Accomplishments: School of Life Sciences

January 10, 2017
Frank van Breukelen (Life Sciences) received a four-year, $797,810 National Science Foundation grant to study hibernation in tenrecs. The current views about mammalian hibernation were developed using traditional models such as the ground squirrel. In these models, hibernators periodically rewarm to active levels between bouts of depressed metabolism. In this proposal, a unique model of hibernation will be used. Common tenrecs (Tenrec ecaudatus) originate from Madagascar and in contrast to all...
January 5, 2017
Dennis Bazylinski (Life Sciences) and a team of researchers recently published a research article titled "Measuring Spectroscopy and Magnetism of Extracted and Intracellular Magnetosomes Using Soft X-ray Ptychography" in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Biomagnetism refers to phenomenon where living creatures, such as bacteria, algae, fish, and birds, can detect and use local magnetic fields to their advantage. The so-called magnetotactic bacteria are an ideal model for...
January 4, 2017
Helen Wing (Life Sciences) has received a three-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant worth $445,008. It is a continuation of a research project that now has received nine years of continual NIH funding. The project focuses on virulence gene regulation in the bacterial pathogen Shigella.  Nucleoid structuring proteins found within bacterial cells play an important role in compacting and organizing DNA, but they often silence the transcription of genes that they sequester. Molecular...
December 23, 2016
Ai-Sun Tseng (Life Sciences) recently published a research article titled "Effects of the Biocide Methylisothiazolinone on Xenopus laevis Wound Healing and Tail Regeneration” in Aquatic Toxicology. This study shows that the commonly used preservative, methylisothiazolinone, impairs the natural repair ability of frog tadpoles to regrow tails. Co-authors include four former and current UNLV undergraduate researchers: Nicole Delos Santos, '14 BS and current post-baccalaureate student Summer Azmat...
December 9, 2016
Scott Abella (Life Sciences) recently gave a talk titled, "National Park Treasures: Celebrating Conservation" at the Lake Mead Visitor Center. He shared the stories of conservation challenges and successes of the National Park Service restoration efforts during the past 100 years. His work as a researcher has supported Lake Mead and other parks throughout the Southwest. Abella is the author of Conserving America’s National Parks.  
December 2, 2016
Frank van Breukelen (Life Science) has received a four-year National Science Foundation research grant totaling $797,810 to study hibernation in tenrecs.  Tenrecs are esoteric mammals from Madagascar that have a unique form of hibernation. These animals are able to hibernate or maintain active body temperatures from at least 12-28 °C. His proposal will extend on his lab's current work and investigate what happens to normally vital homeostatic processes like kidney function and protein synthesis...
November 17, 2016
Ai-Sun Tseng (Life Sciences) was a speaker at the biennial International Xenopus Conference in Kolymbari, Crete, and at the 2016 Southwest Regional Society for Developmental Biology meeting in Salt Lake City. She presented her laboratory's recent research studies on vertebrate eye regeneration.
September 30, 2016
Helen Wing (Life Sciences) is serving as a special editor of an issue of the journal Genes that focuses on "Virulence Gene Regulation in Bacteria." As special editor, Wing is responsible for:   Preparing a brief introduction of this special issue. Making decisions on the manuscripts based on the articles received. Recommending five leading scholars in this area to publish papers free of charge in this special issue. Genes is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal on genes,...
September 26, 2016
Allen Gibbs (Life Sciences) published An Experimental Evolution Test of the Melanism-Desiccation Hypothesis in Insects in PLoS One. This study challenges a long-standing idea in insect physiology, that darker insects will survive better in drier conditions. Co-authors included Subhash Rajpurohit, a former post-doctoral researcher in the Gibbs lab, and three former UNLV undergraduate researchers, Lisa Marie Peterson, Andrew J. Orr, and Anthony J. Marlon.
August 19, 2016
Martin Schiller (Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine) and the Schiller Laboratory of Applied Bioinformatics, Christy Strong (Life Sciences), Ronald Benjamin, Omoyemwen Igbinedion (both Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine), and peers at other institutions recently published a review article titled “TALEN Gene Editing Takes Aim on HIV” in Human Genetics. The article expands upon their recent work by compiling an up-to-date overview of the advancements in the field of gene editing...
August 9, 2016
Frank van Breukelen and Jenifer Utz (Life Sciences) organized the 15th International Hibernation Symposium, which was held in Las Vegas July 31-Aug. 4, and was hosted by UNLV and the School of Life Sciences. The symposiums are conducted once every four years and bring together most of the hibernation researchers from around the globe. This symposium was devoted to discussion of how animals live in a seasonal world.  
July 22, 2016
Doctoral student Carmen Vallin (Life Sciences) was awarded the American Society for Microbiology Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship. The program provides a total stipend of $63,000 ($21,000 a year) for a three-year period and is aimed at highly competitive graduate students. Vallin was awarded this fellowship to study how nongrowing bacterial cells accumulate mutations. She and her mentor, Eduardo Robleto (Life Sciences), seek to understand how mutations that confer antibiotic...