News & Events

A picture of from left to right: Vivian Saridakis (York University), Justin Nodwell, Emil Pai, Oliver Ernst, Peter Lewis, Reinhart Reithmeier, JP Julien.

Emil Pai Symposium and Retirement

8 August 2018|

Emil F. Pai is retiring after more than 25 years at the University of Toronto. Emil joined the Departments of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics from the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg in 1991 as a NSERC Industrial Research Chair following a global search for a renowned protein crystallographer to nucleate structural biology at the University of Toronto. Emil was already well-known for determining the first crystal structure of […]

An image of student winner, from left to right: Matt McCallum, Andreea Gheorghita, Ondrej Halgas, Natalie Bamford and Thomas Bateman.

Five Biochemistry Graduate Students win big at the Annual 2018 American Crystallographic Association meeting

27 July 2018|

Congratulations to graduate students: Matt McCallum, Andreea Gheorghita, and Thomas Bateman for winning the Pauling Poster Prizes and Ondrej Halgas and Natalie Bamford for winning the Taylor & Francis Biomolecular Crystallography Poster Prize and the Louis Delbaere Pauling Poster Prize, respectively, at the 2018 American Crystallographic Association (ACA) meeting held at the Sheraton Hotel, Toronto, July 22-26.

A special congratulations to Andreea Gheorghita for also winning the inaugural ACA Three minute thesis competition.

An image of Reinhart Reithmeier.

Our Politicians Need to Understand Why Science Matters

18 July 2018|

Reinhart Reithmeier and Peter Love, Vice-Chair and Chair respectfully, of the Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIScience) published an Op-Ed piece in the July 14 issue of the Toronto Star entitled “Our Politicians Need to Understand Why Science Matters”.

The article highlights the importance of science in driving innovation, in our educational system, and in the public and political arenas.  It raises concerns about the dismissal of Ontario’s Chief […]

Snapshot from the end of one of the atomistic simulations in which mdAE1 is embedded in a complex asymmetric bilayer (Band3_AT-1). The different lipid types are shown in different colors and the water is shown in ice-blue.

Molecular Dynamics of a Blood Group Antigen

18 July 2018|

In a collaborative project started during a sabbatical leave at Oxford, Reinhart Reithmeier and Antreas Kalli (Leeds) used computer simulations to characterize the dynamics of the human red blood cell anion transport protein Band 3 in a complex lipid bilayer.

The study was published on-line July 16th in PLOS Computational Biology.

The simulations showed that the signalling lipid, PIP2, binds to specific sites on the Band 3 protein, a hub […]

2018 Faculty Promotions

4 July 2018|

The following faculty members received academic promotion this year:

Congratulation to Drs. Alex Ensminger and Roman Melnyk who have been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry.

Also, Dr. Gregory Fairn (primary appointment: Surgery) has been promoted to Associate Professor, and Drs. Walter Kahr (primary appointment: Paediatrics) and Aleixo Muise (primary appointment: Paediatrics) have been promoted to the rank of Full Professor.

Congratulations to you […]

Dysregulation of the human mitochondrial protease ClpP induces cancer cell death

4 July 2018|

Acyldepsipeptides (ADEPs) compounds have bactericidal properties via dysregulating the activity of the highly conserved tetradecameric bacterial ClpP protease. In a recent publication in Cell Chemical Biology, Keith S. Wong and co-authors from the Houry group have reported on the identification of ADEP analogs that are potent dysregulators of the human mitochondrial ClpP (HsClpP). These analogs interact with HsClpP at high affinity, causing the protease to non-specifically degrade model […]

2018 Biochemistry Golf Day

27 June 2018|

This year’s Golf Day dawned bright and sunny with a cool breeze that was perfect for our Departmental tournament. A record 32 biochemists (and a sprinkling of Immunologists) headed out to the little-known jewel of mid-town Toronto – the Flemingdon Park 9-hole Golf Course. Each team had its share of beginners and ringers playing a “best ball” format that allowed everyone […]

Biochemistry Undergraduate Teaching Retreat

27 June 2018|

On June 5, 2018 faculty met in the Division of Teaching Labs new Active Collaboration Rooms to discuss active learning strategies, the biochemistry undergraduate programs and curriculum reform.  The retreat generated many great discussions around teaching, with faculty sharing their experiences and working together on the vision for undergraduate education.

Malaria: Cooperating antibodies enhance immune response

20 June 2018|

Source: Steve Bryson, PhD

Malaria is one of the most inflicting infectious diseases worldwide. Each year, an estimated 200 million people contract malaria and approximately 440,000 people succumb to the infectious disease.

Scientists in the Julien lab at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and their collaborators at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany, have studied how the human immune system combats malaria infections. In this […]

Avoiding catastrophe: Yeast study reveals clues to maintaining genome size

11 June 2018|

By Jovana Drinjakovic

Study reveals an unexpected role for a well- known protein machinery in maintaining the correct DNA content with implications for cancer and other diseases

As cells divide, they must accurately split their DNA between the two daughter cells or risk having an uneven number of chromosomes which can lead to developmental disorders and cancer. A new Donnelly Centre study uncovers how a […]

New Tools for Biofilm Disruption

8 June 2018|

Microbial biofilms grow on biotic and abiotic surfaces. The matrix of the biofilm that the pathogen produces protects them from the host immune response and antibiotics.  This proposes a major challenge for the treatment of chronic infections. In an article published in Plos Pathogens, Dustin J. Little and Roland Pfoh (Howell lab) and co-authors demonstrate that the C-terminal domain of PgaB is a glycoside hydrolase that can hydrolyze […]

Dr. Julie Forman-Kay was interviewed on Nature News Feature

1 June 2018|

Julie Forman-Kay was among a group of researchers interviewed for the Nature News Feature published on March 14, 2018 entitled “What lava lamps and vinaigrette can teach us about cell biology”.

Like oil in water, the contents of cells can segregate into droplets. It’s called phase separation, and biologists are seeing it everywhere.