduate students, including underrepresented minorities, in the cellular, biochemical and molecular sciences.

The Presidential Diversity Awards were created in 2009 by President Joel Seligman to recognize faculty, staff, students, units, departments or teams that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion through recruitment and retention efforts, teaching, research, multi-cultural programming, cultural competency, community outreach activities, or other initiatives.

Read More: URMC Biochemistry Professor Named University of Rochester 2013 Presidential Diversity Award Recipient

A Trip to Mars Could Increase Chances of Alzheimer's for Astronauts

Thursday, January 3, 2013

As if space travel was not already filled with enough dangers, a new study out today in the journal PLOS ONE shows that cosmic radiation – which would bombard astronauts on deep space missions to places like Mars – could accelerate the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

Galactic cosmic radiation poses a significant threat to future astronauts, said M. Kerry O'Banion, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy and the senior author of the study. The possibility that radiation exposure in space may give rise to health problems such as cancer has long been recognized. However, this study shows for the first time that exposure to radiation levels equivalent to a mission to Mars could produce cognitive problems and speed up changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Congratulations to Michael Baranello for a Successful Qualifying Exam!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Congratulations to Michael Baranello for a Successful Qualifying Exam! Mike is currently a graduate student in the Benoit Lab, and his current project is Use of Polymer Micelles to Enhance Cancer Therapeutics

Projects by Engineering Students Shown on Video

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Each spring, seniors in computer science, optics, biomedical, computer and electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering at the Hajim School present the projects they have worked on all year. Students work in teams to solve a problem brought to them by a customer from outside the University. See below for the video of their projects.

Read More: Projects by Engineering Students Shown on Video

Funding Awarded to Senior Design Project

Friday, June 15, 2012

Neonatal prototype of respiratory monitor

 

The UR Technology Development fund has decided to invest approximately $50,000 toward the development of a product designed by a Senior Design Team in Biomedical Engineering. Benjamin Horowitz, Megan Makarski, William Sipprell, and Robert Handzel (Biomedical Engineering, '09), working with Strong Neonatologists Timothy Stevens, M.D., and Patricia Chess, M.D., designed and prototyped a respiration monitor for use on very low birth weight newborns. With this funding, which was awarded to Scott Seidman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology & Anatomy, a second-generation prototype ready for introduction into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will be constructed and tested, with the clear aim of getting this life-saving technology onto the market.

Hajim Design Day Students Featured on WHAM13 News and YNN

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Engineering students, Silvia Perucchio (Mechanical Engineering) and Doug Clift (BME) spoke with WHAM 13 News about Hajim Design Day 2012 and the design project they are working on. Hajim Design Day 2012 was held on Thursday, May 3 and showcased engineering students Real-World solutions for the community. YNN also featured Hajim Design Day 2012 as the students got to show off their products during today's Design Day at the school.

Student teams at the University's Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have been partnering with local companies and institutions over the past year to solve real-world engineering problems. The students demonstrated their results from 12-2 p.m. in the Munnerlyn Atrium of Robert B. Goergen Hall. To learn more about this event see the Hajim Design Day project images.

BME Students Receive Whitaker Fellowships

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two UR seniors in BME and an alumna who graduated last year have won prestigious Whitaker International Fellows awards. The program is managed by the Institute for International Education, the same organization that manages the Fulbright Fellowship awards. The goal of the program is to provide students who show potential for leadership in Biomedical Engineering the opportunity to obtain international experience either in education or research (or both) after they have completed their undergraduate degree.

Catherine Marando's (UR BME '12) award is to engage in research related to the study and treatment of glaucoma at Imperial College in London. Douglas Clift (UR BME '12) will be using his award to study musculoskeletal tissue engineering and biomaterials development at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia in Barcelona Spain. Kelli Summers (UR BME '11) will be going to Vienna Austria to study methods and mechanisms for developing molecular contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging.

Biochemistry and Biophysics Graduate Students Receive Fellowship Awards

Thursday, October 6, 2011

At this year's opening convocation on October 5, two graduate students from the department of Biochemistry & Biophysics received Graduate Fellowship's. Dejun Lin, a Ph.D. student in the Biophysics, Structural and Computational Biology graduate program, was awarded the Leon L. Miller Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship, established by the Miller family, honors Dr. Leon Miller, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry & Biophysics, for his contributions to science and the School of Medicine and Dentistry. It is awarded annually to a student with interest in developing a biophysics-related research career.

Sarah Amie, a Ph.D. student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate program, was awarded the Elmer H. Stotz Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship, established by the Stotz family to honor Dr. Elmer Stotz, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Biochemistry, is awarded to a Ph.D. student in biochemistry.

MSTP Student Elected to Board of SNMA

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bisi Lawal, an M.D./Ph.D. student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, has been elected to the board of directors of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). Lawal, a native of Houston, is the regional director for medical schools in New York and New Jersey. The SNMA is the nation's oldest and largest, independent, student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color.

NGP Graduate Student Receives F30 NIH Individual Predoctoral Fellowship

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Neuroscience graduate program student, Phillip Rappold has received an F30 NIH Individual Predoctoral Fellowship for 3 years, entitled Role of mitochondrial dynamics in Parkinson's disease processes and therapeutics.

NGP Graduate Student Receives Irving L. Spar Fellowship Award

Thursday, September 22, 2011

First year student in the Neuroscience graduate program, Jennifer Stripay has been selected by the faculty to be this year's recipient of the Irving L. Spar Fellowship Award. Jennifer's selection was based on her outstanding credentials and the faculty opinion that she has unusual potential for future meritorious contributions in her field. The Irving L. Spar Fellowship Award honors the memory of Dr. Spar, a former Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the School of Medicine and Dentistry. It is awarded annually to a deserving graduate student entering the School through the Graduate Education in the Biomedical Sciences Program.

MSTP, NSC Graduate Student Receives F30 Fellowship

Thursday, September 8, 2011

MSTP, NSC graduate student, Adrianne Chesser, has received an F30 Fellowship from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, for her project entitled: Mitochondrial Dynamics Underlie Gene-Environment Interactions in Parkinson's. The mission of the NIEHS is to reduce the burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease.

2011 NGP Students Receive Funding From NINDS

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Recently the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) awarded several of our Neuroscience graduate students training grants. This year, a first year NGP student, Jennifer Stripay, as well as second year students, Kelli Fagan, Julianne Feola, John O'Donnell, Fatima Rivera-Escalera, Grayson Sipe received funding. NINDS is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with it's continuing mission to reduce the burden of neurological disease - a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.

BME Grad Student Michael Hoffman Wins the Sodus Point Sprint Triathlon

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Photo of Michael Hoffman running

Michael Hoffmann

Congratulations to BME graduate student, Michael Hoffman, who won the Sodus Point Sprint Triathlon on August 14th. The triathlon consisted of a .45 mile swim, 13.1 mile bike, and 5K run. Michael is a current member of the Benoit Lab, working on the tissue engineered periosteum approaches to heal bone allograft transplants project.

Amy Van Hove Awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med-into-Grad Fellowship

Monday, August 1, 2011

Amy Van Hove, a graduate student in the Benoit lab has been awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med-into-Grad Fellowship in Cardiovascular Science. This prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship is sponsored by the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) and augments traditional Ph.D. training with clinical rotations, a clinical co-mentor, weekly CVRI seminar series, journal club, and translational cardiovascular coursework to train the next generation of bench-to-bedside cardiovascular scientists.

MSTP, NSC Graduate Student Susan Lee Receives Trainee Travel Award

Thursday, April 7, 2011

MSTP and Neuroscience student, Susan Lee has received a Trainee Travel Award to present her research at the Organization for Human Brain Mapping's 17th Annual Meeting in Quebec City, Canada on June 26-30, 2011. Susan is currently working in Dr. Loisa Bennetto's lab on Audiovisual Integration During Language Comprehension: The Neural Basis of Social Communication in Autism and Typical Development.

BME Students Awarded Fellowships for Graduate Research by the National Science Foundation

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Three BME seniors received prestigious National Science Foundation Research Fellowships, and Michael Hoffman, a Ph.D. student in the Benoit Lab, 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.

The fellowship includes a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, a $10,500 educational allowance to the institution, and international research opportunities. Danielle Benoit, assistant professor in biomedical and chemical engineering at Rochester, says that the financial support provides students the flexibility to attend conferences, participate in training programs, and travel to meet with other researchers in their field.

The following graduating BME seniors received fellowships:

Benjamin Freedman (Lerner Lab) '11
University of Pennsylvania
Adam Kozak '11
Duke University
Hannah Watkins (Benoit Lab) '11
Cornell University
2011-12 Fullbright Scholarship and Whitaker International Fellowship to the United Kingdom
Read More: BME Students Awarded Fellowships for Graduate Research by the National Science Foundation

Wei Jiang Successfully Defends PhD Thesis

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wei Jiang (ECE) successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis titled Ultrasound Focusing by Use of Apertures with Different Pitches and Ultrasound Imaging by Use of a Hemispheric Transducer Array. Wei's research was completed under the supervision of Professor Robert C. Waag, Ph.D. of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Youngsun Cho (MSTP) Takes the Reins at the ACNP Annual Meeting

Monday, January 24, 2011

MSTP student Youngsun Cho was the recipient of an NIMH-sponsored Travel Award to this year's American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Annual Meeting in Miami, Florida, in December. In an unexpected twist, she graciously stepped in to present data for our panel entitled, How Does Anxiety Take Hold? Anatomical and Functional Connectivity in Adolescents and Adults, organized by Drs. Monique Ernst and Julie Fudge. Earlier in the meeting, Youngsun also presented a poster of recent work collected and analyzed during her NIMH 'mini-sabbatical'. She is examining the functional connectivity of prefrontal-amygdala-striatal circuits in adolescents and adults, and her presentation was entitled Neural Differences in Adolescents and Adults in Response to Monetary Anticipation.

We're looking forward to having Youngsun back in Rochester during the month of February!

Hocking & Dalecki Research Image Featured on Cover of Tissue Engineering

Friday, December 10, 2010

An immunofluorescence image captured by two-photon microscopy by Carlos Sevilla, has been featured as the cover for the December issue of Tissue Engineering. The image is featured in an article by BME graduate student Carlos Sevilla, co-authored by Dr. Dalecki and Dr. Denise Hocking.

The article entitled, Extracellular Matrix Fibronectin Stimulates the Self-Assembly of Microtissues on Native Collagen Gels, demonstrates a novel role for cell-mediated fibronectin fibrillogenesis in the formation and vertical assembly of microtissues, and provide a novel approach for engineering complex tissue architecture.

Read More: Hocking & Dalecki Research Image Featured on Cover of Tissue Engineering

The Pericyte Becomes a Player in Alzheimer’s, Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

PDGFR + Pericytes

PDGFRβ+ Pericytes

Cells in the brain called pericytes that have not been high on the list of targets for treating diseases like Alzheimer's may play a more crucial role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases than has been realized. The findings, published Nov. 4 in Neuron, cast the pericyte in a surprising new role as a key player shaping blood flow in the brain and protecting sensitive brain tissue from harmful substances.

For 150 years these cells have been known to exist in the brain, but we haven't known exactly what they are doing in adults, said Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., the neuroscientist who led the research at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

In the most recent findings from Zlokovic's laboratory, the two first authors who contributed equally to the research, graduate student Robert Bell and M.D./Ph.D. and Neuroscience student Ethan Winkler, teased out the role of the pericyte in the process. Pericytes ensheath the smallest blood vessels in the brain, wrapping around capillaries like ivy wrapping around a pipe and helping to maintain the structural integrity of the vessels.

Read More: The Pericyte Becomes a Player in Alzheimer’s, Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

BME Graduate Featured in Rochester Business Journal

Friday, October 1, 2010

photo of Erin Harner

Erin Harner, UR BME Graduate

Erin Harner recently received her master's degree from the UR BME program, and launched a new career as a health counselor focusing on nutrition. Although her training in cutting edge biomedical engineering may seem worlds away from her new business, Second Nature Wellness, she thinks her UR experience has helped her in many ways - both directly and indirectly.

During my time at the University of Rochester, I learned many life lessons that serve me everyday in my new career as a health and nutrition coach. There is so much confusion and misinformation in the field of health and nutrition, and I feel that my education in biomedical engineering and immense background in biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and a systems-approach to the body help me to look beyond the new idea of the day and back to the science. I constantly ask myself, with everything I know, does this make sense? Being an independent thinker is extremely important, and I credit the UR with helping to cultivate that in me, says Erin.

Erin's story has been featured in this month's Rochester Business Journal.

BME Graduate Student Javier Lapeira Soto Receives DoD Predoctoral Traineeship Award

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BME graduate student, Javier Lapeira Soto, a current member of the Brown Lab, has been awarded a 2010 Predoctoral Traineeship Award from the Department of Defense (DoD) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) based on the high scientific merit of his application, Breast Cancer Endothelial Cell Calcium Dynamics Using Two-Photon Microscopy, and its relevance to the programmatic goals of the BCRP.

NBA Students Win First Prize at 8th Annual Collier Mental Health Poster Session

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Michele Saul (NBA graduate student) and Dan Tylee (undergraduate assistant) each won first prize honors at the 8th Annual Collier Mental Health Poster Session, sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry. Michele presented new work on the effects of stress on amygdala development in adolescent animals. Dan’s showed that a coping behavior during stress ameliorates subsequent anxiety behavior in adult animals.

New NIH Training Grant for Hearing, Balance, and Spatial Orientation Research

Friday, March 5, 2010

The University of Rochester has recently been awarded a Training Grant (T32) from the NIH National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders entitled Training in Hearing, Balance, and Spatial Orientation. This Training Grant involves the collaborative efforts of the Departments of Otolaryngology, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurobiology & Anatomy. The Grant will support PhD students, MD-PhD students, Post-doctoral fellows and Medical Residents in BME, Neuroscience, and Otolaryngology who are involved in research related to the auditory and vestibular systems. This Training Grant is an important resource for the University of Rochester's Center for Navigation and Communication Sciences, which provides technical and administrative support for 25 faculty members who are conducting research in this area. The 5-year grant will provide approximately $1.5 million dollars of support for several trainees each year. In association with the Training Grant, a new graduate-level course entitled Hearing and Balance: Structure, Function and Disease will be offered starting in Fall 2010. This new Training Grant is an exciting advance for the strong and growing community of auditory and vestibular researchers at the University of Rochester.

Members of the BME Graduate Program Vie for Top Place in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

photo of the Snyder Corporation event

Representing UR in the JPMorgan
Chase Corporate Challenge
Championship will be Jessica Snyder
(left and far right in inset photo)
and (from left in inset photo) Luke
Mortensen, Christina Devries and Chris Hiner.

Jessica Snyder, a biophysics graduate student and member of Jim McGrath's biomedical engineering lab, credits her work as an elite cross-country skier in helping her become the third place female finisher in the Rochester Chase Corporate Challenge last May, which contributed to the University of Rochester (UR) team's win of the mixed team title. The four-member team will now travel to Johannesburg, South Africa for the Championship in March.

Joining Jessica will be Luke Mortensen, a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering; Chris Hine, a graduate student in biochemistry and biophysics; and Christina Devries, a technical associate at the Center for Human Genetics and Molecular Pediatric Disease.

Read More: Members of the BME Graduate Program Vie for Top Place in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship

NSC Graduate Student, Cory Hussar, Publishes an Article in December 2009 Edition of Neuron

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cory Hussar, a 5th year Neuroscience graduate student in Dr. Tania Pasternak's lab (NBA) has published an article in this month's edition of Neuron. The article, entitled Flexibility of sensory representations in prefrontal cortex depends on cell type, reports that neurons in prefrontal cortex (PFC) represent visual motion with precision comparable to cortical neurons at early stages of motion processing, and readily adapt this representation to behavioral context. Furthermore, results show that flexible sensory representation during active discrimination tasks is achieved in the PFC by a specialized neuronal network of both NS neurons readily adjusting their selectivity to behavioral context, and BS neurons capable of maintaining relatively stable sensory representation.

Helen Wei and Youngsun Cho Accepted into MSTP Program

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Congratulations to Helen Wei and Youngsun Cho, both recently accepted into the MSTP (MD-PhD program) from the MD-MS Program in Medical Neurobiology. We are delighted to welcome them to a continued and augmented commitment to neuroscience research as they now pursue their PhD candidacy and thesis projects.

BME Department makes a record showing at the Biomedical Engineering Society - Student Chapter wins Meritorious Achievement Award

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Photo of BME students

BME students receiving the Meritorious Achievement Award, recognizing the best student chapter in the nation.

Dozens of UR students and faculty attended the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA from October 7-10. Our group gave 12 oral presentations and presented 17 posters demonstrating work in many areas of the department's research, including imaging, orthopaedics, tissue engineering, neuroengineering, nanotechnology, and cellular mechanics. The work was presented by faculty, graduate students and undergraduates, and also included examples of both translational research and educational outreach programs. The department also hosted an exhibit booth to meet with prospective students and faculty.

The annual meeting also offered numerous activities for students, related to research and career development. Perhaps most exciting was that our student BMES chapter received a Meritorious Achievement Award. This recognizes the best student chapter in the nation for achievements during the last academic year, based on last year's Chapter Development Report.

Read More: BME Department makes a record showing at the Biomedical Engineering Society - Student Chapter wins Meritorious Achievement Award

BME Graduate Sarah Lancianese wins Young Investigator Award

Monday, September 14, 2009

Recent graduate Sarah Lancianese received a Young Investigator Award at the 2009 World Congress on Osteoarthritis in Montreal, Quebec. She presented her work on the use of biomechanical models to understand risks for knee osteoarthritis in a plenary session including the 6 highest rated abstracts from young investigators. This abstract represented the final chapter of her PhD dissertation which she defended in July, 2009. The overall project, supervised by BME Associate Professor Amy L. Lerner, investigated the combined effects of obesity, limb alignment and bone mechanical properties on the knee joint. Dr. Lancianese is now a design engineer at Wright Medical, Inc. in Memphis TN.

Alumnus Christopher Kumar's Student Team Wins American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Competition

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alumnus Christopher Kumar, now a science instructor at Monroe Community College, led his student design team to a first place finish at the American Society for Engineering Education's National Robotics Competition. Kumar's student team, Tinkerballz, won the design title by creating a robot that could sort colored golf balls and deposit them in corresponding targets. Chris completed is BS in our BME Undergraduate program in 2003, then continued as a research technician and MS student with Greg Gdowski. After receiving hs MS degree in 2008, he joined the faculty at Monroe Community College as an instructor in the Department of Engineering & Physics.

Carlos Sevilla Awarded NIH Pre-doctoral Fellowship

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Carlos Sevilla was awarded a prestigious NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Pre-doctoral Fellowship. This three-year award will provide funding for Carlos' thesis research project, titled ,Promoting Chronic Wound Healing with Ultrasound and Fibronectin. In his research, Carlos is investigating the ability of ultrasound to produce conformational changes in the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin that, in turn, stimulate cellular processes important for accelerating soft tissue wound repair. Carlos is a third year graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and his thesis research is co-advised by Dr. Denise Hocking and Dr. Diane Dalecki. Carlos is also a student member of the Rochester Center for Biomedical Ultrasound (RCBU). Carlos' research is part of a larger, multidisciplinary project, led by Drs. Dalecki and Hocking and funded by the NIH, that aims to develop the use of ultrasound for chronic wound therapy.

Kelley Garvin Wins Best Student Paper Competition

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kelley Garvin won the Best Student Paper Competition at the 157th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America held in Portland, OR from May 18-22. Her paper, titled Ultrasound standing wave fields control the spatial distribution of cells and protein in three-dimensional engineered tissue, was recognized as the best student paper in the Biomedical Ultrasound / Bioresponse to Vibration Technical Section. Kelley presented her recent work demonstrating the use of ultrasound fields to non-invasively control the spatial locations of cells in collagen-based engineered tissues. Ultrasound standing wave fields were used to organize cells into planar bands within collagen gels, resulting in a significant two-fold increase in cell-mediated gel contraction, suggesting that ultrasound-induced cell organization leads to a differential extracellular matrix remodeling. Further, using ultrasound to spatially band endothelial cells within collagen gels resulted in vessel sprouting. These novel technologies have important applications to the fabrication of engineered tissues with desired tissue characteristics. Kelley is a third year graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) and her thesis research is co-advised by Dr. Diane Dalecki and Dr. Denise Hocking. Kelley is also a student member of the Rochester Center for Biomedical Ultrasound (RCBU). Kelley's research is part of a larger, multidisciplinary project, led by Drs. Dalecki and Hocking and funded by the NIH, that aims to develop novel ultrasound technologies for the field of tissue engineering.

Lisa Bonanno Awarded NIH Pre-doctoral Fellowship

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lisa Bonanno was awarded a prestigious NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Pre-doctoral Fellowship. This two-year award will provide funding for Lisa's thesis research project to develop label-free porous silicon optical biosensors. Lisa's research is focused on designing sensors to detect molecules of interest in complex biological fluids (blood, urine etc.) for point-of-care diagnostic applications. This work is aimed at improving patient health care by reducing the time and cost associated with clinical laboratory testing. In particular, the fellowship award, entitled, Drug Screening with Nano-Porous Silicon Optical Biosensors is focused on designing sensors to detect small molecule drugs of abuse in urine. This multidisciplinary study is co-sponsored by Dr. Jean Bidlack in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. Lisa is a fourth year graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and her thesis research is advised by Dr. Lisa DeLouise in the Department of Dermatology.

Tony Chen Presents Two Papers at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Photo of Tony Chen

Tony Chen, Ph.D. candidate, presenting at the Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting.

Tony Chen, Ph.D. Candidate, presented two papers at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society in Las Vegas, NV (February 22 - 25, 2009). The papers he presented were:

  • Chen T, Jeffries R, Zuscik M, Awad H. Anabolic Effects of TGF-beta1 and Low Oxygen on Bioreactor-Cultivated Tissue Engineered Cartilage, and
  • Chen T, Zuscik M, Awad H. Interstitial Flow Produces a Superficial Zone-Like Layer in Tissue Engineered Cartilage.

UR BME Faculty, Students and Alumni at the 2009 Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The UR Biomedical Engineering Program was well represented at this year's Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to several podium and poster presentations by current members of the BME department, it was great to connect with many alumni of the program, who have gone on to graduate degrees, positions in industry, or post-doctoral fellowships. For example, presenting their work at this year's ORS were UG alums Suzanne Ferreri ('01), Tunde Babalola ('02), Jason Long ('03), Dan Xia Chen ('05), Andrea Pallante ('05), Jedd Sereysky ('05), Nick Drury ('06) and Carrie Voycheck ('06). Their presentations included studies of cartilage tissue engineering, tendon properties, finite element modeling, and the effects of ultrasound.

Candace Gildner wins Ruth Kirchstein National Research Service Award for MD/PhD Studies

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Candace Gildner, an MD/PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Department, has recently been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual MD/PHD Fellows from the NIH. This prestigious, four-year award covers her PhD research as well as her remaining two years in medical school. The overall goal of this project is to determine how chronic exposure to cigarette smoke affects extracellular matrix remodeling in the lung. Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for the development of several non-neoplastic lung disorders, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary hypertension, and interstitial lung disease. Candace's research will focus on whether chronic exposure to tobacco smoke hinders normal tissue repair by altering the ability of cells to polymerize a fibronectin matrix. Her studies will provide insight into factors that regulate the deposition, conformation and physiologic properties of extracellular matrix fibronectin and determine if these factors are localized to lung tissue in response to cigarette smoke. Candace was born and raised in Rochester, NY. She graduated from the University of Rochester with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and completed a MS thesis in Biomedical Engineering at UR. She is currently in her fourth year as a PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, working under the direction of Dr. Denise C. Hocking.

SEAS Receives $30 Million Gift from University of Rochester Engineering Alumni, Edmund A. Hajim

Friday, October 17, 2008

Edmund A. Hajim, University of Rochester Chairman of the Board of Trustees and a 1958 engineering school graduate, announced his plans to give to the SEAS $30 million. The gift, which will be paid over several years, will provide scholarships for students with significant financial needs; it will also be put towards the endowment.

Read More: SEAS Receives $30 Million Gift from University of Rochester Engineering Alumni, Edmund A. Hajim

Nano Spin-Off Company Wins Business Plan Challenge

Monday, August 11, 2008

SiMPore, Inc., a spin-off company founded by engineers on River Campus, recently won the Golden Horseshoe Business Challenge, a $100,000 prize recognizing its business plan as the best in a region encompassing western New York and eastern Ontario. SiMPore also attracted $1.25 million in investments financed primarily by local Rochester high net worth individuals. In addition to VP of Life Sciences Tom Gaborski, (BME Ph.D. 2008), this venture involves interactions with numerous BME faculty members and students.

Laura Yanoso Scholl wins Award at the SBC 2008 meeting

Sunday, June 29, 2008

photo of Laura Yanoso Scholl

Laura Yanoso Scholl presenting her poster at the Summer Bioengineering Conference.

Laura Yanoso Scholl won the First Prize in the MS Student Poster Competition at the Summer Bioengineering Conference (June 25-29, 2008), Marco Island, FL, for her paper and poster entitled Evaluation of Poly-Lactic Acid/Beta-Tricalcium Phosphate Scaffolds as Segmental Bone Graft Substitutes.

BME Graduate students place in Mark Ain Business Model Workshop Series and Competition

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Mark Ain Business Model Workshop Series and Competition provides aspiring student entrepreneurs at the University of Rochester an opportunity to attend a series of three workshops that cover the following topics: articulation of their concept, sizing up market dynamics, development of business and operational models, and exposure to startup implementation issues. At the conclusion of the workshops, student finalists present their concept, analysis, and recommended business model to a panel of distinguished alumni entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship professionals in a competition with a first-place cash prize of $10,000. The competition is made possible by support from Simon alumnus and entrepreneur Mark S. Ain '67, founder of Kronos Incorporated, the Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based market leader in the workforce management industry. In 2008, the 2nd and 3rd place prizes were awarded to interdisciplinary teams involving four BME graduate students.

Nature Photographic Exhibit by Babak & Anne Razavi

Friday, May 9, 2008

Babak Razavi is a trainee in the Medical Scientist Training Program pursuing an M.D. as well as a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. His passion with photography began at a young age when his father taught him how to take pictures using a Canon AE-1 back in Iran. Anne Razavi worked as a medical physicist at the Wilmot Cancer Center and Department of Radiation Oncology. She trained at the Charité Hospital, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. She is now a product marketing manager with Siemens Medical Solutions. Babak and Anne both enjoy capturing a variety of themes including abstracts, nature, candids, weddings, and each other.

David Reynolds Wins Award at the 2007 TERMIS Meeting

Saturday, June 16, 2007

photo of David Reynolds and Dr. Awad

David Reynolds and Dr. Awad after winning the Ph.D. Student Competition.

David Reynolds won First Prize in the Ph.D. student competition at the Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) meeting in Toronto (June 13-16, 2007) for his paper and poster entitled Novel Measurement of Bone Graft-to-Host Union Using CT Imaging: Implications for Biomechanical Strength. David competed with 250 student applicants and along with the honor of placing first he won a $1,000 cash prize.

University of Rochester Dedicates Goergen Hall

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A five-story facility that pairs biomedical engineering and optics in an environment of teaching laboratories, high-tech demonstration areas, and gathering spaces for collaboration will officially open May 17 as the Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics on the University of Rochester's River Campus.

Read More: University of Rochester Dedicates Goergen Hall