GRAD Application Deadlines:

Sept. 1 -- for Spring
               Studies begin Jan. 1

Evaluations for Fall begin Dec. 15
               Studies begin Aug. 1

Various Biochemistry Department Laboratories


Tomas Helikar Receives Grant

August 11, 2014 -- Project Title: An innovative computational modeling intervention to facilitate learning of biology in university courses using simulation and dynamical systems approaches

This project is a collaborative effort between life sciences educators and computational biologists from UNL to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative computational modeling methods to transform the way life sciences students learn about complex living systems. These methods will be deployed and evaluated in UNL's LIFE 120 and LIFE 121 labs over the course of the project. The newly developed simulation-based learning content will be further disseminated to a broader community (and other courses) via an on-line platform, the Cell Collective (www.thecellcollective.org).

Nicole Buan Lab Awarded Three Grants in 2014

August 6, 2014 -- We are happy to announce that we have been awarded three grants in 2014!

The NSF has awarded two EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) grants to support research in the Buan laboratory. The National Science Foundation uses the EAGER funding mechanism for "potentially transformative research ideas or approaches that could be considered especially "high risk-high payoff" and involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives".  The project "Coupling Electron Transport and Metabolism using Biological Routers" was awarded by the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems in the Directorate for Biological Sciences to investigate how energy conservation and metabolism is coordinated in methanogens. This project is based on a new conceptualization of biophysical biochemistry and how living cells are structured at the molecular level. If our ideas are correct, it could change the way we think about biochemistry and microbial evolution.

The Buan lab is also collaborating with Dr. Massimiliano Pierobon in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Their collaborative NSF EAGER project "TelePathy: Telecommunication Systems Modeling and Engineering of Cell Communication Pathways" received funding from the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences in the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering.  Together, the Pierobon and Buan labs will design artificial communication systems by applying telecommunications systems engineering to the quantitative modeling of information exchange between microbial cells.

The Buan laboratory has also received funding from the Water Environment Research Foundation and the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research. In collaboration with Dr. Karrie Weber in the School of Biological Sciences and Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, the Buan and Weber labs are devising strategies to convert CO2 and methane to value-added bioproducts, and are screening subsurface microbial populations for desirable metabolic traits.

Adamec develops new plasma sampling technology

Adamec in Lab (resized)
July 23, 2014 -- UNL's Jiri Adamec is refining nationally recognized plasma-extraction technology to develop a cost-effective method to prescreen for diseases in parts of the world without ready access to blood testing. One day, the technology could allow individuals to take their own blood sample with a mere finger prick and blot it onto a small card.

Full Story

DiRusso named a Jefferson Science Fellow

Concetta DiRusso

April 23, 2014 -- Concetta DiRusso, biochemistry professor, has been selected as a Jefferson Science Fellow for 2014-15.  The fellowship, which begins in August, includes work in Washington, D.C., and abroad.

She was chosen from a large number of professors nationwide who are accomplished in the fields of science and engineering.

"I am very excited to have this opportunity and hope this experience will be of use in furthering UNL's science and technology goals," she said.

DiRusso will begin her fellowship in August. She will be working in Washington, D.C., with occasional trips abroad.

DiRusso's current research programs focus on understanding the biochemical basis of lipid disorders, including obesity that leads to diabetes, fatty liver disease and cardiovascular diseases; developing drugs to prevent obesity-related diseases; and identifying small compound activators of lipid production in algae for use in renewable bifules.

Her research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more about DiRusso here.

The Jefferson Science Fellowship establishes a new model for engaging the American academic science, technology, engineering and medical communities in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. The JSF program is administered by the National Academies and supported through a partnership among the U.S. academic community, professional scientific societies, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Written by:  Heather Haskins | IANR News