News in 2014

Intimate yeast: Mating and meiosis

Mating and meiosis – the specialized cell division that reduces the number of chromosomes in a cell – are related, but in most yeasts they are regulated separately. Not so in Candida lusitaniae, where the two programs work in unison, according to a new study in Nature. Comparison with other species suggests that this fusion may support C. lusitaniae’s “haploid lifestyle” of maintaining only one set of chromosomes in each cell.

New Faculty in the MMI Department!

In the biology lab or in the art studio, creative thinking opens new pathways for exploration and learning. Microbiologist Peter Belenky has followed a path through systems biology and synthetic biology into the microbiome and an encounter with cholera-sensing, cholera-fighting yogurt bacterium.

Proliferation cues ‘natural killer’ cells for job change

Why would already abundant ‘natural killer’ cells proliferate even further after subduing an infection? It’s been a biological mystery for 30 years. But now Brown University scientists have an answer: After proliferation, the cells switch from marshaling the immune response to calming it down. The findings illuminate the functions of a critical immune system cell important for early defense against disease induced by viral infection.