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December 27, 2005

Dr. Jared Rutter, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, University of Utah, 10/5/05


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Dr. Jared Rutter attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the Molecular Biophysics graduate program. Under the guidance of Dr. Steven McKnight, Dr. Rutter studied the regulation and function of two proteins involved in sensing metabolic status and controlling cellular biology. After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Rutter was appointed as the Sara and Frank McKnight Independent Fellow of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern. In 2004, Dr. Rutter moved to the University of Utah as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry.

Dr. Rutter's laboratory is interested in the reciprocal coupling of core metabolism and other cellular processes. Metabolic and nutrient status elicit substantial effects on a wide array of cellular biologies, including cell growth, cell division, and protein synthesis. Conversely, many cellular signaling pathways exert control on important metabolic decisions. Dr. Rutter's current research focuses on how the availability and quality of nutrients and energy affect cellular decisions, and how these cellular decisions then determine the use of available nutrients and energy.

Posted by David Lemberg at 03:44 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

December 15, 2005

The Honorable M. Michael Rounds, Governor of South Dakota, 12/14/05


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Part one of our conversation on the Homestake Underground Laboratory Project, solar neutrino research, K-12 science education, and basic and applied science in South Dakota

Governor Mike Rounds discusses the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (Lead, SD), and the South Dakota 2010 Initiative. Goal Three of the 2010 Initiative relates to securing the Homestake Mine for use as an underground science laboratory, and developing research and technology infrastructure at South Dakota universities and with the private sector.

In 2004, working with legislators, state employees, and South Dakotans, Governor Rounds has already

  • Created the Homestake Underground Laboratory project

  • Increased state funding for public universities by more than $7.5M and for public technical institutes by more than $1.6M

  • Increased state aid for local public schools by more than $10.2M in ongoing funding, as well as an additional $7.3M in one-time funding

  • Overhauled the state aid to education formula and increasing the state’s share of funding from less than 30 percent to more than 50 percent of the general education budget
  • Posted by David Lemberg at 04:07 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

    Dr. Kevin Lesko, Senior Physicist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Nuclear Science Division, and Mr. Dave Snyder, Executive Director, South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, 12/14/05


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    We continue our two-part conversation on South Dakota's Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory.

    Dr. Kevin T. Lesko is Senior Physicist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Nuclear Science Division, and Spokesman, Homestake Collaboration, Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory(DUSEL). Dr. Lesko received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Washington. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and has received Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Outstanding Performance Award in 2003 and 2000.

    Dr. Lesko's research interests focus on neutrino physics. For the past 15 years he has dedicated most research efforts to the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO). SNO’s discovery of neutrino mass was the first compelling evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model. With its unique sensitivity to both neutral-current and charged-current reactions and charged current spectral distortions, SNO provided irrefutable evidence for solar neutrino transformation. SNO also promises to contribute critical data to the neutrino-mixing matrix: going beyond the discovery phase to the precision measurement phase. As SNO has reached a stable operations mode, Dr. Lesko has expanded his research efforts to include significant contributions to the KamLAND experiment and to lead the national effort to establish a deep underground laboratory. He is currently investigating new technologies for low energy neutrino and double beta decay experiments.

    Dave Snyder is the Executive Director of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. He was named to the post by the Board of Directors effective November 15, 2004. He had been a member of the Board, having been appointed by Governor M. Michael Rounds in August 2004.

    The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority exists to foster and facilitate scientific and technological investigation, experimentation, and development. Created in February 2004 by the Legislature in response to Governor Rounds’ 2010 Initiative, the Authority is working to convert the closed Homestake Gold Mine in Lead, SD, into a science and engineering center, complete with a deep underground laboratory as well as education, visitor, and outreach components.

    The Homestake project has the potential to significantly advance the fundamental understanding of the physical universe, as well as to make a major positive impact on science, education, and economic development in South Dakota.

    Posted by David Lemberg at 04:00 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

    December 13, 2005

    Dr. Rodger McEver and Dr. Richard Cummings, Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corporation, 12/7/05


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    Dr. Rodger P. McEver is Vice President of Research and Eli Lilly Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Research, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Dr. McEver received an NIH MERIT Award in 1997 and an NIH Research Career Development Award in 1986. He has published more than 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and was elected to the Association of American Physicians in 1994. He is Principal Investigator on the NIH-sponsored, "Molecular Basis of Selectin Interactions with Leukocytes", and is Mentor on the NIH-sponsored, "Post-Translational Modifications in Host Defense".

    Dr. Richard Cummings is the Ed Miller Endowed Chair and the George Lynn Cross Distinguished Research Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center College of Medicine in Oklahoma City, OK. He is also the Founder and Director of the Oklahoma Center for Medical Glycobiology, a center founded in 1999 and devoted to studying the role of complex carbohydrates in human and animal diseases. Rick is one of the authors of the first textbook on glycobiology—Essentials of Glycobiology—from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, published in 1999. Rick is the author of over 140 peer-reviewed publications in the field of glycobiology, and is one of the top 10–cited researchers in the field. He is Associate Editor and on the Editorial Board of several major peer-reviewed research journals. Rick holds over 20 U.S. patents in various areas of biotechnology. He has been a consultant with many of the major biotechnology companies in the world, including Amgen, Abbott, and Glaxo.

    Drs. McEver and Cummings are the Founders of Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corporation. The Company develops and commercializes therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory and thrombotic disorders. Selexys has a well-characterized target called P-selectin that mediates the first step in inflammation. Selexys lead drug program is an antibody that blocks P-selectin and inhibits P-selectin function in the recruitment of white blood cells to sites of inflammation. The lead clinical target is sickle cell disease. The Company founders are experts in the fields of vascular biology and protein-carbohydrate interactions that enable cell adhesion. Selexys is actively seeking co-development and licensing partners for these technologies. Selexys has rights to 15 issued patents.

    Posted by David Lemberg at 09:34 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

    December 09, 2005

    Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, 2004 National Science Foundation CAREER Award recipient, and Assistant Professor of Physics, Purdue Univeresity, 11/30/05


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    Dr. Jorge H. Rodriguez is a prominent researcher in the field of biomolecular physics. In particular, he is a leading authority in the physico-chemical properties of iron-containing proteins such as the oxygen-transporting hemoglobin in mammals and hemerythrin in marine invertebrates. Dr. Rodriguez takes an interdisciplinary approach to science by applying the rigorous concepts of quantum mechanics and other fundamental principles of physics to study metalloproteins, metalloenzymes, and other biomolecules.

    In 2004 Dr. Rodriguez received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. This award fosters Dr. Rodriguez's computational research on biomolecular physics and, in particular, on quantum models of the electronic structure and biological function of magnetically ordered metalloproteins. According to NSF, the CAREER is its "most prestigious award for new faculty members. The CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century."

    Dr. Rodriguez and his team at Purdue University have been studying the relationship between the electronic configurations and the function of important metal-containing proteins and enzymes. This requires using sophisticated computational methods to solve the basic equations of quantum mechanics to describe the behavior of valence electronic shells in active sites of metalloproteins. As a result, Dr. Rodriguez and his group are obtaining a detailed quantitative understanding of the physico-chemical mechanisms that govern the behavior of proteins and other biomolecules. This in turn paves the way for transforming molecular biology and biochemistry into predictive quantitative subjects rather than descriptive ones

    Posted by David Lemberg at 03:27 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

    December 05, 2005

    Dr. Michael Liebman, Executive Director, Windber Research Institute, 11/30/05


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    Dr. Michael Liebman is Executive Director of the Windber Research Institute. Dr. Liebman sits on 20 advisory boards, three editorial boards, and serves as a consultant to several companies. In addition, he is the author of over 60 refereed journal articles, including several on the application of bioinformatics in cancer research, as well as several books. He was named as finalist in both BioIT’s 2003 “Best Practices in Computational Research” and Genome Technology’s 2002 and 2003 “Bioinformatician of the Year.”

    Dr. Liebman is currently directing seven research projects including the Alliance for Bioinformatics in Cancer’s program to establish a collaborative environment for determination of biomarkers in cancer.

    The Windber Research Institute (WRI) is a world class, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility that has taken on the challenge of finding cures for genetic and metabolic diseases. Unencumbered by institutional bureaucracy, WRI has designed—from scratch—a facility for cutting edge research.

    WRI collects, classifies, and stores a vast array of well-characterized biological samples, then processes and analyzes them at the cellular and molecular level to identify DNA, RNA, and proteins that are dysfunctional or inappropriately expressed. Advanced computational, biological, and bioimaging techniques are also utilized to determine how genes and proteins affect the way a disease develops and/or progresses. The information gained is then utilized in disease management and also for development of new drugs and vaccines.

    WRI is well-equipped for tissue banking, molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, cDNA microarray construction and analysis, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of proteins, mass spectrometry, microscopy, bioimaging, laser capture microdissection, bioinformatics, and data warehousing.

    Posted by David Lemberg at 11:07 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

    December 01, 2005

    Dr. Jan Tornell, Global Director, AstraZeneca Transgenics and Comparative Genomics, 11/30/05


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    Dr. Tornell is Global Director of AstraZeneca Transgenics and Comparative Genomics. In 1996 he was recruited to Astra to build and lead a core unit (Astra Transgenic Centre) to generate and analyze transgenic models for the company worldwide. Prior to joining AstraZeneca Dr. Tornell ran a research group at Gothenburg University. He has had a leading role in building the transgenic technology in Scandinavia.

    AstraZeneca has a powerful product portfolio including many world leaders and a range of high potential therapies for treating cancer (Casodex, Arimidex, Faslodex), gastrointestinal disease (Nexium), asthma (Symbicort), hypertension (Atacand), high cholesterol (Crestor), migraine (Zomig), and schizophrenia (Seroque ). Sales in 2004 totalled $21.4 billion.

    In R&D AstraZeneca spends over $15 million every working day ($3.8 billion in 2004). In Discovery, Company scientists focus on finding new compounds with high potential as new medicines, working across boundaries to exchange ideas, to share best practices, and to make the most of the efficiencies offered by global collaboration.

    AstraZeneca’s corporate HQ is in London and the R&D HQ is in Södertälje, Sweden. The Company has a strong presence in the U.S. and is active worldwide with sales in over 100 countries, manufacturing in 20, and major research centers in seven. In total AstraZeneca has over 64,000 employees worldwide.

    Posted by David Lemberg at 08:42 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index