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October 2017

Co-investigators Dominique Alfandari and Helen Cousins, veterinary & animal sciences and M2M, with others at MIT, report in a new paper that they have for the first time described how two transcription factors that are “absolutely essential for human development” are regulated by a cell surface metalloprotease known as ADAM13. The discovery adds to knowledge of how cells migrate in vertebrate embryos, how stem cells differentiate and how cancer cells metastasize.

Qiangfei Xia and J. Joshua Yang, electrical and computer engineering and CPHM, have developed a new type of hardware security device using memristors that can be used for the rapidly expanding web of devices, sensors and other items known as the Internet of Things (IoT). The work is featured in the journal Nature Communications.

Margaret A. Riley, biology and M2M, comments in a NBC news story about how to deal with the post-antibiotic era in medicine. Riley suggests developing a new class of drugs called bacteriocins, naturally occurring compounds that can be targeted at specific germs in the body, unlike antibiotics that attack good and harmful bacteria. Riley is working to develop a special bacteriocin to deal with E. coli that causes urinary tract infections and is also working on one for tuberculosis and cystic fibrosis. The new germ-fighting bacteriocins can also be used on livestock to prevent diseases.

Kinesiologist Mark Miller (CPHM) and colleagues have received a five-year, $2.4 million grant from the NIH to examine two distinct exercise training regimes designed to improve skeletal muscle function in older men and women, and in particular to determine whether the neuromuscular systems in each sex may respond differently to the training programs.

As part of the long effort to improve treatment of tuberculosis (TB), microbiologists led by Yasu Morita (M2M) report that they have for the first time 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.

Lili He, food science and CPHM, says in a study published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, that the best way to wash fruit to remove residual pesticide is to use tap water with 1 percent baking soda.

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy addressed faculty and staff with a keynote presentation, honoring eight nationally acclaimed faculty members as they received the Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creativity at the 13th Annual Faculty Convocation on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at the Campus Center Auditorium.

Of the eight being honored, four were IALS faculty which include Susan Hankinson (M2M and biostatistics and epidemiology), Lili He (CBD and food science), Michael Maroney (M2M and chemistry) and John Staudenmayer (CPHM and mathematics and statistics).

Polymer scientist James Watkins (CPHM) received a $500,000 grant from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) to support work in Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE).

The grant is part of a package of $6.98 million in state funds awarded to seven advanced manufacturing projects that were announced by Gov. Charlie Baker and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash at an event at UMass Amherst.