March 2013

Undergraduate-driven science outreach

The University of Arizona’s Visiting Scholars Program, established in 2011, sends undergraduates out into Tucson-area high-school biology and chemistry classes to discuss their research projects and talk about university life.


Why you should judge posters at the ASBMB annual meeting

Your abstract for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting is in, and you’re starting to put together your poster or presentation. You’ve made your travel arrangements and are about to get back to preparing for this afternoon’s lab when you notice an email inviting you to serve as a poster judge for the undergraduate poster competition. We’re hoping to convince you to join us by telling you how the process works and about the benefits that we have received by participating.


Getting Abl: determining the structure and regulation of Abl kinases

In a recent minireview in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Shoghag Panjarian and Thomas E. Smithgall at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Roxana E. Iacob, Shugui Chen and John R. Engen at Northeastern University discuss how the structure and regulation of Abl kinases influence inhibitor compatibility.


A monkey cup protease for hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry

David Schriemer’s group at the University of Calgary came across the monkey cup protease when searching for an aspartic protease that was phylogenetically distant from the standard workhorse protease pepsin. The Schriemer group is interested in hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry, because it has the potential to reveal high-resolution structural and temporal details about complex protein systems.


How the activity of fat-specific protein 27 may hold the keys to understanding obesity and diabetes

In the March issue of the Journal of Lipid Research, two groups independently present research on fat-specific protein 27, or FSP27, which in mice plays a key role in lipid storage and mitochondrial activity in fat cells.


Controlling lipid synthesis to control cell growth?

Lipids are the most abundant molecular species of every cell membrane. Consequently, it is expected that their synthesis be synchronized with the cell’s diverse functional states. In cells actively involved in proliferation or in plasma-membrane extension processes that demand massive membrane biogenesis, lipid biosynthesis rates must be higher than those rates in cells that are neither dividing nor actively growing. However, the nature of the regulatory events underlying such processes is poorly understood. Beatriz Caputto's group has shown that the protein c-Fos is actively involved in these regulatory events.


There and back again: from scientist to CEO

Elizabeth Iorns writes about the impetus for founding Science Exchange and what her life's like now that she's running a business.


Are scientists with disabilities the forgotten underrepresented minority?

Given that certain racial and ethnic minorities have been historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math fields, those groups have been targeted to increase their numbers. However, ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee Chairman Squire J. Booker, argues, the disabled are also a rich source of talent that has been underutilized.

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