November 2012

The kids agree: Camp BlastOff! was a blast

Over the summer, the University of Arizona’s Undergraduate Affiliate Network chapter and biochemistry club hosted their first multidisciplinary BlastOff! Summer Science Camp, which aimed to provide 15 Tucson middle-school students from historically underrepresented ethnic groups and students with limited exposure to science with the opportunity to engage in hands-on scientific experiments.


A dynamic view of phagocytosis

Cells use a process called phagocytosis to capture and degrade large particles, such as microorganisms, inside special packages. These special packages, called phagosomes, pinch off the cellular plasma membrane and are dynamic entities that mature inside cells as they break down their contents. But how do the membranes of phagosomes arrange themselves during the process?


Oncogenic phosphatase disrupts placental development

ASBMB Today science writer Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay writes about a recent "Paper of the Week" in The Journal of Biological Chemistry in which researchers demonstrated that mutations in an unusual class of phosphatases disrupted development of the placenta in mice.


From snail snatching to medical modulations

ASBMB Today contributor Erica M. Sharpe writes about Baldomero Olivera, whose work with conotoxins and DNA exonuclease processivity was recently featured in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


Human cholesterol transporter studied in mice

In a commentary appearing in the November issue of the Journal of Lipid Research, Philip N. Howles and editorial board member David Y. Hui discuss the findings presented in “Modulation of lipid metabolism with the overexpression of NPC1L1” by Makoto Kurano and colleagues at the University of Tokyo. Utilizing adenovirus-mediated, gene-transfer technology, human NPC1L1 was overexpressed in mouse liver, and the effects of this overexpression were examined in mice fed normal diets with or without ezetimibe.


Look at an exam, see a job application

Students are becoming experts at negotiating for a few more points when their answers on assignments are close but no cigar. Peter J. Kennelly says teachers who allow themselves to manipulated this way are doing their students a disservice.


Great graduate school applications: what program directors really look for

ASBMB Today contributor Kevin McPherson asked graduate-program directors: How the heck do I write a CV? What are the important pieces that make up the application of a worthy Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. candidate at a top-notch research university? How is each of those pieces weighed?


Levuglandins: finding lipid superglue in vivo

Robert G. Salomon writes, in part: "Curiosity-driven basic research on the chemistry of PGH2, the endoperoxide intermediate in the biosynthesis of prostaglandins, uncovered a novel nonenzymatic rearrangement that produces levulinic aldehyde derivatives with prostanoid side chains that we named levuglandins, LGE2 and LGD2. Detecting these oxidized lipids in vivo is complicated by their proclivity to stick like superglue to proteins within seconds. They form pyrroles that incorporate the ε-amino group of lysyl residues and generate DNA–protein or protein–protein crosslinks within minutes."

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