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Aging contributes to rapid rates of genomic change, signaling challenges for personalized medicine

Exploiting individual genomes for personalized medicine may be more complicated than medical scientists have suspected, as VBI researchers Skip Garner and Jasmin Bavarva have discovered.

In a paper published in June in the journal Aging, scientists from the institute's Medical Informatics and Systems Division found that spontaneous mutations occur in our bodies constantly, but the rate of change differed dramatically among various people.



Scientists seek to develop new imaging capabilities to view a human virus in action

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists Deborah Kelly and Sarah McDonald are ambitious and determined, and it’s paying off. 

The two assistant professors recently received a National Institutes of Health grant for their collaborative work developing new imaging technologies that will allow them to see live rotavirus activity.



Deeper than, 'EvoCor' identifies gene relationships

A frontier lies deep within our cells. Our bodies are as vast as oceans and space, composed of a dizzying number of different types of cells. Exploration reaches far, yet the genes that make each cell and tissue unique have remained largely obscure.

That’s changing with the help of a team led by Gregorio Valdez, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.



Caught in the crosswalk: Molecular traffic signals keep cells on the right track, researchers say

Assistant Professor Silke Hauf's lab has found that signaling during crucial parts of cell division is slower than expected to safely enable chromosomes to split and create genetically identical daughter cells.  The discovery featured in Current Biology sheds light on the intricacies of the cell cycle and how errors in this cycle can lead to cancer and other chromosomal defects.




Gene removal could have implications beyond plant science

For thousands of years humans have been tinkering with plant genetics, even when they didn't realize that is what they were doing, in an effort to make stronger, healthier crops that endured climates better, and produced more.  Zachary Nimchuk, assistant professor of biological sciences and a member of the faculty of health sciences at Virginia Tech, is working with a technology that refines the process by honing in on individual genes within a plant's DNA.




Biological Sciences takes active approach to class instruction

Walk into a freshman Principles of Biology class and you'll notice the students are all talking to each other, and the professor doesn't mind a bit because they're not being disruptive - they're learning.  It's an active classroom that made its biology debut at Virginia Tech in the fall 2013 semester and raises the bar as a way to make a big impact on a big class.



Recent Honors and Awards

The Department of Biological Sciences is proud to announce recent awards presented to members of our department.  Congratulations to all of the award recipients!


More news....

Biological Sciences (MC 0406)
Derring Hall Room 2125
1405 Perry Street
Mail Code 0406
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Undergraduate Office:
(540) 231-6407

Graduate Office:
(540) 231-8929

Main Fax Number:
(540) 231-9307

Department Head: 
Brenda Winkel

Asst. to Dept. Head:
Dreama Price
(540) 231-5712

General Inquiries:
(540) 231-8930


Upcoming Events

Thursday, October 2, 2014: EEB Seminar by Andrea Berardi of the University of Colorado-Boulder, entitled, "The role of the plant flavonoid pathway in adaptation to the Alps and the Andes," 3:30 p.m., 4049 Derring Hall

Thursday, October 2, 2014: VTCRI Distinguished Scholar Series Seminar by Charles O'Brien of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, entitled, "Modern Treatment of Alcoholism," 5:30 p.m., Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Friday, October 3, 2014: VTCRI Frontiers in Biomedical Research Series Seminar by Lin Mei of Georgia Regents University, entitled, "Synapses, Muscular Dystrophy, and Brain Disorders," 11:00 a.m., Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Friday, October 3, 2014: VTLSS Seminar by Craig Crews of Yale University, entitled, "Small Molecule Control of Intracellular Protein Levels," 12:20 p.m., VBI Conference Center

Saturday, October 4, 2014: Virginia Science Festival Blacksburg Events, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. See the website for a full list of events and locations.

Friday, October 10 - Sunday, October 12, 2014: Fall Break

Friday, October 10, 2014: VTCRI Frontiers in Biomedical Research Series Seminar by Larry DeLucas of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, entitled, "High-Throughput Self-Interaction Chromatography: Applications Protein Solubility & Stability," 11:00 a.m., Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Friday, October 10, 2014: VTLSS Seminar by Joseph Smith of the University of Washington, entitled, "Cerebral malaria: Deadly parasite binding variants target endothelial protein C receptor," 12:20 p.m., VBI Conference Center