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Danielle Dixson is a new faculty member in the School of Biology this year, but she’s not new to Georgia Tech. She spent the previous two years as a post-doctoral fellow in Professor Mark Hay’s lab. Before that she received her Ph.D. from James Cook University in Australia and her B.S. from the University of Tampa. One might say she was brought up with biology in her future … the Minnesota Zoo was right behind her back fence as a kid.
Funding for research is a highly competitive endeavor under the best of circumstances. For Georgia Tech doctoral student Troy Alexander, a new avenue for funding has opened.
Alexander works as a researcher in School of Biology Professor Julia Kubanek’s group. His latest project seeks to accelerate the discovery of new medicines for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases by studying Fijian red algae.
Two proposals by Georgia Tech researchers, Dr. Frank Stewart (Assistant Professor, School of Biology) and Dr. Kostas Konstantinidis (Carlton S. Wilder Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering; joint appointment in Biology; http://enve-omics.gatech.edu), have been selected for the Department of Energy's 2014 Community Science Program. The CSP provides high-throughput DNA sequencing resources to support genomics research of relevance to urgent energy and environmental challenges. Dr.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a 5 year grant of approximately $2.0 million to fund a collaborative group of scientists: Mark Young (PI, Montana State), Joshua Weitz (Co-PI, Georgia Tech), and Rachel Whitaker (Co-PI, UIUC) to study the role of viruses in shaping genetic, taxonomic and functional diversity.
Researchers have discovered the details of how cells repair breaks in both strands of DNA, a potentially devastating kind of DNA damage.
Elizabeth McMillan, working in the Kubanek Lab, was awarded the top presentation award at the Undergraduate Research Kaleidoscope event this week. Elizabeth studies chemically mediated competition specific to the red tide, Karenia brevis. Her presentation focused on examining the variation in the response of algal competitors from two different marine communities to chemicals released by K. brevis.
Welcome to a new year at Georgia Tech. Now that you’re back, it’s time to start thinking about studying abroad. Yes, you just got here, but since you’re at Georgia Tech, that means you think ahead and plan, so come to the open house at the Office of International Education this Wednesday from 11 am - 1 pm on the second floor of the Savant Building and start planning to see the world.
For the majority of cancer patients, it’s not the primary tumor that is deadly, but the spread or “metastasis” of cancer cells from the primary tumor to secondary locations throughout the body that is the problem. That’s why a major focus of contemporary cancer research is how to stop or fight metastasis.
Assistant Professor Patrick McGrath, PhD, selected as an Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging
Patrick McGrath, an Assistant Professor in the School of Biology, has been chosen as an Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging (http://www.ellisonfoundation.org/program/aging-new-scholar) to study how complex genetics can influence the aging process in the small nematode C. elegans. Dr. McGrath joined the School of Biology in 2012.
The bacterium Vibrio cholerae annually causes millions of cases of the often fatal disease cholera, typically in regions where access to clean drinking water is limited. V. cholerae can be introduced into water by infected individuals who can sometimes be asymptomatic, however this microbe is also a natural inhabitant of aquatic waters. Since the summer following the tragic January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, an on-going cholera epidemic has resulted in more than 600,000 individual cases and 7,500 deaths.
By studying rapidly evolving bacteria as they diversify and compete under varying environmental conditions, researchers have shown that temporal niches are important to maintaining biodiversity in natural systems. The research is believed to be the first experimental demonstration of temporal niche dynamics promoting biodiversity over evolutionary time scales.
School of Biology Researchers Uncover the Potential of Fragile DNA Elements to Induce Mutations at Large Distances in the Genome.
Gross-chromosomal rearrangements are a hallmark of cancers and hereditary diseases. On the other hand, these events can trigger the generation of polymorphisms and lead to evolution. The driving force behind chromosomal rearrangements is DNA double strand breaks. A variety of factors can contribute to the generation of breaks in the genome. A paradoxical source of breaks is the sequence composition of the genomic DNA itself.
The new Engineered Biosystems Building will be a giant leap forward in creating the infrastructure that inspires and sustains scientific discovery at Georgia Tech. EBB will enable us to expand our commitment to improving and saving lives by providing bringing new treatments, medical technologies, medications, and therapies to patients. The key to innovation lies in collaboration, and the EBB is designed to facilitate research across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.
Eric Gaucher, associate professor in Georgia Tech's School of Biology, was named as one of 14 young faculty from seven nations to receive an early career grant by DuPont. The DuPont Young Professor program is designed to help promising young and untenured research faculty begin their research careers.The $75,000 award is unrestricted and not tied to a specific research project.
A new study of both computer-created and natural proteins suggests that the number of unique pockets – sites where small molecule pharmaceutical compounds can bind to proteins – is surprisingly small, meaning drug side effects may be impossible to avoid. The study also found that the fundamental biochemical processes needed for life could have been enabled by the simple physics of protein folding.
Future teams of subterranean search and rescue robots may owe their success to the lowly fire ant, a much despised insect whose painful bites and extensive networks of underground tunnels are all-too-familiar to people living in the southern United States.
On April 24th, graduating seniors gathered with Biology faculty, researchers, and other students to present and celebrate their undergraduate research projects. Biology majors at Georgia Tech are required to complete a senior research experience in which they conduct an individual research project mentored by a faculty member or participate in a group research project undertaken as part of the Research Project Lab course. Several Biology majors also completed the Research Option this year, following multiple semesters of research effort and the preparation of an undergraduate thesis.
When a shark is spotted in the ocean, humans and marine animals alike usually flee. But not the remora – this fish will instead swim right up to a shark and attach itself to the predator using a suction disk located on the top of its head. While we know why remoras attach to larger marine animals – for transportation, protection and food – the question of how they attach and detach from hosts without appearing to harm them remains unanswered.
Using underwater video cameras to record fish feeding on South Pacific coral reefs, scientists have found that herbivorous fish can be picky eaters – a trait that could spell trouble for endangered reef systems.
Ryan Bloomquist, the School of Biology’s first joint doctoral DMD/PhD student has received a F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) aimed at investigating the process of dental tissue regeneration. The F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA is awarded to promising applicants with the potential to become productive, independent and highly trained physician-scientists.
Sand-dwelling and rock-dwelling cichlids living in East Africa’s Lake Malawi share a nearly identical genome, but have very different personalities. The territorial rock-dwellers live in communities where social interactions are important, while the sand-dwellers are itinerant and less aggressive.
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers used genomic techniques to document the presence of significant numbers of living microorganisms – principally bacteria – in the middle and upper troposphere, that section of the atmosphere approximately four to six miles above the Earth’s surface.
SoB Teaching Faculty Member Develops Test to Evaluate Scientific Literacy – The Journal Science Takes Notice
Dr. Cara Gormally, a teaching faculty member in the School of Biology, along with research collaborators Peggy Brickman and Mary Lutz at the University of Georgia, have developed the Test of Scientific Literacy Skills (TOSLS)--a freely available, psychometrically sound, multiple-choice instrument to measure college students’ scientific literacy skill development.
The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has initiated a quest for alternatives to conventional antibiotics. One potential alternative is PlyC, a potent enzyme that kills the bacteria that causes strep throat and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. PlyC operates by locking onto the surface of a bacteria cell and chewing a hole in the cell wall large enough for the bacteria’s inner membrane to protrude from the cell, ultimately causing the cell to burst and die.
When you walk into Brian Hammer’s classroom, you might be greeted by the sounds of hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj or the Godfather of Soul James Brown. It all depends on the day’s lecture.
“Before class, I play a song that is related to what I’ll be discussing,” said Hammer, an assistant professor in the School of Biology. “For example, if we are talking about how genes are activated, I might play David Guetta and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Turn Me On,’ or if I’m talking about bacteria transferring DNA, I might play ‘Sex Machine’ by James Brown.”
SoB Researchers Reveal How Small DNA Fragments Trigger Chromosomal Rearrangements and Gene Amplification
Researchers in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech have uncovered a novel mechanism of genome mutagenesis and remodeling that could help to explain abnormal DNA amplification in cancer and other degenerative disorders. Cancer and other degenerative disorders are commonly associated with abnormal DNA amplification (resulting in an increase in the number of copies of a DNA segment) in various locations throughout the genome. These mutations can facilitate the aggressiveness of cancer to the detriment of human health and are therefore of great scientific interest.
If the 4.9 million barrels of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico during the 2010 Deep Water Horizon spill was a ecological disaster, the two million gallons of dispersant used to clean it up apparently made it even worse – 52-times more toxic. That’s according to new research from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes (UAA), Mexico.
New research from Georgia Aquarium and Georgia Institute of Technology provides evidence that a suite of techniques called “metabolomics” can be used to determine the health status of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), the world’s largest fish species. The study, led by Dr.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a five-year contract of up to $19.4 million, depending on contract options exercised, to establish the Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center (MaHPIC).
The consortium includes researchers at Emory University, with partners at the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia (UGA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University will administer the contract.
Corals under attack by toxic seaweed do what anyone might do when threatened – they call for help. A study reported this week in the journal Science shows that threatened corals send signals to fish “bodyguards” that quickly respond to trim back the noxious alga – which can kill the coral if not promptly removed.
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