News Archive – 2015

Scientists uncover mechanism that propels liver development after birth

Assistant professor Auinash Kalsotra and collegues report that liver cells utilize a mechanism called "alternative splicing," which alters how genes are translated into the proteins that guide postnatal organ development. Their findings are published in Nature Communications.

November 05, 2015

University of Illinois awarded $8M from NIH to study nuclear structure

Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and Principal Investigator Andrew Belmont from the University of Illinois heads a team of Investigators that has been awarded an $8M grant over five years to study nuclear structure from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund as part of the recently-unveiled 4D...

October 27, 2015

Viruses at the nexus of water and health

Nearly 25% of the world’s population consumes fecally-contaminated water. This water includes bacteria and viruses.Viruses provide greater challenges for disinfection because of their sizes and physical properties. The importance of understanding viruses for safe drinking water is discussed in a recent PLOS Pathogens article by associate professor of microbiology, Joanna Shisler and colleagues.

October 26, 2015

Professor Emad Tajkhorshid named University Scholar

The University Scholars program recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarship and service and provides $15,000 to each scholar for each of three years to enhance his or her academic career. Read more about Tajkhorshid's current work in this article.

October 08, 2015

Drs. Benita S. Katzenellenbogen and John A. Katzenellenbogen have been awarded the Fred Conrad Koch Lifetime Achievement Award by the Endocrine Society.

The Society’s highest honor, this annual award recognizes lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the field of endocrinology. Dr. Benita Katzenellenbogen is currently the Swanlund Chaired Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, and Dr. John Katzenellenbogen is the...

September 01, 2015

Andrew Belmont: Influencing a generation of chromatin biology

As a postdoc studying chromosomal structure with David Agard and John Sedat in the late 1980s, Andrew Belmont had observed intriguing ultrastructural details in interphase nuclei. “We’d see large-scale fibers about 100 nanometers thick, and then there’d be a 10- to 30-nanometer-thick fiber looping out, which we thought might represent an active gene,”...

August 12, 2015

Dr. Sligar, Director of the School of MCB, has been awarded the Herbert A. Sober Lectureship

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has selected Dr. Stephen Sligar as the winner for the Herbert A. Sober Lectureship. The award recognizes outstanding biochemical and molecular biological research, with particular emphasis on development of methods and techniques to aid in...

August 09, 2015

Dr. Supriya Prasanth's lab identifies a BEN domain-containing protein as a novel transcriptional repressor of rRNA genes, in PNAS.

Prasanth and colleagues show that BEND3 directly binds to rDNA promoter in a sequence specific manner and induces chromatin modifications leading to a transcriptionally repressive chromatin environment.

July 24, 2015

Taranis protects regenerating tissue from fate changes Induced by the wound response in Drosophila

The Smith-Bolton laboratory uses genetically induced tissue damage in the Drosophila wing primordium to study how a tissue responds to damage and regenerates. A study by graduate student Keaton Schuster has identified a gene, taranis, that is essential for protecting cell fate during regeneration. The results are...

July 20, 2015

An elegant study led by Sumanprava Giri, a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Supriya Prasanth, shows ORCA interacts with multiple repressive H3K9 lysine methyltransferases (KMTs), namely G9a/GLP and Suv39H1.

Origin Recognition Complex Associated (ORCA) organizes heterochromatin by assembling histone H3 lysine 9 methyltransferases on chromatin.

July 20, 2015

"What Matters" - 2015 Commencement address delivered by alumna, Dr. Tamara Helfer

MCB wishes to thank our inspiring alumni speaker, Dr. Tamara Helfer, for celebrating the graduation of the class of 2015 with her commencement address.

June 30, 2015

Kevin Yum’s outstanding undergraduate career

Kevin Yum graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. Upon graduation, he received Highest Distinction and the William T. and Lynn Jackson Senior Thesis Award from the Biochemistry department for the research he completed under the guidance of faculty advisor, Dr. Auinash Kalsotra.

June 26, 2015

Biochemistry graduate student wins top prize for poster at Annual RNA Society Meeting

Amruta Bhate, a 3rd year biochemistry graduate student in the Kalsotra lab, has won the best poster award at the 2015 Annual RNA Society Meeting for her discovery of a previously unexplored function for alternative splicing in liver maturation.

June 25, 2015

Ceman lab in Cell Reports: How FMRP interacts with RNA helicase MOV10 to regulate translation

The Ceman laboratory, with lead authors Phil Kenny and Miri Kim, have shown that FMRP is able to facilitate or suppress the translation of a subset of its target mRNAs by its interaction with the RNA helicase MOV10.

June 25, 2015

The Lipid Second Messenger Phosphatidic Acid Frees mTORC1 from Inhibition by DEPTOR

The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) integrates a variety of intra- and extra-cellular signals to control cell growth. To do so, mTORC1 is regulated, in part, by the endogenous inhibitor DEPTOR. A study led by Dr. Mee-Sup Yoon and Christina Rosenberger in the lab of Cell and...

May 26, 2015

Synaptic Membrane Nanodiscs May Help Find Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutics

Congratulations to Stephen Sligar for his recent publication in PLoS One: “Nanoscale Synaptic Membrane Mimetic Allows Unbiased High Throughput Screen that Targets Binding Sites for Alzheimer’s-Associated Aβ Oligomers.” Using a High Throughput Screening (HTS) facility at NU, Sligar and colleagues developed a cell-free system consisting of a library of synaptic proteins individually...

May 18, 2015

Biochemistry alumus, Dr. Seyed Torabi, who did his PhD in the lab of Dr. Yi Lu, has published his dissertation research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sodium ions (Na+) play diverse and important roles in biological processes, and yet few sensors with high sensitivity and selectivity for Na+ over other competing metal ions have been reported. In...

May 14, 2015

National Goldwater Scholarship Program recognizes MCB junior

MCB junior Nhan Huynh has earned an honorable mention in the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.

May 11, 2015

Dr. Brenda A. Wilson receives 2015 Leadership Award

The School of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Department of Microbiology congratulate Dr. Brenda A. Wilson, professor of microbiology, on her 2015 Leadership Award, which she received from the YWCA of the University of Illinois at an awards ceremony on April 23rd.

May 06, 2015

Biochemistry graduate student wins NSF pre-doctoral fellowship

The Department of Biochemistry congratulates first-year graduate student Mara Livezey on winning a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship provides three years of pre-doctoral funding, which will support her work in Professor David Shapiro’s lab.

May 06, 2015

A new RNA repair complex employing a “one-stop shopping” repair mechanism

Biochemistry graduate student Pei Wang and Associate Professor Raven Huang have discovered a new bacterial RNA repair complex. The structure of the 270-kDa RNA repair complex revealed that it is built like a shopping mall, and RNA repair can be achieved having the damaged RNA visiting four active sites with...

April 17, 2015

Microbes Scared to Death by Virus Presence

The microbes could surrender to the harmless virus, but instead freeze in place, dormant, waiting for their potential predator to go away, according to a recent study by Associate Professor of Microbiology Rachel Whitaker in mBio.

April 07, 2015

New drug stalls estrogen receptor-positive cancer cells and shrinks tumors

Biochemistry researchers in Dr. David Shapiro's lab, and a study team including researchers from the department of food science and human nutrition, the department of molecular and integrative physiology, the College of Medicine and the Cancer Center, have developed a new drug that kills estrogen receptor-positive cancers in mice. The findings...

April 06, 2015

A new hat for Aip1: Uncovering new roles for Aip1 in the disassembly of filamentous actin

Disassembly of actin filaments is important for many processes that involve rapid reorganization of cell shape such as cell movement and division. Cofilin is a vital disassembly protein however one limitation of cofilin is that it can stabilize filaments at saturating concentrations. Nadkarni and Brieher...

February 25, 2015

New drug compounds show promise against endometriosis

An interdisciplinary research team, including molecular and integrative physiology professors Benita Katzenellenbogen and Milan Bagchi, has developed a new approach to treating endometriosis. Their research appears in Science Translational Medicine.

January 23, 2015