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  • Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
    failure and in some cases hepatocellular carcinoma Studying the molecular underpinnings of a clinically relevant host virus interaction makes this work exciting said Bradrick Hilary and Simar cooperated to perform RNA affinity chromatography experiments that identified the IGF2BP RNA binding proteins as factors that may regulate HCV replication They will be continuing their research this fall and have been a pleasure to mentor he added My undergraduate research experience has been incredibly rewarding as it has allowed me to explore indepth topics I only briefly learned about in class but found extremely interesting said Novatt This experience has also afforded me the opportunity to work alongside amazing mentors and peers who constantly challenge me to ask new interesting questions about my research The overarching goal of this study was to biochemically purify and characterize RNA protein complexes that form on HCV RNA in a manner that depends on miR 122 To this end the researchers initially developed a cell free assay that recapitulated a positive effect of miR 122 on HCV gene expression Using this test tube system they subsequently conducted RNA affinity chromatography using HCV RNA as bait to isolate protein complexes for analysis by mass spectrometry and Western blotting This approach specifically pulled down argonaute 2 Ago2 a protein know to directly bind miRNAs The researchers also identified several related RNA binding proteins known as insulin like growth factor 2 mRNA binding proteins IGF2BPs that appear to bind HCV RNA in close proximity to the miR 122 binding sites They are now testing the hypothesis that IGF2BPs may serve as factors that modulate virus replication through regulating miR 122 HCV RNA interactions In order to test this hypothesis they are conducting live virus infection experiments in liver cancer cell lines Conducting scientific research as a Duke undergrad has

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/news/bradrick_1.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
    Principal Investigator in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge MA who investigates the genetic and circuit level mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disease and the technologies that enable nervous system repair Young Investigator Award The Young Investigator Award recognizes outstanding young scientists at a critical juncture in their careers It provides 250 000 in discretionary funds for basic biomedical research Candidates are competitively selected by

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/news/tobin_5.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
    Basil O Connor Starter Scholar Award in 2004 a prestigious two year award that funded her research during the establishment of her laboratory Subsequent MOD Research Grants awarded in 2006 and 2010 supported the lab s goal to pioneer strategies to experimentally produce human chromosomal rearrangements specifically dicentric chromosomes those with two centromere regions Dicentric chromosomes are genome rearrangements associated with birth defects such as Down Syndrome and reproductive defects including miscarriage and infertility The long term goal of Sullivan s research is to define the molecular basis for dicentric formation and the poorly understood mechanism of centromere inactivation or suppression that stabilizes dicentric chromosomes so they are tolerated in human cells The current March of Dimes project will focus on human chromosome 17 present in every human being and the molecular basis for its dicentric like behavior that her lab recently discovered The March of Dimes is a U S non profit foundation whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects premature birth and infant mortality Established in 1938 by President Franklin D Roosevelt as the National Foundation for Infant Paralysis and later renamed the March of Dimes Foundation its original mission was to

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/news/sullivan.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
    fungus Aspergillus nidulans she was able to show that the 25 kD protein entered the fungal cell to cause cell death While in the Heitman lab she studied the role of mating and mating type in the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans She characterized mating in the most common pathogenic form of C neoformans var grubii and used this mating to develop congenic strains in this variety Her focus was the utilization of these congenic strains to examine virulence characteristics for var grubii Nielsen s current research focuses on Central Nervous System Penetration by Cryptococcus neoformans hypothesizing that pheromone signaling plays a central role not only during mating of C neoformans but also during entry into the CNS By perturbing pheromone signaling during individual and coinfections with congenic alpha and a strains she hopes to identify key components required for CNS penetration in this pathogen and provide a foundation for further treatment strategies to reduce cryptococcal meningitis Congratulations to Xiaorong Lin PhD on receiving conferral of tenure and the rank of Associate Professor of Biology by the Texas A M University Conferral of tenure by the University constitutes a major affirmation that truly outstanding research and scholarly achievements have occurred on the part of a scientist whose work is consistent with the goals of the Department and the University said former mentor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Joseph Heitman MD PhD After earning her BE and ME degrees in Chemical Engineering from Dalian University of Technology and the Chinese Academy of Science respectively Lin developed an interest in biology specifically fungal developmental biology Her PhD training was focused on the characterization of polarized growth in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans in Dr Michelle Momany s lab at the University of Georgia She joined the Heitman lab

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/news/nielsen_lin.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
    cardiovascular and stroke research by providing research assistance and training Mao is a third year graduate student and works in the laboratory of Debra Silver PhD Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Mao s research project focuses on elucidating how members of an RNA surveillance complex the EJC regulates embryonic neurogenesis and brain development The project aims at understanding the regulation of brain development on a cellular and molecular basis One important part of her project is to identify candidate genes regulated by the EJC via RNA immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing The EJC members have been implicated in various human brain development disorders The project will shed light into the requirements of RNA regulation in pathogenesis of human neurodevelopmental disorders Helen s project is very exciting and we believe her findings will give us unique insight into how the brain develops as well as EJC function and neurodevelopmental disorders says Silver With a strong interest in RNA biology and brain development she is the ideal student to pursue this study We are thrilled to have the support of the American Heart Association for her graduate studies The American Heart Association AHA is a non profit organization

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/news/mao.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
    Marchuk PhD professor and vice chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke If he was right people with Sturge Weber and people with port wine stains would have a mutation in the same gene because they re really the same thing with the difference being when the mutation happens during development Sure enough we found the same mutation in both affected tissues and not only was it the same gene it was exactly the same mutation The researchers performed whole genome sequencing on both affected and non affected tissue samples from individuals with SWS and port wine stains and from normal subjects Advanced sequencing technology and bioinformatics were critical to identifying the gene the mutation and the protein involved in the disease process which is called G alpha q Gαq The Gαq protein is a highly studied compound associated with G protein coupled receptors the family of signaling receptors involved in a wide variety of physiological processes The receptors are the subject of research that led to Duke s Robert Lefkowitz winning the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Marchuk said the association may bode well for development of new therapies for SWS and port wine stains Gαq is an important protein in a lot of processes so people are already studying drugs that might inhibit the receptor he said Although the research team has not yet isolated which specific cell type is involved they suspect the mutation occurs in endothelial cells in the blood vessels in the region of the eye and nearby brain Now that the gene and the mutation have been identified the next step will be to develop an animal model to characterize the tissue and cell types Marchuk and his colleagues worked closely with the patient advocacy group Sturge Weber Foundation Karen

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/news/marchuk_3.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
    Perfect combines his clinical practice as a professor in the Department of Medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases with his research activities as director of the Duke University Mycology Research Unit in a quest to use scienti c discoveries to directly bene t patients Perfect trained in internal medicine at the University of Michigan and moved to Duke in 1977 to complete an Infectious Disease Fellowship during which he studied treatment and pathogenesis for bacterial and fungal meningitis and endocarditis He joined the Duke faculty in 1980 and focused his research on animal models and pathogenesis of fungal infections In 1987 he completed a Yeast Molecular Biology Course at Cold Spring Harbor and took a research leave to work in the laboratory of Paul T Magee Ph D at the University of Minnesota His research focus began on the molecular pathogenesis of Cryptococcus neoformans Today Perfect and his Duke laboratory are engaged in molecular pathogenesis studies of C neoformans and in preclinical development of antifungals with the goal of designing therapeutic and diagnostic strategies for invasive mycoses of humans Dr Perfect is a passionate researcher tireless mentor and an outstanding clinician His work has focused on translating

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/news/perfect_2.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
    of Medicine This is just a wonderful recognition of Hunt s role as a scientist and as a leader of science said Duke Provost Peter Lange Since his time at Duke he has not only provided outstanding leadership for the IGSP but he has distinguished himself by the strong role he has played in undergraduate education in genomics and as a spokesperson for interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching With his lab known as the Sandbox Willard has described previously unknown roles played by non coding RNA in the regulation of gene expression His lab also identified the function of repeated DNA families in the orderly segregation of chromosomes during cell division Both discoveries have led to the development of major areas of inquiry in genomics epigenetics diagnosis of chromosome disorders and human disease biology I am thrilled by this news and grateful to my colleagues in the National Academy for honoring my group s contributions over the past three decades Willard said It is wonderfully rewarding to have the students and others in the Sandbox recognized in this way Willard s current interests include undergraduate education and the broad implications of genome sciences for biology medicine and society He becomes the

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/news/willard_2.html (2014-06-13)
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