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CSL Professors win MURI Award to build Cyberoctopus

July 2, 2019

“A ‘cyberoctopus’ may sound like a superhero, but it is actually the focus of the recently announced Multi-university Research Initiative (MURI) award led by the Coordinated Science Laboratory’s Girish Chowdhary (Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). The $7.5 million dollar project is looking to advance the frontiers of AI, control, and robotics, by learning from the brain and body of octopuses and other cephalopods. The team will apply principles of embodiment of control and intelligence to the cyberoctopus, leaning on the biology expertise of world-renowned octopus experts William Kier (UNC), Rhanor Gillette (Illinois), and William Gilly (Stanford).” [Photo credit: Lizzie Roehrs, CSL] Read more >>

Bob Goldstein and Kira Heikes take Tardigrades to Washington

June 28, 2019

Bob Goldstein and grad student Kira Heikes brought tardigrades to Washington, D.C., representing the American Society for Cell Biology in the Coalition for Life Science’s Life Science Fair in the US House of Representatives’ office building. Congressional staffers, interns, and program directors from funding bodies saw live tardigrades and collected tardigrade movies on their own smartphones.

Gregory Copenhaver co-authors “New Phytologist” paper

June 26, 2019

Dr. Gregory P. Copenhaver co-authored a paper in New Phytologist with his collaborators at Fudan University in Shanghai that reveals how the anaphase-promoting complex (APC) promotes proper chromosome segregation in plant male meiosis. Compromising the APC, which targets proteins for degradation, inhibits correction of misaligned chromosomes resulting in missegregation and imbalances in chromosome number in gametes (pollen). You can read more here >>

Darrel Stafford’s Lab publishes in “Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters”

June 25, 2019

Da-Yun Jin (right) and Xuejie Chen (left), members of Dr. Darrel Stafford’s Lab, have published a paper in Bioorganic & Medical Chemistry Letters in collaboration with Dr. Craig Williams at the University of Queensland, Australia. The article was titled “Determining the necessity of phenyl ring π-character in warfarin”. The authors systematically substituted the phenyl ring of warfarin, and evaluated its effect on the inhibition potency of the target enzyme, vitamin K epoxide reductase. Their results demonstrated the importance of both the annulene conferred π-interactions and ring size in warfarin’s activity. Read more >>

In memory of Dr. Patricia J. Pukkila

June 24, 2019

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of retired UNC Biology Professor Dr. Patricia J. Pukkila on June 20, 2019. Dr. Pukkila was a faculty member in the department from 1979-2013. Her research lab pioneered the use of the mushroom Coprinopsis cinereaas as a model system for investigating chromosome dynamics during meiosis, the cell division process necessary for sexual reproduction. Dr. Pukkila was also the founding director of the Office for Undergraduate Research. In 2015, UNC released a fascinating video focusing on her contributions to inquiry-based education and undergraduate research as part of the “Good to Great” series with Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser.  Watch the vdeo >> Also, her inspiring story titled “Champion of Undergraduate Research: Pat Pukkila has transformed the Carolina experience” appeared in an issue of “Carolina Arts & Sciences”.  Read the A&S article >>

Darrel Stafford’s Paper is Published in “Blood”

June 6, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Darrel Stafford whose paper titled “Dysfunctional endogenous FIX impairs prophylaxis in a mouse hemophilia B model” was recently published in Blood. In this paper, the authors demonstrated that the endogenous expression of a dysfunctional FIX can deleteriously affect the hemostatic response to prophylactic therapy. Read the article >>

Dangl Lab Publishes Review in “Current Opinion In Plant Biology”

May 29, 2019

Congratulations to three researchers from the Jeff Dangl lab – graduate student Lance Jubic (left), postdoc Oliver Furzer (middle), and former postdoc Farid El Kasmi (right – Farid is now running his own lab at the University of Tuebingen in Germany) for their recently published review of the NLR molecules of the plant immune system in Current Opinion in Plant Biology. The review is titled “Help wanted: helper NLRs and plant immune responses”. READ THE REVIEW >>

Karin Pfennig’s Article Appears in “Science”

May 14, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Karin Pfennig for her recent Perspectives article in Science titled “How to survive in a human-dominated world”. Her paper asks the question “Can species adapt fast enough to survive” the rapid environmental changes they are now experiencing?  In particular, Dr. Pfennig describes the role of hybridization for adaptation to a human-dominated world. READ MORE >>