Features Archive


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Robinson, Clayton Review Published

Professors Gene Robinson and David Clayton review the link between genes and behavior in the latest issue of Science.

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21st Annual CMB-MB Symposium

The Cell and Molecular Biology & Molecular Biophysics (CMB-MB) Training Grant Program celebrated its 21st annual research symposium in fall of 2008. The program encourages graduate students to explore interdisciplinary research including genetics, physiology, biophysics, and microbiology.

Faculty in eleven departments advise students in the program, including 25 professors from all four departments in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Over 85 graduate students participated in the symposium by presenting their research through detailed posters (pictured), and six students were chosen to give talks highlighting their work.

Dr. Dianne K. Newman from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave the keynote lecture.

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Roger Adams Lab and Burrill Hall Renovation

Roger Adams Laboratory and Burrill Hall are undergoing $12 million renovations to improve energy efficiency and upgrade their interiors. Once construction is finished, researchers will benefit from modern laboratory spaces and increased safety.

The third and fourth floors of Roger Adams Laboratory are being completely overhauled to make way for new office space and state-of-the-art labs for professors in the Department of Biochemistry. This $7.6 million, 18,030 square foot renovation project began in May of this year, and is expected to be completed by the end of February 2009.

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“I still remember the picture I took of my first electrophoresis gel,” said Andrew Smith, a senior in MCB. “I still have it.”

Smith was not conducting research in a faculty lab when he ran his first gel, nor was he working as a biotechnology intern. He was attending his introductory, sophomore-year MCB laboratory course.

Teaching lab specialist Elizabeth Blinstrup explained that while lectures and discussions cover topics in depth, “Lab courses elevate a student’s know-how from ‘I get this’ to ‘I’ve done this.’”

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MCB Selected for New 'Scope

With the support of a major grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology has been selected as one of only a dozen laboratories worldwide to receive a prototype OMX Applied Precision microscopy system.

The microscope will deliver 3D images of cells at high speed under low light conditions ideal for live cell imaging. The acquisition of the “structured illumination deconvolution light microscopy system” marks a major step forward in optical microscopy imaging technology for both the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the campus.

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Professor Phillip A. Newmark

On May 27th, Phillip A. Newmark, an associate professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB), was named a 2008 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. With this award Dr. Newmark joins a select group of 56 biomedical scientists chosen from among 1,070 applications submitted in a nationwide competition.

The Maryland-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a private philanthropy dedicated to supporting biomedical research and science education, is committing more than $600 million to support new research conducted by the 56 investigators in their first term of appointment.

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Faculty Profile: David Krantz

When David Kranz was born, his parents got a two-for-one deal. Ninety minutes after his arrival, Kranz’s brother Robert came along. The Kranz twins shared many interests, including a fascination with science and, particularly, nature. Today, Kranz is a professor of biochemistry in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) at the University of Illinois (U of I) and his brother is a professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Our interests in science were parallel to each other,” said Kranz. “When we grew up, one of our pastimes was nature…in the sense of catching bugs and having bug wars. We’d catch an ant or a spider, and have it battle a bee, things like that.”

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Faculty Profile: Phil Best

Phil Best, professor of molecular and integrative physiology, grew up hiking, camping, and hunting in Maryland. Even now, he is happiest diving with humpback whales or biking from Seattle to Portland with his daughter and son-in-law.

“I’m always looking for interesting adventures,” he said. “A good vacation puts me someplace different, both culturally and geographically, and I enjoy being active.”

This enjoyment of and curiosity about the world around him led Best quite naturally to biology; first to the study of zoology and later to molecular and cellular physiology. Best followed one of his older brothers to Duke University, where he crossed paths with Knut Schmidt-Nielsen. Schmidt-Nielsen, a preeminent physiologist, was interested in the range of ways different animals adapt to the same extreme environmental challenges. Best remembers that Schmidt-Nielsen kept various exotic animals, including an ostrich, in the basement of the zoology building in order to measure their blood gases during exercise.

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Profile: Anne Carpenter

Anne Carpenter, MCB alumna and Imaging Platform Director for the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, was featured in a half-hour television documentary, Bold Visions: Women in Science and Technology. The television special aired on WILL-TV March 16, and on other PBS networks.

Anne earned a PhD from the (formerly named) Department of Cell and Structural Biology, in 2003, studying under Andrew Belmont. She also has a certificate in business administration for life scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

(Photo courtesy of Mark Eveslage and WorkingWomen.com)

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