Related Readings: Ali H. Brivanlou PhD

 Monday Seminar Series

 Genetic Dissection of Pluripotency in

Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Ali H. Brivanlou  PhD

Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor 

The Rockefeller University

 Monday, November 3, 2008

Welch Hall Level Two  Refreshments  3:45   Lecture  4:00

Related readings:

Noggle, SA; D. James and AH Brivanlou.  2005.   A molecular basis for human embryonic stem cell pluripotency.  Stem cell reviews.  1(2):111-118.

Schwartz, PH et al.  2008.  Differentiation of neural lineage cells from human pluripotent stem cells. Methods. 45(2):142-158

Stewart, MH; SC BEndell and M. Bhatia.  2008.  Deconstructing human embryonic stem cell cultures: niche regulation of self-renewal and pluripotency.  Journal of molecular medicine.  86(8):875-886

Todeur, S. et al.  2008.  Biology and potentialities of of human embryonic stem cells.  Annales de biologie clinique. 66(3):241-247

Ohtsuka, S. and S. Dalton.  2008.  Molecular and biolgoical properties of pluripotent embryonic stem cells. Gene therapy.  15(2):74-81

Oliveri, RS.  2007.  Epigenetic dedifferentiation of somatic cells into pluripotency: cellular alchemy in the age of regenerative medicine?  Regenerative medicine.  2(5):795-816

Darr, H. and N. Benvenisry.  2006.  Human embryonic stem cells: the battle between self-renewal and differentiation.  Regenerative medicine.  1(3):327-325

Avery, S.; K. Inniss and H. Moore. 2006.  The regulation of self-renewal in human embryonic stem cells.  Stem cells and development.  15(5):729-740.

Skottman, H.; MS Dilber and O. Hovatta.  2006.  The derivation of clnical-grade human embryonic stem cell linesFEBS Letters.  580(12):2875-2878

Related Readings: A. James Hudspeth, M.D., Ph.D.

Friday Lecture Series

Making an Effort to Listen: Mechanical Amplification by Myosin Molecules and Ion Channels in Hair Cells of the Inner Ear

A. James Hudspeth, M.D., Ph.D.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute and The Rockefeller University
New York, New York, USA

3:15 pm – Refreshments, Abby Lounge

3:45 pm – 5:00 pm – Lecture

Friday, October 31, 2008

Caspary Auditorium

Recommended Articles:

Hudspeth, A.J. 2008. Making an Effort to Listen: Mechanical Amplification in the Ear. Neuron 59(4):530-545. 

Nagiel, A., Andor-Ardó, D., Hudspeth, A.J. 2008. Specificity of afferent synapses onto plane-polarized hair cells in the posterior lateral line of the zebrafish. The Journal of Neuroscience 28(34)8442-8453.
(Request a PDF from the Markus Library)

Kozlov, A.S., Risler, T., Hudspeth, A.J. 2007. Coherent motion of stereocilia assures the concerted gating of hair-cell transduction channels. Nature Neuroscience 10(1):87-92.

Hudspeth, A.J., Konishi, M. 2000. Auditory neuroscience: Development, transduction, and integration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 97(22):11690-11691.

Hudspeth, A.J. 1997. Mechanical amplification of stimuli by hair cells. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 7(4):480-486.
Hudspeth, A.J. 1989. How the ear’s works work. Nature 341(6241):397-404.

Hudspeth, A.J. 1986. The ionic channels of a vertebrate hair cell. Hearing Research 22:21-27.


Antibody Fragment Powerful HIV Inhibitor

Previous research has shown that reducing antibodies to the smallest independently functional fragment effectively extends their utility as therapeutic agents.   Researchers at NCI identified the domain fragment, m36, as having the ability to very strongly inhibit multiple HIV strains.  It also provides new insights into how the virus invades the call and neutralizes the immune system.   This research was published online October 20, 2008.  Chen, W, Zhu Z, Feng Y, Dimitrov DS. Human domain antibodies to conserved sterically restricted regions on gp120 as exceptionally potent cross-reactive HIV-1 neutralizers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Broad Spectrum Vaccine Under Development at UCSB

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara in collaboration with research partners at the University of Utah are developing a broad spectrum vaccine that will protect against hundreds of strains of Salmonella.  The research, published in the November 2008 issue of Infection and Immunity, works by disarming a genetic switch.  As an additional benefit the vaccine does NOT induce inhibitory immune cells known to cause immune declines in cancer patients.   The vaccine is still in re-clinical testing.

Related Readings: Constance Scharff, Ph.D.

Special Seminar Series

Gene Function Studies in Songbirds:

Case Study FoxP2

Constance Scharff, Ph.D.

University Professor of Animal Behavior

Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy

Free University of Berlin;

Neurobiology Group Leader

Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics

3:45 – Refreshments

4:00 – 5:00 pm – Seminar

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Second Floor, Welch Hall

Recommended Articles:

Haesler, S., Rochefort, C., Georgi, B., Licznerski, P., Osten, P., Scharff, C. 2007. Incomplete and inaccurate vocal imitation after knockdown of FoxP2 in songbird basal ganglia nucleus area X. PLoS Biology 5(12):2885-2897.

Rochefort, C., He, X., Scotto-Lomassese, S., Scharff, C. 2007. Recruitment of FoxP2-expressing neurons to area X varies during song development. Developmental Neurobiology 67(6)809-817.

White, S.A., Fisher, S.E., Geschwind, D.H., Scharff, C., Holy, T.E. 2006. Singing mice, songbirds, and more: Models for FOXP2 function and dysfunction in human speech and language. Journal of Neuroscience 26(41):10376-10379.

Teramitsu, I., White, S.A. 2006. FoxP2 regulation during undirected singing in adult songbirds. Journal of Neuroscience 26(28):7390-7394.

Scharff, C., Haesler, S. 2005. FoxP2 in song-learning birds and vocal-learning mammals. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 15 (6):694-703.

Scharff, C., White, S.A. 2004. Genetic components of vocal learning. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1016:325-347.

Teramitsu, I., Kudo, L.C., London, S.E., Geschwind, D.H., White, S.A. 2004. Parallel FoxP1 and FoxP2 Expression in Songbird and Human Brain Predicts Functional Interaction. Journal of Neuroscience 24(13):3152-3163.

Haesler, S., Wada, K., Nshdejan, A., Morrisey, E.E., Lints, T., Jarvis, E.D., Scharff, C. 2004. FoxP2 Expression in Avian Vocal Learners and Non-Learners. Journal of Neuroscience 24(13):3164-3175.

Structure and Molecular Mechanism of Microbacterium Hydantoin Permease Elucidated

A research article published in the online source Sciencexpress on October 16, 2008 shows (in spectacular molecular detail) how proteins permit entry to a cell.  S. Weyand, et al. report these details in an article entitled “Structure and Molecular Mechanism of a Nucleobase-Cation-Symport-1 Family Transporter“. 

Scientists have visualized the structure of a transporter protein (Microbacterium hydantoin permease, or Mhp1) and have shown how the protein opens and closes to allow hydantoin molecules across the membrane and into the cell.  The work has significance because of hundreds of similar transporters found in the membranes of human cells.

Professor So Iwata from Imperial College London’s Division of Molecular Biosciences in the department of Life Sciences remarked: “Transporter proteins play an important role in the human body – they are responsible for letting different substances, including salts, sugars and amino acids, into our cells and are targets for a large number of drugs.  Understanding the details of how this transport mechanism works may help researchers design new, more effective drugs in the future.”

The collaborative work began in 2000 with the Ajinomoto Company from Japan which first recognized Mhp1 in Microbacterium liquefaciensand its role in the uptake of hydantoin.  Workers at the University of Leeds amplified the expression of the protein in Escherichia coli.  Professor Iwata and co-workers at the Membrane Protein Laboratory, an outstation of Imperial College built the picture of Mhp1 protein binding to hydantoin.

Researchers observed that Mhp1 opens up on its outer side to allow the hydantoin molecule to move into the membrane.  Once bound, the opening to the outside of the membrane is closed after which the inward-facing side of the membrane opens to release hydantoin into the cell. 

Abstracted from Scienceexpress, October 16, 2008 and ScienceDaily, October 17, 2008.

Related Readings: Leonid Kruglyak PhD

Special Seminar Series:  Systems Biology

Learning C. elegans Biology from Natural Genetic Variation

Leonid Kruglyak, Ph.D.

Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics

Princeton University

Welch Hall, Level 2  4:00 p.m   Refreshments: 3:45 

Recommended Articles:

Zhu, Jun; Zhang, Bin; Smith, Erin N.; Drees, Becky; brem, Rachel B.; Krulyak, Leonid; Bumgarner, Roger E.; Schadt, Eric E.  2008.  Integrating large-scale functional genomic data to dissect the complexity of yeast regulatory networks.  Nature Genetics.   40(7): 854-861.


Smith, Erin N.; Kruglyak, Leonid.  2008.  Gene-environment interaction in yeast gene expression. PLoS Biology.  6(4):e83


Seidel, Hannah S.; Rockman, Matthew V.; Kruglyak, Leonid.  2008.  Widespread genetic incompatibility in C. elegans maintained by balancing selection. Science   319 (5863): 589-594


Rockman, Matthew V.; Kruglyak, Leonid.  2006. Genetics of global gene expression.  Nature Reviews Genetics.  7(11):862-872.


Kroymann, Juergen; Mitchell-Olds, Thomas.  2005.  Epistasis and balanced polymorphism influencing complex trait variation.  Nature  435(7038): 95-98.


Wright, Stephen I.; Gaut, Brandon S.  2005.  Molecular population genetics and the search for adaptive evolution in plants.  Molecular Biology and Evolution.  22(3):505-519

Related readings: Yoichiro Iwakura

ADARC Seminar Series

The Roles of IL-17A/IL-17F in Allergic Responses and Host Defense against Infection

Yoichiro Iwakura, D. Sc.

Professor and Director, The University of Tokyo

4:00 – 5:00 pm – Sixth Floor Conference Room

Friday, October 17, 2008

ADARC, 455 First Ave., New York, NY

Recommended Articles:

Ito, R., et al. 2008. Involvement of IL-17A in the pathogenesis of DSS-induced colitis in mice. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Article in Press.

Hamada, S. et al. 2008. IL-17A produced by gammadelta T cells plays a critical role in innate immunity against listeria monocytogenes infection in the liver. Journal of immunology  181(5):3456-3463.

Iwakura, Y., and Ishigame, H. 2006. The IL-23/IL-17 axis in inflammation. Journal of Clinical Investigation 116(5):1218-1222.

Aujla, S.J., Dubin, P.J., Kolls, J.K. 2007. Interleukin-17 in pulmonary host defense. Experimental Lung Research 33(10):507-518.  (order copy from library)

McAllister, F., et al. 2005.  Role of IL-17A, IL-17F, and the IL-17 receptor in regulating growth-related oncogene-α and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in bronchial epithelium: Implications for airway inflammation in cystic fibrosis. Journal of Immunology 175(1):404-412.




Science Community Endorsements for Obama

Sixty three Nobelists have endorsed Barack Obama.   Now Francis Collins, the former Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and lead on the Human Genome Project has just published an opinion piece in the Virginian Pilot endorsing Barack Obama.  His analysis focused on the strengths of the Obama plan for science and technology.

2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP

GFP consists of 238 amino acids and this chain folds up into the shape of an aluminum beverage can.  Inside the can-like structure, amino acids 65, 66, 67 for the chemical group that obsorbs UV and blue light, and fluoresces green.  (Credit: Image courtesy of Nobel Foundation)
GFP consist of 238 amino acids and this chain folds up into the shape of an aluminum beverage can. Inside the can-like structure, amino acids 65, 66, 67 form the chemical group that absorbs UV and blue light, and fluoresces green. (Credit: Image courtesy of Nobel Foundation)

 The 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded to Osamu Shimomura (Marine Biological Laboratory and Boston University Medical School), Martin Chalfie (Columbia University), and Roger Y. Tsien (University of California, San Diego).  Green fluorescent protein (GFP) was first observed in the jellyfish Aequorea victoria in 1962.  Further important developments led to the use of GFP as a tagging tool which, once bound to a protein of interest, can permit detailed studies of a number of biological interactions.

Shimomura first isolated the protein and discovered that it glowed bright green under ultraviolet light.  Chalfie demonstrated that GFP was valuable as a luminous genetic tag in his early studies of GFP in Caenorhabditis elegans.  Tsien studied how GFP fluoresces and extended the color palette to give various proteins and cells different colors. 

(Excerpts from ScienceDaily, October 8, 2008)