A Glowing ‘Orange’ – By tagging intracellular proteins with fluorescent proteins (FPs), scientists can study molecular processes in living cells. Dr. Vladislav Verkhusha and colleagues report in a recent issue of the Journal of American Chemical Society that they’ve designed a novel orange FP called LSSmOrange. It offers an extremely large difference between the wavelength of light it absorbs and the wavelength at which it fluoresces. As a result, LSSmOrange significantly broadens the usefulness of rapid microscopy imaging employing several different FPs to image living cells and tissues. When used with other FPs, LSSmOrange allows researchers to simultaneously track and quantify multiple populations of intracellular objects and to detect brief protein co-localization and protein-protein interactions. LSSmOrange will also help in designing fluorescent biosensors for studying the relationships among several biochemical activities in a living cell. Dr. Verkhusha is professor of anatomy and structural biology, a co-director of Einstein’s Fluorescent Proteins Resource Center, and a member of Einstein’s Gruss-Lipper Biophotonics Center.
Heady Perspective – Dr. Mark Mehler was selected to deliver the Presidential Plenary Lecture at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. Dr. Mehler presented “Epigenetics: A New Science of Brain and Behavior,”detailing the revolution in the science of genes and inheritance that is changing how we view biology and medicine, particularly with respect to our understanding of how the human brain works and how it has evolved into a sophisticated organ involved in complex thoughts and behaviors. Dr. Mehler is professor and chair of The Saul R. Korey Department of Neuroscience and director of the Institute for Brain Disorders and Neural Regeneration.
Scholarly Honor – Three Einstein students are recipients of the 2012 Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program scholarships, a competitive national program sponsored by the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), The National Institute on Aging, and The Hartford Foundation that provides students with a summer experience in aging-related research. Students can apply for positions at either a National Training Center or at their home institution. Both Yehuda Lerea and Mary Derasmo are Einstein MSTAR Awardees, who will be mentored by Dr. Helena Blumen (neurology/cognitive and motor aging) and Dr. Gil Atzmon (endocrine/genetics), respectively. In addition, Derek Wu will be mentored at UCLA, as a National MSTAR Awardee.