Rockefeller’s Cori Bargmann Being Honored by NAS

The National Academy of Sciences will honor 18 individuals in 2009 for their extraordinary scientific achievements in the areas of biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, social sciences, psychology, and application of science for the public good. An awards ceremony for the recipients will take place on April 26 during the NAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C.    Read the press release about all 18 honorees.

Recommended Readings: Andrew Grimson, Ph.D.

Monday Lecture Series

Animal microRNAs: their ancient origin and contemporary targets

Andrew Grimson, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Monday, March 2, 2009

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:45 p.m.)

Second Floor, Welch Hall

Recommended Articles:

Glazov, E. A., S. McWilliam, W. C. Barris, and B. P. Dalrymple. 2008. Origin, evolution, and biological role of miRNA cluster in DLK-DIO3 genomic region in placental mammals. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 25(5):939-948.

Farh, K. K. -H, A. Grimson, C. Jan, B. P. Lewis, W. K. Johnston, L. P. Lim, C. B. Burge, and D. P. Bartel. 2005. Biochemistry: The widespread impact of mammalian microRNAs on mRNA repression and evolution. Science. 310(5755):1817-1821.

Grimson, A., K. K. -H Farh, W. K. Johnston, P. Garrett-Engele, L. P. Lim, and D. P. Bartel. 2007. MicroRNA targeting specificity in mammals: Determinants beyond seed pairing. Molecular Cell. 27(1):91-105.

Grimson, A., M. Srivastava, B. Fahey, B. J. Woodcroft, H. R. Chiang, N. King, B. M. Degnan, D. S. Rokhsar, and D. P. Bartel. 2008. Early origins and evolution of microRNAs and piwi-interacting RNAs in animals. Nature. 455(7217):1193-1197.

Piriyapongsa, J., L. Mariño-Ramírez, and I. K. Jordan. 2007. Origin and evolution of human microRNAs from transposable elements. Genetics. 176(2):1323-1337.

Cold Spring Harbor Labs Announce New Class of Small RNA Molecules

Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) announced the discovery of a new class of small RNAs this week online (January 25th,) in the journal Nature.   Their discovery suggests the presence of a strikingly novel biochemical pathway for RNA processing in which these and possibly other small RNAs are produced. 

The research, which is part of a multinational project called ENCODE, also provided information concerning the biological function of the new short RNA class.

Novel 4D Colorimetric Method Reveals Coordination of the Living Brain

For the brain to achieve its intricate functions such as perception, action, attention and decision making, neural regions have to work together yet still retain their specialized roles. Excess or lack of timely coordination between brain areas lies at the core of a number of psychiatric and neurological disorders. 

In new research published in the January 2009 issue and featured on the cover of Progress in Neurobiology, researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science propose a theoretical model of the brain’s coordination dynamics and apply a novel 4D colorimetric method to human neurophysiological data collected in the laboratory.

Technology, Reading, and Critical Thinking

ScienceDaily (Jan. 29, 2009) — As technology has played a bigger role in our lives, our skills in critical thinking and analysis have declined, while our visual skills have improved, according to research by Patricia Greenfield, UCLA distinguished professor of psychology and director of the Children’s Digital Media Center, Los Angeles.  Reading for pleasure has declined in recent decades.   Working with print media enhances thinking and engages the imagination in a way that visual media such as video games and television do not.  Studies show that reading develops imagination, induction, reflection and critical thinking, as well as vocabulary.

Recommended Readings: Michael Elowitz, Ph.D.

Special Seminar Series: Systems Biology

Bacterial Differentiation and Development at the Single-cell Level

Michael Elowitz, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology and Applied Physics, and Bren Scholar

Division of Biology

California Institute of Technology

Investigator, HHMI

Wednesday, February 23, 2009

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:45 p.m.)

Second Floor, Welch Hall

Recommended Articles:

Cai, L., C. K. Dalal, and M. B. Elowitz. 2008. Frequency-modulated nuclear localization bursts coordinate gene regulation. Nature. 455(7212):485-490.

Cox III, R. S., M. G. Surette, and M. B. Elowitz. 2007. Programming gene expression with combinatorial promoters. Molecular Systems Biology 3, art. no. 145 .

Dunlop, M. J., R. S. Cox III, J. H. Levine, R. M. Murray, and M. B. Elowitz. 2008. Regulatory activity revealed by dynamic correlations in gene expression noise. Nature Genetics. 40(12):1493-1498.

Elowitz, M. B., A. J. Levine, E. D. Siggia, and P. S. Swain. 2002. Stochastic gene expression in a single cell. Science. 297(5584):1183-1186.

Lahav, G., N. Rosenfeld, A. Sigal, N. Geva-Zatorsky, A. J. Levine, M. B. Elowitz, and U. Alon. 2004. Dynamics of the p53-Mdm2 feedback loop in individual cells. Nature Genetics. 36(2):147-150.

Rosenfeld, N., J. W. Young, U. Alon, P. S. Swain, and M. B. Elowitz. 2005. Gene regulation at the single-cell level. Science. 307(5717):1962-1965.

Sprinzak, D., and M. B. Elowitz. 2005. Reconstruction of genetic circuits. Nature. 438(7067):443-448.

Suel, G. M., J. Garcia-Ojalvo, L. M. Liberman, and M. B. Elowitz. 2006. An excitable gene regulatory circuit induces transient cellular differentiation. Nature. 440(7083):545-550.

Suel, G. M., R. P. Kulkarni, J. Dworkin, J. Garcia-Ojalvo, and M. B. Elowitz. 2007. Tunability and noise dependence in differentiation dynamics. Science. 315(5819):1716-1719.

Swain, P. S., M. B. Elowitz, and E. D. Siggia. 2002. Intrinsic and extrinsic contributions to stochasticity in gene expression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 99(20):12795-12800.

NATURE Conferences: Genomics of Infectious Diseases in March

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), The Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) and Nature Publishing Group are pleased to announce: Genetics and Genomics of Infectious Diseases March 21-24, 2009, The Ritz Carlton Millenia Hotel, Singapore

Early Bird Registration has been extended to January 30.

Classical and emerging infectious diseases, viral pandemics, and drug-resistant pathogens remain challenges to human health. However, contemporary advances in genetics and genomic technologies provide new approaches to understanding and combating these diseases. The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) are partnering with Nature Publishing Group (NPG) to organize an international conference to discuss how the genomes, unique biologies, and interactions of both host and pathogen are being revealed using novel genomic technologies, and how this information can and will translate into disease management and therapies. This conference will engage basic and clinical scientists, including human geneticists, genome scientists, computational biologists, and experts in pathogenic microbial agents to chart the effects of genomics on questions in global infectious disease management.

Recommended Readings: Long Cai, Ph.D.

Monday Lecture Series

FM Signaling in Single Cells

Long Cai, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Division of Biology and Beckman Institute

California Institute of Technology

Monday, February 23, 2009

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:45 p.m.)

Second Floor, Welch Hall

Recommended Articles:

Cai, L., C. K. Dalal, and M. B. Elowitz. 2008. Frequency-modulated nuclear localization bursts coordinate gene regulation. Nature. 455(7212):485-490.

Cai, L., N. Friedman, and X. S. Xie. 2006. Stochastic protein expression in individual cells at the single molecule level. Nature. 440(7082):358-362.

Choi, P. J., L. Cai, K. Frieda, and X. S. Xie. 2008. A stochastic single-molecule event triggers phenotype switching of a bacterial cell. Science. 322(5900):442-446.

Friedman, N., L. Cai, and X. S. Xie. 2006. Linking stochastic dynamics to population distribution: An analytical framework of gene expression. Physical Review Letters. 97(16) art. no. 168302.

Acting Director, NIH Releases Biennial Report

Raynard S. Kington, acting director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has issued his first Biennial Report of the Director.  The report provides an overview of NIH research activities, and is intended to help Congress, advocates and patient groups, and the general public to understand the agency’s programs. It contains an assessment of the state of biomedical and behavioral research organized by disease category, investigative approach, or resource.

Read a synopsis of the contents, or  from the synopsis web page download the complete report.

Targeting Cancer’s Own Stem Cells to Fight Recurrence

New research demonstrates that cancer stem cells or “tumor-initiating cells,”  when targeted with a reprogrammed herpes virus, can be prevented from turning malignant and re-initiating disease.  The finding bolsters the theory that cancer harbors its own secret cache of stem cells that are resistant to conventional therapies and responsible for tumor re-emergence.  This type of virus-against-cancer therapy may be the next generation of anti-cancer treatments.  The study was published online Jan. 21 in the journal PLoS (Public Library of Science) One.