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Zemer Gitai awarded Dean for Research innovation funds

February 23, 2015 - Zemer Gitai, an associate professor of molecular biology, will build "resistance-proof" antibiotics that retain their potency against bacteria. Most antibacterial drugs work by disrupting the growth of bacteria. Resistance develops when a small percentage of bacteria evolve a new way to survive, which enables them to replicate quickly and fill the population vacuum left by the killed-off non-resistant bacteria. Gitai will seek to discover and test possible drug candidates that stop infection without disrupting growth, such as by targeting the machinery for infecting new cells. Such a drug would stop infection but allow bacteria to grow normally. While some bacteria would still evolve drug resistance, they would lack a growth advantage over their neighbors and remain a small percentage of the overall population. As a result, the drug would remain potent at stopping infection.
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Faculty Award: Corina Tarnita named one of 2015 Sloan Fellows

February 23, 2015 - Five Princeton University faculty members were among the 126 researchers from the United States and Canada named as 2015 Sloan Research Fellows. Awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the $50,000 fellowships recognize promising early-career scientists who have been nominated by their colleagues. The new fellows from Princeton are: Sébastien Bubeck, an assistant professor of operations research and financial engineering; Oleg Itskhoki, an assistant professor of of economics and international affairs; Greg Kaplan, an assistant professor of economics; Corina Tarnita, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; and Vlad Vicol, an assistant professor of mathematics.
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Michael Levine named next Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics

February 13, 2015 - Michael Levine will become the next Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics in July, 2015. Levine, who will also have an appointment in the Molecular Biology Department, will join Princeton from the University of California at Berkeley, where he has been a professor since 1996. The Levine Lab studies the mechanisms of gene expression during embryonic development. Levine has made seminal contributions toward the understanding of gene expression and gene regulatory networks in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, received the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale University in 2009, and the Edwin Grant Conklin Medal from the Society of Developmental Biology in 2015.

Caught in the act: Video system for mapping behaviors (Royal Society: Interface)

12/12/14 - A new computer-based technology for recording and evaluating animal movements could help researchers conduct studies of the genes and neural circuits that drive behaviors. (Research from Joshua Shaevitz and colleagues in the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.)
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Sabine Petry receives 2014 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering

10/17/14 - Princeton University faculty member Sabine Petry, an associate professor of molecular biology, was one of 18 early-career researchers nationwide to receive a 2014 Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
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John Storey chosen for endowed professorship, the William R. Harman '63 and Mary-Love Harman Professor in Genomics

10/8/14 - John Storey, Professor in the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and Director of the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning, has been named to the endowed professorship, the William R. Harman '63 and Mary-Love Harman Professor in Genomics.

William Bialek awarded early concept grant for brain research

8/21/14 - Princeton faculty members William Bialek and Mala Murthy have been awarded Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enable new technologies to better understand how complex behaviors emerge from the activity of brain circuits.

R. Scott McIsaac receives Life Sciences Research Foundation fellowship

8/13/14 - Scott McIsaac, who received his PhD in QCB, was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Life Sciences Research Foundation (LSRF).

John Storey of the Lewis-Sigler Institute and Department of Molecular Biology to head new Center for Statistics and Machine Learning

7/22/14 - Princeton University has established the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning. John Storey, a professor of Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, has been named the center's director.
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Bonnie Bassler receives award for advancement of women in microbiology

7/21/14 - Bonnie Bassler, the Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology, chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, has received the EMD Millipore Alice C. Evans Award for her contributions to the advancement of women in microbiology. The honor is given by the American Society for Microbiology.

Simon Levin elected Lombard Institute foreign member

7/18/14 - Simon Levin, Princeton University's George M. Moffett Professor of Biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, was elected a foreign member of the Lombard Institute Academy of Science and Letters in Italy. Levin will be presented with a certificate of appointment at an Oct. 2 ceremony in Milan.

Sabine Petry and Mohammad Seyedsayamdost selected as 2014 Pew Scholars

6/24/14 - Two Princeton University faculty members have been selected as 2014 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Sabine Petry, an assistant professor of molecular biology, and Mohammad Seyedsayamdost, an assistant professor of chemistry, were among 22 early-career researchers nationwide who will receive flexible funding over four years to help establish their research careers. Pew Scholars are selected by a national advisory committee composed of eminent scientists. Established in 1985, the Pew Scholars program supports noted scientists at the assistant professor level.

Bonnie Bassler Receives Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award

6/2/14 - Bonnie Bassler, the Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology, received the Princeton University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa annual award for excellence in undergraduate teaching on June 2. 
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Eleanor Brush awarded Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Fellowship

5/23/14 - Eleanor Brush, QCB graduate student, has been awarded a Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Fellowship for the 2014-15 academic year. Established in 1912 in memory of Charlotte Elizabeth Procter by her son, this fellowship acknowledges her distinguished work in the Department of Quantitative and Computational Biology.

Michel Nofal receives NRSA award

5/19/14 - Michel Nofal, QCB graduate student, is awarded the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award.

Ned Wingreen, Acting Director of Lewis-Sigler Institute, part of team awarded Schmidt Funds to Support New Research Technologies

5/2/14 - Ned Wingreen, Acting Director of LSI, Bonnie Bassler, Professor of Molecular Biology, and Howard Stone, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering were awarded Schmidt Transformative Technology Funds to develop a microscope for probing bacterial biofilms.
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Sabine Petry receives 2014 Kimmel Scholar Award

4/25/14 - Sabine Petry, Princeton University assistant professor of molecular biology, has received 2014 Kimmel Scholar Awards from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research. The award is intended to support young scientists involved in promising and innovative cancer research.

Joshua Rabinowitz receives Agilent Thought Leader Award

4/17/14 - Joshua Rabinowitz, M.D, Ph.D., professor at Princeton University's Department of Chemistry and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, has received an Agilent Thought Leader Award from Agilent Technologies Inc. to support his work on quantitative analysis of cellular metabolism.
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David Botstein Honored With 2014 AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship

4/5/14 - The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has awarded Princeton University's David Botstein, the Anthony B. Evnin '62 Professor of Genomics, the AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship in recognition of his accomplishments in and influence on cancer research. Dr. Botstein delivered his lecture "Evolution and Cancer" on April 5 at the AACR's Annual Meeting in San Diego. Established in 2004, the distinguished lecturship is awarded by the association's president and is not open to nomination. Botstein also was among several researchers worldwide recently elected to the 2014 class of AACR Academy fellows, which is open only to scientists whose work has had a major impact on the field of cancer research. The new fellows will be inducted at the annual meeting.  (Click here for full AACR story)


Simon Levin receives Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

3/25/14 - Simon Levin, the George M. Moffett Professor of Biology at Princeton University, has been awarded the 2014 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for bridging ecological research and environmental policy, economics and social science.
(Full Story)

Laura Landweber receives Human Frontier Science Program grant

3/21/14 - Laura Landweber, a Princeton University professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, is a co-recipient of one of only 24 Program Grants awarded worldwide by the Human Frontier Science Program, a French organization that supports new research in complex biological systems. Landweber will work with co-recipient Orsolya Barabas of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, on the project, "Molecular mechanisms and epigenetic control of beneficial transposons: Lessons from ciliates."

Eleanor Brush receives the Mikhalevich Award (IIASA)

3/7/14 - Eleanor Brush (QCB Graduate Student, Princeton University) will receive the Mikhalevich Award for her paper “The Stabilization of Cooperation by Discriminators Using Imperfect Information."

Joshua Shaevitz and Andrew Leifer awarded Innovation Fund from Dean for Research

2/12/14 - Joshua Shaevitz (Associate Professor of Physics and Genomics, Principal Investigator) and Andrew Leifer (Lewis-Sigler Fellow, Lewis-Sigler Institute, Co-Investigator) have been awarded an Innovation Fund for New Ideas in the Natural Sciences from the Dean for Research. They will develop an optical system that will be able to simultaneously manipulate and monitor the activity of all neurons in the brain of a freely moving nematode worm with cellular resolution.
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Mating is the kiss of death for female worms

12/19/13 - Princeton University researchers, led by Coleen Murphy, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, found that male sperm and seminal fluid trigger pathways that cause females to dehydrate, prematurely age, and die.

The presence of male sperm and seminal fluid causes female worms to shrivel and die after giving birth, Princeton University researchers reported in the journal Science. The demise of the female appears to benefit the male worm by removing her from the mating pool for other males.

"Their lifespans are cut by about a third to a half," said senior author Coleen Murphy, an associate professor of Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.
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Princeton Graduate Students create new Facebook app

11/14/13 - The What Would I Say? app was created by Princeton graduate students Harvey Cheng (EE), Ugne Klibaite (QCB), Alex Furger (ORFE), Daniel Jiang (ORFE), Pawel Przytycki (COS), Vicky Yao (COS) and Edward Young (PHY) during this year’s HackPrinceton event. The app takes a users’ old Facebook status updates and produces new phrases out of them.
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William Bialek receives Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience

11/1/13 - William Bialek, the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, is the recipient of the 2014 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.

The prize is awarded to an individual who is recognized as producing a significant contribution to theoretical models or computational methods in neuroscience.

Dr. Bialek will be presented with the award at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting this November in San Diego.
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Olga Troyanskaya receives Ira Herskowitz Award

10/24/13 - Olga Troyanskaya, Professor of Computer Science and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, is the recipient of the 2014 Ira Herskowitz Award from the Genetics Society of America, for her outstanding contribution in the field of yeast research.

Her work bridges computer science and molecular biology to develop better methods for analysis of diverse functional genomic data with the goal of understanding and modeling protein function and interactions in biological pathways. Her group includes computational and experimental aspects, and tackles diverse questions including developing integrative technologies for pathway prediction and the study of biological networks in complex human disease.

Dr. Troyanskaya will be presented with the award at the Genetics Society of America’s Yeast Genetics Meeting, July 29-August 3, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

Researchers at Princeton including Institute member Olga Troyanskaya, and the University of Michigan, develop new method to separate genes

10/4/13 - Nano-dissection identifies genes involved in kidney disease (Genome Research)

Understanding how genes act in specific tissues is critical to our ability to combat many human diseases, from heart disease to kidney failure to cancer. Yet isolating individual cell types for study is impossible for most human tissues.
(Full story)

David Botstein shares Warren Alpert Foundation Prize

06/19/13 - David Botstein, Princeton University's Anthony B. Evnin '62 Professor of Genomics and the current director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, is a recipient of the 2013 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize in recognition for his work that helped establish a framework for the Human Genome Project. Botstein shares the prize with Stanford Univesity School of Medicine faculty members Ronald Davis and David Hogness. In 1980, Botstein and Davis published a conceptual breakthrough that gave researchers the tools to trace and map out the genetic inheritance of disease in humans. Hogness' work provided the means of identifying the precise physical location of genes of interest on chromosomes. The recipients will be honored at a symposium on Thursday, Oct. 3, at Harvard Medical School.

David Tank is member of Steering Committee for Federal BRAIN Initiative

4/18/13 - Princeton University neuroscientists are poised to play a leading role in revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain as outlined in President Barack Obama's BRAIN Initiative.

David Tank, Lewis-Sigler Institute member, Henry L. Hillman Professor in Molecular Biology, and co-director of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI), is a member of the steering committee for the federal BRAIN Initiative.  (Read more.)

David Botstein receives Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

2/20/13 - David Botstein, Anthony B. Evnin '62 Professor of Genomics and molecular biology and director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute, is one of eleven recipients of the newly created Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. The prizes, created by four Internet entrepreneurs, are intended to reward scientists who take big risks and whose work will have a major impact on lives. (Read more in The New York Times.)

Manuel Llinás receives Gates Foundation Grant

11/01/12 -  Manuel Llinás, an associate professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, received a Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to seek more effective malaria drugs. Llinás was among more than 80 recipients of the award, which includes an initial grant of $100,000 with a potential follow-on grant of up to $1 million.

Llinás will work to develop a rapid-screening tool that would characterize the biochemical signature of new classes of anti-malarial drugs formulated in recent years. Using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, Llinás and his research group will identifythe metabolic pathways of the malaria parasite that these drug compounds alter, as well as explore the potential targets of these compounds and define possible mechanisms of drug-resistance. These results could lead to drug combinations that target multiple metabolic pathways and forestall the development of drug-resistant malaria parasites.

Grand Challenges Explorations funds individuals worldwide who are taking innovative approaches to some of the world’s toughest and persistent global health and development challenges."

John Hopfield receives Swartz Prize

10/13/12 — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has awarded the Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience to Lewis-Sigler Institute member John J. Hopfield, who is Princeton University's Howard A. Prior Professor in the Life Sciences and professor of molecular biology Emeritus.

Supported by The Swartz Foundation, this prize, which includes $25,000, recognizes an individual who has produced a significant cumulative contribution to theoretical models or computational methods in neuroscience. The award was presented to Hopfield on October 13 during the society's 2012 conference in New Orleans. (Read more)

Coleen Murphy heads Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for Aging Research at Princeton

10/05/12 - Under a new $3 million grant from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, Princeton University researchers will study the biology of aging and healthspan.

The grant will establish the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for Aging Research at Princeton under the leadership of Coleen Murphy, associate professor of Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. The funding will support pioneering collaborative work by faculty members in neuroscience, computer science, computational biology, physics and mathematics on the biological mechanisms that control the aging process. (Full Story)

Arsenic-loving bug theory disproved

7/8/12 - In a paper published in Science that is getting wide play in national media, a group of researchers that includes Marshall Reaves, Joshua Rabinowitz, and Leonid Kruglyak from Princeton University, disproves the sensational claim (reported last year in Science) that, under phosphate limiting conditions, arsenate could replace phosphorous in the DNA of a microbe.

The Science abstract reads: A strain of Halomonas bacteria, GFAJ-1, has been claimed to be able to use arsenate as a nutrient when phosphate is limiting, and to specifically incorporate arsenic into its DNA in place of phosphorus. However, we have found that arsenate does not contribute to growth of GFAJ-1 when phosphate is limiting and that DNA purified from cells grown with limiting phosphate and abundant arsenate does not exhibit the spontaneous hydrolysis expected of arsenate ester bonds. Furthermore, mass spectrometry showed that this DNA contains only trace amounts of free arsenate and no detectable covalently bound arsenate.

Full Citation: Absence of Detectable Arsenate in DNA from Arsenate-Grown GFAJ-1 Cells, M. L. Reaves, S. Sinha, J. D. Rabinowitz, L. Kruglyak, R. J. Redfield. Science 1219861. Published online 8 July 2012. [DOI:10.1126/science. 1219861]

Recent Coverage:

William Bialek named to National Academy of Sciences

4/27/12 - William Bialek, Lewis-Sigler Institute member and John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics, has been elected to membership in The National Academy of Sciences, along with 83 others in the U.S., including several from Princeton. Members are elected in  recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.  Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest professional honors among scientists, engineers, and health care professionals. (Full list)

QCB graduate program highlighted in Science

8/1/11 - A recent Policy Forum piece in the journal Science mentioned the Lewis-Sigler Institute’s graduate program in Quantitative and Computational Biology as an example of much-needed convergence of multiple fields in education. In the piece, Promoting Convergence in Biomedical Science, authors Phillip A. Sharp and Robert Langer discuss the importance of interdisciplinary research approaches and the need for the National Institutes of Health to adopt that approach as they make funding decisions.

Princeton's Graduate School gets top honor

11/2009 - TheScientist rated Princeton's Graduate School # 1, noting that the school, "established in 1900, has a stellar reputation, boasting 18 National Medal of Science Winners and three recipients of the National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Awards in 2007 and 2008."