News » Archives » 2013

The Silent Gene

Author: Michael Rodio

Jenifer Prosperi

Jenifer Prosperi, a researcher at the Harper Cancer Research Institute, is studying how to treat breast cancers that evolve when a crucial tumor suppressor gene goes silent.

Over the past 15 years, the scientific community has come to understand that breast cancer is a monster with many faces.

Some cancers have one of three special indicator molecules (HER2, estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors) that can guide targeted anti-cancer treatments. But another set of breast cancers, the “triple-negative” types, lack those three indicator molecules that can guide treatment. And even now, the question remains: How can doctors better target and treat triple-negative cancers? And how can they keep up the treatment when breast cancers fight back?

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Notre Dame research finding may help accelerate diabetic wound healing

Author: William G. Gilroy

Mobashery Lab

University of Notre Dame researchers have, for the first time, identified the enzymes that are detrimental to diabetic wound healing and those that are beneficial to repair the wound.

There are currently no therapeutics for diabetic wound healing. The current standard of care is palliative to keep the wound clean and free of infection. In the United States, 66,000 diabetic individuals each year undergo lower-limb amputations due to wounds that failed to heal.

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ESTEEM and MBA students take first and third in AT&T case competition

Author: Mendoza College of Business


Teams made up of students from both the University of Notre Dame MBA and Notre Dame's entrepreneurship master's program (ESTEEM) took first and third places in the recent AT&T Case Competition.  

The competition, held Oct. 4 at AT&T’s corporate headquarters in Dallas, pitched Notre Dame against University of Texas-Dallas graduate business students in analyzing a case centered on “Big Data” and the challenges and opportunities presented by the resource for AT&T’s current and future business model.

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Teachers as Scholars visits ND-LEEF

Author: Gene Stowe


Eighteen local K-12 teachers participated in a two-day Teachers as Scholars program led by Jennifer Tank, the Ludmilla F., Stephen J., and Robert T. Galla Professor of Biological Sciences

The program included a day of classroom instruction at Innovation Park by several guest speakers and a day of hands-on learning at Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF) at St. Patrick's County Park.

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Graduate student Erica Kistner receives travel grant from the Entomological Society of America

Author: Provided by the Entomological Society of America

Erica Kistner, biology graduate student, works in the field

Erica Kistner, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences, recently received a travel grant from the Entomological Society of America (ESA) to attend the ESA’s annual meeting in Austin, Tex. in coming November.  The grants were created to provide financial support to graduate students for networking, presentation and research opportunities. Kistner is one of 10 students who earned a travel award this year.

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Gary Lamberti awarded Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Author: Provided by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Gary Lamberti

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant has announced more than $300,000 in funding awards for three research projects over the next two years. Funded projects seek to improve understanding of the Lake Michigan near shore food web, uncover connections between sediment removal projects and a community’s ability to weather environmental hazards, and identify why people adopt storm water management practices.

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Notre Dame researchers look at benefits of flu vaccines in the elderly

Author: Sarah Craig

Benjamin Ridenhour

New research at the University of Notre Dame looks more closely at the effects of the influenza vaccine on the elderly, who are considered the highest-risk group for influenza-related mortality.

Despite the fact that the elderly are more susceptible to falling ill, very little is known about how well the influenza vaccination performs for those older than 65 years of age

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A new way to counter ovarian cancer’s drug resistance

Author: Michael Rodio

Ovarian cancer cells

Standing at a microscope in her Harper Hall laboratory, Dr. Karen Cowden Dahl is scanning through a petri dish filled with cancer cells that could represent a major step forward in ovarian cancer research.

Ovarian cancer is especially cruel because it is so hard to detect. While other types of cancer like breast cancer have reliable indicators that allow for early detection, ovarian cancer is hard to catch in its early stages.

But Cowden Dahl has found a biological marker that could be the long sought-after warning flag for ovarian cancer: ARID3B, a ubiquitous but poorly-understood transcription factor gene that acts like a switchboard operator by turning genes on and off in normal cells.

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Marya Lieberman shares the PAD project with the South Bend community at Science Café

Author: Gene Stowe


Marya Lieberman, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, presented “Finding Fake Drugs: Bringing Chemistry Out of the Lab and into the World” at the South Bend Science Café in downtown South Bend on Oct. 14. Over 100 people from the Notre Dame and the community attended the event. This was the second event in a monthly series organized by town leaders and the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, where Lieberman is a Fellow.

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Talk Science seminar highlights research projects in biology and biochemistry

Author: Shadia Ajam

Talk Science seminar

The students from Scientia, the undergraduate journal of scientific research, host a monthly seminar series called Talk Science that highlights the work of undergraduate and faculty researchers in the College of Science. This month’s presenters were senior biochemistry major Elizabeth Nuter and Nicole Achee, associate research professor of biological sciences.

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Notre Dame network physicist describes network model of brain’s connectivity

Author: Stephanie Healey


Zoltan Toroczkai

A new paper by Zoltán Toroczkai, professor of physics and concurrent professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame, and his collaborators provides a predictive model of cerebral cortical connectivity at the interareal level. The study was published in the Oct. 2 issue of the journal Neuron.

The cerebral cortex is responsible for all the sensory, motor and cognitive functions of an individual and is arguably the most powerful known supercomputer.

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Notre Dame physicists celebrate announcement of Nobel Prize for Higgs discovery

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Higgs boson

At 6:45 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 8), the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in physics to theorists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert to recognize their work developing the theory of what is now known as the Higgs field, which gives elementary particles mass. U.S. scientists played a significant role in advancing the theory and in discovering the particle that proves the existence of the Higgs field, the Higgs boson.

Colin Jessop, professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame, is the leader of the Notre Dame team that works on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaboration at CERN. The team’s experiment is one of two Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments that shared the Higgs boson discovery.

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Prashant Kamat presents work on low-cost solar cell alternatives

Author: Shadia Ajam

Prashant Kamat

Recently Prashant V. Kamat, The Rev. John A. Zahm C.S. C Professor of Science, gave a presentation on low-cost solar-cell alternatives at the annual American Chemical Society meeting in Indianapolis.

Scientists have been searching for ways to make low-cost solar cells, photovoltaic devices that convert light to electricity. Solar-cell technology isn’t new, but the high cost of producing the technology makes it difficult for wide use.

Kamat’s research has focused around quantum dots, an approach that takes advantage of the ease of making, tuning, and processing light-absorbing nanocrystals of semiconductors with colloidal chemical methods.

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Notre Dame researchers make progress toward a treatment for dangerous allergies

Author: Arnie Phifer


New research published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology shows that a group of scientists, led by faculty at the University of Notre Dame, has made concrete progress toward the development of the first-ever inhibitory therapeutic for type-I hypersensitive allergic reactions.

“Our allergy inhibition project is innovative and significant because we brought a novel molecular design approach to selectively inhibit ‘mast cell degranulation’–the key event in triggering a food allergic response–which has the potential to improve the quality of life for affected patients,” explains Basar Bilgicer, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame and an investigator in the university’s Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative

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Notre Dame researchers uncover keys to antibiotic resistance in MRSA

Author: Marissa Gebhard


University of Notre Dame researchers Shahriar Mobashery, Mayland Chang, their team members, and their collaborators in Spain have published research results this week that show how methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) regulates the critical crosslinking of its cell wall in the face of beta-lactam antibiotics.

The work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals the mechanistic basis for how the MRSA bacterium became such a difficult pathogen over the previous 50 years, in which time it spread rapidly across the world.

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NASA names Justin Crepp a Kepler Participating Scientist

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Justin Crepp

NASA has named University of Notre Dame astrophysicist Justin Crepp a Kepler Participating Scientist. As one of only 11 scientists in the country selected to participate, Crepp will advance the goals of the Kepler Mission by seeking to discover extrasolar planets, some of which may be in the habitable zone.

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ND-GAIN issues call for applications for Corporate Adaptation Award

Author: William G. Gilroy


The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) at the University of Notre Dame is accepting applications for the ND-GAIN Corporate Adaptation Award, an annual award for contributions to awareness, science or action in creating resilience to corporate change.

This year, the ND-GAIN Prize will be awarded to a multinational corporation working with local partners to decrease climate-related vulnerability and improve readiness.

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DNA Learning Center dedication highlights community outreach

Author: Gene Stowe


The Notre Dame DNA Learning Center, a partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, was dedicated on Sept. 28. The center, located in the Jordan Hall of Science, will accelerate outreach in the field of genetics education to local K-12 schools and the community. Students from local schools and the Robinson Community Learning Center displayed “double helix art” at the event.

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Notre Dame team leads effort to track genetically engineered organisms in the wild

Author: Arnie Phifer


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a multidisciplinary team of University of Notre Dame researchers a grant of $500,000 to develop a new technology for tracking the movement of genetically-engineered (GE) organisms and their byproducts in the environment.

“Understanding and monitoring the dispersal of these organisms is a critical component of the safe and responsible use of transgenic technology,” says principal investigator Scott Egan, a Research Assistant Professor in Notre Dame’s Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics (AD&T) initiative and researcher in the university’s Environmental Change Initiative (ECI). MORE...

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Taking the Brook Trout’s Temperature

Author: Greg Seitz, St. Croix 360

Patrick Shirey

The skies above Cable, Wisconsin were unsettled last Friday, with rain showers interrupted by sunshine. Good fishing weather. But Patrick Shirey and his companions weren’t using typical methods.

Shirey, a researcher from the University of Notre Dame, was accompanied by two Ph.D. candidates and a writer who was kind of wishing he had brought a fly rod.

The group ventured into the remote upper reaches of a small creek in the eastern extremity of the St. Croix River watershed. They were looking for brook trout – the beautiful, fragile and native fish which once thrived throughout the Namekagon and its tributaries.

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Notre Dame to dedicate new DNA Learning Center

Author: Marissa Gebhard

DNA Learning Center

In collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame will dedicate the DNA Learning Center at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 28) in the Jordan Hall of Science, Room 139. The event is open to the public.

A hands-on science center devoted to modern biology education, the DNA Learning Center will prepare local K-12 students to thrive in the gene age.

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Notre Dame installs new telescope on Jordan Hall

Author: William G. Gilroy

Telescope installation

The University of Notre Dame has completed installation of the new Sarah L. Krizmanich Telescope on the roof of the Jordan Hall of Science.

The telescope, which features a 0.8-meter (32-inch diameter) mirror, will be especially useful for undergraduate astronomy research. The light collecting area of the mirror makes it one of the largest telescopes in Indiana.

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