Congratulations graduates

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Congratulations to the graduates from the Department of Biochemistry. Jessica Calloway Jones from the Farmer lab received her PhD. Neya Vishwanath who performed her research in the Layne lab received her MS in Medical Sciences degree. Neya (picture right) was also a speaker at the morning GMS graduation. Congratulations to all.

Research Discoveries: New ways of activating G-proteins during embryonic development

Heterotrimeric G proteins are signaling switches that control cellular communication across metazoans. From a traditional standpoint, these G-proteins are activated by G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). However, a recent paper published in the Journal of Cell Biology by Arthur Marivin and colleagues provides direct evidence that heterotrimeric G-proteins can be activated in vivo by a cytoplasmic factor instead of by a GPCR. Specifically, DAPLE, a non-receptor protein bearing an evolutionarily conserved G-protein activating motif, triggers apical cell constriction during neurulation in Xenopus and zebrafish embryos via G-protein dependent signaling. This project of the Garcia-Marcos Lab was carried out in collaboration with the Dominguez Lab (Dept. of Medicine) and the Cifuentes Lab (Dept. of Biochemistry) at BU.

Karen Symes named Educator of the Year

May 2nd, 2019in Departmental News

Dr. Karen Symes, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs was named “Educator of the Year” in the PhD category at the BUSM faculty meeting. Congratulations Dr. Symes.

Russek Award Winners in Biochemistry Laboratories

The Henry I. Russek Award Nominating Committee and the Russek Executive Committee would like to announce the winners of this year’s Department of Biochemistry awards.  The honorable mention was awarded to Deborah Chang who is a student in Dr. Zaia’s lab, second prize was awarded to Julia Hicks-Berthet who is a student in Dr. Varelas’s lab and the first prize was awarded to Elena Stampouloglou, who is a student in Dr. Varelas’s lab.  There is more great news for our department!  The first prize awardee for the Molecular & Translational Medicine program is Rekha Raghunathan, a student in Dr. Zaia’s lab and the first prize awardee for the Genetics & Genomics program is Stefanie Chan, a student in Dr. Perissi’s lab.  Congratulations to all of the awardees (and their mentors)!

So, we’ll see you all this Friday, April 26th in Hiebert Lounge for Henry I. Russek Student Achievement Day 2019 and the keynote address to be delivered by Dr. Xiowei Zhuang; her talk is entitled “Illuminating Biology at the Nanoscale and Systems Scale by Imaging”. 

Nhat Le receives Warren Alpert Distinguished Scholars Award

March 23rd, 2019in Departmental News, Research News

Congratulations to Dr. Nhat Le, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Harris lab, who was recently awarded a Warren Alpert Distinguished Scholars career development award. This two-year, $400,000 fellowship will fund Nhat’s work on a project entitled “Signaling Pathways Underlying Prion Neurotoxicity”. Her project aims to identify the mechanism underlying prion-induced synaptotoxicity using genomic, proteomic and pharmacological techniques in mouse and human neurons and in animal models.

Dr. Costello receives HUPO 2019 Lifetime achievement award

January 25th, 2019in Departmental News

Catherine Costello Receives Lifetime Achievement in Proteomics Award

Catherine Costello, PhD, the William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has received the 2019 Lifetime Achievement in Proteomics Award from the U.S. Human Proteome Organization (U.S. HUPO). This inaugural award recognizes a career of discovery that has made a lasting impact in the field of proteomics, the field which explores the distribution, dynamics and modifications of proteins in cells and living organisms and their relationships to health and disease. … (link)

G-protein discoveries

December 19th, 2018in Departmental News, Research News

The Garcia-Marcos lab has recently published two studies in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on the topic of heterotrimeric G protein signaling. Marcin Maziarz, a postdoctoral fellow in the Garcia-Marcos lab, is the first author in both of them. The first study, which was selected as an Editors’ Pick, describes a novel pipeline for the discovery and validation of G protein activators that are not GPCRs, which are the “classic” G protein activators. By screening candidate cytoplasmic proteins containing a putative Gα-binding-and-activating (GBA) motif and using various in vitro and cell-based assays, the lab identified PLCδ4b as a new non-receptor G protein activator.

In the second study, the lab interrogated the mechanism of action of mutant G proteins known to drive uveal melanoma, a cancer of the eye which lacks effective therapies. Interestingly, they found that one frequent mutation, Q209P in the G protein Gαq, leads to G protein activation through a unique and unanticipated mechanism that could be leveraged to develop novel therapeutics for this cancer type.

Nelson Lau named director of the Genome Science Institute

December 14th, 2018in Departmental News, Research News

Dean Karen Antman annouced today that Nelson Lau, PhD, has been named Director of the Genome Science Institute (GSI), effective Jan. 1, 2019. An Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Dr. Lau’s research focuses on genetic and epigenetic regulation of the genome by transposons. He came to BUSM in 2017 from Brandeis University. Prior to working at Brandeis, he was a post-doc with Robert Kingston at MGH/Harvard. He received his PhD with David Bartell at MIT/Whitehead. Please join the Department in congratulating Dr. Lau on his appointment.

New Research Discoveries: Prions and Synaptic Toxicity

October 5th, 2018in Departmental News, Research News

In a new research study from the Harris laboratory in PLOS pathogens, first author Cheng Feng and collaborators defined a new pathway mediated by the p38 MAPK signaling pathway that was important for prion synaptic toxicity. Furthermore this research identified that perturbations in the actin cytoskeleton within dendritic spines resulted in deficits in synaptic transmission.

This study has received significant press coverage and appeared on the cover of PLOS pathogens.

Congratulations Harris lab.