When P.M. Bhargava’s Biochemistry Lesson on Beef Threw … – The Wire

After Bhargava organised a controversial meeting at a research lab in Hyderabad in 1967, he was summoned by a committee set up by the Centre to be quizzed abouthis meat-eating preferences. Golwalkar was part of the committee.

Credit: richichoraria/pixabay

The following is an excerpt from a biography of Pushpa Mittra Bhargava, currently in preparation by Chandana Chakrabarti, and from a biography of Verghese Kurien. Bhargava passed away on August 1, 2017. He was 89years old. The excerpts have been lightly edited for style.

The year 1966 witnessed a mass agitation against cow slaughter organised by the [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)]. The demand was for a complete ban on cow slaughter in the country. It culminated in a huge demonstration lead by sadhus who tried to storm the Parliament house in Delhi. While the Shankaracharya of Puri went on a fast for the cause, the frenzied mob went on a rampage. A 48-hour curfew had to be imposed to control the situation.

It was against this background that the Society for the Promotion of Scientific Temper held a public discussion at the Regional Research Laboratory in Hyderabad in 1967, on the relevance of a ban on cow slaughter, with Dr Pushpa Bhargava (PMB) chairing it. At this meeting, one of the speakers, Dr P. Ramchander, a well-known physician, said, If we dont eat the cows, the cows will eat us. This caught the headlines of newspapers the following day. The statement offended those who were asking for the ban and PMB promptly started receiving verbal threats. Questions were asked as to how could PMB organise such a meeting in a government laboratory.

Subsequently, the Government of India set up a high power committee headed by Justice Sarkar, a former Chief Justice of India, to look into the issue. Guru Golwalkar, the head of RSS, Shankaracharya of Puri, Verghese Kurien (the Milk Man of India), and H.A.B. Parpia, the director of the Central Food Technological Research Institute, were members of the committee. PMB was summoned to Delhi to give evidence before the committee.

When PMB arrived at Krishi Bhavan to appear before the committee, a man sitting in the waiting room immediately started quizzing him about cow slaughter. His questions were unending: was PMB a Brahmin since Bhargavas are supposed to be Brahmins?; did PMB eat meat?; if he does eat meat he surely does not eat cows meat?; how does the body make meat?; and so on. PMB ended up giving the man a crash course in elementary biochemistry, saying that we eat food which has proteins. Those proteins are broken down in our [gastrointestinal]tract into amino acids, which are absorbed into the blood stream, and they go to various organs, where they get reconverted to proteins. But how is milk made, the man asked. Milk is made exactly in the same way as meat, PMB replied. Then why dont you drink milk instead of eating meat, the man asked. Why dont you eat meat like you drink milk, because both are made the same way, PMB replied. To PMBs surprise, this little encounter proved to be a curtain-raiser to what unfolded when he appeared before the committee.

Inside the meeting room, Guru Golwalkar asked PMB exactly the same questions. And when PMB replied to Golwalkars question, as to why he did not drink milk instead of eating meat, with another question that is, why by the same logic did Golwalkar not eat meat instead of drinking milk Golwalkarwent into a fit of rage. It took quite a while for the chairman and Sankaracharya to calm him down. Shankaracharya pleaded with Golwalkarthat he was spoiling their case. After PMB came out, he got a slip from Justice Sarkar asking to meet him before he left. Justice Sarkar cheerfully told PMB that he was fantastic and added that the only person who did better than PMB was a professor of Sanskrit who appeared before the committee and quoted from ancient Indian literature on the advantages of eating beef.

As it turns out several years later, while collecting material for a joint paper on biology in India from ancient times to 1900, PMB and I stumbled across the following statement made in the Charaka Samhita:

The flesh of the cow is beneficial for those suffering from the loss of flesh due to disorders caused by an excess of vayu, rhinitis, irregular fever, dry cough, fatigue, and also in cases of excessive appetite resulting from hard manual work.

Three decades later, PMB went to see Kurien in Anand, Gujarat, along with a friend. When PMB reminded Kurien about the incident, Kurien told him that over the years when he and Golwalkar became close friends, the latter admitted to him that the cow protection agitation was only a political agitation which he started to actually embarrass the government. Kurien would later describe this episode in his biography, which was titled I Too Had a Dream.

One day after one of our meetings when he had argued passionately for banning cow slaughter, he came to me and asked, Kurien, shall I tell you why Im making an issue of this cow slaughter business ?

I said to him, Yes, please explain to me because otherwise you are a very intelligent man. Why are you doing this ?

I started a petition to ban cow slaughter actually to embarrass the government, he began explaining to me in private. I decided to collect a million signatures, for this work I traveled across the country to see how the campaign was progressing. My travels once took me to a village in Uttar Pradesh. There, I saw in one house a woman who, having fed and sent off her husband to work and her two children to school, took this petition and went from house to house to collect signatures in that blazing summer sun. I wondered to myself why this woman should take such pains. She was not crazy to be doing this. This is when I realised that the woman was actually doing it for her cow, which was her bread and butter, and I realised how much potential the cow has.

Look at what our country has become. What is good is foreign;what is bad is Indian. Who is a good Indian? Its the fellow who wears a suit and a tie and puts on a hat. Who is a bad Indian? The fellow who wears a dhoti. If this nation does not take pride in what it is and merely imitates other nations, how can it amount to anything ? Then I saw that the cow has potential to unify the country she symbolises the culture of Bharat. So I tell you what, Kurien, you agree with me to ban cow slaughter on this committee and I promise you, five years from that date, I will have united the country. What Im trying to tell you is that Im not a fool, Im not a fanatic. Im just cold-blooded about this. I want to use the cow to bring out our Indianness. So please cooperate with me on this.

Chandana Chakrabartiis a biologist, consultant and joint secretary of the P.M. Bhargava Foundation, Hyderabad.

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Categories: Featured, History, Politics, Science

Tagged as: beef, biochemistry, Cow slaughter, Guru Golwalkar, Justice Sarkar, nationalism, Pushpa Mittra Bharghava, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Verghese Kurien

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When P.M. Bhargava's Biochemistry Lesson on Beef Threw ... - The Wire

Professor and his wife donate $1 million for UCLA professorship fund – Daily Bruin

UCLA received a $1 million donation to endow a professorship in medical and drug research.

Michael Jung, a distinguished chemistry and biochemistry professor, and his wife Alice Jung made the donation to establish the Michael and Alice Jung Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery, according to a UCLA press release on June 14.

Michael Jung said he hopes the gift will allow UCLA to hire a new faculty member who will help further drug discovery and produce more research in medicinal chemistry.

According to the release, Jungs donation was matched by the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences, making the total contribution $2 million. Additional funds came from UCLAs share of proceeds from royalty rights in Xtandi, a prostate cancer medication developed by Jung and his research team.

[Related: A pharmaceutical company will be purchasing the seller of Xtandi for $14 billion.]

Jung has been a faculty member since 1974 and specializes in the field of synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry. He is a consultant for more than 20 industrial biotech and pharmaceutical laboratories, and he is on the scientific advisory board of several pharmaceutical firms.

Jung is currently researching new medications for diseases and conditions such as breast cancer, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

The donation is part of the UCLAs Centennial Campaign, which aims to raise $4.2 billion for the university by the end of 2019.

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Professor and his wife donate $1 million for UCLA professorship fund - Daily Bruin

Students Present Biochemistry Research in Chicago – Marymount Manhattan College News

Three MMC Biology and Biomedical Sciences students presented their research at the international Experimental Biology Meeting (EB 2017) in Chicago this April.

Elevit Perez 17, Taylor Allen 17, and Tracy Tauro 18 presented their research projects at the Experimental Biology meeting held in Chicago, IL, on April 22-25, 2017. All three students are conducting research with Dr. Benedetta Sampoli Benitez, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In particular, Perez and Tauro presented a poster titled Understanding conformational changes during translesion synthesis:in silicostudies of DinB. Allen presented a poster on Investigating the mechanism of trans-lesion synthesis by human DNA polymerase kappa. Both research projects were faculty-supervised collaborations conducted at MMC with funding from the Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust Grant.

The Experimental Biology meeting is one of the largest meetings in Biology, with more than 14,000 participants. Six societies in Biology join in the meeting, including the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), of which our undergraduate program has a chapter. Students presented both at the undergraduate poster event on Saturday and at the general meeting the following day, giving them tremendous exposure to scientific presentations.

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Students Present Biochemistry Research in Chicago - Marymount Manhattan College News

Roses are red, violets are bluewhat gives flowers those eye-catching hues? – Phys.Org

February 13, 2017 by Cheryl Dybas Knock-your-eyes-out red: A flowering plant native to Mexico called early jessamine or red cestrum. Credit: Stacey Smith

To solve the mystery of why roses are red and violets are blue, scientists are peering into the genes of plant petals.

"When you ask anyone how one flower is different from another, for most of us, color is the feature that first comes to mind," says evolutionary biologist Stacey Smith of the University of Colorado Boulder.

Most people don't think about why a flower is a particular color, but it's an important question for biologists, says Prosanta Chakrabarty, a program director in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Environmental Biology, which funds Smith's research.

Smith and her team are "looking at the genetics of flower colors, and at changes in those colors over time," Chakrabarty says.

It all comes down to biochemistry

In nature, flowers come in hues that span the rainbow.

"On a microscopic level, the colors come from the biochemical composition of petal cells," Smith says.

Pigments are the main chemicals responsible. Plants contain thousands of pigment compounds, all of which belong to three major groups: flavonoids, carotenoids and betalains. Most flower colors come from flavonoids and carotenoids.

"In addition to giving flowers their colors, carotenoids and anthocyaninswhich are flavonoidshave antioxidant and other medicinal properties, including anti-cancer, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory activity," says Simon Malcomber, a program director in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.

Malcomber says the research could show how plants evolved to synthesize the carotenoids and anthocyanins that produce red flowers. "The results could be used in future drug discovery research," he says.

Much of Smith's work is focused on understanding how changes in flavonoid and carotenoid biochemistry relate to differences in flower colors. She and colleagues conduct research on the tomato family, a group of about 2,800 species that includes tomatoes, eggplants, chili peppers, tobacco and potatoes.

"These domesticated species don't have a terribly wide range of flower colors and patterns, but their wild relatives often do," Smith says. "So we study wild, or undomesticated, species, which are most diverse in South America."

Hot pursuit of red-hot color

Smith has had her share of adventures in the fieldlike the time she tried to find a plant with red flowers that lives at the base of a volcanic crater in Ecuador.

"It was my very first field trip, and I wasn't super-savvy," Smith says. "I took a bus to the outside of the crater, dragged my suitcase up to the rim then down into the crater, assuming there would be a village and a way to get out. There was neither. Thankfully, there was a park station nearby where I was able to stay overnight. I found the species in full flower in the forest the next day."

Smith is currently in hot pursuit of an answer to the question: When did red flowers first appear in the tomato family? "We thought that red flowers might have evolved many times independently of each other because red-flowered species are scattered among many branches of this family tree," she says.

Just 34 species in the entire tomato family, however, have red flowers.

"With such a small number, we can take samples of every one of these species to find out whether it represents an independent origin, and to determine the biochemistry of how it makes red flowers," Smith says.

She and other biologists traveled from Brazil to Colombia to Mexico to track down red flowers and measure their pigments. "We found surprising patterns," Smith says, "including that nearly every red-flowered species represents a new origin of the color, so red flowers have evolved at least 30 different times."

While the researchers expected that flowers would be red due to the presence of red pigments, they found that plants often combine yellow-orange carotenoids with purple anthocyanins to produce red flowers.

"Our studies are now aimed at tracing the entire genetic pathway by which plants make flower colors and identifying genetic changes to see if there are common mechanisms," Smith says.

The scientists want to know, for example, what changes have taken place since flowers first became red.

Answers in a petunia

"We're focusing on a single branch of the tomato family [petunias], creating an evolutionary history and conducting measurements of gene expression, pigment production and flower color," says Smith.

Petunias and their colorful relatives are good choices for this research, according to Smith.

"Most of us have seen the tremendous variation in petunia colors at our local nurseries, and indeed, petunias have served as models for studying flower color and biochemistry for decades."

Few people, though, are aware of the variation in petunias' wild relatives, most of which are found in Argentina and Brazil. "We're harnessing this natural diversity, as well as genetic information already available from ornamental petunias, to reconstruct the evolutionary history of flower colors," says Smith.

"If earlier studies taught us anything," she adds, "we shouldn't expect flowers to play by the rules."

Will roses always be red, and violets blue?

Explore further: Turning pretty penstemon flowers from blue to red

While roses are red, and violets are blue, how exactly do flower colors change?

Flower colors that contrast with their background are more important to foraging bees than patterns of colored veins on pale flowers according to new research, by Heather Whitney from the University of Cambridge in the UK, ...

(Phys.org) -- A team of researchers in Australia has shown that the evolution of flowers in that country was driven by the preferences of bees, rather than the other way around. In their paper published in the Proceedings ...

Researchers have uncovered the secret recipe to making some petunias such a rare shade of blue. The findings may help to explain and manipulate the color of other ornamental flowers, not to mention the taste of fruits and ...

Male hummingbirds drive female birds away from their preferred yellow-flowered plant, which may have implications for flower diversification, according a study published Jan. 27, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by ...

Roses are red, violets are blue. Everybody knows that, but what makes them so? Although plant breeders were aware of some of the genes involved, there was as yet no quantitative study of how pigment turns a flower red, blue ...

Biological invasions pose major threats to biodiversity, but little is known about how evolution might alter their impacts over time.

From eyes the size of basketballs to appendages that blink and glow, deep-sea dwellers have developed some strange features to help them survive their cold, dark habitat.

Growing up in tough conditions can make wild animals live longer, new research suggests.

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send "repair-proteins" to the damaged parts within the DNA. To do this, an elaborate ...

Previous studies of flocks, swarms, and schools suggest that animal societies may verge on a "critical" pointin other words, they are extremely sensitive and can be easily tipped into a new social regime. But exactly how ...

A team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has discovered how a promising malarial vaccine target - the protein RH5 - helps parasites to invade human red blood cells. Published today in Nature Communications, the study ...

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Roses are red, violets are bluewhat gives flowers those eye-catching hues? - Phys.Org

Biochemistry professor continues to follow passions at 100 years old – The Maneater

Eighty years ago, professor emeritus of biochemistry Boyd ODell began taking classes at MU. Now 100 years old, ODell, who has made many discoveries and inspired generations of colleagues, can still be found in his office in Eckles Hall.

I have some questions I really would like to answer, and Id rather think about answering those questions than retiring, ODell said.

ODell technically retired in 1988, but still does part-time research on campus.

In September, a celebration honoring the 40th anniversary of the biochemistry department served as an early 100th birthday party for ODell. In December, a plaque was unveiled, naming the bridge connecting Schweitzer Hall to the Schlundt Annex the Boyd ODell Bridge of Discovery.

I hope the bridge will be a bridge to the future for all the students and progress will be made in research and learning, ODell said at the unveiling.

Over the years, ODell has served as a mentor and a friend for many of his colleagues and students. Biochemistry professor Judy Wall first met ODell when she joined the MU faculty in 1978.

Hes an incredible gentleman, very professional, a great scholar and a truly kind person, Wall said.

Wall remembers when she and ODell were assigned to evaluate a graduate students grant proposal for a comprehensive exam. This was Walls first time evaluating this type of exam, and the only other female faculty member in the department did not attend their presentations.

I was the sole female faculty member and, you know, a silly person who was in the process of thinking about impressing all of my peers and making sure they didnt think I was an idiot at the evaluations, Wall said. So I was all set for getting this guy because I didnt think his proposal was great.

ODell went first. He discussed the importance of the problem the student had addressed and the strengths of the work before introducing criticism.

That was a wonderful experience for me because I thought thats exactly the way you should do it, Wall said. You have to earn the right to criticize by showing that you understand whats going on and you have to earn the right to begin to make constructive suggestions. Dr. ODell had shown me that was the professional way of going about it.

Wall uses this same approach anytime she has to evaluate anything in a similar manner.

He didnt realize, and I dont think I realized at the time, that he was mentoring me, but he certainly was, Wall said.

ODell decided to pursue education because he admired his teachers, who were his first role models.

I always had an ambition to be a teacher, ODell said. What did a farm boy in Carroll County have as role models? There was two things that I can think of, teacher was the most obvious one, and veterinarian.

ODell was born on a farm outside of Hale, Missouri, on Oct. 14, 1916. Becoming a veterinarian wasnt an option he considered, because it wasnt a financial possibility.

My parents were just poor farmers, and they couldnt help me, he said. I had to pave my way.

The summer after he graduated high school, ODell took an examination to become a teacher.

I passed all subjects with high scores except one, and that was pedagogy, ODell said. I didnt even know what pedagogy was. I suppose its the art of teaching.

That summer, ODell took classes at the University of Central Missouri, which was known as Warrensburg Teachers College at the time. He then began working in a one-room schoolhouse, where he taught first through eighth grade.

It was kind of fun in retrospect, ODell said. And that was in the depths of the Depression, to be paid $50 a month was a very good job. A lot of people were unable to even find a job.

Because he wanted to continue his education, ODell left the grade school after four years.

After a few years I transferred to the university here and got jobs one way or another and was able to support myself, he said.

He wanted to study bacteriology, but MU didnt have a program, so ODell was advised to become a chemistry major.

I worked for Dr. A.G. Hogan, who was my mentor for my Ph.D. At that time, he was interested in a vitamin that now is known as folic acid, ODell said.

ODell went on to work for a pharmaceutical company in Detroit after receiving his degree. With the end of World War II, MU saw an increase in students and invited ODell back to become a professor.

Coming back to Mizzou was kind of an easy choice because that was home. Im a Missourian through and through, ODell said.

ODell then studied the existence of unknown vitamins as an assistant professor.

At that time, an assistant professor was really an assistant to the professor, ODell said. When I became a little further along and had the independence, I still followed the question of, are there still unknown vitamins?

ODell went on to study the role of copper and zinc in the body. Among his discoveries was the revelation that copper deficiencies in animals can cause death through the rupture of the aorta, in the heart.

The opportunity arose for me to go on a sabbatical to Australia, ODell said. And why would I want to go to Australia? If youre interested in copper, its the place to go because much of the soil in Australia is copper-deficient.

In Australia, ODell saw that copper deficiency in sheep can cause symptoms similar to Parkinsons disease. He later observed the same results in rats.

We became interested in zinc deficiency around the same time, ODell said. We found that zinc deficiency in animals stops growth and causes increased subject to disease. Diarrhea is a common complaint of zinc-deficient animals and children.

He then discovered that phytic acid, which appears in plants such as soybeans and corn, can actually impact the way the body absorbs zinc.

Scientists want to know why does zinc deficiency cause these signs and symptoms in humans and animals, ODell said. Ive been interested in trying to solve that question for quite a number of years.

ODell is currently researching the importance of zinc in maintaining calcium channels.

If you think back of all the factors that a cell does, a cell divides, a cell secretes, contracts and carries messages, ODell said. All of this is dependent on a calcium channel, and if you take away zinc, the channel fails and you get all these symptoms. I think that that is the true, fundamental function of zinc to maintain the calcium channel.

ODell and Wall, a professor of biochemistry, have since worked together on a variety of committees and both taught biochemistry to first-year medical students.

He was always incredibly prepared, just beautiful lectures and so absolutely timely, Wall said. He knew the literature and was just great.

Another of ODells colleagues, professor emerita of biochemistry Grace Sun, also spoke of ODells role as a mentor.

Right now, Ive been retired for two years only and hes been retired for many more years, Sun said. I would say that hes a role model for me, and I wish I could do half as much like him.

The two became friends in the 80s, when a colleague Sun had met while working as a visiting professor in Taiwan came to MU to study with ODell.

ODell and his wife used to throw parties around the holidays where they would serve American foods, Sun said.

We loved it because we have a lot of international students and he has always a group of them, Sun said. At the time, he was like a hub for the international students.

Sun says ODell still interacts with colleagues and former research assistants by attending seminars and events on campus.

I remember one time, this must have been four or five years ago, and hes way over 90 and he wrote me an email, Sun said. He read a paper and then he said, Hey, Grace, maybe we can work together to do something on this area. I was so shocked. I was really amazed how he must be reading a lot of papers at home or in his office.

Now, ODell does experiments once or twice a week with cells that are grown in the Life Science Building.

I asked to use the equipment and I think they decided they better volunteer to do some of the work rather than trust me, ODell said with a laugh.

An undergraduate was assigned to help ODell grow and transfer the cells, Wall said.

It came holiday time, and the undergraduate was coming up on holiday, and so instead of imposing on this woman, Boyd decided he would just teach himself how to culture the human tissue culture, and so he did it, Wall said. Every day he would come over and transfer his cells and work with his cells. He walks over form Eckles to the Life Sciences Center and back again and has learned how to do this. What a terrifically fearless person he is when it comes to science.

ODell doesnt just walk across campus; he also walks from his house every time he comes to do research.

Most of my career I rode a bicycle to work, ODell said. I dont have a car, and I dont ride my bicycle anymore that leaves walking. I like walking. I think its good exercise, and I need exercise.

ODells daughter Ann, who lives in Columbia, helps drive him when he needs to go shopping and eats with him every week. ODell has a son, David, who lives in California, as well as four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Outside of science, ODells hobbies include photography and bird-watching.

I was always interested in bird-watching and nature work; I guess that might fall from the science, ODell said. Even when I was teaching at the grade school, I had projects for the kids where wed collect plants.

After 100 years, ODell recognizes the importance of lifelong learning and following ones interests.

I think you should, in general even beyond science, you should pick a job or do what you have a real passion for, ODell said. I think if you really are keenly interested in it you will be successful.

Edited by Kyle LaHucik | klahucik@themaneater.com

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Biochemistry professor continues to follow passions at 100 years old - The Maneater

Biochemistry – Wake Forest School of Medicine

The Department of Biochemistry

Welcome to the Department of Biochemistry, Wake Forest School of Medicine. The Department has a three-fold mission:

Wake Forest Biotech Place, location of many of the laboratories in the Department of Biochemistry and the Center for Structural Biology

The research interests of the facultyare focused in four inter-related areas:

The training mission of the Department is focused on four types of trainees:

The Hanes and NRC Buildings, location of many of the laboratories in the Department of Biochemistry, the Center for Diabetes Research, and the Center for Human Genomics and Personalized Medicine Research.

The Departments principal interdisciplinary collaborations are promoted through participation in the following Centers:

The Department has a well-developed system of shared facilities to promote research. The research space occupied by members of the Department is located in the Hanes-Nutrition Research Center (NRC) complex on the Medical Center campus and in the recently developed Wake Forest Biotech Place in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem. Travel between the Medical Center, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, and the Wake Forest University Reynolda campus is facilitated by Medical Center van service.

Contact Information

Douglas S. Lyles, Ph.D. Professor and Chair dlyles@wakehealth.edu(336) 716-4237 (Medical Center) (336) 713-1280 (Biotech Place)

April Campbell Business Administrator apcampbe@wakehealth.edu(336) 716-4381 (Biotech Place)

Misty Allen mkallen@wakehealth.edu(336) 716-6775 (Biotech Place)

Connie McArthur mcarthur@wakehealth.edu(336) 716-4689 (Medical Center)

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Biochemistry - Wake Forest School of Medicine

Discovery helps explain how children develop rare, fatal disease

Apr. 30, 2013 One of 100,000 children is born with Menkes disease, a genetic disorder that affects the body's ability to properly absorb copper from food and leads to neurodegeneration, seizures, impaired movement, stunted growth and, often, death before age 3. Now, a team of biochemistry researchers at the University of Missouri has published conclusive scientific evidence that the gene ATP7A is essential for the dietary absorption of the nutrient copper. Their work with laboratory mice also provides a greater understanding of how this gene impacts Menkes disease as scientists search for a treatment.

Humans cannot survive if their bodies are lacking the ATP7A gene, yet children can develop Menkes disease when the gene is mutated or missing. Previously, scientists did not have a good model to test the gene's function or develop an understanding of the underlying causes of the disease symptoms. In his new study, Michael Petris, associate professor of biochemistry, was able to modify mice so that they were missing the ATP7A gene in certain areas of the body, specifically the intestinal track where nutrient absorption takes place.

"These findings help us to understand where in the body the function of this gene is vital and how the loss of the gene in certain tissues can give rise to Menke's disease," said Petris, who is a researcher in the Bond Life Sciences Center and holds an appointment in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. "We want to continue to explore the underlying biology of Menke's disease to determine where we should focus our research efforts in the future. If we know which organs or tissues are most responsible for transporting copper throughout the body, we can focus on making sure the gene is expressed in those areas. This disease is ideal for gene therapy down the road."

Petris found that young mice missing the ATP7A gene in their intestinal cells were unable to absorb copper from food, resulting in an overall copper deficiency that mimics symptoms of Menkes disease in children. Petris says it's vital to ensure that the developing newborns absorb enough copper during the neonatal period when the demand for the mineral is highest.

"Copper is a little-appreciated but essential trace mineral in all body tissues," Petris said. "Cells cannot properly use oxygen without copper; it helps in the formation of red blood cells, and it helps keep the blood vessels, nerves, skin, immune system and bones healthy. Normally, people absorb enough copper through their food. However, in the bodies of those with Menkes disease, copper begins to accumulate at abnormally low levels in the liver and brain and at higher than normal levels in the kidney and intestinal lining."

Newborn screening for this disorder is not routine, and early detection is infrequent because it can arise spontaneously in families, Petris said. Many times, the disease is not detected until the symptoms are noticed, and by that time, it can be too late for any aggressive treatments.

"The clinical signs of Menkes disease are subtle in the beginning, so the disease is rarely treated early enough to make a significant difference," he said. "However, a single dose of copper injected into mice within a few days of birth restored normal growth and life expectancy. Early intervention was critical because treatment that began after symptoms developed wasn't successful."

Petris says that understanding the roles of copper in biology may have far-reaching health implications for the general population because copper underpins many facets of biology, including the growth of cancer tumors and the formation of toxic proteins in Alzheimer's disease.

The development of these mice provides a novel experimental system in which to test treatments for patients with this disease. The early-stage results of this research are promising, but additional studies are needed.

The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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Discovery helps explain how children develop rare, fatal disease

Princeton scientist feted for her role in creating protein data bank

PRINCETON If you know the connection, the pictures hanging on the wall in Helen Bermans home go a long way in explaining what she does as a structural biologist.

There is a black-and-white photo of the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a picture by the Dutch printmaker M.C. Escher. And there is a collection of seashells arranged into columns, sorted by type. In Bermans mind they are linked by several factors, beauty and symmetry being just two of them.

But the real key lies in the fact that she has grouped them here at all. That is what she does. Berman puts things together. She amplifies the relationships between them, and oversees the archiving of their connections.

Bermans interest in bioinformatics methods for organizing and analyzing biological data has led to her crowning achievement, one she is known for even outside the cloistered world of structural biology, where she has spent her entire career.

This month, Berman received the American Society for Biochemistrys prestigious DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences. She won the award for her part and it is a large one in the creation of the RCSB Protein Data Bank, now housed at Rutgers University, where Berman is a professor with the chemistry department.

RCSB stands for Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics where collaboration is another key part of Bermans philosophy.

Used by scientists, researchers, doctoral students and pharmaceutical companies, among others, the Protein Data Bank (PDB) is the product of decades of scientific cooperation and sheer dogged work on Bermans side.

When the PDB began at a different location 42 years ago, it catalogued just seven structures of protein molecules. Today, there are over 90,000.

Ive learned to be very patient, said Berman during an interview at her home. What Im doing is not the same as making a scientific discovery. Its a very different kind of thing. You have to be patient, take into account that other people work differently and that certain things have to be embargoed for a while.

Ultimately, I was successful.

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Princeton scientist feted for her role in creating protein data bank

Averica Discovery Services and Worcester Polytechnic Institute Establish Research Collaboration

WORCESTER, Mass., April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Averica Discovery Services, a contract research organization (CRO) with specialized expertise in small molecule analysis and purification, today announced that it has established a research collaboration with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The open-ended agreement allows the two organizations to share their expertise on a variety of projects.

"WPI's emphasis on real world applications of advanced research fits well with Averica's focus on providing the highest quality analytical services to early stage drug researchers," noted Jeffrey Kiplinger, PhD, president of Averica. "WPI's expertise in solid state chemistry enhances our strengths as we expand our suite of pre-formulation services, and we intend to develop specific research collaborations that will be fruitful for both organizations. In Massachusetts we are fortunate to be located near many world class academic institutions, and we anticipate establishing additional collaborations going forward."

Averica Discovery Services supplies a wide variety of chromatography and analytical services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other life sciences researchers. Averica works with its clients to speed lead optimization and early development timelines and it provides highly pure assay material for programs requiring milligram to kilogram quantities.

"One factor that sets WPI apart is our commitment to engaging faculty and students in interdisciplinary projects addressing real world issues," said Arne Gericke, John C. Metzger Professor and head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "Collaborations with innovative companies such as Averica are invaluable for ensuring that our science remains on the cutting edge, while also enabling us to contribute to their growing success."

Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

About Averica Discovery Services Founded in 2007, Averica Discovery Services is a contract research organization with specialized expertise in small molecule analysis and purification. Averica works with drug discovery and development teams to speed lead optimization and timelines in early development. Its services include scalable compound supply, chiral resolution, pre-formulation and proprietary services such as Targeted Isolation. Averica is located in the heart of the East Coast life sciences corridor, just west of Boston. For more information, visit: http://www.avericadiscovery.com.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI was one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. WPI's talented faculty work with students on interdisciplinary research that seeks solutions to important and socially relevant problems in fields as diverse as the life sciences and bioengineering, energy, information security, materials processing, and robotics. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Perspective Program. For more information, visit http://www.wpi.edu.



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Averica Discovery Services and Worcester Polytechnic Institute Establish Research Collaboration

Picking your nose and eating it ‘may be good for your health’

The secret to strengthening your immune systems ability to fight off illness might be right under your nose-- or rather, in it, according to a University of Saskatchewan researcher. Scott Napper, an associate professor of biochemistry at the University, has suggested that there may be health benefits to that most icky of icky habits: picking our noses and eating it.

Almost all kids have a compulsion to taste the things that come out of their noses, Napper said. He suggested that its possible that nature is pushing humans to adopt the behaviour because it is somehow to our natural advantage. Nasal mucous traps germs and stops them from getting into our lungs, Napper explained, but its possible that if we eat the mucous, exposure to those germs could actually help build immunity. It might teach your immune system about what's it's likely to get exposed to, so it might serve as almost a natural vaccination, if you will, he told CTV Saskatoon.

Its possible, he stated, that by blowing our noses into handkerchiefs or tissues, we might be robbing our bodies of the chance to develop valuable antibodies. Napper said his idea is still very preliminary, but admitted that it's gotten a lot of attention. He now hopes to conduct a study in which some type of molecule could be inserted into peoples noses, with half the participants picking their nose and eating it, and then seeing if the molecule still makes them ill.

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Picking your nose and eating it 'may be good for your health'

Lions’ select future biochemist Brandon Hepburn in seventh round

Allen Park - It was suggested to Brandon Hepburn, the linebacker from Florida A&M the Lions took with their final pick Saturday, that he might be wasting his time playing football.

"Yeah," he said, "I get that a lot."

It's not that Hepburn doesn't have a chance to make an NFL roster. He's an overachieving, multi-dimensional athlete who, if nothing else, can make a good living on special teams.

But he can possibly do more for mankind by pursuing his other passion science. Hepburn, who scored 1400 on his SATs, got his degree in biochemistry and during an internship at North Texas University worked on a team that helped find a way to kill certain cancer cells in rats using copper-loaded nano particles.

"We haven't cured cancer, yet," he said, chuckling. "But we were able to do a lot of great work."

He hopes one day to own his own biochemical company and lead research against deadly diseases.

"But football is my No. 1 dream," he said. "I've always wanted to be in the position I am in now, to live out my dream of playing professional football. At the end of the day, you can't play forever. I hope after a long career I can go into that other aspects of my life."

Position: Inside linebacker

School: Florida A&M

Height/weight: 6-2, 240

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Lions' select future biochemist Brandon Hepburn in seventh round

Innate immunity system of sheep and goat herds against viral infections clarified

Public release date: 26-Apr-2013 [ | E-mail | Share ]

Contact: Oihane Lakar Iraizoz o.lakar@elhuyar.com 34-943-363-040 Elhuyar Fundazioa

Biology and Biochemistry graduate, Paula Juregui Onieva, has undertaken research for her PhD thesis on the factors of restriction of innate immunity present in sheep and goats. In concrete, she investigated if these factors had antiviral activity so that, pending further studies, they could be used in preventing certain diseases of these animals, such as mastitis, arthritis, pneumonia and/or encephalitis. The thesis is titled Inmunidad innata frente a lentivirus de pequeos rumiantes (SRLV): Papel de TRIM5 (Innate immunity against small ruminant lentivirus (SRLV): the role of TRIM5).

The PhD thesis deals with innate immunity against lentivirus in small ruminants. Lentivirus is a genus of viruses that produces slow infections, deteriorates the immune system and causes various pathologies. For example, in sheep, the Visna Maedi virus gives rise to nervous and brain diseases while the Maedi virus causes respiratory problems. Lentivirus in small ruminants makes up a highly heterogeneous, including also the caprine arthritis/encephalitis virus.

According to Ms Juregui, "currently there do not exist vaccinations or efficacious treatment for these types of infections, and so the study on the factors of restriction of innate immunity could be an effective alternative for treating or preventing these infections". The factors of restriction studied involve antiviral proteins present in certain cells which inhibit the viral cycle. The research focused on the factor known as TRIM5 which, apparently, prevents the virus managing to incorporate itself into the genome of the cell, thus impeding infection.

With the aim of finding out how this factor of restriction functions, the researcher had a four-fold objective for her PhD thesis: identifying and characterising TRIM5 in sheep and goat species; determining a possible restrictive role played by the lentivirus infection; exploring the restriction of the infection by heterologous retrovirus; and investigating, through phylogenetic analysis, the on-going trends and a possible co-evolution between lentivirus and TRIM5 in domestic and wild ruminants.


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Innate immunity system of sheep and goat herds against viral infections clarified

Picking your nose and eating it may be good for you

Despite everything you may have heard from your mom, picking your nose and eating what you find may have some health benefits, according to a biochemistry professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

"By consuming those pathogens caught within the mucus, could that be a way to teach your immune system about what it's surrounded with?" is the hypothesis Scott Napper posed to his students.

Napper noted that snot has a sugary taste and that may be a signal to the body to consume it and derive information for the immune system.

"I've got two beautiful daughters and they spend an amazing amount of time with their fingers up their nose," he said. "And without fail, it goes right into their mouth afterwards. Could they just be fulfilling what we're truly meant to do?"

Napper said his hypothesis also fits into other theories that examine the link between improved hygiene and an increase in allergies and auto-immune disorders.

"From an evolutionary perspective, we evolved under very dirty conditions and maybe this desire to keep our environment and our behaviours sterile isn't actually working to our advantage," he said.

Napper added he likes to talk about nose picking and science to teach students how seemingly simple questions can lead to valuable scientific discoveries.

He noted his posting about boogers would need to be tested.

"All you would need is a group of volunteers. You would put some sort of molecule in all their noses, and for half of the group they would go about their normal business and for the other half of the group, they would pick their nose and eat it," he said. "Then you could look for immune responses against that molecule and if they're higher in the booger-eaters, then that would validate the idea."

Napper added, with a chuckle, that he has already been approached by people keen to participate in a study.

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Picking your nose and eating it may be good for you

#11 Biochemistry Lecture (Enzyme Regulation II) from Kevin Ahern’s BB 350 – Video

#11 Biochemistry Lecture (Enzyme Regulation II) from Kevin Ahern #39;s BB 350
1. Contact me at kgahern@davincipress.com / Friend me on Facebook (kevin.g.ahern) 2. Download my new free biochemistry book at http://biochem.science.oregons...

By: Kevin Ahern

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#11 Biochemistry Lecture (Enzyme Regulation II) from Kevin Ahern's BB 350 - Video

UNO Alumni honor Kreiling

Fremont native and Cedar Bluffs High School graduate Jodi Kreiling recently was honored by the University of Nebraska at Omaha Alumni Association.

She was one of nine honored with an Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award. Recipients receive a $1,000 award and a commemorative plaque.

Kreilings teaching expertise is in general chemistry and biochemistry. An associate professor, she joined the UNO faculty as a chemistry department member in 2005. She has designed a new biochemistry course concerning Protein Purification and Characterization. Kreiling also supervises undergraduate researchers concerning projects related to improving the Biochemistry lab curriculum or projects concerning protein-protein interactions/protein structure-function. She has served her department, the university, community and profession in numerous capacities, including membership on the deans advisory committee.

Kreiling also is a courtesy faculty member in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she earned a Ph.D. in 2005. Kreiling received a bachelor of science in biochemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1999.

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Saskatoon professor wants you to pick your nose for science

Scott Napper, a biochemistry professor at the University of Saskatchewan, is proposing a research experiment inA Saskatoon professor trying to promote science among students is starting to get snotty about the whole thing.

Scott Napper, a biochemistry professor at the University of Saskatchewan, is proposing a research experiment in which subjects would pick their noses and then eat it, according to the Canadian Press.

[ Related: Saskatchewan professor wants to test the health benefits of nose-picking ]

He says this type of experiment, that's funny and enlightening, is a great way to make people curious about science.

Funny for the guy who's not picking his snot.

Napper also seeks to find out if children's occasional habit of eating boogers might be helpful, in a sense, because it could teach their bodies to better fight off the germs they consume.

He told the Canadian Press he would choose one type of molecule to place in subject's noses and then divide them into two groups: nose pickers who eat it and those who don't.

Volunteering before the groups are assigned would require a certain special kind of bravery. Call it goo guts.

[ More Buzz: B.C. bong shop under fire for weed-promoting Bongy mascot ]

An Austrian doctor was cited as saying that picking your nose and eating it is healthy in news stories that circulated widely several years ago. However, follow-ups have not yielded any medical studies supporting his claim.

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Saskatoon professor wants you to pick your nose for science