News

Form and Function in Enzyme Activity

Many industrial chemistry applications, such as drug or biofuel synthesis, require large energy inputs and often produce toxic pollutants. But chemistry and chemical biology professor Mary Jo Ondrechen said enzymes — proteins that increase the rate of chemical reactions in the body — could be used to effectively replace standard industrial processes. “Enzymatic reactions are […]
April 08, 2012

Professor Honored For His Contributions To Medicinal Chemistry

Alexandros Makriyannis, the founding director of Northeastern’s Center for Drug Discovery, has received the annual Award in Medicinal Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. Makriyannis, whose award propelled him into the society’s Hall of Fame alongside other pioneers of medicinal chemistry, will address his colleagues at the 33rd National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium in Tucson in May. […]
April 06, 2012

Traveling Across The Globe to Study a Tiny Protein

Doctoral candidate Jaylene Ollivierre works with a small bacterial protein that regulates the activity of larger DNA repair complexes in Northeastern’s DNA Damage Recognition and Tolerance Laboratory led by chemistry and chemical biology assistant professor Penny Beuning. That protein, called UmuD (pronounced yoo-myoo-d), has been studied for 20 years, Ollivierre said, “but it keeps surprising us.” […]
April 04, 2012

The Innate Ability to Learn Language

All human languages contain two levels of structure, said Iris Berent, a psychology professor in Northeastern’s College of Science. One is syntax, or the ordering of words in a sentence. The other is phonology, or the sound structure of individual words. Berent — whose research focuses on the phonological structure of language — examines the nature […]
April 02, 2012

Neuroscience and The Pursuit of Justice

Dr. Judith Edersheim, co-founder and co-director of the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital, explores how neuroscience can enhance the pursuit of justice. “If neuroscience could shed light on mental states, it might be able to illuminate whether someone meant the crime or intended to harm someone,” Edersheim told approximately 200 students, […]
March 30, 2012

Traveling Across the Globe to Study a Tiny Protein

Doctoral candidate Jaylene Ollivierre works with a small bacterial protein that regulates the activity of larger DNA repair complexes in Northeastern’s DNA Damage Recognition and Tolerance Laboratory led by chemistry and chemical biology assistant professor Penny Beuning. That protein, called UmuD (pronounced yoo-myoo-d), has been studied for 20 years, Ollivierre said, “but it keeps surprising us.” […]
March 29, 2012

Measuring Water Contamination in New Zealand

The magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand, in February 2011 is considered to be one of the island country’s most deadly and expensive disasters, killing 185 people and costing an estimated $30 million. Less than one year after the environmental disaster, Northeastern University sophomore biology and environmental science combined major Michael Orbank began helping […]
March 28, 2012

Helping Scientific Discovery Grow

Murray Gibson, dean of the College of Science, opened the 15th annual Humic Science and Technology Conference — held last week at Northeastern — by admitting that he, like many people, didn’t know what humic substances (HS) were for most of his life. According to the International Humic Substances Society (IHSS), HS “are complex and heterogeneous […]
March 26, 2012

Gene Sequencing At Warp Speed

One million vocalists singing the same song will sound cacophonous to an audience member if the singers belt out the tune at different tempos. “But if you’re listening to one person sing, and he changes his tempo, you’re still going to stay in tune with him,” said Meni Wanunu, an assistant professor of physics in Northeastern’s […]
March 24, 2012

A New Approach To Analyzing Breast Cancer

Tumors are complex systems of cells, only some of which may be cancerous. Also, two samples from different areas of a single tumor are rarely identical. To gather important information about tumors, researchers must analyze very small samples because they are more likely homogenous — enriched for either normal cells or cancerous cells. Barry Karger — […]
March 21, 2012

Study: Loss Of Rare Species Can Harm Ecosystems

Here’s another reason to cheer for the little guy. A new study co-authored by Matthew Bracken, assistant professor of biology in Northeastern’s College of Science, has found that rare species from the bottom of the food chain can have a large impact on an ecosystem’s health. The findings were published in March in the online […]
March 19, 2012

Gene Sequencing at Warp Speed

One million vocalists singing the same song will sound cacophonous to an audience member if the singers belt out the tune at different tempos. “But if you’re listening to one person sing, and he changes his tempo, you’re still going to stay in tune with him,” said Assistant Professor Meni Wanunu.
March 19, 2012

3Qs: That’s, Like, Super Cooool

A study published in December in the Journal of Voice found that female college students have popularized a linguistic fad called “vocal fry,” which has been described as a “guttural fluttering of the vocal chords” with a “lazy, drawn-out effect.” We asked Heather Littlefield, the head adviser for the linguistics program in the College of […]
March 14, 2012

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