SEA-PHAGES at UConn

UConn has been selected to join the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program in the 11th cohort of schools. MCB faculty Carol Teschke, Simon White, Peter Gogarten and Noah Reid applied to be part of the program, in which first or second year undergraduates participate in a two-semester, discovery-based undergraduate research course that begins with simple digging in the soil to find new bacterial viruses, but progresses through a variety of microbiology techniques and eventually to complex genome annotation and bioinformatic analyses.

 

Dr. Juliana Cortines returns to UConn on a Fullbright Fellowship!

Former MCB post-doc in the Teschke Lab, Dr. Juliana Cortines, now Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Microbiology Institute, Virology Department, has received a Fulbright Fellowship to come back to UConn next academic year for Research and Teaching. She will be working in Dr. Teschke’s lab on characterizing a giant virus called Samba virus.

John Malone has been invited to the United Nations Economic and Social Council to participate in the 2018 ESCOSOC forum!

Dr. Malone is part of the delegation of the Global Young Academy and UNESCO and has contributed to development of the concept note for SD17: The use of science, technology, and innovations in facilitating youth engagement, development, and resilience. Dr. Malone will participate in the panel discussions both days.

The forum (The role of youth in building sustainable and resilient urban and rural communities) will provide a platform for youth to engage government representatives, policymakers, and stakeholders in civil society and the private sector to generate new ideas for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He will represent the The Global Young Academy (GYA) and North America at the United Nations, 30-31 January 2018, and outline how biological and molecular science can be used to create opportunity and ensure that science as a profession is an attractive option for youth worldwide. These ideas will contribute to SDG17: The use of science, technology, and innovations in facilitating youth engagement, development, and resilience.

The UConn MCB Professional Science Masters (PSM) programs are participants in a program funded by the CT Innovations Higher Education Initiative.

The “Partnership for Innovation and Education” project will integrate educational endeavors of a number of Connecticut academic institutions with the goal of educating and training students for careers in biotechnology. A major benefit of the program is the availability of financial support for internships (30-40 in total), which will facilitate student training and provide important assistance to start-up companies in the state. The MCB PSM programs acknowledge Dr. Caroline Dealy (UConn Health) for spearheading this effort, as well as for her long-term support of the MCB PSM programs.

Eric May has just been notified that he is one of four recipients of “The OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in Computational Chemistry” by the American Chemical Society.

The other three awardees are from MIT (one in Chemical Engineering and one from the Department of Chemistry), and one from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Chemistry.

The award will be presented at the ACS annual meeting in New Orleans this March 2018.

Congratulations to Rachel O’Neill, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, on her appointment as Director of the Institute for Systems Genomics (ISG).

The ISG was founded to facilitate and expand genomic research at UConn and has recently celebrated its 5th year at a symposium which featured, among other renown genomicists, Eric Greene, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute as the keynote speaker. Dr. O’Neill is a genomicist studying how genomes of diverse organisms maintain their stability. Her work includes genome assemblies and an interest in genome evolution. Over the next three years as Director, Dr. O’Neill will complete an external review of the ISG, facilitate successful, collaborative research among its members, and support the expanding faculty working in the realm of genomics.