SUMO Proteins Emerge as Critical K2P Channel Regulators

In memory of Dan Getz (1969-2006) and sponsored by the Dan Getz Endowed Fund for Heart Disease Research, the most recent lecture in the Heart Research Series was presented on Wednesday afternoon. For the many that were in attendance, Dr. Steve Goldstein, the newly appointed Provost of the university, presented a wonderful story on his ongoing research involving K2P channels. The ubiquitously expressed K2P channels are critical in regulating a cell’s resting membrane potential, making them essential for the proper function of any cell that operates through electrical stimulation. His research has uncovered the surprising result that the activity of these elusive channels is regulated by small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) proteins. Sumoylation was widely thought to only occur in the nucleus, but a number of elegantly designed experiments proved that this is not the case. The recent finding that the activity of these channels is modulated by sumoylation uncovers an entirely new way of thinking about K2P channel activity. Although the research presented was focused on specific isoforms of the channel, Dr. Goldstein’s results will extend to aid research involved with trying to understand diseases of the heart and beyond.

Colocalization of SUMO1 and K2P1 at the plasma membrane, from Plant et al. PNAS 107(23): 10743–10748, 2010.

Quantitative Biology Lecture Prize

The Quantitative Biology Program at Brandeis University, supported by a grant from Howard Huges Medical Institute, is now soliciting applications for an award for preparing an outstanding set of three pedagogical lectures on a subject at the interface of the physical and biomedical sciences.  These lectures will be given at the Quantitative Biology Boot camp, January 12, through Friday, January 13, 2012.  The award consists of a cash prize of $2,000.

Any graduate student or postdoctoral research associate currently at Brandeis is eligible to apply.  The application packet should consist of short/ curriculum vitae/ and a one page outline of the three lectures.  QB faculty will work with the successful applicant in preparing the lectures.  Applications should be submitted  to Jen Scappini either by campus mail (MS009), or e-mail (jscappin@brandeis.edu). (Due date will be discussed at the Wednesday, 10.19.11 Meeting).

An information session for potential applicants will be held on Wednesday, October 19th, 2:30-3:00 in Kosow 207.

Biotech/Science Forum (Oct. 18)

On October 18, the Brandeis Hiatt Career Center will hold its third annual event focused on helping students at Brandeis in the sciences learn about important professional trends and speak with over 25 alumni and professionals who were once in their shoes.  The event is appropriate for those who seek insights about careers and trends in research, or simply want to learn about what alumni are doing now.

3rd Annual Biotech, Healthcare & Science Forum
“Discovery without Borders.
Sponsored by the Hiatt Career Center
Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Formal program, Sherman Hall, Hassenfeld
6pm: Panel
7pm: Networking

Features
– Expert panel moderated by Provost Steve Goldstein ’78
– Followed by chance to speak with 25+ alumni who are coming to help

Complete Event & RSVP Details: go.brandeis.edu/biotech

Register promptly, as this event fills up every year.

Complex Fluids Workshop on Sep 23

On Friday, Sep 23 2011, Brandeis will play host to the 48th New England Complex Fluids Meeting, run by the New England Complex Fluids Workgroup, of which the Brandeis Complex Fluids group is a charter participant. These quarterly meetings foster collaboration among researchers from industry and academia in the New England area studying Soft Condensed Matter, offer the opportunity to exchange ideas, and help introduce students and post-docs to the local academic and industrial research community.

The workshop, to be held in the Shapiro Campus Center, will have four talks by invited speakers, each about 30 minutes long with ample time for questions. In addition, everyone who attends is encouraged to give a five minute update (soundbite) of their current work.

Schedule

9:30 AM – Krystyn Van Vliet (Materials Science and Engineering, MIT), Chemomechanics of responsive gels
10:15 AM – Jeremy England (Physics, MIT), Shape Shifting: the statistical physics of protein conformational change

Soundbites: 11:30 – 12:30 PM Five minute updates of current research

1:30 PM – Francis Starr (Physics, Wesleyan), DNA-linked Nanoparticle Assemblies
2:15 PM – Jennifer Ross (Physics, UMass Amherst), Controlling Microtubules Through Severing

More Soundbites: 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Genetics Training Grant Symposium to be held Sep 2

The Genetics Training Grant at Brandeis (GTG) is an important part of the graduate programs in Molecular & Cell Biology and Biochemistry & Biophysics, teaching students to critically evaluate both their own research and the scientific literature, while also developing their communication skills. The annual symposium, organized and hosted by the GTG students, is central to this mission. This year’s GTG Symposium is entitled “Signal Transduction: Insights gained from diverse species”, and will take place on September 2.  Four distinguished scientists will be presenting their recent work:

  • Gary Ruvkun (Harvard Medical School), our Keynote Speaker, will speak about neuroendocrine control of C. elegans development, metabolism and longevity;
  • Marcia Haigis (Harvard Medical School) will present her work on mitochondrial sirtuins and aging;
  • Morris White (Children’s Hospital Boston) will talk about the molecular basis of mammalian insulin-like signaling in the pathophysiology of metabolic disease;
  • Cynthia Bradham (Boston University) will present work on secondary axis specification and patterning in the sea urchin.

These talks will be followed by a Poster Session and Reception (see schedule). Current and former GTG trainees will be presenting posters from 3:40 to 5:00 PM in the Shapiro Science Center Atrium, All life sciences graduate students are encouraged to present posters.

The entire event is free and open to the public.  For planning purposes, we ask anyone attending the symposium and/or presenting a poster to pre-register by August 24th, 2011. Poster titles will be available after registration is complete.

Please join us for this exciting symposium showcasing genetics at Brandeis.

Brandeis Summer SciFest to be held on Aug 3

Brandeis Summer Scifest, an Undergraduate Research Poster Session, will be held on Wed, Aug 3 2011.   53 undergraduate students from across the Division of Science, including summer visitors and Brandeis students, will present posters on their work/research.  The poster session will run from 1-3 pm in the Shapiro Science Center atrium.

The public is cordially invited to attend and to discuss research with the students.

A listing of poster titles and abstracts is available at http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/UG/scifest-2011.pdf


Aug 4: The poster session went really well, we had a nice turnout and the students did a great job presenting.

Photo by Emma Griffith

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