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Biological Sciences News

A U of I-Led Study Identifies a Protein That Saves Cells From Formaldehyde Toxicity

Posted Fri, 28 May 2021 11:54:00 -0700

Normal cellular processes give rise to toxins, like formaldehyde, that cells must mitigate. Bacteria that feed on methanol, like Methylorubrum extorquens, produce a lot of formaldehyde. A U of I-led study published in PLOS Biology identified a protein that acts as a kill-switch, binding to formaldehyde and leading to a rapid cessation in growth and protein production. This protein, named EfgA, is the first formaldehyde sensor ever discovered in bacteria that eat methanol as food and is found nearly universally among bacteria with this metabolic capacity. Read more

U of I-Led Study Finds Ongoing Evolution in Tasmanian Devils’ Response to Transmissible Cancer

Posted Wed, 26 May 2021 09:49:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — May 26, 2021 — University of Idaho researchers partnered with other scientists from the United States and Australia to study the evolution of Tasmanian devils in response to a unique transmissible cancer. Read more

Jagdish Patel and Colleagues Identify Natural Product That Inhibits Cancer Cells

Posted Wed, 19 May 2021 13:29:00 -0700

U of I molecular modeler Jagdish Patel worked with Canadian scientists to identify a natural product from actinomycete extracts that might be useful in combating cancer. They focused on various actinomycete, a type of bacteria often used in the bioremediation of water or soil that has been polluted, and published their work in Cell Chemical Biology. They identified one compound that selectively targets and inhibits cancer stem cells over normal stem cells as well as the chemical pathway the natural product influences. Read more

U of I Researcher to Study STIs Using Biomimetic Models of the Female Reproductive Tract

Posted Tue, 27 Apr 2021 15:25:00 -0700

Larry Forney from the Department of Biological Sciences will take part in a five-year grant of $7,875,379 that was awarded to an interdisciplinary team that also includes researchers from the University of Maryland, the University of Virginia and the University of Delaware. The project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to develop innovative biomimetic models of the lower reproductive tract of women to study aspects of the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by chlamydia and gonorrhea that are not achievable in humans or with the animal and cell models currently available. The ultimate impact of this research will be to improve public health by reducing the incidence of STIs in humans. Read more

Campus Can Crushers Recycle More Than 81,500 Cans Across U of I Campus

Posted Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:13:00 -0700

This story by Lynsey Amundson was published by KIVI-TV in Boise on April 15. MOSCOW — With a grant from the University of Idaho biology engineer student, Addie White, created "Campus Can Crushers" to help Idaho become more recycle friendly. “They are highly durable metal can crushers in the shape of university logos," White said. "It’s a project I started at the University of Idaho because our recycling program was cut.” Read more

Two U of I Students Will Receive Prestigious Goldwater Research Scholarships

Posted Wed, 07 Apr 2021 13:54:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 7, 2021 — Two University of Idaho students were selected from a pool of 5,000 candidates nationwide to receive the prestigious Goldwater scholarship for the upcoming academic year. Read more

Forney Awarded Visiting Endowed Chair at University of Puerto Rico

Posted Mon, 22 Feb 2021 14:56:00 -0800

University Distinguished Professor Larry J. Forney has been awarded the Hispanics in Research Capability Visiting Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research from the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus. Read more

Paper Explores Use of Shell Material to Gather DNA From Mollusks

Posted Fri, 19 Feb 2021 11:34:00 -0800

Kelly Martin, a biology doctorate student, and two faculty members, including Christine Parent, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Lisette Waits, distinguished professor in the College of Natural Resources, jointly produced a paper on mollusk shells that appeared in BioScience, a peer-reviewed science journal published by Oxford University. The paper explores the use of unconventional DNA sources from mollusks, which have the highest number of extinctions of any taxonomic group. Traditionally, mollusk shell material was used for morphological research. Not until recently has it been used in DNA studies. Successful recovery of shell DNA can help answer ecological and evolutionary questions and protect molluscan diversity, according to the paper. Read more

Biology Professor Recognized by Alma Mater for Success, Service and Leadership

Posted Wed, 17 Feb 2021 14:48:00 -0800

College of Science Professor Jim Bull has been recognized as the 2021 Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumnus by Texas Tech University College of Arts and Sciences, where he earned an undergraduate degree before earning his doctorate from the University of Utah. The award recognizes former teachers and students for their “innovation, community service and leadership, pursuit of excellence, public accountability and diversity.” Jim was also recognized for his “professional success and service to the community and representation of the university” as an “undeniable candidate for this prestigious honor.” Read more

Zebrafish May Hold Clues for Retinal Regeneration in Humans

Posted Thu, 19 Nov 2020 14:17:00 -0800

What can zebrafish do that humans can’t? They can regenerate damaged neurons in their retina for starters. Assistant Professor Diana Mitchell in the Department of Biological Sciences recently received $1.25 million of direct funding from the National Institutes of Health to study specialized immune cells called microglia and macrophages to determine if the function of these cells could help explain why zebrafish have this ability and humans don’t. Mitchell’s grant proposal was submitted through the Institute of Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies. Read more

WWAMI Faculty Awarded $99,000 NIH Grant to Research Underlying Causes of Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

Posted Thu, 05 Nov 2020 15:00:00 -0800

Onesmo Balemba (PI, Department of Biological Sciences and dual appointment with WWAMI), Chantal Vella (Co-PI, Department of Movement Sciences and dual appointment with WWAMI) and Rayme Geidl (Co-PI, WWAMI, associate director of Clinical Education) were awarded a one-year, $99,000 National Institute of Health (NIH) grant through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Diabetes Complications Consortium to explore novel causes of diabetes neuropathy (nerve dysfunction) and dysmotility (digestive system muscle dysfunction). The study will help improve understanding of the interaction between diet, the gut’s microbiome and the host. Read more

Diana Mitchell to Present at NIH Virtual IDeA PI Meeting

Posted Wed, 16 Sep 2020 15:10:00 -0700

Diana Mitchell, assistant professor, Biological Sciences, was selected to present her abstract entitled “Retinal Development and Regeneration from a Microglial Perspective” at the NIH virtual IDeA PI meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22. She was one of the few selected from 175 submissions to present. Read more

Diana Mitchell Receives NIH Grant

Posted Wed, 09 Sep 2020 14:59:00 -0700

Diana Mitchell, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded a $1.25 million R01 grant award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The research will span five years and seeks to determine the function of immune cell populations in the regeneration of the zebrafish retina. The work will reveal key roles of certain immune cell types in shaping the outcome of retinal regeneration to gain insight into why retinal regeneration happens naturally in the zebrafish, but not in other animals such as humans. Read more

U of I Students Receive National Science Foundation Research Fellowships

Posted Tue, 05 May 2020 13:35:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — May 5, 2020 — Four University of Idaho student-researchers have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Program Fellowships for 2020. Read more

U of I Announces Awards for Excellence to Faculty, Staff

Posted Fri, 24 Apr 2020 11:30:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 24, 2020 — The University of Idaho is pleased to announce the University Awards for Excellence for 2019-20 to faculty and staff Read more

University of Idaho Faculty and Staff Works to Develop Cure for COVID-19

Posted Mon, 20 Apr 2020 12:07:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 20, 2020 — The University of Idaho is working to identify a cure for coronaviruses, including COVID-19. Read more

U of I, Regional Universities Model Intervention Strategies for Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted Wed, 15 Apr 2020 17:04:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 15, 2020 — University of Idaho faculty are partnering with Boise State University, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College and Washington State University to model intervention strategies across Idaho during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Faculty Named Best Educators in General Education Areas

Posted Fri, 10 Apr 2020 16:58:00 -0700

Last May, the university was asked to name faculty to represent the best educators in the six general education areas referred to as “The Ways of Knowing” for the Idaho State Board of Education General Education Teaching Awards. The following were U of I’s nominees: Barbara Kirchmeier, English – written communication; Diane Carter, communication – oral communication; Kirk Trigsted, math – mathematical ways of knowing; Lisa Harmon, biology – scientific ways of knowing; Deborah Thorne, sociology – social and behavioral ways of knowing; and Javier Rodriguez, music – humanistic and artistic ways of knowing. Kirchmeier and Carter were recognized as statewide finalists for their work at the annual General Education Summit in Boise in October. Read more

Two U of I Students Named 2020 Goldwater Scholars

Posted Thu, 09 Apr 2020 13:44:00 -0700

MOSCOW, Idaho — April 9, 2020 — University of Idaho juniors Beth Hoots and Isabell Strawn have been named 2020 Goldwater Scholars. Read more

Biological Diversity Treaty Needs to Protect Diversity of Wild Species

Posted Thu, 12 Mar 2020 15:32:00 -0700

The proposed post-2020 goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity — a treaty signed by 195 countries — do not sufficiently consider genetic diversity, writes evolutionary biologist Paul Hohenlohe and his colleagues in a letter published in Science. The letter states that the goals focus on conserving the genetic diversity of livestock, domestic species and their wild relatives but should extend to all wild species, as the more genetic diversity a species has, the greater chance it has to adapting to changing environments. Read more


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