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Lynne Maquat Receives Advisory Appointment at International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

Friday, August 12, 2022

Lynne MaquatLynne E. Maquat, Ph.D., the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair and Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Oncology and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry has been elected a member of the Council of Scientific Advisers (CSA) of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB). Also the founding director of the University of Rochester’s Center for RNA Biology, Maquat will serve as a member of the Council for a term of three years, beginning in July 2022.

The ICGEB is an intergovernmental organization that runs over 45 state-of-the-art laboratories in Trieste, Italy, New Delhi, India and Cape Town, South Africa. If forms an interactive network with close to 70 member states, and plays a key role in biotechnology by promoting research excellence, training, and technology transfer to industry. The Council of Scientific Advisers is composed of fifteen “eminent” scientists who are active in the life sciences at the international level. Maquat will work together with fellow advisors to provide ICGEB member states with effective training programs and dedicated research projects.

With this appointment, Maquat has held a dozen international advisory positions since 2000. In addition to the ICGEB, she is currently a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany and a member of the Medical Advisory Board for the Canada Gairdner International Awards and The Gairdner Foundation in Canada.

Maquat is the second member of the University of Rochester community to be elected a member of the Council of Scientific Advisers. Arthur Kornberg, M.D., who earned his medical degree from the School of Medicine & Dentistry in 1941 and went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1959, served as a scientific advisor to the ICGEB from 1995 to 2005.

Double Duty: Early Research Reveals how a Single Drug Delivers Twice the Impact in Fragile X

Monday, June 27, 2022

Like many neurological diseases, there’s a lot we don’t understand about fragile X syndrome. But, after studying the disorder for several years, Lynne Maquat’s lab knew two important things: the enzyme AKT, which plays a key role in cell growth and survival, and the quality control pathway known as NMD (nonsense-mediated mRNA decay), are both in overdrive in fragile X.

In a new study in the journal Molecular Cell, the team reveals how these two major players interact, highlighting a complex molecular dance that could inform the development of future treatments for fragile X syndrome.

Two paths to pursue 

AKT is a hub for cell signaling, helping cells communicate about important processes like cell growth, proliferation and protein production. When cells are stressed – for example, in cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurological disorders, including fragile X – AKT can send too many (or too few) signals or messages as part of a cell survival mechanism.    

NMD is like a molecular guide that helps our cells make smart decisions that (in most cases) improve cellular function and contribute to good health. For example, NMD supports gene expression by flagging and destroying mRNAs (messenger RNAs) that are carrying faulty genetic instructions that could lead to disease. It also helps our cells adjust to changes in development and in their environment, and more rapidly respond to certain stimuli.

Read More: Double Duty: Early Research Reveals how a Single Drug Delivers Twice the Impact in Fragile X

Convince us why your favorite RNA or RNA-binding protein is worthy of our admiration

Friday, January 28, 2022

Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics Seminar Series Participants,

Thank you to those who participated in and/or viewed the UR Center for RNA Biology’s RNA Presentations on Jan 12th and 26th, sponsored by the RNA Society, Lexogen, and the UR Center for RNA Biology. The judging committee was impressed with the quality of the abstracts submitted and the selected presentations given by UR graduate students and research staff with the prompt: “Convince us why your favorite RNA or RNA-binding protein is worthy of our admiration”.

Each of the oral presenters, who were chosen based on their quality of their abstracts, will be receiving a one-year membership to the RNA Society. Three presenters will also receive prize funds of $300 each.

The three presenters to be awarded a one-year membership to the RNA Society and $300 ea., in alphabetical order, are:

Xueyang He (presented Jan 12th ) - Biophysics Grad Student, Boutz Lab, Biochemistry & Biophysics
Modeling the effects of cancer-associated spliceosome mutations and identifying driving intronic features using deep-learning neural networks

Adrián Moisés Molina Vargas (presented Jan 26th) - Genetics Graduate Student, O'Connell Lab (Biochemistry & Biophysics), Biomedical Genetics
From prokaryote immunity to the newest RNA targeting tool. Unveiling the nature and opportunities of the Cas13 CRISPR RNA-nuclease

Li Xie (presented Jan 26th) - Genetics Graduate Student, Pröschel Lab, Biomedical Genetics
Deciphering eIF2B deficiencies in a neurodegenerative disorder

Honorable mention presenter to receive a one-year membership to the RNA Society

Perinthottathil Sreejith, PhD (presented Jan 12th ) - Staff Scientist, Bharadwaj Lab, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, who presented on his previous work as a Postdoc in the Biteau Lab in Biomedical Genetics
Imp interacts with Lin28 to regulate adult stem cell proliferation in the Drosophila intestine

Again, thank you all for contributing to make our contest interesting and exciting.

Liz - On behalf of Lynne Maquat, PhD (Director, UR Center for RNA Biology)

Read More: Convince us why your favorite RNA or RNA-binding protein is worthy of our admiration

In the Pocket: RNA Binding Discovery Supports ‘RNA World’ Theory of Early Life on Earth

Friday, January 14, 2022

Benzi Kluger

RNA biologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) have discovered that RNA, the chemical cousin of DNA, can bind two metabolites (small molecules) at the same time in a single binding pocket, causing those molecules to interact. This discovery, published in Nature Communications this week, could lead to new antibacterial drugs while helping to fill a gap in the controversial “RNA world” theory, which suggests that RNA molecules enabled life to evolve on Earth 3.5 billion years ago.  

 

Read More: In the Pocket: RNA Binding Discovery Supports ‘RNA World’ Theory of Early Life on Earth