Xu to ‘Leverage’ Research Via Open Graduate Education 
Yun “Ryan” Xu, a PhD candidate studying post-trauma pneumonia, wants to do more than understand why it occurs. “My motivation is real-life impact,” he says. “I want to leverage lab experience to bring something to patients to promote health care.” For Xu and 41 other current doctoral students, the Open Graduate Education program is a vehicle to combine studies in unique ways to achieve their goals and to earn a secondary master’s degree. Applications for the sixth cohort are due February 10, 2017.

The Influence of Programmed Cell Death in Myeloid Cells on Host Resilience to Infection with Legionella pneumophila or Streptococcus pyogenes  
Pathogens are microbes that can cause harm to the host if not properly controlled, therefore pathogen clearance is an essential part of survival of all multi-cellular organisms. Equally important factors in survival are host resilience mechanisms, or host processes that increase survival independent of pathogen burden. This study examines the multiple roles that cells of the innate (or early) immune response play in both pathogen clearance and host resilience in response to both systemic and pulmonary pathogens.

Phenotypic Profiling Reveals that Candida albicans Opaque Cells Represent a Metabolically Specialized Cell State Compared to Default White Cells  
Many cells can undergo epigenetic, heritable transitions without changes in the primary DNA sequence, and such transitions are a key source of heterogeneity in the microbial world. This type of heterogeneity is an effective strategy for microbes to deal with dynamic environments, where alternative cell states may be optimized for different conditions.

Art of Science 2016  
MMI's Holly Tran won third place in the Art of Science 2016 with her piece "of Gold". The aim of this project is to facilitate the sharing of research between members of the Brown Biological and Medical community. This is an opportunity to share the sense of wonder and creativity which drives your science, but often goes unacknowledged.

A Multistate Toggle Switch Defines Fungal Cell Fates and Is Regulated by Synergistic Genetic Cues-PLoS Genetics  
Epigenetic transitions are responsible for the ability of cells to undergo heritable changes in cell type without an underlying change in the primary DNA sequence. Such transitions accompany development in multicellular organisms, as well as the reprogramming of differentiated somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells. Genetic regulation of cell fates is determined by transcription factors that act in inter-connected circuits to drive lineage-specific gene expression. Chromatin-based cues also play key roles in epigenetic inheritance, including post-translational histone modifications and remodeling of chromatin structure.

Is science only for the rich?  
Around the world, poverty and social background remain huge barriers in scientific careers. Andrew G. Campbell, Ph. D., Dean of the Graduate School, weighs in on how class divisions are reflected in student populations at the university level in this Nature article.


Recent graduate's research honored as best in category for U.S. and Canada  
With the top research paper among North American undergraduates in his discipline, Brown University Class of 2016 graduate Alexander Blum earned honors as the 2016 United States/Canada regional winner of the prestigious Undergraduate Awards in the category of earth and environmental sciences.


New Graduate School dean to address incoming students at Convocation  
On Tuesday, Sept. 6, more than 2,500 new undergraduate, graduate and medical students will process through the famed Van Wickle Gates en route to the College Green for Brown’s 253rd Opening Convocation ceremony. Along with President Christina Paxson and faculty and staff from across the University, there to greet the newest students on College Hill will be keynote speaker Andrew G. Campbell, a longtime professor of medical science who began a new role as dean of the Graduate School on July 1.

A unified approach towards Trypanosoma brucei functional genomics using Gibson assembly 
Trypanosoma brucei is the causative agent of human African trypanosomiasis and nagana in cattle. Recent advances in high throughput phenotypic and interaction screens have identified a wealth of novel candidate proteins for diverse functions such as drug resistance, life cycle progression, and cytoskeletal biogenesis. The de Graffenried lab has adapted Gibson assembly, a one-step isothermal process that rapidly assembles multiple DNA segments in a single reaction, to create the plasmids that are essential for establishing the localization and function of proteins in T. brucei. The generality of the Gibson approach allows for rapid assessment of protein function, which is essential for identifying potential drug targets.

Health Check: Computational Biology 
New research at Brown University could unlock the secret to a long, healthier life -- or a way to prevent a serious pregnancy complication.The research is bringing together what's going on in the lab with computer technology. It's called computational biology.

NIH awards Brown $11.5M for computational biology research
Brown University will launch a Center for Biomedical Research Excellence in Computational Biology of Human Disease to expand its research using sophisticated computer analyses to understand and fight human diseases.


Be Our Guest 
How can we provide a good home for our microbiomes, so they’ll keep us healthy?



Taking Control of Key Protein Stifles Cancer Spread in Mice 
For cancer to spread, the cells that take off into the bloodstream must find a tissue that will permit them to thrive. They don’t just go looking, though. Instead, they actively prepare the tissue, in one case by co-opting a protein that suppresses defenses the body would otherwise mount. In a new study, scientists report that by wresting back control of that protein, they could restore multiple defenses in the lungs of mice, staving off cancer’s spread there.

Richard Bungiro received the 2016 Barrett Hazeltine Senior Citation for Excellence in Teaching
The Barrett Hazeltine Citation for Excellence in Teaching, Guidance and Support has been presented to faculty by the graduating senior class for more than four decades. Originally the Senior Citation, the award was renamed in 1985 to honor the engineering professor who had received it 13 times.  Dr. Bungiro has received this award five times.  He is the only MMI Faculty member to have received it and the most frequently selected BioMed Faculty member.

Andrew G. Campbell named new Graduate School Dean
Andrew G. Campbell, currently a professor of medical science in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Brown University, has been named the next dean of the University’s Graduate School. Campbell will begin his new role on July 1, 2016.

Pathobiology Student Awards

Courtney Anderson 
A 4th-year student, Courtney received an F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Award (NRSA) from the NIH. Research for her proposal "The non-classical CD8+ T cell response to murine cytomegalovirus" will be conducted in the Brossay lab. 

Damien Cabral
Kudos to Damien for receiving the National Science Foundation (NSF) award for his research: "The Impact of Divergent NAD Biosynthetic Pathways on Gene Silencing and Lifestyle Regulation in Fungi." Damien is a 2nd-year graduate student in the Belenky lab, and is the first Pathobiology student to receive an NSF award.

Alcohol Lowers Your (Intestinal) Inhibitions

Alcohol causes microbiota dysbiosis and breaches intestinal integrity, resulting in liver inflammation and ultimately cirrhosis. In this issue of Cell Host & MicrobeWang et al. (2016) demonstrate that ethanol suppresses the intestinal anti-microbial response. This enables gut bacteria to trespass to the liver and thus exacerbates the disease progression.

Cell Press Trends in Immunology: The Intestinal Mucus Layer Comes of Age

The mucus layer is critical in limiting contact between host and the complex bacterial consortia that colonize the intestine. A recent paper in Cell Host and Microbe provides comprehensive insight into the dynamics of mucus layer maturation upon bacterial colonization of germ-free (GF) mice that have implications for studies on host-microbe interaction involving
colonization of GF mice.