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Research News

Videogamers outdo scientists in contest to discover protein shape

Gamers playing the popular online puzzle game Foldit beat scientists, college students, and computer algorithms in a contest to see who could identify a particular protein's shape.

The study findings have implications for video game enthusiasts and classroom instruction, and showcase the positive impact citizen science can have on research. Read More

Postdoctoral fellow Scott Horowiz explained the study on MarketPlace. Listen to the September 20, 2016 podcast.

A few other research highlights. . .

Nandakumar Lab: Mutation in Telomere protein TPP1 causes premature aging disease -- The group may be first to use CRISPR/CAS 9 to introduce a dyskeratosis congenita mutation into human cells

Wierzbicki Lab: New paper offers insights into mysterious world of non-coding RNAs -- Arabidopsis study reveals special class of non-coding RNAs may help silence DNA stretches vulnerable to genetic mix ups.

NIH New Innovator Award for Monica Dus  -- $2 million over five years to fund research into how nutrients in the diet play a key role in regulating our eating behavior by changing the activity of neurons in the brain Listen to NPR's Joe Palca's "Big Idea" podcast featuring the Dus Lab: "This Scientist Is Trying To Unravel What Sugar Does To The Brain"

More on the MCDB website

Student News

Rachel  Stevenson (r), a fifth-year graduate student in Assistant Professor Ann Miller's lab (l), won the John Gurdon Prize for best trainee presentation at the International Xenopus conference in Crete. The Miller lab is investigating how epithelial cells maintain cell-cell junctions during events that stress cell junctions such as cytokinesis, the last step in cell division. They use Xenopus frog embryos in their studies. Rachel's research is one of the featured articles on the front page.
MCDB co-sponsored a screening on the UM campus of The Fly Room, a movie exploring the early years of Drosophila research and researchers through the eyes of the daughter of Calvin Bridges. The screening included a visit by the director of the film, Alexis Gambis. The Q&A that followed covered a fascinating discussion of fly research then and now, and the role of art in public understanding of science.  
Jonathan Williams, of Lathrup Villiage, MI, who is doing his honors research with MCDB doctoral student Sherilyn Grill and Assistant Professor JK Nandakumar, was awarded the Otto Graf Scholarship for Outstanding Honors Junior this spring. In his research, he trying to understand the interaction between two DNA-binding proteins in shelterin, a protein complex important in maintaining telomeres. A cellular and molecular biology major, he plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. program. In his spare time he is a Civil War and Revolutionary War reenactment snare drummer. 
These are just a few highlights about our students. More stories appear on our website.

Meet our new faculty!

Bo Duan joined MCDB as an assistant professor in Fall, 2016. His lab uses a combination of genetics, histochemistry, neuroanatomical tracing, electrophysiology, imaging, and behavioral analyses to better understand neural circuits that underlie pain or itch and other somatosensory modalities.
Ming Li established his lab in MCDB in Fall, 2016. His group studies the regulation of lysosomal function using approaches from genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology. He is keen to invent new methods to study these questions.
Anthony Vecchiarelli joins MCDB in Winter, 2017, as an assistant professor. His research tackles mechanisms of subcellular organization using interdisciplinary approaches, with a strong emphasis on cell-free reconstitution and imaging techniques.
Gary Huffnagle, a UM professor of  microbiology and immunology, who has helped manage the undergraduate microbiology major, has added an appointment in MCDB to his University roles. His research is focused on the interaction between the microbiome and the immune system, both in control of pulmonary and intestinal inflammation and in control of infectious diseases (bacterial and fungal).
 E. Josie Clowney will arrive at MCDB in Winter 2018. No stranger to Ann Arbor, she graduated from UM with a major in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2006. Her research focuses on developmental and regulatory mechanisms that generate neural circuits and govern their function, using the olfactory system of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model. 

Vote for your favorites in our first Annual MCDB Photo Contest!

More than 60 photos have been submitted by MCDB faculty, staff, and students. Choose your favorites! Winning photographer will be named our "Photographer of the Year" and the winning photo will be on display in our building and on our website. Voting closes on December 19, 2016!

Vote for your favorite photo!
Sunrise reflected in the new Biological Science Building under construction on central campus. MCDB will move to the new building in 2018. Learn how you can contribute to our plans for a cutting-edge imaging facility, innovative partnerships with the museum of science and nature, and more on the MCDB website. 
Support MCDB!
Copyright © 2016 University of Michigan Department of Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology, All rights reserved.

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