August 2013

Rap Genius: science between the lines

Jeremy Dean, the education czar for Rap Genius, writes about the platform, which lets users read and write line-by-line annotations for their favorite rap songs, great works of literature and historical documents. Classic scientific works like Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” have been added to the site’s interactive archive, as have more recent National Institutes of Health reports. The Rap Genius team is working with less accessible texts to engage students and the broader public with scientific research.


A deeper look into cholesterol synthesis

The biosynthesis of cholesterol is a complex process with more than 20 steps. One of the first enzymes is 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, also known as HMGCR, the main target of statins. In this article, contributor Swathi Parasuraman writes about a recent minireview in The Journal of Biological Chemistry that describes multiple ways various enzymes other than HMGCR are implicated in the modulation of cholesterol synthesis.


Potent antifreeze protein’s structure determined

Contributor Natalie Osayande writes about a recent paper in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, in which researchers reported the crystal structure of the most potent antifreeze protein known, RiAFP, found in a longhorned beetle.


James E. Darnell’s “Reflections”

Contributor Joseph P. Tiano gives us a peek at James Darnell's Journal of Biological Chemistry “Reflections” article, which provides a brief history of the discovery of RNA and its role in transcription — plus a bit of career advice.


Recent findings on presenilins and signal peptide peptidase

Contributor Dinu Valantin Bălănescu writes about the latest findings on the structure and function of γ-secretase and the signal peptide peptidase, which were highlighted in a recent minireview in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.


Thematic series on fat-soluble vitamins begins

Mary L. Chang, publications manager for the Journal of Lipid Research, writes about the launch of a thematic series on fat-soluble vitamins.


Protein quantification: by mass spectrometry or Western blotting?

Science writer Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay writes about a recent editorial in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, which says that the time has come to let the protein-quantification data generated by mass spectrometry stand on their own.


Lessons learned

In this Career Insights column, Carl Peters, an applications scientist at BMG LABTECH, a developer and manufacturer of microplate reader instrumentation, writes about how he became an educator outside of academia.


Taking a holistic view

For more than a generation, formal, federally supported programs have been in place to identify and recruit underrepresented students to biomedical-research training programs. Students in these programs typically are offered support addressing their economic needs and educational preparation. However, interventions designed to help these students have shown mixed success, and the author of this article argue that this is largely because efforts to date have failed to take a holistic view, including both the academic and social needs of students and trainees.


Coenzyme A: when small is mighty

Robert Leonardi and Suzanne Jackowski write about coenzyme A, an essential, universally distributed, thiol-containing cofactor that works as the major acyl group carrier in all cells. This molecule is involved in hundreds of reactions and is required for the metabolism of fatty acids, carbohydrates, amino acids and ketone bodies.

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