News & Events

Department News

News & Events

Department of Biology Annual Fall Retreat

October 18, 2016

retreat group shot

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Christian Rabeling Leads Study on New Ant Species

September 29, 2016

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Gorbunova and Seluanov Find Protein That Initiates DNA Repair

September 12, 2016

Biologists, geneticists, and other scientists who study the cellular processes of aging have long focused on a gene known as sirtuin 6 (SIRT6)—so much so that it’s been identified as a “longevity gene.” Mice lacking the gene age prematurely, while mice with extra copies live longer. One of the molecular functions of SIRT6 is to help repair DNA when the strands of the molecule break. While such disruptions are a result of normal chemical processes that take place in cells, the damage has been linked to aging, as well as several age-related diseases. But how SIRT6 is activated has been unknown.  Now a research team led by Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov, professors of biology at the University of Rochester, has discovered a protein that may serve as a first responder, activating SIRT6 and setting in motion a cascade of molecular activity to repair the damaged DNA.

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Whales Could Help Solve the Mystery of Cancer

August 10, 2016

Vera Gorbunova, a biology professor at the University of Rochester in New York, cultured bowhead skin and lung cells gathered in Barrow two years ago and is trying to make them cancerous, which at first appears to be more difficult than it is with human beings.  But the work is ongoing.

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Thermo Fisher Scientific Recognizes Sina Ghaemmaghami at ASMS 2016

June 10, 2016

(PresseBox) (San Antonio, Texas, ) Thermo Fisher Scientific will recognize the winners of the 2016 Thermo Scientific Tandem Mass Tag (TMT) Research Award at a ceremony held in conjunction with the 64th American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics in San Antonio. Now in its second year, the research competition selects three scientists from a pool of international applicants based on innovation and the potential impact of their work in proteomics.

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Dragony Fu recipient of Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award

June 8, 2016

Four Rochester researchers are among the latest recipients of the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award for junior faculty members: the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award.

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‘06-‘07 / ‘07-‘08 Wisch Scholar Samantha Falk defends her thesis at U Penn

May 27, 2016

falk with wisch 

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Vera Gorbunova gives TED talk in Cannes

May 27, 2016

Vera Gorbunova gives a TED talk in Cannes about the importance of aging research and why some animals of the same species live much longer than others. See her talk here.

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Deborah Lawrence wins United Way Shining Star Award

May 18, 2016

Deborah Lawrence was awarded the United Way Shing Star Award at the May 18th Campaign close and Thank You event in recognition of her standout leadership in managing the United Way Campaign for our department!  This award is given to individuals who truly set the example of what it means to be a successful campaign coordinator.  They take on their role with enthusiasm, a drive to succeed, and have achieved impressive results in their department’s campaign this year.  Congratulations to Deborah!

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AS&E Outstanding Dissertation Awards Announced

May 9, 2016

Former graduate student, Anthony Geneva, is a receipient of the Outstanding Dissertation Award for 2015–2016.

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Amanda Larracuente et al. finalists in the 2016 “Explore Your Most Interesting Genome” contest

April 11, 2016

Fireflies!  These silent fireworks on warm summer nights fill us with wonder.  But so much about these fascinating critters remains shrouded in mystery – from the details of how they light up their lanterns to the way some species are disappearing. 

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Goldfarb & Tombline give interview about combating aging by studying yeast

April 5, 2016

WXXI's Monthly Science Roundtable looks at yeast as a key to living longer.

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Q&A: Biologist earns raves for work with yeast

March 22, 2016

David Goldfarb, professor of biology, researches yeast as a model organism for understanding the aging process in humans. Goldfarb joined the Rochester faculty in 1988, five years after earning his PhD in biochemistry at the University of California, Davis, and completing postdoctoral work at Stanford University.

Goldfarb holds four patents and has been recognized with more than a dozen honors, including the Johnson & Johnson “Focused Giving Program” Award, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Distinguished Member Award, and the March of Dimes Health Leadership Award in Education.

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Daven Presgraves appointed University Dean's Professor

February 8, 2016

Congratulations to Professor Daven Presgraves, who has been appointed a University Dean's Professor.

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Scientists map genome of common bed bug

February 3, 2016

The common bed bug, once considered rare in developed countries, has been proliferating on every continent but Antarctica for the last two decades, making it a growing concern for travelers and others. With an eye toward eradicating the parasite, which feeds on the blood of humans and other animals, an international research team has successfully mapped the genome of Cimex lectularius to get a better understanding of its genetic makeup.

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Culver: Defining the Future of Arts & Sciences

December 1, 2015

Gloria Culver was formally installed as dean of the School of Arts & Sciences during an investiture ceremony December 1 in the Interfaith Chapel. University Trustee Ani Gabrellian ’84 opened the program, followed by remarks from Provost Peter Lennie, the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering. Mariët Westermann, vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Jon Lorsch, director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, served as guest speakers.

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Department of Biology Annual Fall Retreat

October 6, 2015

fall retreat

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David Goldfarb patent most influential in recent years

September 30, 2015

An analysis by Reuters and its sister company Thomas Reuters IP & Science revealed that U.S. Patent No. 8,642,660 is the most cited discovery to emerge from all fields of academic research in recent years. The patent, whose sole inventor is David Goldfarb, describes a set of drug-like molecules that extend yeast lifespan under assay conditions.  Reuters reported that 108 patents cited Goldfarb's discovery between 2008-2012.  A follow-up patent demonstrated that some of these molecules are active in mammalian age-associated disease models.

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Jack Werren's article featured in Highlights in Reproductive Biology

July 2, 2015

Males and females are made different through a diverse assortment of molecular mechanisms--from the XY chromosomal system of mammals to temperature-dependent systems in certain reptiles. In most species, some mixture of hormones, sex-specific transcription factors, and gene regulation carry out the initial instructions of the sex-determining triggers, but the outlines of these pathways have only recently begun to emerge in studies of various creatures.

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Gloria Culver appointed dean of the School of Arts & Sciences

April 21, 2015

Gloria Culver has been appointed dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, effective immediately. Peter Lennie, the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering, made the announcement following a yearlong national search. Culver has been serving as interim dean since July 1, 2014.

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Kathy Giardina receives Witmer Award for Distinguished Service

April 15, 2015

Kathy Giardina’s position requires her to manage complex budgetary matters within the department—including 30 research grants, faculty start-up accounts, capital equipment accounts, as well as departmental operating and teaching budgets.

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Jack Werren interviewed by BBC - Earth

February 12, 2015

We humans tend to assume we rule the Earth. With our advanced tool making, language, problem solving and social skills, and our top predator status, we like to think of ourselves as the dominant life form on the planet.

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An extra protein gives naked mole rats more power to stop cancer

February 5, 2015

A protein newly found in the naked mole rat may help explain its unique ability to ward off cancer.

The protein is associated with a cluster of genes (called a locus) that is also found in humans and mice. It’s the job of that locus to encode—or carry the genetic instructions for synthesizing —several cancer-fighting proteins. As Professor of Biology Vera Gorbunova explains, the locus found in naked mole rats encodes a total of four cancer-fighting proteins, while the human and mouse version encodes only three proteins.

The findings by Seuanov and Gorbunova research team have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Vera Gorbunova appointed Doris Johns Cherry Professor

November 6, 2014

Congratulations to Professor Vera Gorbunova, who has been appointed the Doris Johns Cherry Professor.

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Are Male Brains Wired to Ignore Food for Sex?

October 17, 2014

Choosing between two good things can be tough. When animals must decide between feeding and mating, it can get even trickier. In a discovery that might ring true even for some humans, researchers have shown that male brains – at least in nematodes – will suppress the ability to locate food in order to instead focus on finding a mate.

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Less effective DNA repair process takes over as mice age

September 11, 2014

As we and other vertebrates age, our DNA accumulates mutations and becomes rearranged, which may result in a variety of age-related illnesses, including cancers. Biologists Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov have now discovered one reason for the increasing DNA damage: the primary repair process begins to fail with increasing age and is replaced by one that is less accurate.

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Targeting Cells’ Protein-making Machinery May Stop Harmful Bacteria

September 8, 2014

One challenge in killing off harmful bacteria is that many of them develop a resistance to antibiotics. Researchers at the University of Rochester are targeting the formation of the protein-making machinery in those cells as a possible alternate way to stop the bacteria. And Professor of Biology Gloria Culver has, for the first time, isolated the middle-steps in the process that creates that machinery—called the ribosomes.

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Alternate mechanism of species formation picks up support, thanks to a South American ant

August 21, 2014

Christian Rabeling and his team discovered the parasitic Mycocepurus castrator, an example of a still-controversial theory known as sympatric speciation.

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When temperatures drop, newly-discovered process helps fruit flies cope

July 21, 2014

Rochester biologist Michael Welte and his team made their discovery while studying the internal mechanisms of the egg cell of the fruit fly, known as Drosophila. What keeps the assembly line functioning—based on the new research—is a protein called Klar.

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Protein Anchors Help Keep Embryonic Development 'Just Right'

June 12, 2014

Research from Rochester biologists shows that different types of histone proteins need to exist in specific proportions in order not to damage a fruit fly's DNA—and that any over-produced histones are kept in cellular storage facilities until they are needed.

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Professor of the Year Awards

May 3, 2014

Cheeptip Benyajati receives this year's Professor of the Year Award in the Natural Sciences!

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Biologist Vera Gorbunova to lead 5-year project on longevity

April 23, 2014

University of Rochester Professor of Biology Vera Gorbunova, whose innovative research on DNA repair and the aging process has been internationally recognized, has been awarded a $9.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to study longevity.

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Biology Professors Awarded the 2014 Prince Hitachi Prize in Comparative Oncology

February 1, 2014

Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov recognized for their work and research clarifying the molecular mechanisms of the naked mole rat's cancer resistance.

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Biologist honored with NSF award

January 10, 2014

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Vertebrate of the Year!

December 23, 2013

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Better Protein Creation May Be Secret of Longevity for the World's Longest-Living Rodent

September 30, 2013

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Biologists Identify the Chemical Behind Cancer Resistance in Naked Mole Rats

June 19, 2013

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Students Garner National Summer Research Scholarship

May 17, 2013

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Professor of Biology Vera Gorbunova Receives 2013 Longevity Research Award

February 26, 2013

Organized by the ADPS in partnership with Allianz, France, the award supports scientists in the development of research to better understand the mechanisms of aging, and to find innovative and effective solutions to delay aging.

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Superbugs May Have a Soft Spot, After All

February 26, 2013

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