The six teams selected to initiate new research projects starting Fall 2012:
- Team 1: Robert Brooker (UM) and Preben Morth (UiO)
Structural characterization of the manganese transporter MntH
This project aims to understand the structural basis for iron and manganese uptake into cells using X-ray crystallography. Iron and manganese function as essential cofactors for a variety of enzymes and protein complexes found in all living organisms. The major pathway for iron and manganese uptake is via membrane proteins called the Nramp family, which the MntH is part of.
- Team 2: Yiannis Kaznessis (UM) & Dzung Diep (UMB) & Jon Nissen-Myer (UiO)
Bacteriocin mechanism of action
Some superbacteria have evolved to become resistant to antibiotics. With the need for new antibiotics, bacteriocins have shown potential to lyse and kill bacteria rapidly. The project investigates in detail how bacteriocins interact with bacterial membranes, determining the structural elements that make the peptides active against certain pathogens, and engineer new peptides that may have therapeutic potential.
- Team 3: Hilde Nilsen (UiO) & Reuben Harris (UM)
APOBEC-catalyzed DNA damage and its misrepair as a major source of mutation in cancer
Very little is known about the molecular origins of most cancer-causing mutations. Recently, the Harris laboratory of UM identified a DNA mutating enzyme called APOBEC that provides mutational fuel in the majority of breast cancers. Joining forces with the Nilsen laboratory at the UiO that are experts in dNA repair enzymes to counteract such mutational activity, this research project will attempt to develop a new animal model for research cancer by determining whether mice with APONEC and defective DNA repair enzymes show an elevated incidence of cancer.
- Team 4: Thomas Neufeld (UM) & Anne Simonsen (UiO)
Role of phosphoinositide binding proteins in autophagy and disease
Autophagy is a process where Eukaryotic cells engulf and degrade portions of their own cytoplasm. By promoting the turnover and recycling of cellular components, autophagy has been found to have a major impact on a range of human health and disease states including obesity, cancer, aging, neurodegenerative diseases, and inflammatory disorders. Before exploring the ability to use autophagy as therapy for many diseases, understanding how autophagy is regulated in the cell is important. This research project uses cultured human cells and in vivo studies in the fruit fly Drosphila to investigate a family of signaling molecules that regulate membrane remodeling and trafficking during autophagy.
- Team 5: Dennis Becker (UM) & Erik Trømborg (UMB) & Birger Sølberg (UMB) and Hanne Sjølie (UMB) & Berit Lindstad (UMB)
Supply chain analysis of US and Norwegian bioenergy policies
The United States and Norway want to increase bioenergy development, but for different reasons. Yet, in both countries, the level of production falls short of national goals despite significant investments. This project aims to stimulate policy innovation and financial investment in forestry bioenergy production by building an understanding of the mix of policy instruments commonly used at each supply chain step, and the extent to which US and Norwegian policy structures result in different levels of bioenergy production.
- Team 6: Ronald McRoberts (UM) & Erik Næsset (UMB) & Terje Gobakken (UMB)
Lidar to enhance forest inventories
Lidar (light detection and ranging) is an optical remote sensing technology that can be used to estimate the vertical distribution of tree volume for a ground location. A lidar-based map of growing stock volume for St. Louis County, Minnesota, will be used to construct stratifications for increasing the precision of inventory estimates. The team's Norwegian studies have shown that lidar’s precision have significant economic benefits. This research project will investigate optimization of lidar techniques or carbon accounting and for estimating forest change.
Read more about these fascinating research projects on: http://www.cbs.umn.edu/nocc