Elizabeth Vierling Named Distinguished Professor
Professor Elizabeth Vierling has been named a Distinguished Professor, a distiction earned by only 2% of the faculty at UMass Amherst. She was chosen for her outstanding research, extraordinary level of productivity and impact and because she is an internationally recognized leader in her field of study. Prof. Vierling works to understand the mechanism and role of plant molecular chaperones.
Essential Role for Heat Shock Protein 90 (Hsp90C) Elucidated
Recent studies by Professor Danny Schnell and Postdoctoral Associate Hitoshi Inoue, published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the Natioanl Academy of Sciences, have identified a molecular chaperone, Hsp90C, which plays a key role in determining the fate of photosynthesis proteins. Hsp90C appears to participate as part of a complex chaperone network that maintains the proper transport, folding and assembly of the photosynthetic apparatus. The function of the chaperone network appears to be essential for plant function, and especially in plant seedlings when the photosynthetic machinery is being built and plants transition from their dependence on seed reserves to producing their own energy. [Read more]
Chien Lab Publishes Work on Cell Cycle Protein "Clean-up"
The coordinated and regulated destruction of protein complexes is a critical feature of the bacterial cell cycle. New work from the Chien lab, led by BMB alumna Amber Cantin (BS '11, MS '12), and in close collaboration with the Laub lab at MIT, shows that individual subunits, when in complexes necessary for proper chromosome replication, shield each other from destruction by proteases. Once one subunit is degraded, the others are then highly susceptible to destruction. This mutually assured "clean-up" of loose uncomplexed subunits helps trigger the next step in the cell cycle. This work is being published in Molecular Microbiology. [More here.]
Prof. Schnell Named AAAS Fellow
Prof. Danny Schnell was chosen as a 2012 Fellow by the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fellows are chosen by their peers and are recognized for "meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications." Profs. Schnell's current research includes a Department of Energy-funded project to increase oil production in the seeds of the Camelina plant for use as a biofuel. Read more.
New Research Data Could Prove Important in Cancer Treatment
In the December 7th issue of the journal Cell, Distinguished Professor Lila Gierasch, along with Research Assistant Professor Eugenia Clerico and Postdoc Anastasia Zhuravleva, have published their research on the mechanism of function of Hsp70 molecular chaperones. Because all rapidly dividing cells, including cancer cells, use high amounts of Hsp70 to facilitate protein folding, these results could help pave the way to stopping the growth of tumors. Read more.
Prof. Ma Contributes to the Newly Published "Evolution of Virulence in Eukaryotic Microbes"
BMB professor Li-Jun Ma, along with colleagues at University of Minnesota and University of Amsterdam, contributed a chapter "Evolution of plant pathogenicity in Fusarium species" to the newly published book Evolution of Virulence in Eukaryotic Microbes. The book provides a unique review of the emergence of eukaryotic virulence in both plant and animal pathogens. Dr. Ma's research focuses on understanding genomic plasticity that enables organism niche adaptation using a model fungal system Fusarium oxysporum.
Prof. Normanly Editor of Newly Published Plant Methods Guide
Jennifer Normanly, Professor and Department Head, is the editor of the newly published methods guide, High-Throughput Phenotyping in Plants: Methods and Protocols. The volume contains methods for quantitative profiling of cellular components. Prof. Normanly's research focuses on plant metabolic regulation and engineering and is well known in the field of plant molecular biology for her work on profiling of metabolites.
Science Comes Naturally at UMass Amherst
Undergraduates in the College of Natural Sciences, two of whom are Biochemistry majors, discuss their experiences in the sciences at UMass Amherst.