DNA https://mag.uchicago.edu/tags/dna en The sloth family tree looks different than we thought https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/sloth-family-tree-looks-different-we-thought <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/19_Summer_Lerner_All-in-the-family.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 08/09/2019 - 17:17</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>You wouldn’t guess it, but this tree dweller is related to extinct elephant-sized sloths. (Photography by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/henryalien/2830722126/">henryalien</a> (CC BY-NC 2.0))</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/louise-lerner-ab09"> <a href="/author/louise-lerner-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Louise Lerner, ABʼ09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Summer/19</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>New fossil analyses upend the old story about sloth evolution.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Sloths once roamed the Americas. Some were cat-sized tree dwellers, while others may have weighed up to six tons. The surviving species we know and love today are the two-toed and three-toed sloths—and paleontologists have been arguing about how to classify them, and their ancestors, for decades.</p> <p>A pair of studies published June 6 in <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-019-0909-z"><em>Nature Ecology &amp; Evolution</em> </a>and <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30613-X"><em>Current Biology</em></a> have shaken up the sloth family tree, overturning a long-standing consensus on how the major groups of sloths are related. Not only does the new research shed light on sloth evolution, it also provides evidence that about 30 million years ago a short-lived land bridge connected South America and what would become the West Indies—something scientists had suspected but been unable to prove with existing fossil evidence.</p> <p>“The results are surprising on many levels,” says <a href="https://geosci.uchicago.edu/people/graham-slater/"><strong>Graham Slater</strong></a>, an assistant professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago who coauthored the <em>Nature Ecology &amp; Evolution</em> paper with Ross MacPhee of the American Museum of Natural History and Samantha Presslee at the University of York. “Not only do they rewrite sloth classification, they suggest much of what we thought we knew about how sloths evolved may be wrong.”</p> <p>Until now, the family tree was based on how physically similar sloth fossils looked to one another. But Slater’s study draws on a pioneering approach called paleoproteomics that uses proteins in fossils to discover evolutionary relationships—marking the first time an entire lineage has been mapped with the method.</p> <p>As an alternative to DNA, which needs specific conditions to survive inside fossils (“getting ancient DNA is a bit of a lottery,” Slater says), scientists have been looking to proteins to understand species’ evolutionary trajectories. Protein molecules are sturdier and hold much of the same information as DNA.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Sloth " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="d0529c68-4d10-438f-a574-1cdeae352cf7" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/19_Summer_Lerner_All-in-the-family_SpotA.jpg" /><figcaption>New studies reveal that sloths have much different family trees than once thought. (Photography by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/florencethecat/8442670320/">suendgraeme</a> (CC BY-NC 2.0))</figcaption></figure></div> <p>The scientists extracted collagen samples from multiple sloth fossils, analyzed them to reconstruct the sequences of amino acids, and compared the sequences to piece together relationships between the species.</p> <p>According to the results, three-toed sloths (recognizable for the cute black lines around their eyes) are not, as previously thought, outliers that diverged early in sloth evolution. Instead, they are related to gigantic elephant-sized sloths that died off about 15,000 years ago. Meanwhile, two-toed sloths are the last survivors of another branch of ground sloths previously thought to be extinct.</p> <p>“What came out was just remarkable. It blew our minds—it’s so different from anything that’s ever been suggested,” Slater said.</p> <p>The protein analysis also revealed that the multiple extinct sloth species living in the Caribbean were all descendants of a common ancestor that split from other sloths about 30 million years ago—a discovery that provides support for the South American–West Indies land bridge theory. It seems possible that wanderlust brought a group of sloths across the bridge, and they became geographically isolated after it disappeared.</p> <p>Though revolutionary, the results square with a DNA analysis published the same day by a group from the French National Centre for Scientific Research and other institutions. That team was able to pull mitochondrial DNA from several critical fossils, and the two independent analyses align very closely. “Exceptional results demand exceptional verification,” explains MacPhee, so the two groups agreed to publish simultaneously.</p> <p>Slater and his colleagues are excited about pushing the boundaries of the field of paleoproteomics. Evolutionary paleobiology is hungry for more and older data, and proteins could provide it.</p> <p>“The very oldest DNA you can get is 800,000 years old, but in theory we should be able to get protein data from specimens that are millions of years old,” Slater said. “A whole bunch of questions suddenly come into reach. It opens doors that we were only dreaming of.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/science-medicine" hreflang="en">Science &amp; Medicine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/dna" hreflang="en">DNA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/evolution" hreflang="en">Evolution</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/sloth-family-tree-looks-different-we-thought" data-a2a-title="The sloth family tree looks different than we thought"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fscience-medicine%2Fsloth-family-tree-looks-different-we-thought&amp;title=The%20sloth%20family%20tree%20looks%20different%20than%20we%20thought"></a></span> Fri, 09 Aug 2019 22:17:25 +0000 admin 7139 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Making a mark https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/making-mark <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1511_Searcy_Making-mark.jpg" width="1600" height="743" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/mrsearcy" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">mrsearcy</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/19/2015 - 19:27</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Epigenetics provides an additional genetic coding process, expanding complexity exponentially. (Photography by Peter Barreras, Howard Hughes Medical Institute)     <img src="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/2015_Fall_Inquiry-cover.jpg" width="140" /></p> <h5>This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of <em>Inquiry</em>, the biannual publication produced for University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division alumni and friends.</h5> <div class="issue-link" style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;"><a href="../inquiry-archive" target="_self">VIEW ALL <em>INQUIRY</em> STORIES</a></div> <div class="issue-link" style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/Inquiry_Fall-2015.pdf">DOWNLOAD THE LATEST ISSUE (PDF)</a></div> <div class="issue-link" style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://physical-sciences.uchicago.edu/news/archive" target="_blank">READ ADDITIONAL PSD NEWS</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/maureen-searcy"> <a href="/author/maureen-searcy"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Maureen Searcy</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/inquiry" hreflang="en">Inquiry</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/15</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Chuan He breaks new ground in RNA and DNA epigenetics.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Three billion—the number of base pairs in the human genome—sounds like a huge number. But of those billions of bases, humans appear to have only about <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204768/" target="_blank">19,000 protein-coding genes</a>. And while that may sound like a large number as well, those genes alone can’t account for the vast complexity of a human being with trillions of cells, all with their own identities.</p> <p>The standard flow of information coded into DNA, transcribed into RNA, and translated into protein provides too small a genetic template to accommodate the diversity of living systems. This discrepancy can be explained in part by <a href="http://www.britannica.com/science/epigenetics" target="_blank">epigenetics</a>: changes to gene expression that don’t change the underlying DNA sequence.</p> <p>Epigenetics “is basically a coding process,” says <a href="https://chemistry.uchicago.edu/faculty/faculty/person/member/chuan-he.html" target="_blank">Chuan He</a>, the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor in Chemistry. The DNA sequence is a predetermined template, but one with hundreds of millions of spots that can accept chemical flags that alter gene expression. One such template modification is <a href="http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/the-role-of-methylation-in-gene-expression-1070" target="_blank">methylation</a>.</p> <p>Three classes of proteins carry out epigenetic coding: “writer” enzymes that apply tags or marks, “eraser” enzymes that remove the marks, and “reader” proteins that recognize and bind to the marks. This tagging provides an additional genetic coding process, expanding complexity exponentially, and explains, for instance, how cells with identical genome sequences can develop into different cell types. A deeper understanding of epigenetics provides insight into essentially all life on earth.</p> <p> <h5>[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"3161","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"162","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"500"}}]] The methylation on messenger RNA that He’s team discovered is reversible, which could affect a range of properties and functions that play essential roles in medical and biological research. (Image courtesy Chuan He)</h5> </p> <p>For almost half a century, geneticists have studied DNA methylation. For about three decades, they have been studying the same type of modifications on histones—the proteins around which DNA coils. But until recently, partly for practical and partly for conceptual reasons, no one considered the role RNA might play in epigenetics.</p> <p>“In the beginning, it was easier to study DNA and histones,” says He. “They're much more stable. You can isolate them and perform various analyses.” And because RNA has a shorter half-life inside cells, scientists thought it might merely be a template that transfers genetic information from DNA to protein. Yet in the past few decades, as more capable analytic sequencing technology has been invented, researchers have discovered that RNA plays major functional roles in many processes.</p> <p>He, who joined UChicago in 2002 and now directs the <a href="http://ibd.uchicago.edu/" target="_blank">Institute for Biophysical Dynamics</a> and is a <a href="http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/05/09/chuan-he-named-howard-hughes-medical-institute-investigator" target="_blank">Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator</a>, came to study RNA via the scenic route. A synthetic chemist who had worked in organic synthesis, he also studied biochemistry; investigated pathogenic bacteria with <a href="https://biomedsciences.uchicago.edu/page/olaf-schneewind-md-phd" target="_blank">Olaf Schneewind</a>, the Louis Block Professor in Microbiology; and later collaborated with <a href="https://biomedsciences.uchicago.edu/page/tao-pan-phd" target="_blank">Tao Pan</a>, professor in biochemistry and molecular biology, on RNA biology.</p> <p>Researchers have long known about RNA methylation, but they believed it was a static state, playing a minor role. In 2010 He—who had been working on DNA epigenetics—discovered the first RNA demethylase, called <a href="http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2011/10/18/new-research-links-common-rna-modification-obesity" target="_blank">FTO</a>, an eraser that removes a methyl group from RNA. His discovery proved that RNA methylation is reversible and thus a dynamic modification. Publishing the research in 2011, He’s lab founded the research field of RNA epigenetics.</p> <p>He’s team went on to discover and describe the writer, eraser, and reader proteins involved in RNA methylation. Focusing particularly on the readers, which ultimately affect the cell’s biological functions, He is gaining a mechanistic understanding of the methylation pathway, with “the implication that this is going to impact most biological processes.” He suspects his lab will have a complete characterization of the reader functions in a couple of years.</p> <p>The next questions to address are how and why the erasers regulate demethylation and the writers selectively restore the mark. And in the longer term, how these proteins and pathways affect or control cell differentiation, development, and human diseases.</p> <p>While He is making waves in RNA, he hasn’t given up his DNA work. A recent revelation, in fact, links back to his field-making RNA discovery. Scientists know that the DNA base cytosine gets methylated in both multicellular and single-cell organisms alike. (Cytosine methylation is the most thoroughly researched and best understood epigenetic DNA mark.) The DNA base adenine was thought to be methylated only in bacterial cells. However, homologues of the RNA demethylase protein that He’s lab discovered remove a methyl group from adenine in multicellular organisms.</p> <p>With associate professor Laurens Mets in molecular genetics and cell biology, He set off to find <a href="http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/05/05/new-form-dna-modification-may-carry-inheritable-information" target="_blank">methylated DNA adenine in eukaryotes</a>, and they did—in algae, worms, and fruit flies. The discovery led to three <em><a href="http://www.cell.com/cell/abstract/S0092-8674(15)00427-4" target="_blank">Cell</a></em> papers published in April by He’s group, a team at Harvard, and a team in China. The DNA mark is also found in mammals, according to as-yet unpublished data.</p> <p>“This is a completely new mark,” says He. “This is new biology emerging.” These epigenetic pathways, involving adenine methylation in RNA and DNA in eukaryotes and mammals, play a critical role in innumerable biological processes, and He is providing vital groundwork for advances in medical and life sciences. “We’re doing the fundamental research, mapping up the players, the building blocks,” says He, “and then others can study immunology, infection, cancer therapy, diabetes, metabolism, neurogenesis, plant biology, developmental biology. You name it, these pathways are involved.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/science-medicine" hreflang="en">Science &amp; Medicine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/chemistry" hreflang="en">Chemistry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/genetics" hreflang="en">Genetics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/dna" hreflang="en">DNA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/rna" hreflang="en">RNA</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/physical-sciences-division" hreflang="en">Physical Sciences Division</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/making-mark" data-a2a-title="Making a mark"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fscience-medicine%2Fmaking-mark&amp;title=Making%20a%20mark"></a></span> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 01:27:40 +0000 mrsearcy 5220 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Chemistry switches https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/chemistry-switches <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1412_Searcy_Chemistry-switches.png" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/mrsearcy" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">mrsearcy</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/17/2014 - 20:26</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item">“It’s a very sophisticated naturally occurring device. The ribosome basically turns food into babies,” says professor Yamuna Krishnan.     <img src="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/2015_Winter_Inquiry-cover.png" width="140" /><h5>This article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of <em>Inquiry</em>, the biannual publication produced for University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division alumni and friends.</h5> <div class="issue-link" style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;"><a href="../inquiry-archive" target="_self">VIEW ALL <em>INQUIRY</em> STORIES</a></div> <div class="issue-link" style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/Inquiry_Fall2014_0.pdf">DOWNLOAD THE LATEST ISSUE (PDF)</a></div> <div class="issue-link" style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://physical-sciences.uchicago.edu/news/archive" target="_blank">READ ADDITIONAL PSD NEWS</a></div></div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/maureen-searcy"> <a href="/author/maureen-searcy"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Maureen Searcy</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/inquiry" hreflang="en">Inquiry</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Fall/14</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item">Yamuna Krishnan builds chemical tools with nucleic acids.</div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Professor <a href="https://chemistry.uchicago.edu/faculty/faculty/person/member/yamuna-krishnan.html" target="_blank">Yamuna Krishnan</a> has always loved making things. When she was a child, she and her sister would cook meals, make invisible ink, and grow sugar and salt crystals. They would use whatever they could find in their mother’s kitchen and father’s garden to create something new.</p> <p>Thinking she would carry this passion for building into a career, Krishnan wanted to study architecture. Yet at Women’s Christian College in Chennai, India, she took a chemistry course, where she felt both engaged and adept. She changed fields and now works with chemical architectures, using nucleic acids to build biocompatible synthetic nanoscale machines.</p> <h5>[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2285","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"111","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]]<br /> A DNA icosahedron (black) held together with aptamers—molecules designed to bind to a specific target—(red) encapsulates molecular cargo (green). A trigger (gray hexagons), folds back the aptamers, opening the icosahedron and releasing the cargo.</h5> <p>Krishnan’s work is influenced by naturally occurring nucleic devices. She cites the ribosome, the cellular machine that arranges amino acids from our diet into all the proteins that make up the human body, using RNA’s template. “It’s a very sophisticated naturally occurring device,” she says. “The ribosome basically turns food into babies.”</p> <p>She enjoys the challenge of complex organizations, where “multitudes of processes perform in concert.” Such complex systems, common in biology’s realm, have become fodder for chemists, notes chemistry chair <a href="http://jordan-group.uchicago.edu/" target="_blank">Richard Jordan</a>. Advances in technology—spectroscopy, microscopy, imaging, and molecular and computational modeling—have allowed chemists to move from studying “relatively simple systems, like conventional organic or inorganic chemicals at a very detailed level,” to complex systems, like the processes that work together to make up a living organism.</p> <h5>[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2286","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"161","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]]<br /> The I-switch, a DNA pH sensor, functions in a soil-dwelling roundworm’s coelomocytes that serve as scavenger cells for the worm. Image courtesy Yamuna Krishnan.</h5> <p>Krishnan joined the University this summer, one of four biologically inclined chemists hired to help the department both reflect and advance chemistry’s changing landscape. Throughout the past decade, the field has expanded “beyond the classical core areas of organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry into other areas of science where a molecular level of understanding is beneficial,” says Jordan. Those areas include materials science and chemical biology, which both involve complex systems.</p> <p>There’s no clear distinction between chemical biology and the better-known field of biochemistry, Jordan says, but there may be differences in ultimate intention: “Chemical biology describes trying to determine the structures and reactivity of key biomolecules in living systems, how they interact, how they control the processes of life.” Chemical biologists hope to “not only study what’s going on but to manipulate and change it,” relying heavily on chemical synthesis—engineering reactions to create a desired product.</p> <p>One way chemical biologists like Krishnan exploit synthesis is by building molecular tools designed to enter a living cell and perform a particular function. For instance, the ability to measure pH inside an organelle could help to detect and treat diseases. Just as a fever can indicate illness in humans, acidic conditions can indicate illness in cells; lysosomal storage disorders, including Tay-Sachs disease, are associated with acidic conditions in the lysosome. The challenge is getting a tool to work as well in a complex living organism as it does in a petri dish.</p> <p>At her previous institution, India’s National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, Krishnan developed the first—and as yet only—such device: the I-switch. The DNA-based device “uses a structure called the i-motif, which is at the heart of its switching mechanism,” explains Krishnan.</p> <p>Compared to the complex ribosome, the I-switch is an extremely simple structure that resembles a pair of tongs, closing up under acidic conditions and remaining open under neutral conditions. Attaching molecules called fluorophores, which glow green in the open state, red in the closed state, and yellow and orange in between, Krishnan created a pH meter, a sort of internal litmus test. The switch has thus far worked in worms, and Krishnan hopes eventually to implement it in other living organisms.</p> <p>Also in Bangalore, Krishnan’s lab developed a 3-D nanostructure with a hollow center, called a DNA icosahedron, that helps deliver macromolecules, like drugs or bio-imaging agents, directly where they’re needed. The 20-faced capsule has the most complex solid shape possible to maximize volume and minimize open spaces where the cargo could leak out.</p> <p>To achieve the geometry, she engineered DNA sequences with regions that attract each other; under ideal conditions, the strands fold and connect into an icosahedron. Krishnan designed the structure as a sort of Trojan horse molecule, incorporating a responsive module that opens the capsule in the presence of a chemical trigger, releasing the cargo at its intended target and preventing degradation along the way.</p> <p>At UChicago, Krishnan hopes to apply her synthetic nanomachines to disease models and also develop new devices. While continuing to link her work to detecting and treating disease, she also hopes to focus on fundamental issues of biology on a molecular level, a goal she shares with the department’s other new chemical biologists. She is excited to be back in the classroom. “The best way to connect with and integrate into a new environment is to teach a course,” Krishnan says. “I love teaching chemistry,&nbsp;and I have sorely missed that.”</p> <p align="center"><img src="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/hr.png" /></p> <h2>Roll call</h2> <p>In addition to Krishnan, three other biofocused researchers joined the chemistry department this year.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://dickinsonlab.uchicago.edu/" target="_blank">Bryan Dickinson</a></strong>, assistant professor</p> <ul> <li><em>Research areas:</em> Synthetic chemistry, protein engineering, molecular evolution, and cell biology</li> <li><em>Focus:</em> Developing new technologies to study biological systems, in particular decoding mammalian metabolic regulation, to help understand the mechanisms of and therapeutics for metabolic disease</li> <li><em>Means:</em> Fluorescent probes, protein sensors, and reprogrammed enzymes</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="https://newfaculty.uchicago.edu/page/raymond-moellering" target="_blank">Raymond Moellering</a></strong>, assistant professor (January 1, 2015)</p> <ul> <li><em>Research areas:</em> Chemical biology, synthetic chemistry, biochemistry, and proteomics</li> <li><em>Focus:</em> Protein modifications and interaction networks in metabolic diseases; synthetically modified protein and peptide therapeutics</li> <li><em>Means:&nbsp;</em>Chemical proteomics, bioorganic synthesis, and cellular and in vivo model systems</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="http://home.uchicago.edu/~svaikunt/" target="_blank">Suriyanarayanan Vaikuntanathan</a></strong>, assistant professor</p> <ul> <li><em>Research areas:</em> Physical chemistry, soft condensed matter physics, and biophysics</li> <li><em>Focus:</em> Developing and using tools to study complex equilibrium and nonequilibrium systems with the goal of understanding how the organization and information processing of microscopic biological systems behave in a controlled way</li> <li><em>Means:</em> Theoretical and simulation methodologies and statistical mechanics</li> </ul> <p align="center"><img src="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/hr.png" /></p> <p><em>To learn more about chemistry department initiatives, please contact Brian Yocum at 773.702.3751 or <a href="mailto:byocum@uchicago.edu" target="_blank">byocum@uchicago.edu</a>.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/science-medicine" hreflang="en">Science &amp; Medicine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/chemistry" hreflang="en">Chemistry</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/dna" hreflang="en">DNA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/rna" hreflang="en">RNA</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/physical-sciences-division" hreflang="en">Physical Sciences Division</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/chemistry-switches" data-a2a-title="Chemistry switches"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fscience-medicine%2Fchemistry-switches&amp;title=Chemistry%20switches"></a></span> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:26:55 +0000 mrsearcy 4266 at https://mag.uchicago.edu