Contributors

Laurel Oldach

Laurel Oldach
Laurel Oldach covers research news, science careers and the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry for ASBMB Today. Prior to coming to ASBMB, she studied biology at Reed College and biochemistry and molecular biology at Johns Hopkins University. Though her graduate research was in kinase determinants of microRNA biogenesis, a topic steeped in the central dogma, Oldach has come to appreciate the role of nontemplated macromolecules, becoming a big fan of lipids and glycans. She was dismayed to learn that the Associated Press doesn’t recognize Ph.D.s with the title “Dr.,” until she found out that the AP also doesn’t consider “data” a plural noun, which put the matter in perspective. Outside of science, her interests include dogs, outdoor sports and very long novels.
 

Articles by Laurel Oldach

Researchers retool genomics labs to provide COVID-19 testing
News

Researchers retool genomics labs to provide COVID-19 testing

3/30/2020
The pipetting robots are already in place, but that doesn’t make it easy. Here's how academic laboratories are quickly pivoting to provide testing for the coronavirus.
Science communication in action: COVID-19 edition
Science Communication

Science communication in action: COVID-19 edition

3/23/2020
Our science writers selected 10 examples of solid scicomm about the novel coronavirus.
'We are doers. We want to get involved.'
Life in the Lab

'We are doers. We want to get involved.'

3/18/2020
In a department that feels almost deserted, basic scientists join the COVID-19 effort.
Anatomy of a molecule: What makes remdesivir unique?
News

What makes remdesivir a promising antiviral?

3/17/2020
Clinical trials around the world are testing remdesivir, a nucleotide analog, for possible effects against the novel coronavirus. We asked some experts what makes the molecule interesting.
“The magic isn’t the squid … The magic is the protein.”
Feature

The magic isn’t the squid... The magic is the protein.

3/11/2020
Some squids can produce a dazzling display of changing iridescence by manipulating the way light bounces off their skin. Researchers are learning that it all depends on the biochemistry of a protein called reflectin.
“Start simple. It always gets more complicated.”
Profile

Start simple. It always gets more complicated.

3/10/2020
From discovering a transporter to helping to move its inhibitors into the clinic, Paul Dawson has benefited from a tight focus on bile acid transport.
Study sheds light on how a drug being tested in COVID-19 patients works
Journal News

Study sheds light on how a drug being tested in COVID-19 patients works

2/27/2020
As hospitalized COVID-19 patients undergo experimental therapy, research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry explains how the drug, remdesivir, stops replication in coronaviruses.
Progesterone from an unexpected source may affect miscarriage risk
Journal News

Progesterone from an unexpected source may affect miscarriage risk

2/25/2020
Progesterone signaling is key to a healthy pregnancy. An Austrian team’s research suggests a link between recurrent miscarriage and disrupted progesterone synthesis.
Finding neoantigens faster — advances in the study of the immunopeptidome
Journal News

Finding neoantigens faster — advances in the study of the immunopeptidome

2/21/2020
Two papers in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics highlight advances in the study of the intracellular peptides presented at the cell surface for immune surveillance.
A matter of degree
Education

A matter of degree

2/18/2020
Black biologists are more likely than any other group to earn a master’s degree before enrolling in a Ph.D. program. What accounts for this disparity?
Do sperm offer the uterus a secret handshake?
Journal News

Do sperm offer the uterus a secret handshake?

1/22/2020
Why does it take 200 million sperm to fertilize a single egg? A female immune response is one reason. A molecular handshake may help sperm survive the bombardment.
The proteome of the cave bear
Journal News

The proteome of the cave bear

1/18/2020
If a peptide mass spectrum is like a jigsaw puzzle, then a genome is the picture that researchers use to piece things together. But what do you do when there’s no picture to use as a guide?
Taking the measure of glycans
Journal News

Taking the measure of glycans

1/12/2020
When Lorna De Leoz invited laboratories to participate in her glycomics study, she hoped for 20 responses. Instead, she was deluged by emails from around the world.
JLR: Secrets of fat and the lymph node
Journal News

JLR: Secrets of fat and the lymph node

12/1/2019
Some 20 years ago, Sander Kersten isolated a protein that acts as a control for how our bodies store or burn fat. Recently, he wrote in the Journal of Lipid Research about why loss of this protein can be fatal to mice.
MCP: When prions are personal
Journal News

MCP: When prions are personal

12/1/2019
In a quest to cure the deadly protein folding disease that runs in his wife’s family, a researcher publishes a new assay for monitoring protein levels in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics.
From the journals: December 2019
Journal News

From the journals: December 2019

12/1/2019
Chasing the structure of a histone’s N-terminus tail. Highlighting the role of lipids in mediating endoplasmic reticulum structure. Defining the components of a bacteria’s biofilm matrix. Researchers tackle these tasks and more in our latest roundup…
Schaffer is motivated to pass on good mentoring
Award

Schaffer is motivated to pass on good mentoring

11/1/2019
The winner of the 2020 Avanti Award in Lipids studies lipotoxicity, the means by which metabolic stress can harm cells.
JLR: Lack of sleep affects fat metabolism
Journal News

JLR: Lack of sleep affects fat metabolism

11/1/2019
Healthy young men feel less satisfied after eating a high-fat meal, and the lipids are cleared faster from their blood, when the men were getting only five hours of sleep a night, according to a Penn State study.
MCP: This protein makes antibody drugs work
Journal News

MCP: This protein makes antibody drugs work

11/1/2019
Could differences in post-translational modifications to a natural killer cell receptor affect how well antibody therapy works for different patients? Glycoscience researchers at Iowa State investigate.
Meet Sean Davidson
Interview

Meet Sean Davidson

11/1/2019
This associate editor of the Journal of Lipid Research talks to Laurel Oldach about his fascination with high-density lipoprotein and why he cringes when people call it “good cholesterol.” Also, his love of competitive cycling.
JBC: Researchers link new protein to Parkinson’s
Journal News

JBC: Researchers link new protein to Parkinson’s

10/1/2019
In the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a Japanese team writes about their finding that a protein called MITOL, not previously linked to Parkinson’s disease, may be involved in disrupting the destruction of damaged mitochondria.
Biochemistry of a burger
Feature

Biochemistry of a burger

10/1/2019
Impossible Foods founder Pat Brown gave up his position as a Stanford professor to change the world by eliminating meat — but he’s using his scientific training to make a beefy-tasting plant-based burger.
JLR: What controls cholesterol biosynthesis?
Journal News

JLR: What controls cholesterol biosynthesis?

9/1/2019
In the Journal of Lipid Research, Liang Chen and colleagues at Wuhan University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences report that several metabolites, including lanosterol, can affect the activity of two cholesterol biosynthesis enzymes.
MCP: Special issue on multiomics
Journal News

MCP: Special issue on multiomics

9/1/2019
This issue of Molecular & Cellular Proteomics dives into new approaches in systems biology with 16 articles that explore ways to combine data from two or more omes.
Support for women in BMB
Society News

Support for women in BMB

9/1/2019
The society’s newest committee gathers a group of “mighty women” to promote policies of gender equity and recognize individuals who are committed to advancing the careers of women in biochemistry and molecular biology.
International collaborations
Feature

International collaborations

9/1/2019
Pramod Mahajan, a Drake University pharmacy professor, used skills he learned in business to sell the school’s faculty on a program that sends Iowa students to learn about medicine and research in rural India.
JLR: A fatty liver drug? Not so fast
Journal News

JLR: A fatty liver drug? Not so fast

8/1/2019
The researcher who discovered sphingosine-1-phosphate publishes a study highlighting the complexities of signaling by this enigmatic lipid — and shows that targeting it may not fix fatty livers as easily as researchers had thought.
Huntingtin through a multiomic lens
Journal News

Huntingtin through a multiomic lens

8/1/2019
A study shows that the mutant protein that causes Huntington’s disease can alter the binding properties of another protein, perhaps accounting for some of the mutation’s far-flung cellular effects.
By the numbers: Career prospects in the life sciences
Jobs

By the numbers: Career prospects in the life sciences

8/1/2019
With employment numbers collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and data from two National Science Foundation surveys, we chart career prospects in the life sciences.
JBC: How bacteria build efficient photosynthesis machines
Journal News

JBC: How bacteria build efficient photosynthesis machines

8/1/2019
In the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a Canadian research team reports on how cyanobacteria finesse one of the most wasteful steps in photosynthesis by boosting the efficiency of a critical enzyme called Rubisco.
Setting sail in a startup
Feature

Setting sail in a startup

8/1/2019
Sometimes an academic believes in their research so much that they take the plunge to found a company.
JLR: Cascading errors
Journal News

JLR: Cascading errors

6/1/2019
In a paper in the Journal of Lipid Research, a team led by Konrad Sandhoff offers a clue as to why certain complex lipids, called gangliosides, accumulate even in lysosomal storage diseases that don’t affect ganglioside metabolism directly.
MCP: Study shows long-term effects of weight loss on the proteome
Journal News

MCP: Study shows long-term effects of weight loss on the proteome

6/1/2019
Swiss researchers analyzing patient plasma from an obesity study saw a dramatic, lasting drop in inflammatory signaling and an increase in lipid metabolism soon after weight loss.
Biochemist wins pageant crown
Defying Stereotypes

Biochemist wins pageant crown

6/1/2019
Camille Schrier, a doctoral candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University’s school of pharmacy, won the 2019 Miss Virginia competition after doing a chemistry experiment on stage in the talent portion of the competition.
JBC: How do protein tangles get so long?
Journal News

JBC: How do protein tangles get so long?

6/1/2019
Researchers at The Ohio State University report that tau protein filaments can join end-to-end to create one filament hundreds of nanometers long.
MCP: Catching ovarian cancer when it’s curable
Journal News

MCP: Catching ovarian cancer when it’s curable

5/1/2019
In the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, researchers in Israel report that by isolating microvesicles from uterine fluid and comparing thousands of proteins, they have developed a diagnostic tool for a cancer that’s often discovered too late …
JLR celebrates diamond jubilee
Journal News

JLR celebrates diamond jubilee

5/1/2019
The Journal of Lipid Research marks its 60th year of publication by inviting more than 50 researchers to share updates on their work in a series of review articles.
JBC: Bacterial drug synergies hide in plain sight
Journal News

JBC: Bacterial drug synergies hide in plain sight

5/1/2019
While on the hunt for a molecule with therapeutic potential, researchers made a sweeping discovery: Every bacterial strain that produces the drug rapamycin can make a second compound that enhances rapamycin’s effect.
Harmonizing lipidomics
Feature

Harmonizing lipidomics

5/1/2019
For a lipid to be useful in the clinic, researchers must agree on its identity and on how much of it to expect in a healthy person. Lipidomics researchers are working toward such agreements, and this field-wide effort, as chronicled by Laurel Oldach…
MCP: Proteogenomics researchers find causes of immune disease
Journal News

MCP: Proteogenomics researchers find causes of immune disease

4/1/2019
With samples from patients in four countries and a novel database on the neutrophil proteome, scientists at universities in Munich and Berlin diagnosed two children with severe congenital neutropenia using mass spectrometry-based proteomics after ty…
JLR: 'Almost like a Velcro ball'
Journal News

JLR: 'Almost like a Velcro ball'

4/1/2019
In a genetic study of the HDL proteome, a team from the Oregon Health and Sciences University showed that a complex mixture of heritable and environmental factors drives variation in protein makeup of HDL particles.
JBC: A change in labs reveals a key to cataract formation
Journal News

JBC: A change in labs reveals a key to cataract formation

4/1/2019
When Harvard postdoc Eugene Serebryany moved to a new lab, he had trouble replicating the results of his lens crystalline protein experiments. Figuring out what changed led to a discovery described in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Meet Jean Schaffer
Interview

Meet Jean Schaffer

4/1/2019
The cardiologist decided early in her career that she wanted to pursue research. 
JLR: Study sheds light on function of mysterious PCSK9 mutation
Journal News

JLR: Study sheds light on function of mysterious PCSK9 mutation

2/1/2019
Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco publish an investigation in the Journal of Lipid Research into why experiments on this protein give different results in a test tube than they do in liver cells.
JLR: A close-up of nascent HDL formation
Journal News

JLR: A close-up of nascent HDL formation

1/1/2019
Increasing reverse cholesterol transport may be a way to reduce heart disease, and a paper in the Journal of Lipid Research gets a step closer with an advance in our understanding of how a carrier of lipids, including cholesterol, is formed.
How to patent an antibody
Interview

How to patent an antibody

1/1/2019
Charles Craik explains how the patenting process works in academia and how a recent legal challenge could change the landscape
JLR: A close-up of the lipids in Niemann–Pick disease
Journal News

JLR: A close-up of the lipids in Niemann–Pick disease

12/1/2018
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago describe in the Journal of Lipid Research how they used mass spectrometry imaging to map the lipid accumulation that leads to neurodegeneration and early death in this rare genetic disorder.
MCP: A royal legacy
Journal News

MCP: A royal legacy

12/1/2018
In a paper in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, a Viennese team with honeybee heritage studies sugar modification in royal jelly, an important food for queen bee larvae.
From the journals: December 2018
Journal News

From the journals: December 2018

12/1/2018
How early screening can help cure a rare genetic disease in newborns. The connection of genes, brains and immune cells in a risk factor for obesity. The difference between white and brown fat cells. Read about this research and more in our roundup o…
The antibody patent question
Feature

The antibody patent question

12/1/2018
Can a drug company own every monoclonal antibody in a class — even the ones they don’t know about?
JLR: Which oil is best for your health?
Journal News

JLR: Which oil is best for your health?

11/1/2018
A network meta-analysis extracts insights from multiple studies on how dietary fats affect blood lipids. Not surprisingly, oils from seeds are the best choices for good health.
MCP: Sperm-quality study updates advice for couples
Journal News

MCP: Sperm-quality study updates advice for couples

11/1/2018
Recent research indicates that the longer sperm exist, the more vulnerable they are to DNA damage by reactive oxygen, which could harm their ability to form a viable embryo.
From the journals: November 2018
Journal News

From the journals: November 2018

11/1/2018
Using mass spectrometry to learn how a flexible fish evolved. Finding the anti-addictive enzyme in an African shrub. Tracing how cholesterol contributes to macular degeneration. Read about this research and more in our roundup of recent papers fro…
Scientists sweep cellular neighborhoods where Zika hides out
Journal News

MCP: Zika’s cellular neighborhood

10/1/2018
University of Toronto researchers report in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics that studying how Zika interacts with host cells can provide insight into how the virus escapes immune signaling and proliferates in the human body.
JLR: Spectroscopic studies scrutinize links between liver disease and mitochondria
Journal News

JLR: Spectroscopic studies scrutinize links between liver disease and mitochondria

10/1/2018
Two recent studies offer new insight into how mitochondrial dysfunction is related to the onset and progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a precursor to nonalcoholic steatohepatosis, or NASH.
Women in science take on sexual harassment
Diversity

Women in science take on sexual harassment

9/1/2018
As the #metoo movement reaches research labs, activists are asking universities, funding agencies and scientific societies to do more about science’s sexual harassment problem.
MCP: Guidelines for reporting complex spectra
Journal News

MCP: Guidelines for reporting complex spectra

9/1/2018
The editors of the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics want feedback on their proposed guidelines for proteomics studies that use data-independent acquisition to collect tandem mass spectrometry data.
JLR: Finding the structure of a lipid that keeps our tears clear
Journal News

JLR: Finding the structure of a lipid that keeps our tears clear

9/1/2018
Researchers in Australia write in the Journal of Lipid Research about their pursuit of the structure of a key long-chain lipid that keeps our tear film from evaporating on our eyes.
An entrepreneur fights disease on the ground
Feature

An entrepreneur fights disease on the ground

8/1/2018
Educated as a research scientist, Paula Fernandes started a company to solve quality problems in the clinical lab and train healthcare workers around the world.
From the journals: August 2018
Journal News

From the journals: August 2018

8/1/2018
Why are people with chronic kidney disease at high risk of heart failure? Can a pathogen avoid a host antibody by grabbing it? Why do some cancer cells love sugar and eschew fiber? Read about these topics and more in our roundup.
National labs offer options for science careers
Jobs

National labs offer options for science careers

8/1/2018
Two Ph.D. scientists — researcher Tom Metz and writer Mollie Rappé — talk about how they landed where they are and what it’s like working in the national laboratory system.
MCP: Just drops of viper venom pack a deadly punch
Journal News

MCP: Just drops of viper venom pack a deadly punch

8/1/2018
Brazilian scientists write in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics about characterizing the structure of sugar molecules that modify proteins in the venom of lancehead vipers.
JLR: Medical detectives, linked by a PubMed search
Journal News

JLR: Medical detectives, linked by a PubMed search

8/1/2018
Doctors in Israel were treating a baby with an ultra-rare myelin deficiency. Researchers in Japan had studied the mutation that caused it. A paper in the Journal of Lipid Research describes how they were brought together.
Collaboration born at a poster session
Feature

Collaboration born at a poster session

6/1/2018
How two grad students met at a conference, cooked up a study and cracked at puzzle at the heart of Lyme disease treatment.
MCP: Real-time proteomics may speed cancer surgery
Journal News

MCP: Real-time proteomics may speed cancer surgery

6/1/2018
A paper in Molecular &Cellular Proteomics describes the SpiderMass, a device that uses mass spectrometry to look for cancer markers in living tissue during an operation.
JLR: What can a tasty milkshake teach us about the genetics of heart disease?
Journal News

JLR: What can a tasty milkshake teach us about the genetics of heart disease?

6/1/2018
Researchers studied patients' response to a cholesterol medication by sequencing genes and measuring fat and lipoproteins in the blood of study subjects who drank high-fat shakes, according to a paper in the Journal of Lipid Research.
From the journals: June/July 2018
Journal News

From the journals: June/July 2018

6/1/2018
What can proteomics teach us about dying cancer cells? Why do some bacteria survive contact with copper? What happens when brown fat cells turn white? Read about these topics and more.
The gut-brain connection
Feature

The gut-brain connection

5/1/2018
The various symptoms of Parkinson’s all stem from the aggregation of a misfolded protein, alpha-synuclein, and new research focuses on disrupting this process by figuring out how a bug lurking in the gut microbiome affects the brain.
JLR: Gene therapy shows promise for deadly childhood disorder
Journal News

JLR: Gene therapy shows promise for deadly childhood disorder

5/1/2018
Sandhoff disease disrupts function of an enzyme that breaks down complex lipids. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health used patient-derived organoids to study how the disturbed enzyme affects early development.
MCP: Keeping tabs on protein variants
Journal News

MCP: Keeping tabs on protein variants

5/1/2018
Researchers describe a new approach to determining the lifespan of many proteins, and their alternative isoforms, by combining two labeling techniques, SILAC and TMT.
From the journals: May 2018
Journal News

From the journals: May 2018

5/1/2018
Is there a way to kill fat cells to make weight loss last?  What’s the significance of cholesterol efflux capacity levels in octogenarians?  Read about these topics and more in our roundup of recent papers from the Journal of Biological Chemistry, t…
From the journals: April 2018
Journal News

From the journals: April 2018

4/1/2018
Which fats make a healthier mouse? How can you ensure sperm have both heads and tails? Read about these topics and more in our roundup of recent papers from ASBMB journals.
From the journals: March 2018
Journal News

From the journals: March 2018

3/1/2018
Eczema lotion inspired by babies’ skin. Steps toward accessible vaccines. How staph bacteria steals iron. Read about these topics and more.
HIV researcher wins Tabor award
Award

HIV researcher wins Tabor award

3/1/2018
Koree Ahn recognized for studies of synergy between HIV entry inhibitors.
Who is Herbert Tabor?
Member News

Who is Herbert Tabor?

3/1/2018
From 1971 to 2010, he served as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Biological Chemistry, overseeing its expansion from 1,000 to 4,500 published articles per year and its transition to online publication.
Imaging paper earns chemist a 2018 Tabor award
Award

Imaging paper earns chemist a 2018 Tabor award

3/1/2018
Richard Karpowicz Jr. peers into neurons to study seeding of alpha-synuclein.
Neuropharmacologist earns Tabor award
Award

Neuropharmacologist earns Tabor award

3/1/2018
Maria Fe Lanfranco selected for engineering novel mutant dimers.
Iron metabolism work wins Tabor award
Award

Iron metabolism work wins Tabor award

3/1/2018
Nathan B. Johnson, a nutritional biochemist, picked for paper on tuning iron levels.
Tabor award for bacterial colony work
Award

Tabor award for bacterial colony work

3/1/2018
Catherine Back honored for studies of oral pathogen that infects heart.