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U joins national partnership aimed at expanding biopharmaceutical workforce and industry

The University of Minnesota will join a team of academic institutions, private companies, governmental entities and non-profit organizations across the U.S. as a partner for the newly established National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL). NIIMBL, a public-private partnership supported by a $70M investment from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and at least $129M from other participants, aims to transform biopharmaceutical manufacturing in the U.S.

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Sexual cell fate reprogramming in mice

The sex of mammals is decided in the embryonic gonad. Until recently, scientists believed that this decision was permanent, establishing the sex of the gonad for the rest of life.

A new study led by University of Minnesota researchers shows that turning on the male sex regulatory gene DMRT1 in the ovary of mice can reprogram cell sexual identity, turning ovarian cells into their testicular counterparts, even in adults.

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Research Snapshot: Identified core structure of “Q” could lead to better understanding of other enzymes, future methane uses

University of Minnesota researchers have identified the structure of the key intermediate “Q” in the enzyme methane monooxygenase (MMO), which converts methane (natural gas) and oxygen into methanol and water.

John Lipscomb, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the University of Minnesota partnered with a team of researchers at Michigan State University on the project. It was published this month in Nature.

The study confirms that Q, one of the most powerful oxidizing intermediates occurring in nature, has a diamond-shaped core consisting of two highly oxidized iron atoms connected by twin, single-oxygen atom bridges.

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AHC Community Awards and Accolades

Within the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center, our faculty, staff and students are dedicated to advancing the health sciences.

Here are some of the recent awards and accolades our faculty, staff and students have earned as a result of their efforts:

Piscano Scholar Named

Ben Pederson, fourth year medical student, was named a 2012 Pisacano Scholar. Pederson is one of just five medical students nationwide to recieve this honor, and only the second U of M medical student to ever recieve the award. Pederson’s specialty is family medicine, and the selection committee took special note of his dedication to leadership, integrity and community service.

The search for an HIV vaccine

Regents Professor Ashley Haase, M.D., was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Health for his research focused on HIV vaccine discovery. Haase’s project is one of 14 funded through the NIAID awards. Other investigators participating in this project include Dennis Burton (The Scripps Research Institute), R. Paul Johnson (Harvard University), Jeffrey Lifson (NCI), and James Robinson (Tulane University).

Stopping cancer before it starts

Reuben Harris, Ph.D., and Douglas Yee, M.D., were awarded  $600,000 over three years by the V Foundation. Harris and Yee recently described their research to KSTP-TV. Their project, Enzyme-Catalyzed Mutation in Breast Cancer, is looking at how active enzyme mutations may be contributing to the development of cancers. Harris is an associate professor in the College of Biological Sciences and Medical School. Yee is the director of the Masonic Cancer Center, as well as a professor in the Medical School and College of Pharmacology.

Entering the Equine Research Hall of Fame

Stephanie Valberg, DVM, Ph.D., professor and director of the University of Minnesota Equine Center, will be inducted into the University of Kentucky Equine Research Hall of Fame on September 23 at Keeneland race course in Lexington, Kentucky. She is the first female to ever receive the honor.

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