Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
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Events

Feb

21

BMG Seminar: Next-generation Synthetic Biology Technologies for the Human Microbiome - Harris Wang, PhD

Chicago - 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Harris H. Wang, PhDAssistant Professor of Systems Biology Department of Pathology and Cell BiologyColumbia University Emerging research of the human microbiome has generate new insights into the role of human-associated microbes in health and disease. In particular, microbes that colonize the gastrointestinal tract play a central role in host metabolism, immunity, and homeostasis, and can change in response to external perturbations such as dietary alterations, chemical exposures, and physiological or psychological stressors. However, the microbiome field currently lacks essential microbial engineering and synthetic biology tools, which are key roadblocks in the path towards next-generation microbiome-based products and therapies. In this talk, I will describe our various efforts to address these challenges including generation of new microbiome chasses using large-scale automation, multiplex construction and characterization of new genetic parts for non-model microbes, high-resolution delineation of spatiotemporal properties key to microbiome function and stability, recording of biological events in using engineered DNA-based cellular memory, and in situ manipulation of microbial communities directly within the mammalian host. These next-generation microbiome analysis and engineering tools provide a foundational platform for bridging synthetic biology technologies to the microbiome field. Harris Wang is an Assistant Professor at Columbia University jointly appointed in the Department of Systems Biology and the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology. Dr. Wang received his B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Physics from MIT and his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard University. His research group mainly develops enabling genomic technologies to characterize the mammalian gut microbiome and to engineer these microbes with the capacity to monitor and improve human health. Dr. Wang is an Investigator of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the recipient of numerous awards, including the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, NSF CAREER, Sloan Research Fellowship, ONR Young Investigator, Schaefer Scholars, and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Science. In early 2017, Dr. Wang received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama, which is “the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.”

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Feb

28

BMG Seminar: Dissecting the molecular mechanisms and therapeutic vulnerabilities of mutant calreticulin in myeloproliferative neoplasms- Shannon Elf, PhD

Chicago - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Shannon Elf, PhDAssistant Professor The University of Chicago   Somatic mutations in calreticulin (CALR) are present in approximately 40% of patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Our work has sought to dissect the molecular mechanism by which mutations in CALR function as phenotypic drivers in MPN pathogenesis, as well as to identify unique molecular vulnerabilities in CALR-mutated MPN cells. Our mechanistic studies have revealed the following key findings: i) mutant CALR binds to the thrombopoietin receptor (MPL) to activate JAK-STAT signaling and drive cellular transformation, thus rendering mutant CALR-transformed hematopoietic cells sensitive to JAK2 inhibition; ii) the oncogenicity of mutant CALR is dependent on the positive electrostatic charge of the mutant C-terminus, which is necessary for physical interaction between mutant CALR and MPL, and iii) mutant CALR binds directly to the extracellular domain of MPL via its N-glycosylation sites, and that the lectin-dependent function of CALR is required for this interaction. Together, this work has revealed important insight into the mechanism by which mutant CALR drives hematopoietic transformation in MPN. We next sought to exploit the insight gained through our mechanistic studies to identify new therapeutic targets in CALR-mutated MPN. Although CALR+ MPN patients experience reduced symptom burden in response to JAK inhibitor treatment, these agents have minimal disease-modifying activity and are not curative. This points to the importance of identifying novel targets for therapeutic intervention in CALR-mutated MPN. We performed RNA sequencing studies on cell lines expressing wild type CALR, mutant CALR, or JAK2 V617F, and found that the PERK-eIF2a-ATF4 axis of the unfolded protein response (UPR) is significantly up-regulated only in mutant CALR-expressing cells. Mechanistically, we found that activation of this pathway is due to loss of CALR chaperone activity in the mutant protein, and that the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway, an ATF4 target and proteasomal degradation pathway, is up-regulated as a consequence. Accordingly, we found that inhibition of this pathway with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib leads to increased cell death in mutant CALR-expressing cells, but not cells expressing wild type CALR or JAK2 V617F. This suggests that dependence on this UPR axis is specific to CALR-mutated cells. Together, our data suggests that the UPR may be exploited for therapeutic intervention in CALR-mutated MPN patients, either alone or in combination with JAK inhibition, with the hope of improving upon currently available therapies.

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Mar

01

BMG Journal Club

Chicago - 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

The BMG Journal Club will convene every other Friday from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. This is an opportunity for the department to come together and have in-depth discussions about the current literature and the overall implications of new studies, enhancing everyone’s knowledge of the field at large and about each other’s research interests within the department; providing possible opportunities to collaborate as well. This is also an opportunity to practice vital presentation skills in front of a friendly audience. Pizza and soda will be served.

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Mar

07

BMG Seminar: Mitochondrial anchors: positioning mitochondria and more- Laura Lackner, PhD

Chicago - 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Laura Lackner, PhDAssistant Professor of Molecular BiosciencesNorthwestern University Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences   The Lackner lab is interested in the fundamental biological question of how spatial and dynamic organization within cells is achieved. As a model for intracellular organization, we study the mechanisms that position organelles. While once thought to operate independently, it is clear that organelles contact other organelles, and the positioning of organelles and the contacts they make play critical roles in a wide variety of cellular functions. The organelle that has been the primary focus of our research is the mitochondrion. By exploiting the strengths of the facile yeast system and a combination of cell biological, genetic, and biochemical approaches, we are addressing fundamental questions about the mechanisms used by cells to position mitochondria as well as form and regulate interorganelle contacts.

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Mar

14

BMG Seminar: Brian Freeman, PhD

Chicago - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Brian Freeman, PhDProfessor of Cell and Developmental BiologyUniversity of Illinois  

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Mar

15

BMG Journal Club

Chicago - 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

The BMG Journal Club will convene every other Friday from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. This is an opportunity for the department to come together and have in-depth discussions about the current literature and the overall implications of new studies, enhancing everyone’s knowledge of the field at large and about each other’s research interests within the department; providing possible opportunities to collaborate as well. This is also an opportunity to practice vital presentation skills in front of a friendly audience. Pizza and soda will be served.

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Mar

21

BMG Seminar: Anthony G. Letai, MD, PHD

Chicago - 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Anthony G. Letai, MD, PHDProfessor of Medicine, Harvard Medical SchoolProfessor of Medicine, Hematologic Neoplasia/MalignanciesDana-Farber Cancer Institute  

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Mar

28

BMG Seminar: Yoav Gilad, PhD

Chicago - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Yoav Gilad, PhDProfessor of Human GeneticsScientific Director, Functional Genomics and Sequencing Core FacilityThe University of Chicago  

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Mar

29

BMG Journal Club

Chicago - 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

The BMG Journal Club will convene every other Friday from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. This is an opportunity for the department to come together and have in-depth discussions about the current literature and the overall implications of new studies, enhancing everyone’s knowledge of the field at large and about each other’s research interests within the department; providing possible opportunities to collaborate as well. This is also an opportunity to practice vital presentation skills in front of a friendly audience. Pizza and soda will be served.

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Apr

03

BMG Seminar: Lewis C. Cantley, PhD

Chicago - 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Distinguished Seminar Series presents: Lewis C. Cantley, PhDMeyer Director Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College Ronald P. Stanton Clinical Cancer Program at NewYork-PresbyterianProfessor of Cancer Biology in Medicine Weill Cornell Medical College  

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Apr

11

BMG Seminar: Shelby Blythe, PhD

Chicago - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Shelby Blythe, PhDAssistant Professor of Molecular BiosciencesNorthwestern University Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences  

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Apr

12

BMG Journal Club

Chicago - 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

The BMG Journal Club will convene every other Friday from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. This is an opportunity for the department to come together and have in-depth discussions about the current literature and the overall implications of new studies, enhancing everyone’s knowledge of the field at large and about each other’s research interests within the department; providing possible opportunities to collaborate as well. This is also an opportunity to practice vital presentation skills in front of a friendly audience. Pizza and soda will be served.

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Apr

18

BMG Seminar: Angelika Amon, PhD

Chicago - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Angelika Amon, PhDInvestigator, Howard Hughes Medical InstituteKathleen and Curtis Marble Professor of Cancer ResearchDavid H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research Professor of BiologyMassachusetts Institute of Technology  

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Apr

25

BMG Seminar: Brian Kelch, PhD

Chicago - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Brian Kelch, PhDAssistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular PharmacologyUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School  

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Apr

26

BMG Journal Club

No Location - 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

The BMG Journal Club will convene every other Friday from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. This is an opportunity for the department to come together and have in-depth discussions about the current literature and the overall implications of new studies, enhancing everyone’s knowledge of the field at large and about each other’s research interests within the department; providing possible opportunities to collaborate as well. This is also an opportunity to practice vital presentation skills in front of a friendly audience. Pizza and soda will be served.

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May

02

BMG Seminar: Jared Rutter, PhD

No Location - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Jared Rutter, PhDInvestigator, Howard Hughes Medical InstituteProfessor of BiochemistryUniversity of Utah School of Medicine  

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May

09

BMG Seminar: Yong Wan, PhD

Chicago - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Departmental Seminar Series presents: Yong Wan, PhDProfessor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Reproductive Science in Medicine) and PharmacologyNorthwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine  

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May

10

BMG Journal Club

Chicago - 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

The BMG Journal Club will convene every other Friday from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. This is an opportunity for the department to come together and have in-depth discussions about the current literature and the overall implications of new studies, enhancing everyone’s knowledge of the field at large and about each other’s research interests within the department; providing possible opportunities to collaborate as well. This is also an opportunity to practice vital presentation skills in front of a friendly audience. Pizza and soda will be served.

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