David Clayton, professor of cell and developmental biology, and other researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found that "a protein known primarily for its role in killing cells also plays a part in memory formation."
Ten professors at Illinois elected as 2006 Fellows
Akria Chiba, associate professor of cell and developmental biology, and of entomology, and Mark E. Nelson, professor of molecular and integrative physiology, biophysics, bioengineering and neuroscience, are two of ten faculty members at the U. of I. to have been have been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Cloning techniques produce FDA-approved antibiotic
A study published in Chemistry and Biology by Huimin Zhao, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and affiliate of the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology and Wilfred A. van der Donk, professor of chemistry and affiliate of the Department of Biochemistry, concludes that fosfomycin, a phosphoric acid compound, provides researchers and clinicians with the potential for developing new treatments for bacterial infections.
Yi Lu, professor of chemistry and affiliate of the Department of Biochemistry has developed a simple "dipstick" test for detecting cocaine and other drugs in saliva, urine or blood serum. "Building upon our earlier work with lead (Pb) sensors, we constructed colorimetric sensors that are based on the lateral flow separation of aptamer-linked nanostructures," Lu said.
In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, Wilfred van der Donk, professor of chemistry and affiliate of the Department of Biochemistry, and colleagues were able to identify lantibiotics, "a class of very potent antimicrobial compounds," that may hold important implications for the treatment of microbial infections.
Honey Bee Chemoreceptors
Hugh M. Robertson, professor of entomology and of cell and developmental biology, and postdoctoral research associate, Kevin W. Wanner, report the finding of a family of honey bee chemoreceptors that deals with smell and taste. "'This moves us an important step closer to understanding the molecular details of how bees, and insects in general, smell,' Robertson said."
Researchers led by Gene Robinson, professor of integrative biology, entomology, and cell and developmental biology have accomplished the sequencing of the honey bee genome. "In biology and biomedicine, honey bees are used to study many diverse areas, including allergic disease, development, gerontology, neuroscience, social behavior and venom toxicology," Robinson said.
In a study of the honey bee genome funded by the National Science Foundation, researchers including Gene Robinson, professor of integrative biology, entomology, and cell and developmental biology, "have come a step closer to understanding the molecular basis of social behavior in humans."
Campus welcomes new faculty/staff members
Inside Illinois continues its tradition of introducing some of the new faculty members on campus. Rachel J. Whitaker, assistant professor of microbiology, is just one of many "New Faces" of 2006.
Dr. Rutilio Fratti joins the biochemistry faculty
Since arriving in Urbana-Champaign from his post-doc at Dartmouth Medical School, Dr. Rudy Fratti is anxious to begin his work on membrane microdomain assembly and membrane fusion.
October 01, 2006
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Robert B. Gennis awarded an honorary doctorate
The Faculty of Natural Sciences of Stockholm University made the award to Professor Gennis in a ceremony held at City Hall in Stockholm, Sweden. The award was for achievements in the area of Bioenergetics.
September 29, 2006
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Emad Tajkhorshid assistant professor of biochemistry, pharmacology, and biophysics, and colleagues published a paper this week that sheds light on the mechanism behind gating in membrane channels.
Governor funds stem cell research grants
Fei Wang, professor of cell and developmental biology in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology will receive $400,000 for research to provide new tools for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying human embryonic stem cell fate determination for tissue repair and regeneration.
From Plastics to Nanoscience: the second chemical revolution
"On September 6 2006, biochemist Eric Jakobsson...gave a brief introduction and led a discussion on 'From Plastics to Nanoscience: the second chemical revolution'."
Nanodisc technology sets sights on advancing cellular function
In a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Stephen Sligar and his collaborators report on using nanodiscs to control the oligomerization state of proteins. Sligar is a member of the biochemistry faculty and is in the 3-D-Micro and Nanosystems group at the Beckman Institute. The abstract is online.
One protein, two channels: scientists explain mechanism in aquaporins
Emad Tajkhorshid and colleagues at the University of Arizona Using have identified a key component of the gating mechanism in aquaporins that controls both the passage of water and the conduction of ions. Tajkhorshid is a member of the biochemistry faculty.
Paul J. Hergenrother, affiliate of the Department of Biochemistry, co-authored a paper this week in Nature Chemical Biology. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U. of I., discovered a new technique to activate apoptosis in cancer cells.
A cup of coffee and a slice of science
"Abigail Salyers, a professor of microbiology, spoke about the relationship between humans and the microbial world recently at CU Café Sci, a monthly forum at the Verde Café in downtown Champaign. The event is based on the international concept called Café Scientifique, informal gatherings where experts lead discussions about scientific topics. For more information and a schedule of upcoming speakers, visit www.cu-cafe-sci.org."
Planarian Stem Cells
Phillip A. Newmark, professor of cell and developmental biology, has found a novel way to study stem cell generation. In a paper to be published in Developmental Cell this month, Newmark and other researchers show how planarians use stem cells to regenerate.
Critical research initiatives receive recognition, funding
The Vice Chancellor for Research's Critical Research Initiatives program will sponsor six projects this year. Of those six, co-principal investigators Wilfred van der Donk, professor of chemistry and affiliate of the Department of Biochemistry and William Metcalf, professor of microbiology, have been selected to receive seed funding for a project entitled "Discovery, Design and Development of Phosphonic Acid Antibiotics."
Emad Tajkhorshid joins the biochemistry faculty
Synthetic molecular causes cancer cells to self-destruct
"'We have identified a small, synthetic compound that directly activates procaspase-3 and induces apoptosis,' said Paul J. Hergenrother, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry and corresponding author of a paper published by the journal Nature Chemical Biology. 'By bypassing the broken pathway, we can use the cells' own machinery to destroy themselves.'"
U. of I. microbiologist Carl Woese elected to Royal Society
"Microbiologist Carl Woese of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been elected as a foreign member of the Royal Society, the world's oldest continuously active scientific academy in the world."
Lu rated No. 3 in Top 5 Hot Talks/Cool Papers
Last month in San Francisco, five presentations and publications were ranked as the Top 5 hot Talks/Cool Papers of the Materials Research Society's spring meeting. U. of I.'s Yi Lu was among them. Lu, a professor of chemistry and affiliate of the Department of Biochemistry, was named number three with his paper "Detecting Poisons Using DNA and Nanoparticles."
Research involving adult stem cells receives state grants
Stephen J. Kaufman was awarded a state grant last week for his research on stem cells. "Kaufman, a professor of cell and developmental biology and member of the university's neuroscience program, — received $250,000 to focus on mesoangioblasts adult stem cells that have the capacity to become skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle cells, as well as nerve cells. It is hoped that they could be used to repair a variety of diseased tissues, especially for muscle-related diseases and injuries."
Paul J. Hergenrother
Paul J. Hergenrother, affiliate of the Department of Biochemistry, was awarded the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award for 2006. "The award, administered by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, supports the teaching and research careers of young faculty members in the chemical sciences. Criteria for selection include an independent body of scholarship and a commitment to education that signals the promise of continuing outstanding contributions to both research and teaching.")
UI researcher named Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences
William T. Greenough was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on April 24. His research has crossed across the disciplines and he holds multiple faculty appointments. He is a Swanlund Endowed Chair, director of the university's Center for Advanced Study and a professor in the departments of psychology, cell and developmental biology, and psychiatry (College of Medicine)
In a study to be published this week in Nature, Albert S. Feng, professor of molecular and integrative physiology, reports on the first documented case of a rare frog (Amolops tormotus) that is able to communicate like bats, whales and dolphins.
Klaus Schulten, professor of physics, chemistry, and biophysics and computational biology, and colleagues this week presented the first computer simulation of an entire life form, a virus. The full study will appear in the March issue of the journal Structure.
Nisin engineered in test tube
Professors Satish Nair and Wilfred A. van der Donk report in the journal Science on the synthesis of the powerful antibiotic nisin-a, a natural product used to preserve food. Their work sheds light on antibiotic resistance.
Benita S. Katzenellenbogen, Swanlund Professor of molecular and integrative physiology and cell and developmental biology and Center for Advanced Study Professor, and John A. Katzenellenbogen, Swanlund Professor of Chemistry, have been selected to jointly receive the Roy O. Greep Lecture Award for 2006 from The Endocrine Society.
James H. Morrissey, a biochemist, and colleagues at the University of Georgia have discovered that a linear polymer known as polyphosphate speeds blood clotting and helps clots last longer.
In work to appear this week on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences website, Milan Bagchi, professor of molecular and integrative physiology showed that a specific transcription factor must be present in the uterus of mice in order for pregnancy to occur. "'This protein in the mouse is also in humans,' Bagchi said. 'We believe it plays a critical role in human pregnancy.'"
In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, Joanna L. Shisler, assistant professor of microbiology, and other researchers report the finding of a protein that could lead to treatment for inflammatory responses such as occur in rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.
Polymer aids in blood clotting, pointing way to new treatment
Professor Jim Morrissey, department of biochemistry and college of medicine, teamed up with researchers from the University of Georgia and report on "a linear polymer that speeds blood clotting and helps clots last longer." Their paper appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.