The Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Technology is the official journal of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. The March 25, 2015 special issue of the journal is devoted to metabolic engineering. In an introductory editorial by Jens Nielsen of Denmark and Ramon Gonzalez of the USA, the authors single out RISE Fellow Arnold Demain for his “many seminal contributions to improvement of processes for production of … antibiotics, amino acids and organic acids [which] provided the basis for much of our current understanding of metabolism in many industrially important microorganisms.” Dr. Demain is also a past president of the society.
RISE Visiting Scientist Dr. Jane Peppard and colleagues from Sanofi have won the 2014 Cellome Award from Thermo Scientific for their paper “High-Content Phenotypic Screening and Triaging Strategy to Identify Small Molecules Driving Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cell Differentiation” published in the November 2014 issue of Journal of Biomolecular Screening. The work was selected based on its use of high content methodology, specifically cell morphometry, to identify small molecules which expand or stimulate differentiation of endogenous progenitor cells. Using this discovery tactic opens the door to novel treatments of Multiple Sclerosis by targeting progenitor cells rather than the more commonly targeted inflammatory components. Other degenerative diseases could also benefit from this type of approach.
The abstract for the paper can be found here.
RISE Fellow Charles Lunn and RISE Student Emmanuel Crespo are featured on the main webpage for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The article is entitled, “Retired scientists keep hands in research while giving a hand to the next generation”. The link to the article can be found here.
Congratulations to RISE Student Danielle Holz and team members, Ian Lowry and Samuel Zorn for winning a Bronze medal in the 2014 University Physics Competition. RISE Fellow, Jon Eickmeyer along with the rest of the RISE department extend our congratulations on a job well done!
RISE Fellow Arnold Demain and Jaroslav Spizek have written a review article, “The Need for New Antifungal and Antimalarial Compounds.” It appears as chapter 2 of Natural Products Analysis: Instrumentation, Methods, and Applications, edited by Vladimir Havlicek and Spizek. The publisher is John Wiley & Sons, 2014. The review discusses “natural compounds produced by microorganisms and plants, as well as semissynthetic and synthetic compounds, that have antimicrobial activity.”
The 28th Residential School on Medicinal Chemistry and Biology in Drug Discovery was held at Drew University the week of June 8th.
Information about the 2015 course may be found at www.drew.edu/resmed.
Congratulations to Drew Stenger, C’17 for receiving a Dean Paolo Cucchi Research Grant. Drew’s award supports his DSSI research with RISE Associate, Dr. Neal Connors on “The Biological Production of Glucaric Acid”
Randa Barsoom, C’14, won second place in the North Jersey Section of the American Chemical Society’s annual Undergraduate Research Competition for her presentation “Drug Discovery Efforts Targeting Mutant p53 for the Treatment of Glioblastoma.” at Kean University on April 25, 2014. RISE Fellow, Ronald J. Doll, Ph.D., served as mentor for her research. Randa received a cash prize and an ACS award at a reception on May 20th. For the complete story on the event and other prize winners, see the September 2014 issue of The Indicator. Randa’s research involved synthesizing compounds that reactivate mutant p53 in human tumor cells and developed assays that measure a compound’s in vitro human metabolic rate and the ability of the compounds to cross the blood brain barrier.
The George deStevens Award honors the memory of the founder and first director of RISE. The 2014 recipient is Elizabeth Regedanz, C’15, who was singled out for her outstanding research on cancer and the p53 protein. Elizabeth plans to continue her research this summer and turn it into an Honors Thesis next year. Her long-term goal is to become a researcher in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Sidney Udenfriend Prize honors the memory of the second director of RISE. The 2014 recipient is Randa Barsoom, C’14, who has been working on a project for the treatment of glioblastoma. She recently completed her Honors Thesis on this same topic. Randa has been accepted at Jefferson University College of Medicine where she will be pursuing her MD degree.
RISE Fellow Dr. Arnold Demain with co-author Jose Adrio published a review paper, “Microbial Enzymes: Tools for Biotechnological Processes”, in Biomolecules 2014, pp. 117-139. The paper is available at www.mdpi.com/journal/biomolecules/. It talks about the need for new enzymes that can be used to “develop more novel, sustainable, and economically competitive production processes.”
Elizabeth Regedanz, Class of 2015, presented a poster on her cancer research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, sponsored by the Independent College Fund of New Jersey. The event took place on March 24 at the Liberty Science Center. The title of her poster was “Reactivation of mutant p53 in human tumor cells by small organic compounds.” Her mentor for this research is Dr. Bimal DasMahapatra, a RISE Fellow.
Dr. Charles Lunn, also a RISE Fellow, served as one of the judges at the event.
Congratulations to Runi Patel and Randa Barsoom for receiving Dean Paolo Cucchi Research Grants. Runi’s award supports her research with RISE Fellow, Dr. Bimal DasMahapatra on “Screening and evaluations of small molecules for potential anti-tumor activity targeting p53 signaling pathway.” Randa’s award supports her research with RISE Fellow, Dr. Ron Doll on “Discovery of Small Compounds that Reactivate Mutant p53 in Glioblastoma as potential Anti-Tumor Therapy.”
Drew University and IonField Systems of Moorestown, NJ have reached an agreement whereby RISE would collaborate on the development and testing of new technology for cleaning plastic lab ware.
Single use lab ware is routinely used in high throughput drug screening, biotech research, agricultural biotechnology and numerous other life science research markets. The technology has the potential to reduce both costs and hazardous waste. The work is funded by a Small Business Innovation Research Grant awarded by the federal government to IonField Systems.
Ionfield CEO, Paul Hensley, says “We are very pleased to be working with Drew University on this project. The RISE program allows us access to great scientists and Drew’s laboratories. For us, working with RISE has been a key factor in getting the SBIR Grant and is accelerating our plans for development of new technology and quickly bringing it to market.”
A new RISE paper, Development of a chemically defined medium for the production of the antibiotic platensimycin byStreptomyces platensis, has appeared on line in the 11 September 2013 issue of Applied Microbial and Cell Physiology. The authors include eight current or former Drew students, two high school students, one graduate of another university, and two RISE Fellows, Dr. Arnold Demain and Dr. Vincent Gullo.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) Lunn joined RISE as our newest Fellow on June 1. Chuck had a 25 year career as a Senior Scientist and Research Fellow at Schering-Plough Research Institute and Merck Research Laboratories. His extensive drug discovery experience includes receptor pharmacology, high throughput cell-based and enzymatic assay development /screening, new technology assessment, and novel inflammatory and antibacterial drug discovery. Chuck received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University and completed post-doctoral studies at the State University of New York in Stony Brook.
RISE Fellows, Dr. Vincent Gullo and Dr. Arnold Demain, have co-authored a paper on statins for cholesterol control in humans, which appears as Chapter 17 of Chemistry and Pharmacology of Naturally Occurring Bioactive Compounds, edited by G. Brahmachari and published by CRC Press.
The Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology [(2013), pp. 656-660] contains a paper by RISE Fellow Dr. Arnold Demain and eight former RISE students: Grace Polanski-Cordovano, Lea Romano, Lauren Campbell-Marotta , Serena Jacob, Jennifer Soo Hoo, Elena Tartaglia, Deepa Asokan, and Simkie Kar. The paper is about the Pseudomonas fluorescens strain CL0145A, discovered at the New York State Museum Field Research Laboratory to be “an effective agent against the environmentally destructive zebra muscle.” RISE research has shown that the strain produces an antibiotic and developed a medium for its production.
The George deStevens Award for RISE Research honors the memory of the first director of RISE. The 2013 award is being shared by Antonios Apostolidis, C’14, and Steven Ketchum, C’14. Both have been working on the chemical synthesis of new antibacterial compounds to treat drug resistant bacterial infections. Antonios and Steven will be continuing their research this summer in the Drew Summer Science Institute. RISE Fellow Vincent Gullo is their mentor.
The Sidney Udenfriend Prize honors the memory of the second director of RISE. Brittany Barreto, C’13, is the recipient of the 2013 prize. Brittany is engaged in oncology research, focusing on the rescue of the tumor suppressor protein p53 for development of potential cancer therapeutics. She presented her work at a American Chemical Society meeting last year in Philadelphia and recently defended her Honors Thesis on this work. Next year Brittany will attend Baylor college of Medicine and pursue research in genetics for a Ph.D. degree. RISE Fellow Bimal Dasmahapatra is her mentor.
Drew Senior Captures NJ ACS Award
Megan McAleavy, C’13, won 1st place in the North Jersey American Chemical Society Annual Undergraduate Research Competition on April 26. (The Jean Asell Durana Award.) The title of her seminar was “Drug Discovery Efforts in the Reactivation of Mutant p53 in Human Tumor Cells.” The competition this year was held at Montclair State University. Each contestant gave a seminar and answered questions. The organizer commented that Megan’s seminar is what you would expect from a 4th year graduate student. There will be an award dinner in May and an announcement in the Indicator.
Dr. Albert Luderer Visits RISE
Al Luderer, C’70, is the CEO of Integrated Diagnostics in Seattle. He gave the 2013 Traphagen Lecture at Drew on April 4. He spoke about “The Brave New World of Biotechnology: Venture Capital-driven Coalescence of Science, Medicine and Economics.” The next day he visited RISE and met with Brittany Barreto, C’13, and her RISE mentor, Bimal DasMahapatra, and Maria Falzone, C’14, and one of her two RISE mentors, Vincent Gullo.
Dr. Ronald J. Doll, Dr. Bimal DasMahapatra, and students presented their work at the American Chemical Society meeting on August 28, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
TITLE – 8-Quinolyl-N-arylcarbamates as re-activators of mutant p53 and potential antitumor agents
Dr. Andy Evans became our newest RISE Associate member in January. Andy is a chemist and an expert on nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and its application to the determination of organic molecular structures. He was trained at Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Georgia, the Université de Grenoble, and the University of Western Ontario. His industrial experience was primarily at the Schering-Plough Research Institute, but he also worked at Berlex Laboratories, Jeol (USA), and Varian Associates before retiring as Principal Scientist in the Small Molecule NMR Group at Merck Research Institute.
A new article entitled, antimicrobials, drug discovery, and genome mining, has been published online 12/12/12 in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology by Drew students, Robert Scheffler, Sarah Colmer, and Heather Tynan, along with RISE Fellows, Dr. Arnold Demain and Dr. Vincent Gullo. The impetus for the article was the RISE Honors Seminar in which the three students participated.
RISE Fellow, Dr. Ronald Doll, was one of ten recipients of the 2012 Senior Scientist Mentor Program sponsored by the Dreyfus Foundation. The award will be used to fund research students in Drew’s Summer Science Research Institute for the next two years. This is the second such award that Dr. Doll has received.
An article by RISE Director Dr. Jon Kettenring in the International Statistical Review (2012), pp 205-218, titled “Statistics Research at Bell labs in the Regulated Monopoly Era,” discusses the circumstances that contributed to its success and raises the question of how modern corporations might achieve some of the same benefits.
Dr. John Eickmeyer, a physicist and engineer, joined RISE as a Fellow on October 15. John recently wound up a distinguished industrial career at Bell Labs and Lucent Technologies in Whippany and General Dynamics in Florham Park. His professional work at these companies was mainly in the areas of transmission systems and accoustic surveillance systems. He received his doctorate in physics from Cornell and his Bachelor of Arts from Carleton, also in physics. Early in his career he worked in particle physics research and did experimental work at CERN in a group headed by Nobel Laureate Carlo Rubia. He served twice on the faculty of the NJ Governor’s School and taught an advanced optics course one year at Drew.
RISE Fellow, Dr. Bimal DasMahapatra, has been invited to deliver a lecture in the Section of Environmental Sciences at the 100th Indian Science Congress in January, 2013 at the University of Calcutta. His talk will connect the environment, cancer, and therapeutics.
RISE Fellow Dr. Arnold Demain, and Jaroslav Spizek have written a review chapter on the challenges of the antibiotic crisis in a new volume, Antimicrobial Drug Discovery: Emerging Strategies, edited by G. Tegos and E. Mylonakis, and published by CAB International this year.
RISE Associate, Dr. Bill Campbell, published a paper on antiparasitic agents in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2012, pp 853-865. The title is “History of Avermectin and Ivermectin, with Notes on the History of Other Macrocyclic Lactone Antiparasitic Agents.” The paper provides a comprehensive review of the history of these drugs with emphasis on “discovery, development and early clinical applications.”
RISE Student Takes First Prize
Drew chemistry major, Tharani Theivakumar, won the Jean Asell Duranna Award from the American Chemical Society for her presentation at the annual Undergraduate Student Research Conference at Fairley Dickenson University on April 27. The conference is sponsored by the North Jersey section of the ACS. RISE Fellow, Dr. Ron Doll, served as mentor for her research. The title of her presentation was “Discovery of Anti-tumor Agents Targeting Mutant p53.” Tharani will receive a cash prize and an ACS award on May 14. For the complete story on the event and other prize winners, see the June issue of The Indicator.
Maria Falzone receives 2012 George deStevens Award
The George deStevens Award for RISE Research honors the memory of the first director of RISE. The 2012 award was presented to Drew sophomore, Maria Falzone. She has been doing accelerated work in the sciences since her days at Old Bridge High School in Matawan. Maria began working with RISE last summer and quickly showed great ability to do research, to organize and document experiments, and to mentor younger students as well. Her research concerns antibiotics. She helped to develop media for the production of two potentially very important ones, platensimycin and platencin. Maria will be continuing her research this summer and plans to turn it into an honors thesis in her senior year. Her long range goal is to be a researcher or a surgeon or maybe both.
Gregory Hunt and Rachel Masia receive Sidney Udenfriend Prizes
The Sidney Udenfriend Prize honors the memory of the second director of RISE and is awarded to students who show exceptional promise for fundamental or applied research. This year we have two winners, Gregory Hunt and Rachel Masia, both of whom have already distinguished themselves in their research work at Drew.
Greg is tackling part of one of today’s most pressing statistical challenges: how to analyze the types of big data sets that are so prevalent modern science. Greg is well under way with his ‘big data’ research project. He plans to work on it over the summer and then turn it into an honors thesis next year.
Rachel is working on a novel cell model of Alzheimer’s disease. She became interested in the subject as a freshman in the RISE Honors Science Seminar and will continue her research this summer in anticipation of writing an honors thesis in her senior year. Her long-term goal is to become a neurosurgeon.
Two Drew Students Win 2012-2013 Barry M.Goldwater Scholarships
Robert Scheffler and Gregory Hunt have been awarded prestigious Goldwater Scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in mathematics, science, and engineering. Robert participated in the RISE Honors Science Seminar last semester, and Gregory has been doing advanced work with RISE for the past two years. Both will be doing research this summer with RISE mentors under the auspices of the Drew Summer Science Program. Read more about their accomplishments on Drew Today.
RISE Associate, Dr. Bill Campbell, will receive an honorary Doctor in Science degree from the University of Dublin at its commencement ceremony in June. Bill is one of the leading parasitologists in the world and well known for his research on ivermectin, a highly effective drug developed by Merck for the treatment of river blindness. For 20 years, he mentored students and taught courses at Drew as a RISE Fellow before relocating to MA in 2010. During that period he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Wartime Science, Dr. Sidney Udenfriend, Manhattan, and Drew University
Michael Pollak tackled this question in his New York Times column*, Answers to Questions About New York:
Beside the development of the atomic bomb — the Manhattan Project — were there any other crash scientific programs during World War II based in Manhattan?
The answer he gave was “yes” and the example he provided was the “fight against malaria.” In particular, Pollak describes the contributions of Drs. Bernard Brodie and Sidney Udenfriend at Goldwater Memorial Hospital to drugs for successfully fighting this disease.
The complete column is available on The New York Times website.
In 1996, Dr. Udenfriend joined Drew University as the second director of RISE. Full details on his career, including his time at Drew, may be found at http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10830&page=270
See especially, pages 292-294.
* See page MB 3 of the January 29th New York edition.
RISE fellow Ronald Doll and co-authors W. Robert Bishop and Paul Kirshmeier from Merck Research Laboratories wrote a chapter entitled “Farnesyl Transferase Inhibitors: From Targeted Cancer Therapeutic to a Potential Treatment for Progeria” in the book The Enzymes, Vol. 29 published in 2011 by Elsevier, pp. 275-303. The authors write that these FTI inhibitors “were initially designed to inhibit the activity of Ras oncoproteins and represent one of the first attempts to develop a targeted cancer therapy.”
A 3rd edition of Fermentation Microbiology and Biotechnology has been published by CRC Press. RISE fellow, Arnold Demain, is one of six co-editors. This edition includes new chapters on functional genomics, solid-state fermentations, applications of metabolomics to microbial cell factories, and current trends in culturing complex plant tissues for the production of metabolites and elite genotypes. Chapter 4, by Demain and Sergio Sanchez, deals with microbial synthesis of primary metabolites.
The 2011 November/December issue of the Journal of College Science Teaching, a peer-reviewed journal of the National Science Teachers Association, contains an article by Professor Kathleen Madden, Chair of Drew’s Mathematics and Computer Science Department, about the RISE Science Seminar. This course matches science students with RISE fellows on a semester-long research project. The course is part of the Baldwin Honors Program offerings and was made possible by an institutional grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Drew Grad Co-authors Article on Antibiotics
Evan Martens graduated from Drew in 2011 with a major in biology and a minor in public health. He was the most valuable player on the baseball team in his senior year. He also found time to collaborate with RISE fellow, Arnold Demain, on a study of two novel antibiotics, platensimycin and platencin, two potent and non-toxic natural products that are promising for human medicine. Their joint review article about these products appeared in The Journal of Antibiotics (2011), pp 705-710.
After graduation, Evan joined Emergency Medical Associates for whom he works as Clinical Information Manager at St. Barnabas Medical Center. He hopes this experience will help prepare him for medical school, which he hopes to attend in 2013.
Talk at NJIT
RISE director, Jon Kettenring, presented a seminar to the mathematics department at NJIT on November 4. He spoke on how to cope with high dimensionality in massive datasets. The talk was based on recent articles in WIREs Computational Statistics, Vol. 1, 2009, 25-32 and Vol. 3, 2011, 95-103
The Mathematics of Planet Earth
RISE Director, Jon Kettenring, joined 25 other science and mathematics educators in a Sustainable Planet Education Workshop, held at Rutgers in late October. Its purpose was to develop educational modules targeted at core undergraduate mathematics classes using examples and data from sustainability, human interactions with the environment, and climate science. The modules, once tested, will be made freely available on the web and launched at the Joint Math Meetings in 2013 as part of the Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 initiative (http://www.mpe2013.org).
The Impact of Penicillin
RISE fellow Arnold Demain and co-author Nelson Kardos have published a review paper on the history and impact of penicillin. The paper, “Penicillin: the medicine with the greatest impact on therapeutic outcomes”, appears in the November 2011 issue of the Applied Microbiology and Technology Journal, pages 677-687.
Vincent Gullo wins Charles Porter Award
Congratulations to RISE Fellow Dr. Vincent Gullo, who has recently been awarded the Charles Porter Award by the Society for Industrial Microbiology. This award is given annually to members with an outstanding record of sustained service to the Society.
Dan Riccio, a Drew alumnus who worked with Dr. Miller in RISE, has just completed the requirements for his PhD at the University of North Carolina. This month he will start a 3-year post doctorate in a joint project between the governmental VA laboratory in North Carolina and the Duke University Medical School. We offer our congratulations and look forward to having him present some of his work at a future RISE Seminar.
At Drew, Dan majored in chemistry, graduated with honors in chemistry in 2006, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. His honors thesis was entitled “Gas Chromatographic Studies of Coffee Vapor via Single-Drop Microextraction: a Novel Headspace Sampling Technique.” He also received the 2006 Sidney Udenfriend Prize given by RISE. At UNC, he worked with Dr. Mark Schoenfisch, an analytical chemist, on projects related to the biological properties of NO. His first publication on this work was in Analytical Chemistry in 2008 entitled “Xerogel Optical Sensor Films for Quantitative Detection of Nitroxyl.”
Getting a RISE out of research
The September issue of the National Science Teachers Association publication, NSTA Reports, has a story about RISE with the above title: http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=58848
For a related story about Drew grad, Derrick Wood, class of 2004, now a prize winning high school chemistry teacher, go to the NSTA blog.
Dr. Bimal Dasmahaptra appointed RISE fellow
Following six months as a visiting scientist in the RISE program at Drew, Dr Bimal Dasmahapatra has accepted an appointment as a RISE fellow. He retired from Schering Plough as a research fellow after 23 years with the company. Dr. Dasmahapatra has broad experience in drug discovery and is an expert in the fields of oncology and virology. He plans to mentor students in oncology drug discovery research, as he has already begun to do.
The 2011 Georege deStevens Award for RISE Research has been given to Drew sophomore, Yasmine S. Mourad, for her research with RISE Fellow, Dr. Barbara Petrack, and Drew neuroscientist, Professor Roger Knowles. The research involves investigation of the possibility that BDNF can protect neurons in a model of Alzheimer’s disease. (BDNF stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor.)
This award was established by Mrs. Ruby deStevens in memory of her late husband, a leading chemist and the founder of RISE. The award supports students engaged in cutting-edge research projects under the tutelage of RISE Fellows.
The 2011 Sidney Udenfriend Prize has been awarded to Drew sophomore, Heather M. Tynan, for her research aimed towards new antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs. Under the direction of RISE Fellow, Dr. Arnold Demain, she has contributed to the development of media for the production of two novel antibiotics, platensimycin and platencin. She also found that certain analogs of cisplatin, which is a well-known anti-tumor drug, have antimicrobial activity. This will help in testing these analogs against cancer.
This prize was established in memory of Sidney Udenfriend, the second director of RISE. It is awarded annually to one or more science majors who demonstrate exceptional promise for fundamental or applied research.
Jim McKenna elected SIAM Fellow
Demain Co-Authors Study with Cancer-Fighting Potential
RISE fellow Dr. Arnold Demain co-authored a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study that unlocks the secrets of “thunder god vine,” a medicinal plant used by the Chinese to treat a variety of conditions. The study was the cover story in this month’s issue of Nature Chemical Biology and could lead to the development of new cancer treatments.
For the past 21 years Allen Laskin has been a stalwart RISE fellow, having successfully mentored many Drew students, the last of whom was Amanda Driesse. (The picture above of Allen and Amanda is from the cover of our current RISE brochure.) Allen’s professional accomplishments have been exceptional. He is well known for his work at the interface of basic and industrial research on microorganisms and for professional contributions to the American Society of Microbiology and the Society for Industrial Microbiology. Allen recently retired from RISE although we hope and expect that he will stay in close touch. He will be honored at a RISE meeting after the snow is gone. In the meanwhile we would like to bestow Allen with the new title, emeritus-emeritus, or, in mathematical shorthand, (emeritus)**2, and thank him for all he has done for RISE and Drew University.