Tag Archive for biophysics

Chemistry, Physics Students Attend Biomedical Research Conference

Contributed photo

From Nov. 9-12, two faculty members and five students from the physics and chemistry departments, attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Tampa, Fla.

Candice Etson, assistant professor of physics, and Erika Taylor, associate professor of chemistry, were joined by McNair Scholars Luz Mendez ’17, Tatianna Pryce ’17, Stacy Uchendu ’17 and Hanna Morales ’17; and Wesleyan Mathematics and Science (WesMaSS) Scholar Helen Karimi ’19.

Students observed other research being performed around the nation by students who are members of underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In addition, the Wesleyan students presented their own research and Morales and Karimi were awarded Outstanding Poster Presentation Awards.

“Through the PIE Initiative, Wesleyan has a deliberate strategy to support underrepresented students and faculty in STEM fields by providing resources that increasing post-Wesleyan mentorship and exposure to research excellence, all of which were fulfilled through this conference,” said Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/Title IX officer. “It cannot go without saying that without Professor Taylor’s and Professor Etson’s holistic mentorship approach, these type of opportunities for our young scholars would not be possible.”

RNA Splicing, Student Research Discussed at Biophysics, Biological Chemistry Retreat

The Molecular Biophysics Program, the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry hosted the 17th Annual Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat on Sept. 29 at Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown.

The event included several talks by Wesleyan faculty and two student research poster presentations.

Professor Anna Pyle delivered the keynote address titled “Structural and Mechanistic Insights into RNA Splicing.” Pyle is the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the William Edward Gilbert Professor in the Departments of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Chemistry at Yale University. Pyle studies the structure and function of large RNA molecules and RNA remodeling enzymes. A Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 1997 and the author of more than 150 publications, she uses a diverse set of biochemical and biophysical techniques, including crystallography and chemical probing, to understand the structural complexity of RNA architecture.

Photos of the retreat are below: (Photos by Will Barr ’19 and Gabi Hurlock ’20)

Biophysics Retreat at Wadsworth Mansion Sept 29, 2016. (Photo by Gabi Hurlock)

Faculty Talks, Poster Sessions During Molecular Biophysics Retreat

Wesleyan President Michael Roth attended the Molecular Biophysics Retreat Oct. 22 and spoke to students and graduate students about their ongoing research.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth attended the Molecular Biophysics Retreat Oct. 22 and spoke to students and graduate students about their ongoing research.

The Molecular Biophysics Program hosted its 16th annual retreat Oct. 22 at Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown. The day-long event included two poster sessions and talks by three Wesleyan faculty and two guests. The event also allowed students and faculty to discuss their current research.

Rich Olson, assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, delivered a talk on “Understanding membrane specificity in a family of bacterial pore-forming toxins.”

Joseph Coolon, assistant professor of biology, spoke on “The role of gene regulatory network structure in genome evolution.”

Candice Etson, assistant professor of physics, spoke on “A Single-molecule Toolkit: Using TIRF Microscopy to Study Molecular Interactions and Dynamics.”

Haribabu Arthanari, a lecturer of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, presented a talk titled “Therapeutic Targeting of Protein-Protein Interactions Part -1: Deciphering the protein landscape by NMR Spectroscopy.”

Keynote speaker John Kuriyan is interested in the structure and mechanism of the enzymes and molecular switches that carry out cellular signal transduction and DNA replication. He uses x-ray crystallography to determine the structures of proteins involved in signaling and replication.

Keynote speaker John Kuriyan is interested in the structure and mechanism of the enzymes and molecular switches that carry out cellular signal transduction and DNA replication. He uses X-ray crystallography to determine the structures of proteins involved in signaling and replication.

The event’s keynote speaker was John Kuriyan, investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry at the University of California-Berkeley. Kuriyan spoke on “Structural Mechanisms in Protein Kinase Regulation.”

The event was sponsored by the NIGMS Molecular Biophysics Training Grant GM08271, Department of Chemistry and Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. (Photos by Jennifer Langdon)

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HIV Discoverer Levy ’60 Delivers Biophysics Retreat Keynote Address

Wesleyan’s Molecular Biophysics Program Hosted its 15th Annual Retreat Sept. 18 at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown. Wesleyan faculty and alumni delivered talks at the day-long event. (Photos by Jennifer Langdon)

Jay Levy '60 M.D., professor of medicine and research associate at the Cancer Research Institute at the University of California, School of Medicine at San Francisco (UCSF), delivered the keynote address titled "HIV Discovery to Research Achievements and Future Challenges."

Jay Levy ’60 M.D., professor of medicine and research associate at the Cancer Research Institute at the University of California, School of Medicine at San Francisco (UCSF), delivered the keynote address titled “HIV Discovery to Research Achievements and Future Challenges.”

When Water “Unmixes”: Starr Commentary Published in Nature Physics

Water is the most ubiquitous fluid on Earth, and plays a foundational role in life as we know it.  And yet the complexity of this seemingly simple molecule remains a vigorously debated area of scientific research to this day.  Writing in the most recent issue of Nature Physics, Professor of Physics Francis Starr provides a commentary on recent research to uncover the mystery of water’s unusual properties.  

Francis Starr

Francis Starr

“We all learn as children that oil and water don’t mix,” Starr writes. ” If there was only one fluid – say just the water – then “unmixing” should not even be a possibility.  However, it turns out that evidence suggests that, under unusual supercooled conditions, water can unmix from itself, forming two distinct fluids, both of which are pure water.  And it turns out this unusual behavior just might help explain many of water’s other unusual and vital features.”

Nature Physics, part of the prestigious group of Nature journals, is published monthly.

Starr’s research at Wesleyan focuses on computational approaches to understand the emergent complexity of soft and biological matter.  His lab has explored DNA modeling and nanotechnology, lipid membrane dynamics, and polymer films and composites. Undergraduates and graduate students work together in the Starr lab, emphasizing connections to experimental results.

Graduate Students, Faculty Attend 2014 Biophysical Society Meeting

Several graduate students and faculty from the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department, Chemistry Department, and the Molecular Biophysics Program presented their research at the 2014 Annual Biophysical Society meeting in San Francisco, Calif. Feb. 15-19.

The Biophysical Society encourages development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics through meetings, publications and committee outreach activities. Every year, the society holds an annual meeting that brings together more than 6,000 research scientists in different fields representing biophysics.

Wesleyan graduate students, from left, Katie Kaus, Stephen Frayne, Yan Li, Shu Zhang, Anushi Sharma and Harikrushan Ranpura, presented research at the the Biophysical Society meeting.

Wesleyan graduate students, from left, Katie Kaus, Stephen Frayne, Yan Li, Shu Zhang, Anushi Sharma and Harikrushan Ranpura, presented research at the the Biophysical Society meeting.

Molecular Biophysics Hosts 13th Annual Retreat Sept. 27

Bertrand García-Moreno

Bertrand García-Moreno

Wesleyan will host the 13th annual Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat Sept. 27. The public is invited.

Bertrand García-Moreno, professor and chair of the Department of Biophysics at John Hopkins University will deliver the keynote lecture at 4:15 p.m. He will speak on “Molecular Determinants of Electrostatic Effects in Proteins.” García-Moreno investigates the relationships between protein structure, function, energetics, and dynamics with an emphasis on electrostatic properties that govern the actions of proteins in all biological processes. His research on ionizable groups buried in the hydrophobic interior of proteins provides fundamental insights into their special chemical properties and critical roles in protein function. He is currently the editor-in-chief of Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics and serves on the editorial board of Biophysical Journal.

Additional seminars include Professor of Biology Michael Weir, the director of the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences, at 10:15 a.m.; Kylie Walters, associate professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics at the University of Minnesota, at 11 a.m.; Amy MacQueen, assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, at 1:30 p.m.; and David Beveridge, the Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, at 3:15 p.m.

A student poster session will begin at 1:30 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Molecular Biophysics Program and the Departments of Chemistry and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. The retreat begins at 10 a.m. and takes place at the Wadsworth Mansion, 421 Wadsworth Street in Middletown.

For more information on the retreat, see the complete schedule.

 

 

 

Current Research Presented at Biophysics, Chemistry Retreat

Vern Schramm spoke on “Drug Design from Transition State Analysis” during the 12th annual Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat Sept. 22 in Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown. Schramm is professor and the Ruth Merns Chair in Biochemistry at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He investigates enzymatic transition state structures, which enable him to develop powerful inhibitors for treatment and prevention of cancer and other diseases.

“Drug Design” Topic of Sept. 22 Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat

Christina Othon, assistant professor of physics, will speak on "Phase Transitions in Biological Membranes" during the Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat.

“Drug Design from Transition State Analysis” will be the central topic of the 12th annual Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat Sept. 22. The public is invited to the retreat, which will be held at Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown.

Faculty from chemistry, physics and biology will present lectures.

Students, Alumni Present Research at Biophysical Meeting in San Francisco

Several Wesleyan students presented their work at the Biophysical Society 54th Annual Meeting Feb. 20-24 in San Francisco, Calif. More than 6,000 scientists from academia, government and industry attended. Olga Buzovetsky '10, pictured, presented her poster titled "Binding and Bending Parameters of Integration Host Factor to Holliday Junction." Her advisor is Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

Several Wesleyan students and recent alumni presented their work at the Biophysical Society 54th Annual Meeting Feb. 20-24 in San Francisco, Calif. More than 6,000 scientists from academia, government and industry attended. Olga Buzovetsky '10, pictured, presented her poster titled "Binding and Bending Parameters of Integration Host Factor to Holliday Junction." Her advisor is Ishita Mukerji, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

Graduate student Sanchaita Das presented her poster titled, "Mapping SecA-SecY Interaction using In Vivo Photo-Cross Linking." Das's advisor is Don Oliver, the Daniel Ayres Professor of Biology, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

Graduate student Sanchaita Das presented her poster titled, "Mapping SecA-SecY Interaction using In Vivo Photo-Cross Linking." Das's advisor is Don Oliver, the Daniel Ayres Professor of Biology, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.