Seminars & Events

October 2020

Mon, Oct 5, 2020

Headshot of Gisela Storz

Biology Monday Seminar: "Genes That Were Missed: Hundreds of Small RNA and Small Protein Regulators"

Gisela Storz, Ph.D.
National Institute of Health
NIH Distinguished Investigator
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

For many years, a major focus of research by my group has been the identification and characterization of small, regulatory RNAs, also denoted “noncoding” RNAs. These regulatory RNAs have been found to be integral to most regulatory networks in E. coli. Similar to eukaryotic miRNAs, many of these bacterial RNAs act by base pairing with mRNA targets. While it was initially assumed these small RNAs are encoded as independent genes between protein-coding genes, recent studies have shown that some small RNAs are derived from the 5’ end, internal region and 3’ end of mRNAs. Thus, the distinction between coding and noncoding is becoming increasingly blurred. This blurring is further reflected in the finding that several small RNAs shown to act as regulators also encode small proteins. Small proteins of less than 50 amino acids comprise another overlooked class of molecules. We have detected synthesis of many of these unannotated small proteins and have documented functions as regulators that modulate the activities and levels of larger proteins.

Persons from the college community that wish to attend should please register by sending an email request to the biology academic department coordinator, Karen Racz.

Mon, Oct 19, 2020

Headshot of Professor Terri Long

Biology Monday Seminar: "Don’t Stress: Iron Regulatory Mechanisms at the Intersection of Plant Development and Multi-Stress Resilience"

Terri Long, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
North Carolina State University

Anemia induced by iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional disorders in the world. Most people obtain nutritional iron predominantly from plants. Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that plants use to uptake, transport and utilize iron, and to respond to low iron conditions. We use molecular and systems biology to identify iron deficiency response regulators and their corresponding gene targets, with the long-term goal of elucidating gene regulatory networks involved in plant iron homeostasis. Ultimately this information may lead to the generation of crops with increased nutritional content and increased yield when grown in poor soils.

Open to members of the Amherst College community. Please contact Karen Racz, biology department ADC, for information and a link to the Zoom presentation.

Mon, Oct 26, 2020

Headshot of Alfonso Davila

Biology Monday Seminar: The Search for Evidence of Life Beyond Earth

Alfonso Davila, Ph.D., research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center/Exobiology Branch, will speak on "The Search for Evidence of Life Beyond Earth."

Davila's research focuses on the search for evidence of life beyond Earth, and currently he is helping develop several mission concepts to search for evidence of life on Mars and Enceladus, a small moon of Saturn. Davila has participated in more than 15 field expeditions in the Atacama Desert, a Mars-like environments, and has published numerous papers and book chapters on the microbial communities that inhabit the driest parts of the Atacama. Davila has also participated in multiple field expeditions in Antarctica, another Mars-like environment, and in other extreme deserts.

Open to members of the Amherst College community. Please contact Karen Racz, biology department ADC, for a link to join the Zoom presentation.