Archive for February, 2011

Dr. Carmela Abraham awarded grant from the Alzheimer’s Association

Monday, February 28th, 2011

abraham_grantDr. Carmela Abraham, Professor of Biochemistry, was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Alzheimer’s Association for her study entitled Modulators of APP Dimerization as Novel Therapeutics for Alzheimer’s Disease. The study uses an entirely innovative idea to prevent the formation of the toxic amyloid protein known to kill neurons and synapses in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Dr. Abraham has been invited to speak at two conferences in March. In Barcelona, Spain, she will speak at the 10th International Congress on Alzheimer and Parkinson Disease on Klotho Enhancers as Novel Neuroprotective Therapeutics for Alzheimer’s Disease and White Matter Degeneration. In St. Louis, at the American Society for Neurochemistry, she will present on The Anti-Aging Protein Klotho Affects Oligodendrocyte Differentiation.

Stem Cells, Development, and Cancer – Series Begins March 31

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Spring series of seminars sponsored by the
Departments of Biochemistry and Medicine
begins on March 31

The Department of Biochemistry and the Evans Center in the Department of Medicine are sponsoring their second joint, thematic seminar series. The purpose of the series is to highlight a cutting edge topic in biology with disease relevance. The theme for the Spring joint seminar series is Stem Cells, Development, and Cancer. Each seminar will be held at 4:00 p.m. in Bakst Auditorium.

The first seminar to be held on Thursday, March 31 is a presentation by Mina Bissell, Ph.D., Distinguished Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled The Microenvironment and the Genome in Breast Cancer: How Does Tissue Architecture Inform Therapy?

The second seminar in the series will be held on Thursday, April 7. The guest speaker will be Robert Weinberg, Ph.D. Professor of Biology, Whitehead Institute, MIT. The seminar is entitled High-grade Malignancy, the Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition, and Cancer Stem Cells.

The last in the series will be held on Thursday, April 28 and features Matthew Scott, Ph.D., Professor of Developmental Biology, genetics and Bioengineering, Stanford University and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical institute. The title of this presentation is Communicating with Hedgehogs: Signaling in Development and Disease.

A poet in our midst

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

We have a poet in our midst; what a beautiful tribute to Dr. Matt Nugent’s
favorite molecules!


O Proteoglycans!*

by Matthew A. Nugent

O Proteoglycans! My Proteoglycans!
our secret love you’ve won
With sugar sweet and such long chains,
on a column we often run.
Why must you hide your wonders from
those who grant the funding?
We question you with steady minds,
even as your story becomes daunting.
But O Glycan! Glycan! Glycan!
O the clotting you stop best.
Along your chains where sulfates lie,
precisely where is our great quest.

O Proteoglycans, my Proteoglycans,
rise up and show your purpose.
Rise up, for it is getting late, and we
are growing nervous.
For you those sugar chains and protein core,
for you the cells are crowding.
For you they say you’re too complex
their simple minds are closing.
Here PGs! Dear friends!
I realize now, only nature knows the truth.
It is time for you to show us now, before
we’ve gone and lost our youth.

O friend you do not answer,
your lips are quiet and still.
You glance and nod to show your brother,
HA the space he must fill.
All alone with no protein linked
to keep him warm and safe.
I wonder why we let him in our club,
for isn’t he a waif?
Ah no, he is a friend as well
with secrets of his own.
He guards these truths so fiercely now,
that never freely will he tell.
Ah my friends, as time goes by
there is just one thing I see
That you will be here longer still
beyond the time of me
That you will be here longer still
beyond all the time of we.


*Meter inspired by Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain!