Anne Houdusse Wins Women in Science Award for 2009

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) announced Anne Houdusse, head of the Structural Motility Team, CNRS/Institute Curie, Paris, France, as the winner of the FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award for 2009. The selection committee honoured Anne Houdusse’s outstanding contributions to the field of structural biology and the understanding of the molecular mechanism of action of myosins.

The FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award, now in its second year, recognizes and rewards the exceptional achievements of a female scientist in life sciences research over the previous five years.

Public Lecture at AMNH on the Evolution of the Human Brain

79th James Arthur Lecture on the Evolution of the Human Brain
Evolutionary Depth of Human Brain Language Areas:
Roles of Common Ancestors and Major Adaptive Shifts

  • Monday, March 23
  • 6 pm
  • American Museum of Natural History,  79 St. at Central Park West
  • Kaufmann Theater, first floor
  • Free admission (no reservations required)


Patrick Gannon, Professor of Touro University College of Medicine, New Jersey, draws on his neurobiology research to discuss the evolution of human brain language areas—from their origins over 30 million years ago to their development in our common ancestors, which helped to set the stage for an adaptive shift to “language”.

Brain Protein netrin-1 New Clue to Alzheimers

A study from the Buck Institute for Age Research offers a revolutionary new model for Alzheimer’s disease. They have discovered a naturally occurring protein that provides a new therapeutic target, and suggests that Alzheimers is  a disorder involving an imbalance in signaling between neurons.  Read the complete report of research in Cell Death and Differentiation.

Recommended Readings: Helen H. Hobbs, M.D.

Friday Lecture Series

Genetic Protection from Diseases of Dietary Excess

 Helen H. Hobbs, M.D.

Chief, Division of Medical Genetics, Professor of Internal Medicine and of Molecular Genetics, and Director, McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Friday, February 27, 2009

3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:15 p.m., Abby Lounge)

Caspary Auditorium

Recommended Articles:

Cohen, J., A. Pertsemlidis, I. K. Kotowski, R. Graham, C. K. Garcia, and H. H. Hobbs. 2005. Low LDL cholesterol in individuals of african descent resulting from frequent nonsense mutations in PCSK9. Nature Genetics. 37(2):161-165.


Cohen, J. C., E. Boerwinkle, T. H. Mosley Jr., and H. H. Hobbs. 2006. Sequence variations in PCSK9, low LDL, and protection against coronary heart disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 354(12): 1264-1272.


Jain, T., R. Peshock, D. K. McGuire, D. Willett, Z. Yu, G. L. Vega, R. Guerra, H. H. Hobbs, and S. M. Grundy. 2004. African americans and caucasians have a similar prevalence of coronary calcium in the dallas heart study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 44(5):1011-1017.


Romeo, S., L. A. Pennacchio, Y. Fu, E. Boerwinkle, A. Tybjaerg-Hansen, H. H. Hobbs, and J. C. Cohen. 2007. Population-based resequencing of ANGPTL4 uncovers variations that reduce triglycerides and increase HDL. Nature Genetics. 39(4):513-516.


Horton, J. D., J. C. Cohen, and H. H. Hobbs. 2007. Molecular biology of PCSK9: Its role in LDL metabolism. Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 32(2):71-77.


Rader, D. J., J. Cohen, and H. H. Hobbs. 2003. Monogenic hypercholesterolemia: New insights in pathogenesis and treatment. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 111(12):1795-1803.


Russell, D. W., V. Esser, and H. H. Hobbs. 1989. Molecular basis of familial hypercholesterolemia. Arteriosclerosis. 9(1 SUPPL.):I8-I13.
(Contact the Markus Library at ext. 8904 to request a copy of this article)


Recommended Readings: Christopher T. Walsh, Ph.D.

Friday Lecture Series

Peptide-based Natural Antibiotics Strategies for Scaffold Transformation

 Christopher T. Walsh, Ph.D.

Hamilton Kuhn Professor, Department of Biological Chemsitry and Molecular Pharmacology

Harvard Medical School

Friday, February 20, 2009

3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:15 p.m., Abby Lounge)

Caspary Auditorium

Recommended Articles:

Nolan EM, Walsh CT. 2009.  How Nature Morphs Peptide Scaffolds into Antibiotics
CHEMBIOCHEM   10(1 ):34-53   


Magarvey NA, Fortin PD, Thomas PM, et al.  2008. Gatekeeping versus promiscuity in the early stages of the andrimid biosynthetic assembly line. ACS CHEMICAL BIOLOGY  3(9):542-554   


Roege KE, Kelly WL. 2009. Biosynthetic Origins of the Ionophore Antibiotic Indanomycin.  ORGANIC LETTERS   11(2): 297-300   


Bumpus SB, Kelleher NL.  2008.  Accessing natural product biosynthetic processes by mass spectrometry.  CURRENT OPINION IN CHEMICAL BIOLOGY . 12(5): 475-482   


Watanabe K.  2008.  Exploring the Biosynthesis of Natural Products and Their Inherent Suitability for the Rational Design of Desirable Compounds through Genetic Engineering. BIOSCIENCE BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY   72(10):2491-2506   


Howard-Jones AR, Kruger RG, Lu W, et al.. 2007.   Kinetic analysis of teicoplanin glycosyltransferases and acyltransferase reveal ordered tailoring of aglycone scaffold to reconstitute mature teicoplanin.  JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY 129(33):10082-+   


La Clair JJ .  2006.  Cellular routines in the synthesis of cyclic peptide probes. TETRAHEDRON   62(22):5347-5354


Kruger RG, Lu W, Oberthur M, et al. 2005. Tailoring of glycopeptide scaffolds by the acyltransferases from the teicoplanin and A-40,926 biosynthetic operons.  CHEMISTRY & BIOLOGY   12(1):131-140  


Gruenewald S, Mootz HD, Stehmeier P, et al.   2004.  In vivo production of artificial nonribosomal peptide products in the heterologous host Escherichia coli.  APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY    70(6): 3282-3291

HHMI Fellowship Being Expanded to Support More Students

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, impressed with the numbers and quality of applicants received this year, has decided to increase the number of Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study from 5 to 9.  The Gilliam fellows program aims to enrich science research and increase diversity of college and university faculty members by supporting the education of top student scientists.   Each awardee receives $44,000 a year for up to five years.  The program began in 2004, and there are currently 21 Gilliam scholars in addition to the latest winners.  Read more about this program at the HHMI website. 

Recommended Readings: Lars Dietrich, Ph.D.

Monday Lecture Series

Redox-active Antibiotics Control Gene Expression and Community Behavior in Divergent Bacteria

Lars Dietrich, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Monday, March 16, 2009

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

Second Floor, Welch Hall

Recommended Articles:

Dietrich, L. E. P., A. Price-Whelan, A. Petersen, M. Whiteley, and D. K. Newman. 2006. The phenazine pyocyanin is a terminal signalling factor in the quorum sensing network of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Molecular Microbiology. 61(5):1308-1321.

Dietrich, L. E. P., T. K. Teal, A. Price-Whelan, and D. K. Newman. 2008. Redox-active antibiotics control gene expression and community behavior in divergent bacteria. Science. 321(5893):1203-1206.

Gorodetsky, A. A., L. E. P. Dietrich, P. E. Lee, B. Demple, D. K. Newman, and J. K. Barton. 2008. DNA binding shifts the redox potential of the transcription factor SoxR. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105(10):3684-3689.

Price-Whelan, A., L. E. P. Dietrich, and D. K. Newman. 2007. Pyocyanin alters redox homeostasis and carbon flux through central metabolic pathways in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14. Journal of Bacteriology. 189(17):6372-6381.

Price-Whelan, A., L.E.P. Dietrich, and D. K. Newman. 2006. Rethinking ‘secondary’ metabolism: Physiological roles for phenazine antibiotics. Nature Chemical Biology. 2(2):71-78.

Recommended Readings: Kevin Foster, Ph.D.

Monday Lecture Series

Social Interactions in Microbes

Kevin Foster, Ph.D.

Bauer Fellow

Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University

Monday, March 9, 2009

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

Second Floor, Welch Hall

Recommended Articles:

Foster, K. R. 2006. Sociobiology: The phoenix effect. Nature. 441(7091):291-292.

Foster, K. R., K. Parkinson, and C. R. L. Thompson. 2007. What can microbial genetics teach sociobiology? Trends in Genetics. 23(2):74-80.

Foster, K. R., and T. Wenseleers. 2006. A general model for the evolution of mutualisms. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 19(4):1283-1293.

Foster, K. R., T. Wenseleers, F. L. W. Ratnieks, and D. C. Queller. 2006. There is nothing wrong with inclusive fitness. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 21(11):599-600.

Foster, K. R., and JoaoB Xavier. 2007. Cooperation: Bridging ecology and sociobiology. Current Biology. 17(9):R319-R321.

Gilbert, O. M., K. R. Foster, N. J. Mehdiabadi, J. E. Strassmann, and D. C. Queller. 2007. High relatedness maintains multicellular cooperation in a social amoeba by controlling cheater mutants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 104(21):8913-8917.

Lehmann, L., K. R. Foster, E. Borenstein, and M. W. Feldman. 2008. Social and individual learning of helping in humans and other species. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 23(12):664-671.

Nadell, C. D., J. B. Xavier, and K. R. Foster. 2009. The sociobiology of biofilms. FEMS Microbiology Reviews. 33(1):206-224.

Nadell, C. D., J. B. Xavier, S. A. Levin, and K. R. Foster. 2008. The evolution of quorum sensing in bacterial biofilms. PLoS Biology. 6(1):0171-0179.

Pizzari, T., and K. R. Foster. 2008. Sperm sociality: Cooperation, altruism, and spite. PLoS Biology. 6(5):0925-0931.

Rankin, D. J., A. López-Sepulcre, K. R. Foster, and H. Kokko. 2007. Species-level selection reduces selfishness through competitive exclusion. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 20(4):1459-1468.

Smukalla, S., M. Caldara, N. Pochet, A. Beauvais, S. Guadagnini, C. Yan, M. D. Vinces, et al. 2008. FLO1 is a variable green beard gene that drives biofilm-like cooperation in budding yeast. Cell. 135(4):726-737.

Xavier, J. B., and K. R. Foster. 2007. Cooperation and conflict in microbial biofilms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 104(3):876-881.