Category: Recent News
Told in stunning cell images and videos, “Every Cell Has a Story” chronicles the career development of Neil J. Ganem, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Medicine, Section of Hematology and Medical Oncology, at Boston University School of Medicine. The article follows Neil’s rise from Dartmouth as young graduate student scientist making a momentous, life-changing decision on his research focus to a rising junior cancer biology/pharmacology investigator and director of the Laboratory of Cancer Cell Biology in the Cancer Center at BUSM.
Please visit Dr. Ganem’s Laboratory of Cancer Cell Biology website for more information on his research.
EurekAlert.org reported that researchers in the Laboratory of Addiction Genetics in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine have identified a gene that may be linked to methamphetamine addiction. The article, “Hnrnph1 is a Quantative Trait Gene for Methamphetamine Sensitivity”Hnrnph1 is a Quantative Trait Gene for Methamphetamine Sensitivity” in PLOS Genetics. The article’s first author, Neema Yazdani, a Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology Ph.D. graduate student, is currently conducting his doctoral research work in the Laboratory of Addiction Genetics under the mentorship of Laboratory Director and Principal Investigator, Camron D. Bryant, Ph.D., who is the senior and corresponding author on the paper. Dr. Bryant’s research focuses on the genetic basis of behaviorial and molecular traits in substance abuse with the goal of discovering novel psychotherapeutics to treat addictive disorders. For more on this research, please visit the Laboratory of Addiction Genetics website.
In his recent article, “Neurophysiology Charges Ahead,” Alan Dove reviews recent advances in electrophysiology and genetic approaches to neuroscience. The research of Dr. David Farb, Director and Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University, among others, is highlighted. Noting the evolution of electrophysiology techniques, Dr. Farb discusses how these recent advances have increased the ability to measure brain activity which may lead to therapeutic discoveries for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. For more information on Dr. Farb’s research, please visit his website.
In This Issue:
- Message from the President: Dr Kenneth E. Thummel
- EB2016 Meeting Highlights
- Feature Article: Sleepy Sickness, Oliver Sacks, and the Early Days of L-Dopa
- Science Policy News
- Education News
- Journal News
- Membership News
- Members in the News
- Division News
- Chapter News
- Meetings and Congresses
Joon Ying Boon and Megan Varnum Participate in the 25th Annual BUMC Art Days and GMS Student Art Exhibit
Joon Ying Boon and Megan Varnum, Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology Ph.D. graduate students, contributed to the success of 25th Annual BUMC Art Days, March 30-31, 2015. BUMC students, faculty and staff were invited to contribute paintings, photos, poetry, sculpture, needlework, etc. for the event. This year’s keyword was INTERSECT and a special display section was set aside in Hiebert Lounge devoted to works focused on “Intersect.” On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, Joon’s and Megan’s art works were also displayed at a special exhibit sponsored by the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences featuring paintings and photographs by DGMS graduate students.
Joon Ying Boon has entitled her piece, “Grandfather Trees.” She explains that “somewhere in the overcrowded, busy and skyscrapers-filled urban Hong Kong, there is an old park with old trees where one can find peace and serenity.”
Joon is also a senior Ph.D. student pursing her dissertation research on the identification of proteins that bind to and regulate LRRK2 in the Laboratory of Neurodegeneration, under the mentorship of Principal Investigator and Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology, Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D.
The banner painting above was done by Megan Varnum’s and is entitled, “A Mexican Hillside”. Megan elaborated on that, “Mexicans incorporate vibrant color into nearly every aspect of their culture, and I wanted to reflect that in this painting. Although I cannot personally take credit for taking the photo from which this was painted, it reminds me of the times my family would go to Mexico and how inspired I would be by all the colors.”
Megan is a senior Ph.D. student doing her dissertation research on traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the Laboratory of Molecular NeuroTherapeutics under the direction of mentor, Principal Investigator, and Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology, Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D., Ph.D.
These two aspiring young scientists inspire us with their creativity. Beautiful work, Joon and Megan!
Dr. Carol Walsh Presents BUSDM Dental Pharmacology Integrated Problem Session to ADEA Annual Meeting
Carol Walsh, Ph.D., Pharmacology Vice Chair for Education, presented a description of the innovative Integrated Problem Sessions of the BUSDM Dental Pharmacology course at a symposium held March 9 at the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) annual meeting in Boston. The symposium, organized by Aldo Leone, D.M.D.,Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at BUSDM, was entitled “Igniting Minds through Student Self-directed Group Learning: Integrated Problem Sessions” and included presentations by Dr. Leone, Drs. Whitney and Pessina from the Anatomy and Neurobiology Department, and Dr. Sarita-Reyes from the Pathology Department. The presenters were honored by special recognition of the symposium by the Chair of the ADEA Board of Directors.
University-wide Graduate Program for Neuroscience Receives BU Provost’s CEIT Interdisciplinary Course Development Grant
Congratulations go to Shelley J. Russek, Ph.D., Professor Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Biology, and the University-wide Graduate Program for Neuroscience (GPN) on being awarded the Boston University Provost’s Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching (CEIT) Interdisciplinary Course Development Grant. As GPN Director, Shelley spearheads a university-wide team of outstanding faculty who do an exceptional job in preparing graduate students for careers in neuroscience.
GPN is a University-wide Ph.D. degree granting program uniting the graduate training faculty of the BU Charles River Campus and the BU Medical Campus to serve as the nexus point for all neuroscience training missions at Boston University.
Neil J. Ganem, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, has received a 2014 Smith Family Foundation Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research.
This prestigious, highly competitive three-year award of $300,000 is intended to help launch the careers of newly independent biomedical researchers. Since 1992, the program has funded 130 investigators for a total investment of $23 million. Applications focus on all fields of basic biomedical science as well as research in physics, chemistry and engineering. Applicants, who are nominated by their institutions, must be full-time faculty at nonprofit academic, medical, or research institutions.
Dr. Ganem received his Ph.D. from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of chromosomal instability, broadly defined as the persistent acquisition of both numerical and structural chromosomal aberrations. Chromosomal instability is a hallmark of solid cancers and is known to facilitate tumor initiation, progression, and relapse. The Smith Family Foundation Award will support Dr. Ganem’s research to examine how cancer cells adapt to abnormal chromosomal content.
Boston University Medical Campus is located in the historic South End of the capital city of Massachusetts. Well-known for the high quality of teaching, research, and community service, the school provides an exceptional learning environment for its students in the heart of the city.
Article originally posted on BestMedicalDegrees.com.
The Laboratory of Cancer Cell Biology has identified the tumor suppressor mechanism that prevents the oncogenic growth of cells harboring an abnormal number of chromosomes. The study, published in the journal Cell, was led by Neil J. Ganem, PhD.
Tetraploid cells, which are a common byproduct of cell division failure, are genomically unstable and have the capacity to facilitate tumorigenesis. Recent estimates suggest that ~40% of all solid tumors have undergone a transient tetraploid intermediate at some point during their evolution, suggesting that tetraploidy plays significant roles in both the development and/or progression of human malignancies. Given the potentially oncogenic consequences of tetraploidy, it is not surprising that tumor suppression mechanisms have evolved that prevent the proliferation of these cells. However, unlike other common cellular insults that trigger cell cycle arrest, such as DNA damage, the mechanisms governing cell cycle arrest in response to tetraploidy have been poorly defined.
To understand the mechanism of growth arrest in tetraploid cells, Dr. Ganem and colleagues combined genome-wide RNAi screening and in vitro evolution approaches to comprehensively identify all of the genes required to stall the growth of tetraploid cells. Collectively, these data revealed that the Hippo tumor suppressor pathway is specifically activated in tetraploid cells, both in vitro and in vivo, and that this is the pathway that prevents tetraploid proliferation. The authors pinpointed that defects in the cytoskeleton of tetraploid cells represented the initial trigger for Hippo pathway activation. Notably, analysis of a broad spectrum of human cancers revealed that near-tetraploid tumors frequently adapt to overcome Hippo signaling, suggesting that inactivation or bypass of this pathway may be a prerequisite for the development of high-ploidy tumors. “This work may help guide the development of new therapies that specifically target tumor cells with abnormal numbers of chromosomes, while sparing the normal healthy cells from which they originated,” explained corresponding author Dr. Ganem, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Medicine in the Shamim and Ashraf Dahod Breast Cancer Research Laboratories at BUSM.
The study was highlighted with a preview article in Cell and by the journals Science Signaling, Cancer Discovery, and Nature Reviews Cancer. The article can be read online at: http://www.cell.com/cell/abstract/S0092-8674(14)00820-4.