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Dr. Maria Servedio, 2023 President American Society of Naturalists!

March 26, 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Maria Servedio, elected as the 2023 President of American Society of Naturalists!

ASN is a membership society whose goal is to advance and to diffuse knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles so as to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences. Maria’s leadership exemplifies her dedication and reputation as a biologist. ASN will be as fortunate as we are to have her among UNC Biology Faculty!

Publications from Bloom Lab!

March 23, 2021

Below are recent publications by members of the Bloom Lab. Undergraduate researchers/authors are in bold.

He, Y.; Lawrimore, J.; Cook, D.; Van Gorder, E.E.; De Larminat, S.C.; Adalsteinsson, D.; Forest, MG; Bloom, K. (2020) Statistical mechanics of chromosomes: In vivo and in silico approaches reveal high-level organization and structure arise exclusively through mechanical feedback between loop extruders and chromatin substrate properties Nucleic Acids Res Nov 18;48(20):11284-11303 NAR-01822-N-2020.R2 doi: 10.1093/nar/gkaa871

    An in silico study that shows mechanical feedback between condensin and histones as they interact on chromatin with our collaborators in Applied Math and two of Biology’s undergraduates, Solenn De Larminat and Elizabeth Van Gorder.

Mishra, P., Chakraborty, A., Yeh, E., Feng, W., Bloom, K.S. and Basrai, M.A. (2021) R-loops at centromeric chromatin contribute to defects in kinetochore integrity and chromosomal instability in budding yeast Mol Biol Cell Jan 1;32(1):74-89. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E20-06-0379

    A study showing R-loops at the yeast centromere and its function in kinetochore integrity with our collaborators at NIH

Kefer, P., Iqbal, F., Locatelli, M., Lawrimore, J., Zhang, M. Bloom, K., Bonin, K., Liu, J., Vidi, P-A. (2021) Performance of deep learning restoration methods for the extraction of particle dynamics in noisy microscopy image sequences. Mol Biol Cell Jan 27:mbcE20110689. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E20-11-0689.

    A quantitative analysis tool using artificial intelligence methods with our collaborators at Wake Forest University

Cook, D., Long, S., Stanton, J., Cusick, P., Lawrimore, C., Yeh, E., Grant, S. and Bloom, K. (2021) Behavior of Dicentric Chromosomes in Budding Yeast. PLOS Genetics (accepted) PGENETICS-D-20-00674R2

    A study showing differential repair pathways for dicentric chromosomes depending on the position of the two centromeres. This study stemmed from a CURE course Bio 423 taught by Dr. Sarah Grant. The two undergraduates in the class, John Stanton and Patrick Cusick worked in Dr. Bloom’s lab as post-bacs to finish up the experiments.

Lawrimore, J., Kolbin, D., Stanton, J., Khan, Muznah, De Larminat, S., Lawrimore, C., Yeh, E., Bloom, K. (2021) The rDNA is Biomolecular Condensate Formed by Polymer-Polymer Phase Separation and is Sequestered in the Nucleolus by Transcription and R-loops. Nucl. Acids Res. (accepted).

    A study demonstrating the role of transcription and R-loops in preventing rDNA demixing from the liquid phase of the nucleolus. The study was initiated by a quantitative Biology undergraduate student, Muznah Khan, with assistance from two undergraduates, John Stanton and Solenn De Larminat.


May 12, 2020

Congratuations to Xuejie Chen, a postdoc in Darrel Stafford’s Lab who recently published a paper in Blood titled “A cell-based high-throughput screen identifies drugs that cause bleeding disorders by off-targeting the vitamin K cycle.” In this study, the authors adapted a cell-based screening approach to identify several drugs from the NIH Clinical Collection drug library that caused bleeding disorders by impacting the biosynthesis of active coagulation factors. The paper also explored the mechanisms of action and prevention of drug induced bleeding disorders.

Read more here:

Undergraduate Honors Thesis Shines a Timely Spotlight on Virology

May 6, 2020

Collin Hill, undergraduate majoring in Biology and Chemistry, presented his Honors Biology Thesis which focused on the very timely topic of virology. Collin summarizes his thesis:

“In this study, we examined three potentially mutagenic nucleoside analogs, N4-beta-hydrocytidine (NHC), Favipiravir, and Ribavirin using Primer ID with next-generation sequencing (NGS) on a panel of RNA viruses in cell culture, including MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Zika virus (ZIKV), and La Crosse virus (LACV). We found that NHC exhibited antiviral and mutagenic effects in each of the three viruses, supporting that this nucleoside analog is a broad-spectrum antiviral that acts through lethal mutagenesis. Favipiravir and Ribavirin was found to exhibit moderate antiviral and mutagenic effects in LACV only. Additionally, using a MERS-CoV mouse model, we found that an NHC prodrug (EIDD-2801) also exhibited the same antiviral and mutagenic effects in vivo and also found that there was no significant findings of cytotoxicity or increases in transcriptional error rates. However, an additional study of cytotoxicity of each of the three nucleoside analogs in a cell culture of 8E5 cells found that NHC at high dosage concentrations can significantly increase the transcriptional error rate of the cells, indicating misincorporation of NHC by eukaryotic RNA polymerases. The findings of this study support that these nucleoside analogs could potentially be able to be used to treat a wide variety of RNA viral infections in humans, including newly emerged viruses that lack other forms of treatment.”


March 9, 2020

UNC School of Medicine student, Yasemin Cole, 2016 graduate in biology, is one of 28 individuals chosen nationwide for the prestigious Gates Cambridge scholarship. Yasemin will be attending the University of Cambridge pursuing a doctoral degree in genomic sciences. Read more about Yasemin here!

Jennifer Coble Wins 2020 Chapman Teaching Award!

February 28, 2020

Biology Teaching Associate Professor Jennifer Coble has won the 2020 Chapman Family Teaching Award! CONGRATULATIONS JENNIFER!!!

Chapman Family Teaching Awards: The Chapman Teaching Awards were created in 1993 with a gift during the Bicentennial Campaign from Max Carrol Chapman Jr. ’66 on behalf of the Chapman family. The awards were established to honor distinguished teaching of undergraduate students. The award carries a stipend of $30,000 to be used over the period of five years.

Teaching Associate Professor of Biology

Faculty member since 2007

Hometown Charleston, South Carolina

Read more about Dr. Coble HERE

Ken Lohmann: Paper in PNAS

February 17, 2020

Professor Ken Lohmann, working with a team of collaborators in South Korea, has published a new study in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper, titled “Behavioral evidence for geomagnetic imprinting and transgenerational inheritance in fruit flies”, reports that fruit flies can learn to recognize and remember the magnetic fields that exist in different geographic areas when exposed to the fields during a critical period of development. Lohmann’s group has previously developed the concept of geomagnetic imprinting in the context of sea turtles and salmon, which imprint on the magnetic field of their home areas and use this information to migrate back as adults. The new study reveals that non-migratory animals are also capable of geomagnetic imprinting and suggests that the phenomenon may be widespread in the animal kingdom.

Kayla Goforth “Best Talk” Award

February 17, 2020

Kayla Goforth, a Biology graduate student (Lohmann Lab), received the Marlene Zuk Award at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) in Austin, Texas. The Zuk Award is given for the best student talk in the Animal Behavior division of SICB. Kayla’s talk, titled “The Role of Magnetic Field Detection in Foraging Site Fidelity of Sea Turtles”, described experiments revealing that captive loggerhead turtles that are fed in a magnetic field characteristic of a specific coastal location can learn to recognize that field and associate it with food. The results provide insight into how turtles learn the locations of particular foraging sites and can navigate to them across hundreds of miles of open sea.

Kale Hartmann, Harvard Curriculum Fellow

April 23, 2019

Kale Hartmann, a PhD student in Jeff Sekelsky’s lab, has accepted a position as a “Curriculum Fellow” in Genetics and Genomics at Harvard Medical School (HMS). The Curriculum Fellows Program consists of PhD-level scientists that work to improve and bring innovation to graduate education at HMS.