Women in Science, Technology and Mathematics (STM) Thematic Community


 

This is a thematic community that brings together motivated women in diverse majors and class years who are interested in pursuing studies in STM-related disciplines.  The community is sponsored by the Office for Women’s Affairs (OWA) and the Women in Science Program (WISP) in partnership with Residential Programs and Services (RPS).  Students will have the advantage of living with their peers in a diverse, nurturing, and stimulating community that supports their academic development and sets them on a path of success in their professional and personal lives.  The mix of first-year and upper-class female students on the floor will provide opportunities to network and engage in mentor-mentee relationships.  Additionally, residents will be encouraged to cultivate strong academic and personal connections to faculty, graduate students and peers with common interests.  In addition to a resident assistant (RA), a program coordinator will facilitate programming and provide career counseling.

 

For More Information, Please Contact:

Nicole Griffin, STM Coordinator

812-855-0032

owastm@indiana.edu

Pew Charitable Trusts honors IU Bloomington cell biologist Joseph Pomerening

Pew Charitable Trusts honors IU Bloomington cell biologist Joseph Pomerening

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 16, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Joseph Pomerening, a cell biologist at Indiana University Bloomington, is a 2009 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, the Pew Charitable Trusts announced today (June 16).

The honor is accompanied by a four-year, $240,000 award to support research and is reserved for early career scientists. Each awardee’s institution must be invited to submit nominations, and as a result, the list of institutions represented by Pew Scholars classes typically enumerates the best science programs in the nation.

“Not only does the program provide extraordinary scientists with the resources to carry out significant research early in their careers, it also offers them the opportunity to exchange ideas and foster relationships during the annual meetings and various networking activities,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “These gatherings have often led to collaborations that have resulted in significant scientific progress.”

Pomerening joined the IU Bloomington Biology Department in 2007 as an assistant professor. He studies how specific enzyme systems that control cell growth and division are regulated. Pomerening’s research takes advantage of single-cell approaches along with cell sorting and live cell imaging of mammalian cells, as well as biochemical studies using Xenopus laevis egg extracts and embryos. He is specifically investigating the role of cyclin-dependent kinases, proteins that modify other proteins to alter their expression and that allow for dynamic changes that ultimately direct the cell to complete the complex and elegant process of division.

To speak with Pomerening, please contact David Bricker, at 812-856-9035 or brickerd @ indiana.edu.

IU Bloomington to receive $1.2 million for Huntington’s disease research

IU Bloomington to receive $1.2 million for Huntington’s disease research

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 29, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The National Institutes of Health has approved a $1.2 million, four-year grant that will allow Indiana University Bloomington scientists to continue their study of Huntington’s disease.

The project, led by IU Bloomington structural biologist Joel Ybe, has focused on the interaction of two proteins, HIP1 (Huntingtin-interacting protein 1) and HIPPI (HIP1-protein interactor), whose association is believed to trigger the death of nervous system cells. Ybe will work with IU Bloomington chemist David Giedroc to characterize the dynamic flexibility of HIP1 by using nuclear magnetic resonance techniques.

The next phase of Ybe’s studies also brings to fore another protein, clathrin, which aids the formation of tiny intracellular bubbles called vesicles.

“The purpose of this RO1 renewal is to define the molecular basis for how the interaction between clathrin-coated vesicles and HIP1 is regulated in healthy cells,” Ybe said. “The successful completion of our upcoming studies will give us an unprecedented atomic-level understanding of HIP1 function in cellular trafficking and my hope is that they will inform and stimulate many areas of Huntington’s disease research.”

Huntington’s disease is a hereditary disorder that causes large numbers of nerve cells to die. About 15,000 people in the U.S. are estimated to have the disease — approximately one person in 20,000. Symptoms include uncontrolled movements, dementia and depression, but these symptoms do not usually appear until the afflicted reach their 30s or 40s. Despite major strides forward in understanding the disease in recent years, there currently is no cure.

The disease begins when the huntingtin protein becomes disassociated from HIP1. Huntingtin’s absence allows another protein, HIPPI, to bind to HIP1. The complex of HIP1 and HIPPI may be responsible for activating other proteins that cause cell death. The loss of large amounts of nerve cells leads to a loss of motor function, and eventually brain function, too.

By understanding the three-dimensional pocket of HIP1 that HIPPI binds to, Ybe says scientists could devise a way to disrupt the binding event in the first place, which could in turn prevent Huntington’s disease from progressing. That disruptor could be a small protein drug that is engineered to fit into the HIPPI binding pocket but does not interfere with the cell’s other natural processes. But such a treatment could only come about by gaining an intimate understanding of the shape and chemical properties of the HIP1 binding pocket.

Specifically, Ybe says, he and his collaborators chief aims are: to learn what destabilizes a key segment of HIP1; to find out whether HIP1’s flexibility affects its ability to interact with another protein, clathrin; and to look at how charged amino acids may play a role in enabling HIPPI to bind to HIP1.

In early 2008, Ybe and Ph.D. student Qian Niu reported in the Journal of Molecular Biology that they had identified key structural features in the HIP1 binding pocket for HIPPI, which Ybe and co-workers will now examine in more detail.

To speak with Joel Ybe, please contact David Bricker, University Communications, at 812-895-9035 or brickerd @ indiana.edu.

BioSpeak – take a look!

l490_microscope_071203.gif

Welcome back, Department of Biology!

The Spring 2008 edition of BioSpeak, the online newsletter for IU Department of Biology undergraduates, is now online. The newsletter gives a picture of what life is like for students in the Department of Biology, what resources are available on campus, and what students can do after they graduate with an IU biology degree.

To check out the Spring 2008 BioSpeak table of contents, click here. Feature articles include:

Thank you for taking a closer look at what’s going on in IU’s Department of Biology this spring!

Christie Wahlert
Life Sciences Marketing and Communications Specialist
Department of Biology
Indiana University
Jordan Hall 220
812-856-0593