Past News & Announcements

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Hayashi and Morita Publish Paper

January 2018: Mycobacteria include medically important species, such as the human tuberculosis pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The highly impermeable cell envelope is a hallmark of these microbes, and its biosynthesis is a proven chemotherapeutic target. Despite the accumulating knowledge regarding the biosynthesis of individual envelope components, the regulatory mechanisms behind the coordinated synthesis of the complex cell envelope remain elusive. A team of microbiologists led by Yasu Morita previously reported the presence of a metabolically active membrane domain enriched in the elongating poles of actively growing mycobacteria, but its spatiotemporal dynamics was unknown. In a recent paper published in mBio, the team showed that the membrane domain is spatially rearranged when growth is inhibited under stress conditions. These data suggest that mycobacteria have a mechanism to spatiotemporally coordinate the membrane domain in response to metabolic needs under different growth conditions. Read more...

Microbiologists Discover More Bacteria with Electrically Conducting Microfilaments

December 2017: Derek Lovley first discovered nanowires in the bacterium Geobacter. Dr. Lovley and a group of researchers at UMass recently discovered unexpected structures of electrically conducting microfilaments or "nanowires" in many other species of bacteria. The discovery was recently reported onling in the International Society of Microbial Ecology Journal. Read more...

Research Groups Host New England Parasitologists Meeting

November 2017: The research team of Michele Klingbeil, Microbiology, in conjunction with Sam Black and his research team, Veterinary & Animal Sciences, hosted the annual New England Association of Parasitologists Meeting on November 18, 2017, at UMass Amherst.

At the meeting, the Best Poster Award was presented to Jonathan C. Miller, Microbiology Ph.D. candidate, for his poster, “Multiple mechanisms of KDNA maintenance by polymerase IC in Trypanosoma brucei". Stephanie Delzell, Microbiology Graduate Program, was a runner up in the Best Presentation Award category for her talk, “Depletion of mitochondrial DNA polymerases drives life cycle differentiation in Trypanosoma brucei".
Protein Characterized that Could Lead to New Anti-TB Treatment Path

November 2017: Kathryn Rahlwes, Ph.D. candidate and first author, recently had findings published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Yasu Morita, Kathryn Rahlwes and a team of researchers for the first time have characterized a protein involved in making a glycolipid compound found in the TB cell wall, which is critical for the disease-causing Mycobacterium to become infectious. This discovery is a step towards a new possible anti-TB treatment path. The findings reported in the article, "The cell envelope-associated phospholipid-binding protein LmeA is required for mannan polymerization in mycobacteria," was also featured in several other news outlets: UMass Amherst News, EurekAlert! and MicroNow. Read more...

Rich Receives Grant from NIH

October 2017: Stephen Rich, Microbiology Professor and Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ) Director, recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Rich will collaborate with a Connecticut-based diagnostics laboratory, L2 Diagnostics of New Haven. Under the collaborative research project, people who have sent B. miyamotoi-positive ticks to the LMZ will be invited to participate in a study and be tested for this pathogen. Read more...

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