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Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology Blog

August 2023 BMBeat

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Monthly Newsletter AUGUST 2023







August Content

·           From the Outreach Office

·           August Events

·           New Hires

·           BMB News

·           New science alert

·           Feature of the Month

·           Blog posts + social media

·           Wellness

·           Job Openings

From the Outreach Office



As we are all preparing for new graduate students to start up this month, please keep your eyes peeled for a workshop on how to manage your own lab website that we’ll be putting on! This will be aimed at faculty, or lab designee, who are interested in making changes to their own lab websites. We want to help you make your lab page as accurate and attractive as possible to draw in rotation students!


August Events

·         No RIPS for the Summer

·         August 1st, 3pm – Ice Cream courtesy of the BMB Diversity Action Committee

·         2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Program Poster Session will be held on Thursday, August 3rd from 1-4pm in the New Medical School Lobby

·         August 14th - New first-year graduate students are on campus!!!

·         August 15th – BMB goes to a Woo Sox Game!!!

BMB Seminar Series

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE – invite your friends, your heroes, or your frenemies to be speakers in next year’s BMB Seminar Series! Thank you to Josué and Sy for organizing!

Reminder that you can invite anyone from any career stage to cover any topic (including things that aren’t strictly science).


BMB faculty candidates – Keep in mind the following dates: August 14-15

FREE (ish) Events in Worcester:

Every Tuesday – Half-Priced Pizza at The Mercantile 

Every Thursday 6-8pm – Free Summer Concert Series 

Every Tuesday – Grounding and Balancing Meditation 


August 3rd, 6:300-7:30pm – Food is Medicine 

August 5th, 12-6pm – 2023 Worcester African Festival 

August 10th-13thThe Original Italian Festival 

August 13thBluegrass Jam at Acoustic Java 

August 17th, 11am-2pm – Out to Lunch Festival & Farmer’s Market 

August 19th, 11am-9pm – 31st Latin American Festival 

August 26thUMass Memorial Health Community Healthlink Block Party 

August 26th2nd Annual Polish Fest 

August 28thCaribbean American Carnival 


Women’s World Cup Games: 

August 1st, 3am – USA vs. Portugal 

August 15th, 4am – Semifinal Game #1 

August 16th, 6am – Semifinal Game #2 

August 20th, 6am – FINAL GAME!  

New Hires

Samer El-Khatib

New Role: Research Associate I. Somasundaran lab

New Summer Interns 

Bryan Escobar (Han lab.)

BMB News

Dr. Nick Rhind is joining the ASBMB’s Women in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Committee (WIBMB) to advocate for women in biochemistry and molecular biology. Congrats to Nick and thank you for your dedicated service through the ASBMB! 

Dr. Mary Munson has been elected president of the ASCB! She will officially be in charge in 2025, after a year of serving as president-elect. This honor is reflective of her years of service to the ASCB, including her time as co-chair of the Women in Cell Biology committee and a co-investigator of the AMP MOSAIC program.

Work from the Kelch Lab graced the pages of ASBMB Today, spreading the magic of the “Rapunzel” virus far and wide. 

Many department members attended the 37th Annual Symposium of The Protein Society in Boston in Mid-July. The meeting was chaired by none other than Dr. Mary Munson and featured talks from Dr. Celia Schiffer and her trainee Vincent Azzolino. Helen Magana, Melonnie Furgason and Jill Zitzewitz were also in attendance and presented posters. Also present were Michelle Mosqueda, James Munro, Krishna Anand, Rakeyah Ahsan, Natasha Buwa, Brian Kelch, Narendar Kolimi, and Kristyn Norris.


UMass Chan Celebrates Employee Milestones

UMass Chan Medical School was proud to recognize the university's long-serving employees at a recent ceremony. Congratulations to all our honorees!



Dr. Elizabeth Shank’s work, as part of the Institute for Drug Resistance, was featured in Nature Medicine

#Newscience alert!

·        Regulation of the Wnt signaling pathway during myogenesis by the mammalian SWI/SNF ATPase BRG1 (Imbalzano Lab) Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology  

·        Donald Brown: Pioneer of embryo development and advocate for early career funding (Pederson Lab) PNAS

·        Sperm chromatin structure and reproductive fitness are altered by substitution of a single amino acid in mouse protamine 1 (Redding Lab) Nature Structural & Molecular Biology  

·        An additive destabilizing effect of compound T60I and V122I substitutions in ATTRv amyloidosis (Scott Shaffer – Mass Spec core) Amyloid  

·        Structure of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe Gtr-Lam complex reveals evolutionary divergence of mTORC1-dependent amino acid sensing (Song & Xu – Cryo-EM Core) Structure 

·        RNA polymerase II dynamics shape enhancer-promoter interactions (Rando Lab) Nature Genetics

·        Systematic analyses of the resistance potential of drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Bolon, Schiffer, Kurt Yilmaz Labs) 

·        Differential Contributions of mSWI/SNF Chromatin Remodeler Sub-Families to Myoblast Differentiation (Imbalzano Lab) Int J Mol Sci. 

·        Cryo-EM structure of a RAS/RAF recruitment complex. (Song –Cryo-EM core) Nat Communications

#Preprint alert!

·        FruitFire: a luciferase based on a fruit fly metabolic enzyme (Miller & Schiffer) BioRxIV  

Feature of the Month

Each month the BMB Department features a department member's unique story.


This month, Haley chatted with MD/PhD student Webb Camille from Dr. Zuoshang Xu's lab. Please take the time to read about what he brings to our department (including his "extracurricular activity" of running a nonprofit!).

Blog Post & social media

How to Have a Successful Career in Biotech
by Haley Barlow, PhD

Follow the BMB on social media




Blog post


This one’s for the caretakers of children out there: here are some tips to support the mental health of the youth in your life as they return to school.


Establish the school-day routine BEFORE they go back to school e.g. call the school and find out when their lunch time will be, and start transitioning them to eating lunch at that time.


Take a look at how you’ve been coping with stress recently and consider incorporating healthier coping mechanisms – youth learn how to cope with stress by watching the adults in their lives!


Talk about and acknowledge mixed emotions.


Find ways to help them become familiar with their new environment – meet the teacher, spend time on the playground, see the classroom, etc.


Monitor their behavior – many symptoms of a rapidly changing life of a young person (irritability, changing friend groups or activities, disruptive behavior, change of sleep habits, etc) look a lot like serious symptoms of mental health in young people. If you’re concerned about a kid in your life, try talking to them about your concerns or getting them screened for mental health disorders.


Back to school mental health

Kids’ minds matter

MHA national

Emergency numbers:  


EAP: 1-800-322-5327 or 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 

MA Behavioral Health Help Line (can also text this number!): 833-773-2445 

SAMHSA National Helpline (in English and Spanish!): 1-800-662-4357 

Worcester Community HealthLink: 1-866-549-2142 

Job Openings – share with your network

Postdoc in the Kobertz Lab

Postdoc in the Thompson Lab 

Academic Administrator for the BMB

Postdoc in the Thyme Lab

Research Associate II in the Schiffer Lab

Research Associate III in the Schiffer Lab

Research Associate I in the Bolon Lab

Other links

Do you have any suggestions?

Share your news with us!

Do you have a job opening? Let us know

Social media feature request

Miss a previous newsletter? They’re all on the BMB website!



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