This is a summary list of all resource providers at Montana State University . The list includes links to more detailed information, which may also be found using the eagle-i search app.
“The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities is an international society dedicated to advancing core and research biotechnology laboratories through research, communication, and education.”
ABRF is a unique membership association comprised of nearly 800 scientists working in resource and research biotechnology laboratories. Our members represent over 140 core laboratories in government, academia, research, industry and commercial settings. The ABRF promotes the education and career advancement of scientists through conferences, a quarterly journal, publication of research group studies and conference travel awards. The society also sponsors multi-center research studies designed to help members incorporate new biotechnologies into their laboratories.
Engineering Mechanics, Continuum and Snow Mechanics
American Indian Research Opportunities (AIRO) is a consortium of Montana's seven Tribal Colleges (Blackfeet Community College, Chief Dull Knife College, Fort Belknap College, Fort Peck Community College, Little Big Horn College, Salish Kootenai College, and Stone Child College) and Montana State University-Bozeman , dedicated to providing opportunities for American Indian students in career fields where they are significantly underrepresented. The advisory board to the AIRO consortium consists of representatives from each of the seven tribal colleges and Montana State University-Bozeman.
The Mission of the Animal Resources Center is to provide healthy animals for use in IACUC-approved research, educational and testing protocols at Montana State University,ensure that University research animals are cared for in a humane and appropriate manner by the provision of modern, well maintained facilities, trained personnel, technical support, veterinary care and monitoring of animal care and use, provide resources, technical assistance, and information for University researchers and educators in meeting the requirements of animal-related protocols, and ensure observance of ethical standards and federal regulations pertaining to the care and use of animals for research, education and testing at Montana State University.
ABRC involves investigators with expertise in geochemistry, experimental and theoretical physical chemistry, materials science, nanoscience, and iron-sulfur cluster biochemistry who work to define and conduct integrated research and education in astrobiology.
The primary goal of our research is to contribute to a better understanding of why the hippocampus is sensitive to transient cerebral ischemia. During transient cerebral ischemia, intracellular calcium increases initiating a cascade of events which leads to the delayed death of neurons located in the hippocampus.
Our research group is studying the role of calcium targets in mediating hippocampal damage. Behavioral deficits associated with cerebral ischemia in animal models provide a useful tool for understanding the role hippocampus in learning and memory.
Our laboratory uses a variety of behavioral paradigms in conjunction with traditional neuroscience techniques to study how ischemic insult damages the brain.
My laboratory is investigating agent-host interactions in prion diseases, which are fatal neurodegenerative diseases. These are important diseases of humans (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), livestock (e.g., scrapie in sheep and bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle) and cervids (chronic wasting disease) that have zoonotic potential. Although the majority of prion diseases are due to infection with the prion agent, they can also occur sporadically or as a result of an autosomal dominant mutation in the prion protein gene. The prion agent appears to be devoid of a nucleic acid genome and consists of a misfolded host protein, called PrP-res, that can further induce its own formation from the normal host prion protein. The multiple etiologies of prion diseases and the unusual nature of the infectious agent is novel in microbiology.
Research projects in the Bessen lab include investigations of (1) the routes of prion neuroinvasion following oral exposure; (2) the mechanism of prion agent entry and spread in nerve cells and skeletal muscle; (3) the host physiological responses during chronic wasting disease infection; and (4) transgenic models of CWD pathogenesis. Currently, there are postdoctoral and technical positions as well as graduate student openings available in the laboratory to pursue these studies.
The mission of the bioinformatics core facility is three-fold: maintain equipment and software for bioinformatic research, promote bioinformatics education on the MSU campus, and provide training and support to biologists implementing bioinformatics tools in their research.
Research in the Bothner lab has two main focuses: (1) understanding the assembly, cell entry, and infection process of icosahedral viruses; (2) Chemical and systems biology approach to cellular stress response. This research takes us from the atomic scale provided by high resolution structural models of virus capsids, to complex interaction networks of nucleic acids, metabolites, and proteins that make up a living system. A diverse set of analytical, biophysical, biochemical, and cell biology techniques are used in the discovery process. The Bothner lab is part of the Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials and the Thermal Biology Institute. Specific research projects include; Metabolomics, proteomics, and transcriptomics of cellular response to viral infection, oxidative stress, and heavy metals. Biophysical analysis of Adeno associated virus cell entry. Mechanism of novel Hepatitis B antiviral compounds.
During embryonic development, cells destined to develop into discrete tissues must recognize and adhere to one another. These adhesive events are mediated by proteins found on the surfaces of cells, an example of which are the cadherins. Cadherins constitute a large family of transmembrane proteins that play essential roles in establishing adherens junctions between neighboring cells. Our lab studies the role of cadherins in embryonic development, with particular emphasis on the formation of the early vertebrate nervous system.
We have isolated several novel cadherin family members from both frog (Xenopus laevis) and chicken embryos. One such molecule, NF-protocadherin (NFPC) is expressed in early embryos in the ectoderm, where it mediates cell adhesion during formation of the embryonic epidermis. NFPC is also found in the developing nervous system in a subset of neurons in both the spinal cord and retina, implying that NFPC might mediate the adhesion and segregation of these neurons during development. We are currently analyzing the function of NFPC in neural tissue, by ectopic expression studies. Results from these studies will provide insights into the molecular mechanisms by which the vertebrate nervous system forms, as well as an understanding of how the adhesion between neighboring cells contributes to cellular differentiation and tissue histogenesis.
Metalloenzymes catalyze remarkably diverse and sometimes extremely difficult reactions in biological systems. The theme of our research is the use of biochemical, spectroscopic, and synthetic approaches to elucidate detailed chemical mechanisms for some of nature?s metal catalysts.
An area of particular interest is the mechanism by which certain metalloenzymes initiate radical catalysis. Metal centers as diverse as binuclear Fe, mono-nuclear Cu, and Co in adenosylcobalamin have been found to play central roles in the generation of catalytically essential radicals. Fe-S clusters have also recently been found to be involved in radical catalysis in a group of S-adenosylmethionine-dependent enzymes. These enzymes are ubiquitious and catalyze a variety of functions, including ribonucleotide reduction, biotin and lipoic acid synthesis, glucose metabolism, and repair of UV-induced DNA damage. The mechanism by which these enzymes initiate radical catalysis is not understood and is a major focus of our research. Our work over the past several years has demonstrated a novel interaction between S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) and the enzyme-bound iron-sulfur cluster, in which the AdoMet coordinates a unique iron site of the cluster. We believe this coordination positions AdoMet for reductive cleavage by the cluster, which results in generation of an intermediate 5?-deoxyadenosyl radical.
Another area of interest is the in vivo synthesis of Fe-S clusters. Although such clusters can spontaneously self-assemble in vitro, the conditions under which they do so are far removed from those found in vivo. Evidence points to the involvement of specific metalloenzymes in the biosynthesis of Fe-S clusters, although the mechanism of cluster biosynthesis and its relation to iron homeostasis is not well understood.
Other projects include the investigation of metalloenzymes that quench protein-centered radicals and others that dehalogenate chlorinated organic compounds.
Research interests in our laboratory are in biofilm growth and control in drinking and industrial water systems; the fate, transport and survival of pathogens in biofilm systems; and the physiology of biofilm bacteria. Our focus has been primarily in low-nutrient aquatic environments. We have been using and developing methods for use in environmental systems that include RT-PCR, microarrays, community profile analysis by DGGE, distinguishing live/dead cells by PCR analysis. For determining physiological aspects of biofilm vs. suspended cells, methods development has included microarrays and proteomics, with model organisms being Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Salmonella typhimurium. We also have a focus in integrating information obtained on biofilm formation using the scanning confocal laser microscope with models that can be used to predict biofilm behavior. Recent work also includes investigating the microbial ecology of nitrification in oligotrophic water systems using traditional culturing and molecular methods.
The Center for Bio-Inspired NanoMaterials CBIN at Montana State University is a multidisciplinary research and education center focused on utilizing and expanding our fundamental understanding of the formation and hierarchical construction of biological materials such as viruses, cells, and biominerals (bones, teeth, seashells etc.). One extension of this fundamental work is the use of biological macromolecular assemblies as templates for the construction of novel functional nano-materials. However, the goal of the Center is to study a wide range of materials, beyond those of biological origin, to achieve unique physical properties by design.
Support for CBIN comes from the Office of Naval Research, Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, SpeciGen Inc., and the National Science Foundation.
The primary research mission of the Center is to advance knowledge of environmental impacts on human health. The Center brings together a critical mass of researchers to investigate mechanisms of pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, immune and autoimmune disorders, developmental defects, neurodegenerative diseases, genetic susceptibility, and the impacts that environmental factors have in causing or exacerbating these conditions. These studies will lead to new or better treatments, improved assessment of the actual risks caused by exposure to environmental agents, and more effective methods to detect and reduce the adverse health impacts of these agents on human health.
The NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Structural and Functional Neuroscience at The University of Montana was established through the Institutional Development Award program of the National Center for Research Resources. The research mission of the Center is to utilize approaches at the interface of molecular pharmacology, synthetic chemistry, physiology, and molecular biology to advance our understanding of the central nervous system, particularly as related to protein structure and function, signaling, transport, and pathogenesis. The Center is also intended to serve as a core around which to develop infrastructure that benefits a much broader range of basic, clinical and translational biomedical research efforts in Montana. The Center is directed by Michael Kavanaugh, Ph.D., and Center investigators include faculty from departments including Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematics, and the Division of Biological Sciences at The University of Montana-Missoula. In addition to the Missoula campus, Center investigators are also located at the McLaughlin Research Institute in Great Falls and at Montana State University. CSFN is Supported by NIH Grant Number P20 RR015583 from the COBRE Program of the National Center for Research Resources.
The overarching objective of our research program is to probe key questions in biological chemistry using the tools of the organic chemist. Currently, a major focus of effort in our program is the use of carbohydrate-functionalized dendrimers to study protein-carbohydrate interactions. Dendrimers are ideal frameworks for the study of multivalent protein-carbohydrate interactions because they are three-dimensionally well defined (compared to linear polymers) and are optimally sized for polyvalent binding to lectins. Most lectins have multiple carbohydrate binding sites that are relatively distant from one another (3-7 nm), so a nanometer-sized framework is required if more than one binding site per lectin is to be targeted.
One major area of emphasis for this research is the study the role of protein-carbohydrate interactions in cancer metastasis. Many reports suggest that cell surface carbohydrates serve a critical function in malignant transformation and metastasis, and so the development of artificial carbohydrate arrays that can aptly mimic and interfere with metastasis is also critical. Our goal is to advance fundamental knowledge regarding the role of protein-carbohydrate and carbohydrate-carbohydrate interactions in the metastatic spread of cancer. Concurrently, new therapeutic agents to arrest cancer metastasis may also emerge.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive experimental technique which has found broad application in clinical medicine and is a maturing method for studies in engineering and physics. Our group uses instruments that allow MRI to be applied with a resolution of 10 um over 10 mm diameter samples. MRI applied on this scale requires more sample specific tailoring of the pulse sequences and is more often termed Magnetic Resonance Microscopy (MRM) to distinguish it from medical scale imaging.
Our work is concerned with furthering application of MRM methods in the study of transport phenomena and material characterization. We use pulsed gradient spin echo (PGSE) techniques to measure velocity and effective diffusion, e.g. dispersion. The ability to spatially resolve velocity and diffusion fields allows for transport visualization. Application of PGSE methods without spatial resolution provide the scale dependent statistics of motion over the entire sample, rendering it a powerful technique for studying anomalous transport phenomena. The research program seeks to both elucidate new transport phenomena in complex systems and develop MRM methods for new applications.
Dr. Colclough’s research centers on generational and cultural differences in end-of-life decision making, especially minority population in particular Japanese Americans and American Indians. More broadly, her interest includes nursing ethics, qualitative method, a community-based participatory research approach, and gerontology.
The mission of the MSU College of Nursing is to provide leadership for professional nursing through excellence in education, research, and service.
* Inspire baccalaureate and graduate students, within a diverse, challenging, and engaging learning environment, to become leaders in the practice of professional nursing.
* Explore, discover, and disseminate, new knowledge related to nursing and health care.
* Create an interactive environment in which faculty and students integrate discovery, learning and the application of knowledge to nursing practice.
* Promote the health of Montanans and the global community through collaboration, sharing of expertise, civic engagement, and leadership in the profession.
Our laboratory specializes in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based structural biology research. We are particularly interested in understanding the crucial links between the molecular structures, internal dynamics, and biochemical functions of proteins that are of importance to human endeavors. Questions of interest are: What is the connection between a protein's three-dimensional architecture, flexibility of its amino acids and of its structural elements, and its biological function(s)? How do atomic structures and internal dynamics modulate the biochemical activity of proteins? What is the significance of conserved amino acid residues in protein families? Our approach to providing answers to these scientific issues is to use modern multidimensional (2D, 3D, 4D), heteronuclear (1H, 15N, 13C, 2H) solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in conjunction with complementary biophysical techniques. We are currently investigating the structural and functional properties of several intriguing proteins.
Our laboratory is focused on elucidating pathogenesis mechanisms of the human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus (Af).
The academic programs and scientific research interests in our department cover a wide range of topics, with special emphasis on Cell Biology, Neurobiology, Developmental Biology, Physiology, Anatomy, Biophysics, and Neuroinformatics. Together, faculty and students in our department study biological processes that span the continuum from single cells to the entire human body.
The mission of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience is to:
* provide pre-professional undergraduate students with a foundation of biological knowledge that prepares them for pursuit of careers in medicine and medically-related fields, biotechnology, biological research, biology teaching, and other related professions
* provide MSU undergraduates with an understanding of basic biology sufficient to insure informed participation in society
* train, through our Ph.D. program, a new generation of biological scientists equipped to exploit advanced experimental and computational approaches to develop comprehensive understandings of complex biological systems
* develop, through research, new knowledge in several key areas of cell biology and neuroscience
The department, headed by Dr. Steve Custer, has a full-time faculty of 15 earth scientists, geologists and geographers. We have about 50 active graduate students in our Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Earth Sciences programs. Our PhD program was added in Fall 2004. There are 200+ undergraduate majors in the department, divided between geography, geology, geohydrology, gis/planning, snow science and paleontology. Although classes at the freshman/introductory level are typically large, courses in the major from the sophomore level up typically range from 10 to 40 students. Graduate level courses usually enroll 6-20 students.
By virtue of our outstanding location in the scenic and rugged mountains of southwest Montana, Earth Science students have many opportunities to participate in field trips that will facilitate the study of earth processes, earth resources, earth history, and environments that people have modified. These field trips are an integral part of many courses, as well as extracurricular activities sponsored by the department. Field work is a very important component of our instructional programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Because of the research conducted by faculty in the department, an undergraduate student may have the opportunity to work on active research projects. In particular, we offer the opportunity to do a "Senior Thesis" to our top students in each senior class. The senior thesis enables a student to work on an actual research project under the supervision of a faculty member, write a research report (a mini-thesis), and present the results at a professional conference. This is excellent preparation for graduate school and/or the workplace.
Our Master's theses frequently involve field testing of state-of-the-art hypotheses proposed elsewhere, as well as formulation of the next generation of hypotheses which will shape our disciplines in the decades to come. Most Master's thesis work in the Department is published in the peer-reviewed professional literature after presentation at regional or national professional meetings.
The LRES Department offers outstanding, world-class faculty members who are involved in teaching, research and service. This gives students the critical benefit of being mentored by those who are actively creating the knowledge they teach. We also provide excellent academic advising, friendly staff, and have a full-time Academic Programs Coordinator to facilitate student success. Our unique location in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as well as proximity to the northern Great Plains provides an unparalleled natural laboratory as well as superb opportunities for recreation.
The Department brings together multiple disciplines to achieve an integrated approach to understanding land resources and the myriad processes that occur in natural and managed landscapes. We strive to synthesize knowledge into comprehensive and useful summaries for instructional, scientific, and practical uses.
Mathematical research at MSU is focused primarily on related topics in pure and applied mathematics. Research programs complement each other and are often applied to problems in science and engineering. Research in statistics encompasses a broad range of theoretical and applied topics. Because the statisticians are actively engaged in interdisciplinary work, much of the statistical research is directed toward practical problems. Mathematics education faculty are active in both qualitative and quantitative experimental research areas. These include paradigm shifts in mathematics education and the use of multiple embodiments utilizing modeling and technology.
Microbiology continues to be an exciting field that is crucial to understanding everything from natural and man-made ecosystems, human health, clean water, alternative energy, and climate change. The Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Montana State University (MSU) has a unique combination of expertise in pathogen biology, bioremediation, biofuels, immunology, cell and developmental biology, microbial ecology, host/pathogen interactions, biofilm biology, and geomicrobiology.
The Department of Psychology will provide a collaborative environment for innovation and scientific discovery in psychological science and for attainment of psychological literacy.
The Department of Psychology strives:
* To support students and faculty in the exploration, discovery, and dissemination of new knowledge in psychological science.
* To provide a collaborative environment for faculty and students that fosters intellectual curiosity and in which research and teaching are closely integrated and highly valued.
* To graduate students who evidence psychological literacy and thereby prepare students for advanced study in psychology or related fields and for employment. Psychological literacy includes having a critical understanding of psychological concepts, theories and methods; applying psychological principles and methods to solving personal, interpersonal or social problems; understanding and fostering respect for diversity; and acting ethically.
* To serve the people and communities of Montana by sharing our psychological expertise and collaborating with others.
Research interests in the Dlakic lab include: Ribosome synthesis in budding yeast; Protein evolution and 3D modeling of proteins; Structural polymorphism of DNA; Comparative genomics
We are a diverse group with expertise in biochemistry, molecular biology, physics and chemistry, with a wide array of interdisciplinary research interests including:
* Advanced materials for energy
* Biomedical nanotechnology
* Hierarchical assembly
* Nanoparticle growth processes
* Complex chemical networks
The Dratz lab studies the structure and function of membrane receptor and amplifier proteins and uses global proteomic analysis to study signaling networks in cells. The mechanism of conversion of light to electrical signals in vision is of long-standing interest and is an archetype G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) system that is responsible for over half the signaling systems in biology. Chemokine GPCRs that are responsible for intercellular signaling in the immune system are also used as receptors for virus entry. We are studying agonist and antagonist binding mechanisms in two chemokine receptors CCR5 and CXCR4 that AIDS virus uses to gain entry to lyphocytes and where infection is blocked by agonists and antagonists. Approaches include antibody imprinting for protein structure determination, development and application of new methods for global proteomics analysis, photochemical cross-linking of bioactive molecules to map out receptor binding sites, and protein and peptide mass spectrometry. In collaboration with Prof. Grieco's group we are developing new fluorescent dyes for ultrasensitive detection in proteomics and applying this technology for example, to new finding new diagnostic tools, to increased understanding of immune adjuvants and to understanding neurodevelopment. Prof. Dratz has a long standing interest in biochemical nutrition and is applying proteomic methods to gain deeper understanding of nutritional issues in collaboration with groups in Plant Sciences and Health and Human Nutrition.
Laboratory performs fluorescence cytometry services related to Immunology, Infectious Disease, and Immunostimulatory Compounds.
We are interested in environmental signals that are sensed by cells to mediate control over physiology and modes of growth. In particular, we are interested in the genes used to sense environmental changes in response to biotic and abiotic parameters, and how microibal cells respond in order to optimize metabolism. We study both monocultures and indigenous microbial communities to better understand the interrelationships between genomic content and phenotype at different levels of resolution (i.e., DNA to communinty), and how these attributes contribute to stress and survival of biological cells. Within the contexts of cellular responses, we study bacterial systems important for heavy metal biormediation, metal corrosion, extemophilic lifestyles, and bio-energy.
- Studies of deep ice cores from the Arctic and Antarctic
- Environmental Biofilms
- Dissolved organic matter (DOM) dynamics
The Franklin lab has three primary areas of research regarding the activity of the oppportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
(I) Biosynthesis of the protective capsular polysaccharide.
(II) Spatial and Temporal aspects of gene expression in P. aeruginosa biofilms.
(III) Interactions of P. aeruginosa with the innate immune response.
Our research focuses on interactions between microorganisms and minerals. We are studying the behavior of the disimilatory iron reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 during respiration on hematite, a crystalline iron oxide that serves as a terminal electron acceptor for this bacterium. This research is undertaken as a collaboration with scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Our group is also studying how methyl mercury is produced in geothermal food webs of acidic environments in Yellowstone National Park and how organisms at different trophic levels have adapted to elevated methyl mercury concentrations during their evolution. This work is conducted in collaboration with Professor Tamar Barkay at Rutgers University, Professor Jeff Tomberlein at Texas A&M University and Kirk Nordstrom at the USGS in Boulder, Colorado.
Research in this lab combines expertise in hydrodynamics, geochemistry, microbial ecology, biochemistry and genomics leading to a better understanding of the interface between the biosphere and geosphere.
Subsurface Biofilm Barriers can be used to manipulate the hydraulic conductivity (permeability) of subsurface formations enabling us to decrease or direct the flow of groundwater. Subsurface biofilm barriers are also being developed for increased storage security during geologic carbon sequestration.
By improving our ability to transport bacteria and nutrients in the subsurface and designing biofilm barriers to be reactive (e.g. contaminant degrading) or non-reactive (simply for hydraulic control) we are intending to improve existing subsurface bioremediation technologies.
We are investigating the transformation of nitroaromatics (e.g. the explosive TNT - 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene), chlorinated aliphatic compounds (e.g. trichloroethylene - TCE and carbon tetrachloride - CT), heavy metals (e.g. chromate and dichromate), and radionuclides (e.g. uranium and strontium). The influence of natural organic matter, minerals, and co-contaminants is of specific interest to my research as well as the establishment of biogeochemical conditions (pH, redox potential, oxygen concentration, etc.) ideal for the safe removal of these contaminants from contaminated groundwater or immobilization in contaminated soils.
Lastly, the development of algae based technologies for liquid transportation fuel and other high value product generation is being investigated.
Neurophysiology of Visual Perception and Cognition
In my laboratory, we study the neural processes that underlie visual perception and cognition. We use electrophysiological methods to measure neuronal activity in the cerebral cortex and study the relationships between that activity and visually guided behavior.
Virus-host cell interactions and consequent gene regulation
The Hardy laboratory studies interactions between enteric viruses and host cells at the molecular level. We seek to understand how protein-protein interaction networks regulate both viral gene expression and the host cell genetic response to virus invasion. Research in the lab focuses on the rotaviruses, the most important cause of pediatric diarrhea worldwide. Current projects in the lab include molecular and proteomic investigations of how rotaviruses modulate cellular antiviral gene expression, and mechanisms of innate immunity to viral infection.
Research in the Harmsen Lab encompasses the areas of Pulmonary Immunology and Immunopathology. The lung is extremely susceptible to infection because of the constant deposition of potential pathogens in the airways that results from breathing contaminated air. Thus, the lung must respond to these pathogens quickly and intensely to avoid infection. Although these host immune and inflammatory responses usually are successful in preventing infection, these processes can also be damaging to the host. This is especially a problem for the lung because the delicate lace-like structure of lung tissue is easily damaged. In addition, misguided immune responses to inhaled noninfectious antigens, such as allergens, can directly cause serious diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. The major goal of our research is to better understand how the lung immune responses can resist infections and yet limit "collateral" host damage caused by the immune response. In the process of studying these mechanisms of resistance and tissue damage, our lab utilizes animal models of disease. These include mouse models of influenza, Pneumocystis murina pneumonia, Coxiella burnetii, and Streptococcus as well as bovine models of viral and bacterial pneumonia.
Dr. Holkup’s research interests relate to Native American elder abuse, which is a hidden health disparity in tribal communities as well as a nexus for other better-known disparities. The Caring for Native American Elders project uses a community-based participatory research approach to study elder abuse and to offer a culturally anchored family conference intervention to address this complex and sensitive concern.
Our laboratory creates new, genetically encoded fluorescent
biosensors to solve fundamental problems in neuroscience.
We currently have two research goals in the laboratory that address fundamental problems in neurobiology.
Fluorescent biosensors for optically recording from excitable cells.
Advances in electronics and neurobiology have made it possible record from excitable cells such as the neurons of the brain. It is now common place for the neuroscientist to record from a neuron and to understand when it responds in relation to a particular stimulus or before a movement. This has produced tremendous advances in neuroscience, in our understanding of the brain, but we are only listening to one, or a few, neurons at a time. Even simple nervous systems involve hundreds of cells and thousands of connections, and we need to understand how the entire circuit works. One way of doing this involves electrically recording from many different neurons at the same time. Our colleague Charles Gray is pioneering new ways of recording from many neurons at the same time. In our lab we are trying to create new generations of genetically encoded fluorescent proteins that will signal voltage changes when a neuron fires. This is work that we are doing with our collaborator, Ehud Isacoff at UC Berkeley. Put simply, we are trying to fuse jellyfish fluorescent proteins to voltage-gated ion channels to produce a biosensor that we can then express in the nervous system so that neuroscientists can optically record the activity of entire neural networks.
Looking at intracellular signaling
There are many signaling pathways in cells beyond simple changes in voltage. Proteins talk with one another to regulate excitability, gene expression, and even the decision of whether to live or die. We are currently developing new fluorescent methods for watching these protein interactions in real time and in living cells. This work involves fusing two different fluorescent proteins to a signaling protein such that we create a FRET based biosensor. This sort of work is producing new ways of measuring intracellular signaling, and it is our hope that some of the biosensors will speed up the process of searching for new, important drugs.
Laboratory performs services related to Nanoscale Imaging, Microbial Adhesion, Force Spectroscopy, Nano Elasticity, Bioprobe Development Surface Functionalization, Laser-Activated Atom Migration, Nano Lithography. Biosafety Level-2 Certified.
The Jacobs Lab research and scholarship efforts fall into 4 different areas: 1) basic neuroscience research on sensory processing, 2) basic and applied research on informatics and data sharing techniques for the neuroscience community, 3) implementation of IT-based infrastructure for the science and education communities and 4) science pedagogy.
* Interactions of N-formyl Peptide
* Regulatory Interactions of N-formyl Peptide
* Reorganization of the Plasma Membrane
* Random Sequence Phage Display Analysis
* Immunocytochemical Detection of Lipid Peroxidation
* Structural and Function Analysis of the Superoxide
Inflammatory disease and developmental immunology. My laboratory studies the molecular events that control leukocyte entry into sites of acute and chronic inflammation. Analyses of gamma/delta T cells are also pursued in the context of host immune responses and developmental immunology.
My interests lie in describing and modeling the physical, chemical, and biological processes that are important in sessile microbial community ecology. Long term aims include developing modeling techniques needed to connect bioﬁlm models to real world microbial communities and to use bioﬁlm modeling methods to help further develop theory for microbial communities, especially description and prediction of niche structure based on the physico-chemical environment.
Knighton Group Overview
Dr. Knighton has been actively involved in the development and application of chemical ionization mass spectrometry for nearly 20 years. That interest continues today and is primarily focused on using drift tube reaction mass spectrometry for the quantification of trace level volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from a wide variety of natural and anthropogenic sources. A significant fraction of this research effort involves field work where a proton transfer mass spectrometer (PTR-MS), a commercially produced drift tube reaction mass spectrometer, has been used to measure selected volatile organic trace gases in the ambient atmosphere and in the emissions from vehicles and aircraft. The PTR-MS instrument merges the concept of chemical ionization with that of the swarm technique of flow-drift tubes. Chemical ionization is based on H3O+ as the primary reagent ion, which does not react with the major components of clean air, but does react with most non-alkane VOC's via proton transfer reactions. The electric field used to transport the ions through the drift tube also provides sufficient additional energy to the ions to discourage association reactions with water molecules that are always present in any real sample. The selectivity provided by chemical ionization, control of unwanted hyfration reactions by using drift tube coupled with the sensitivity of mass spectrometry detection makes the PTR-MS a powerful analytical tool capable of rapid in-situ measurement of trace chemical species with proton affinities greater than that of water. Because the PTR-MS provides sensitive (sub-ppbv) real-time (~1 second) measurement of selected hydrocarbon components, it is ideally suited for monitoring systems that have rapidly changing chemical composition like that of engine exhaust emissions. The MSU PTR-MS system has been deployed in a wide variety of field programs including the measurement of aerosol trace gas precursor species in jet engine exhaust in the Aircraft Particle Emissions eXperiment (APEX)-2004, APEX2-2005 and APEX3-2005, on-board the Aerodyne Mobile Laboratory for the measurement of selected VOC's in Mexico City Urban Air Quality field measurement campaigns of 2002, 2003 and 2006. In addition, we have used the PTR-MS technique in the study of a diverse set of matrices including the monitoring of flavor compounds in human breath, volatile emission products of an endophytic fungus, Muscodor Albus, and those released from softwood lumber during the kiln drying process.
Knighton Research Projects
To continue to refine and improve drift tube reaction mass spectrometry for the analysis of selected hydrocarbons in challenging measurement environments. The analysis of complex mixtures directly by chemical ionization spectrometry techniques like the PTR-MS is often complicated by ion fragmentation and ionization of interfering compounds. Two important air toxic compounds 1,3-butadiene and acrolein are listed as emission components in aircraft exhaust. Presently there are no existing technologies capable of reliably measuring these components in aircraft exhaust. Knowledge about the emissions of compounds from aircraft is important towards understanding the influence that commercial aircraft may have on human health. While the PTR-MS provides a response to both 1,3-butadiene and acrolein, interferences from other aircraft exhaust compounds notably water and the isomeric butenes makes the direct analysis of these componenets impossible. Funding from NSF and FAA is being used to work on a series of techniques to allow for the analysis of these compounds. These include: 1) Designing simple chemical scrubbers that selectively remove interfering compounds so that traditional PTR-MS techniques can be employed. 2) Discovering and learning how to produce new reagent ions that react selectively with either 1,3-butadiene and acrolein but not the other interfering compounds. 3) Develop MS/MS methods using a newly built triple quadrupole drift tube reaction mass spectrometer. The first study envisioned for this instrument is to use MS/MS to resolve mixtures of protonated acrolein C3H4OH+ and protonated butene C4H8H+.
The MSU Large Animal BSL-2 is a specially designed facility providing research space to house larger research animals (<400 lbs) with BSL-2 containment for immunology and infectious disease experiments.
We are involved in structural studies on many fronts using X-ray crystallography as our primary tool. These studies are in many cases collaborations with others, both on campus and off. Focal areas include: 1) Structural biology of iron transport, iron homeostasis and oxidative stress. 2) Strutural studies of hyperthermophilic viruses. 3)Structural studies of the prokaryotic adaptive immune system.
Our lab investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive the formation of the nervous system. Specifically we are interested in how extracellular signals located in the environment integrate with intrinsic cellular cues to regulate the migration, proliferation and differentiation of the cell types that comprise the peripheral nervous system (PNS). We focus on the peripheral nervous system because it is generated by a fascinating, heterogeneous population of precursor cells called the neural crest, that migrate widely throughout the embryo, stop in stereotyped locations and differentiate into a plethora of critical cell types including sensory and sympathetic neurons.
Research in the Lei Lab focuses on pathogenic and therapeutic studies relating to the bacterial pathogens Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus equi.
Research areas of this lab include: ceramics and foams, colloidal suspensions, biofilms, porous media, gels, and techniques and equipment.
Dr. McDermott teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Soil & Environmental Microbiology. His microbial ecophysiology research focuses primarily on the following topics:
1) Microbe-metalloid interactions.
2) Chemolithotrophic thermophilic microorganisms in Yellowstone National Park.
3) Thermoacidophilic eukaryotic algae inhabiting acidic hot springs."
Research in the Meissner-Pearson lab focuses on the interaction of immune signaling pathways and their impact on haematopoietic stem cell differentiation and apoptosis.
The lab studies the molecular mechanisms that underlie patterning of the vertebrate nervous system during embryonic development. Our lab focuses on how the early neural plate is subdivided into the different regions of the brain. We use the frog Xenopus and the chick as model organisms.
Lab performs services related to Metabolomics and Metabolite Profiling.
"The Center for Biofilm Engineering Microscopy Facility is a research-only facility on the MSU campus, located on the third floor of the EPS building. The Microscopy Facilities Manager trains and assists faculty, research staff and students with capturing images of samples via optical microscopy and fluorescent confocal microscopy. The microscopy facilities include three separate laboratories - the Optical Microscopy Lab, the Confocal Microscopy Lab, and the Microscope Resource Room and Digital Imaging Lab."
Large inventory of fluorescent stains. Inquire for availability, applications and collaborations.
Research in our lab is directed toward understanding the function of two neutrophil receptors, the formyl peptide receptor (FPR) and the C5a receptor (C5aR), which play a central role in inflammation. Ligand binding to these receptors leads to important host defense functions such as killing of microorganisms. Unfortunately, neutrophils are also involved in the pathology of various inflammatory conditions. Our goal is to learn more about neutrophil activation by studying the functions of FPR and C5aR.
My recent experimental and theoretical studies have been focused on an analysis of the "codes" with which nerve cells in sensory systems represent information about external stimuli, the neural mechanisms through which that information is processed within subsequent stages of the nervous system, and the extent to which the nervous system may have become optimized through evolution.
My recent experimental and theoretical studies have been focused on an analysis of neural coding in the cricket cercal sensory system. The general problem has been broken down into several distinct questions related to aspects of the observed stimulus/response characteristics of the neurons: 1) What parameters of sensory stimuli are encoded in the spike trains of the receptors and first order sensory interneurons in this system? 2) What is the theoretical limiting accuracy with which those parameters could be decoded from the neuronal spike trains? 3) How is the information encoded within different aspects of the spike train patterns? 4) What are the structural and biophysical mechanisms through which the observed coding scheme is implemented within this neural network?
In collaboration with Dr. Tomas Gedeon in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, I am also studying the extent to which the structure and function of the cricket cercal sensory system may have been optimized, through evolution, to be more efficient from the standpoints of neural computation and sensitivity.
My general approach is to integrate electrophysiological experimental recording techniques with advanced mathematical analysis techniques toward a rigorous characterization of the neural encoding schemes. Electrophysiological approaches techniques include intracellular microelectrode recording and multi-unit extracellular recording. The major analytical techniques I have used include compartmental modeling of single identified nerve cells and a branch of multivariate statistics called "information theory."
The Network of IDeA-funded Core Laboratories (NICL) is a national initiative born in response to a breakout session held during the 2008 National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence Meeting (NISBRE) in Washington, DC. It became clear during the session that there were many common and some unique issues that are shared amongst NCRR-funded core laboratories. As a result, a steering committee was formed to explore the possibilities of promoting information exchange between cores and the formation of a new network was born.
The mission of this network is to support, encourage, and facilitate resource sharing and collaboration among NCRR-funded cores and shared-resource facilities.
Linking Phylogeny and Biogeochemistry for the Discovery
of Novel Chemolithotrophs Inhabiting Geothermal
Gradients in Yellowstone National Park.
The Obar Lab is actively investigating the role of mast cells during influenza A virus infection and the mechanisms contributing to differentiation and maintenance of protective memory CD8+ T cells.
Lab performs services related to paleontology, paleopathology, and paleohistology. This core houses significant expertise in processing and analysis of mineralized tissues.
Attenuated Salmonella vectors, adept at delivering vaccines to the PPs, elicit T helper (Th) 1 cell (IFN-γ-dependent) immune responses to resolve its infection. However, our studies show that we can obtain elevated Th2 cell (IL-4-dependent) immune responses, followed by a delayed onset of Th1 cells to colonization factor antigen I (CFA/I), from human enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC). Subsequent studies revealed that proinflammatory cytokine production are abated suggesting this acts as an anti-inflammatory vaccine. Current studies are evaluating the efficacy of this vaccine against autoimmune diseases such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and collagen-induced arthritis. Our recent findings show that this vaccine induces regulatory T cells, but the type of regulatory cell induced is disease-dependent. We are currently investigating how Salmonella-CFA/I stimulates the production of these regulatory T cells, and we are determining the involved dendritic cells that sustain these responses.
Effective treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) are problematic due to its unknown etiology. Current work has adapted the rodent EAE model to test whether our tolerogen vaccine delivery platform, the reovirus adhesin, protein sigma 1 (pσ1), can improve mucosal auto-antigen uptake. We show that a single low-dose of pσ1-based vaccines induces tolerance and prevents or treats autoimmunity when applied mucosally. Our studies show that pσ1-mediated tolerance is IL-10-dependent via regulatory T cells. In addition, regulatory elements with the IL-4-producing CD25- CD4+ T cells have been found. Further work will determine the mechanisms used by pσ1 and to understand the involved dendritic cell subset(s) that stimulate regulatory T cells. Ultimately, these studies will determine the feasibility of using pσ1-based single-dose delivery system to prevent and/or treat autoimmune diseases.
One goal of our work is to improve and devise novel vaccine delivery systems by taking advantage of infectious agents' adhesins, particularly those that can target mucosal inductive tissues for the GI and respiratory tracts. We employ three vaccine delivery systems: the nonreplicating adenoviral vector for delivery into respiratory tissues, live attenuated Salmonella for delivery into the GI tract, and DNA formulations for both the respiratory and the GI tracts. The objectives for our studies include 1) to delineate the immune T and B cell responses to the vaccine; 2) to assess the type of CD4+ T cells elicited; and 3) to design vaccines to produce the desired T cell response. We are currently evaluating vaccine candidates for ETEC, Coxiella burnetii, Brucella, botulinum, and Yersinia pestis. The results of these research endeavors will ultimately have clinical, veterinary, and wildlife applications.
Biochemical and physical approaches are used to examine the structure and mechanism of complex iron-sulfur enzymes including nitrogenases, hydrogenases, and radical SAM enzymes.
The mission of the Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Facility is to seed mass spectrometry and proteomics technology to research labs at Montana State University and affiliated programs.
The long-term goal of my research program is to understand the molecular basis of leukocyte superoxide (O2-) production and the role of leukocyte-generated oxidants in the tissue damage associated with inflammatory diseases in animals. Because of the importance of leukocytes in host defense and in inflammatory diseases, the research in my lab is focused on four primary approaches to understanding the biochemistry and molecular biology of the NADPH oxidase and the role of leukocyte-derived oxidants in tissue injury. These approaches include: 1) analysis of the human and bovine neutrophil NADPH oxidase to determine the protein and lipid components involved and how these components assemble with each other at the molecular level; 2) biochemical and molecular biological analysis of the proteins known to be involved in the NADPH oxidase to determine their molecular structure and functional role in enzymatic activity; 3) functional analysis of the NADPH oxidase to determine how this system is regulated and what causes this system to become deregulated during disease states; and 4) analysis of inflamed tissues for markers of oxidant injury.
Organic synthesis has developed over the past 180 years to the extent that few organic compounds lie outside the realm of feasible construction. Despite such advances, the inability of chemical synthesis to construct molecules of even moderate complexity in a practical sense both reflects deficiencies in our understanding of chemical reactivity as well as serves to illustrate the need for new reaction development.
Towards redressing these shortcomings, I intend to initiate a research program that will focus foremost on the synthesis of architecturally interesting, biologically active compounds, with a strong emphasis on the development of novel reaction methodologies of general utility. In effect, natural product targets will serve as focal points for the development of new reactions, strategies, and stereoselective methods."
These goals will be initially pursued in the context of the natural products actinophyllic acid; the daphnicyclidin family of alkaloids; and the azatricyclic core of madangamine F.
Researchers face increasing challenges managing IT infrastructure. From software and servers, to data storage and back-ups, the Research Computing Group (RCG) is here to help you with all your IT needs as a researcher at MSU. We have the expertise to provide infrastructure for projects ranging from large-scale computation and storage to small-scale hosting. Contact us to find out how we can help you.
A team of us is developing new crops that are, due to our efforts, in increasing acreage in Montana. The approach focusses on providing consumers with foods that meet the their nutritional needs, especially those needs of specially challenged consumer groups (diabetes, depression, obesity, gluten intolerance, athletes and vegetarians). Our work is based on coupling human inherited disease genetic information, with plant genetics and with rural cooperatives. A paper outlining the need for a recommitment of agriculture to human nutrition, has been published in September 2006, in Nature Biotechnology. Objective: develop on average one new nutrition based crop worth $50 million/year for Montana. So far so good. To date we have developed gluten-free Montina, Timtana, and Proatina for people who suffer from wheat intolerance, and a wrinkled pea for diabetes type II. We also work on Camelina , a new crop that is high in omega-3 oil, hence good for human nutrition. Additionally we work with a plant-associated bacterium that nucleates ice formation, as it may be important in nucleating rainfall. We have also developed a lysine excreting bacterium for bread fermentation in Africa where lysine is inadequate in cereal based diets. We also work on using novel genetic selection methods for microbes to control weeds, including Striga, the worst weed in Africa.
The lab's primary research interests are to understand the intricate gene regulatory mechanisms that function in development and maintenance of complex organisms, like ourselves.
Application of Magnetic Resonance Microscopy (MRM) methods in the study of transport phenomena and material characterization.
Research in the Sharrock laboratory focuses on two areas of plant molecular genetics: the mechanisms through which plants sense and respond to environmental light cues and the regulation of the development of the floral stem or inflorescence. For the first of these research areas, our overall objective is to understand how the phytochrome red/far-red photoreceptors trigger and coordinate plant developmental responses to the light environment. This work has employed molecular and genetic approaches to define the structures of the five Arabidopsis phytochromes, the physiological and developmental roles of these receptors, and their patterns of expression in the plant. Future research directions focus on early events in phytochrome activation and identification of components of the signal transduction pathways through which phytochromes modulate growth and developmental responses.
The second major focus of the lab is isolation of mutants that alter the growth and structure of the Arabidopsis flowering bolt, or inflorescence, and the identification of the genes that correspond to these mutations. Ultimately, our objective is to describe molecular pathways in plants that control internode elongation in the inflorescence stem and, therefore, determine critical aspects of plant reproductive architecture and adaptation.
A central theme of the research in our laboratory is the development of new methods and instrumentation in magnetic resonance spectroscopy targeted toward the elucidation of molecular structure and chemical dynamics in complex materials containing both electron and nuclear spins. Two broad areas of application dominate our research: the characterization of novel optical materials; and structural biology of proteins with metal and free radical centers - with a particular emphasis on the biochemistry of NO.
In the first application, we use magnetic resonance techniques to analyze the composition of new solid-state laser materials - primarily materials under development by local optics industry. Our approximate goal is to determine the identity, oxidation state, and incorporation sites of transition metal ion guests and defects in the materials. Our results provide a basis for refining synthesis techniques and for developing leads for new types of laser materials. On a fundamental level, we are studying the electron-transfer chemistry that occurs among redox active metal ions in insulators, with the goal of exploiting this chemistry to develop new materials with photon-modulated optical properties.
In pursuit of these goals, we have recently installed a novel, 95 GHz electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometer, It is the only high-frequency EPR instrument in the west, and is arguably the most advanced and versatile of all instruments currently in operation in the United States. A key feature of this instrument is its capabilty for characterizing inherently small samples, such as optical fibers.
The second area embraces our long-term goal of establishing methods for the site-selective structural characterization of large, biological molecules. This work has featured studies of the catalytic active site in the G-protein, ras p21, by means electron-spin echo envelope modulation (ESEEM), and high-frequency EPR spectroscopy. Recently, we have initiated site-directed spin labeling (SDSL) of the ligand binding site in the formyl-peptide G-protein coupled receptor of human neutrophils. In our high-frequency EPR instrument, spin-label EPR experiments are feasible with as little as 10 picomoles of sample - a hundred-fold reduction as compared to conventional instruments.
A major thrust of our biophysical research involves the biological activity of NO. The production of nitric oxide is linked to a diverse set of biological activities, which span vascular, pulmonary, neural, and immunological domains, and intriguingly embrace both toxic and salutary effects. Our research in this area is focussed on the interplay between metal-centers and thiol effectors in evoking the biological activity of NO.
It has recently been discovered that human hemoglobin undergoes nitrosylation in vivo at both heme-iron and thiol (Cys93 in the ÃŸ-subunits) groups. Moreover, there appears to be a mutual allosteric modulation of dioxygen binding to the heme, and NO-group displacement from heme to thiol. This chemistry is conjectured to play a key role in regulation blood pressure and flow. Our group is using EPR spectroscopy in combination with other spectroscopic techniques - including UV/VIS, IR, and resonance Raman - to test and refine emerging models of the chemical dynamics of NO-hemoglobin interactions.
Research in the Skidmore Lab is focused on Biogeochemistry and Geomicrobiology
There are two main areas of research being conducted in the Spangler group. The first involves investigation of optical materials and the mechanisms by which they function. In materials such as laser materials, optical power limiters (materials with non-linear absorption which can protect against lasers) and photorefractives, complicated energy transfer and charge transfer processes can occur after the initial photoexcitation. These processes can occur on timescales ranging from 10-13 sec to minutes and can cause spectral changes anywhere in the optical range (UV to IR). For this reason, we are developing new, multi-dimensional spectroscopic techniques for the investigation of optical materials that yield high information content in a relatively short experiment time.
Dr. Stewart’s research focuses on the control of detrimental microbial biofilms. Biofilms are slimy, multicellular aggregates of bacteria or yeast that form on wetted surfaces. The persistent infections associated with catheters, heart valves, periodontitis (gum disease) and burn wounds are examples of biofilms that affect human health. When microorganisms group together in biofilms they evade killing by antimicrobial agents (disinfectants, antibiotics) that easily kill their free-floating counterparts. Dr. Stewart is interested in the mechanisms that protect microbes in biofilms. These include poor penetration of antimicrobial agents, variation in the physiological activity of microorganisms with biofilms, phenotypic variation, and the activation of stress responses. Dr. Stewart has also investigated alternative strategies for controlling biofilms including anti-biofilm coatings, chemical or enzymatic degradation of the matrix holding the biofilm together, and disruption of cell-to-cell communication.
My lab studies somatosensory neural circuit organization and information processing in Drosophila using optogenetic approaches. How sensory information is processed by the nervous system to produce behavioral outputs is a long-standing problem in neuroscience, but one far from being understood. My lab exploits the many advantages of the Drosophila model system to study the relationship between somatosensory input and behavior. Our overall strategy is to first map neural circuits associated with specific somatosensory neurons and then manipulate and measure neuronal activity within the circuit to elucidate the fundamental principles of neuronal circuit logic.
Since the depth with which a neural circuit will be understood will correlate with the precision with which it can be manipulated, we are generating fly strains containing enhancers specific for sensory neurons, each type of neurotransmitter, and each type of neurotransmitter receptor. These valuable tools will allow us to express transgenes for manipulating and measuring neuronal activity in small subsets of neurons in an intact animal. Connections between neurons are being mapped using a recently developed method in which Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) is split in two and its separate parts expressed independently in neuronal subsets using these specific enhancers. Synaptic connections between specific neurons are confirmed where GFP is functionally "reconstituted" and observed as green fluorescence. These same enhancers are being used to drive expression of excitatory and inhibitory light-gated ion channels in small subsets of neurons. Expression of the excitatory channel Channelrhodopsin2 in sensory neuron subsets allows larval behavior to be controlled with light. As enhancers that allow expression in neurons downstream of the sensory neurons are generated, expression of the excitatory and inhibitory light-gated channels will enable a determination of neurons that are necessary and sufficient to trigger given behavioral responses. As a given neural circuit becomes more defined, neuronal subset-specific enhancers will be used yet again to express genetically-encoded calcium indicators to allow optical measurements of neuronal activity. Longer term, once multiple neural circuits are mapped, studies will be initiated to work out how distinct neural circuits compete with, enhance, or otherwise interact with each other as this is more realistic approximation of what occurs in natural world.
"A unique and state-of-the-art suite of laboratories used to study the effects of the cold on projects across many scientific disciplines."
Facility contains multiple experiment rooms capable of maintaining subzero temperatures. Additional features include the capacity to simulate various other environmental conditions, e.g. solar radiation, humidity, etc.
My research interest covers three highly interdisciplinary fields of chemistry: bioinorganic structure and reactivity, computational method development, and physical organometallic chemistry and catalysis. A key aspect of my research philosophy is the close correlation of experiment and theory. I use spectroscopic techniques (mainly near-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS) to directly probe electronic and geometric structures of inorganic and bioinorganic systems. These XAS measurements are carried out at the beamlines of Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA and Advanced Light Source, Berkeley, CA. In addition, I employ a broad range of computational chemical methods, including forcefields, semi-empirical Hamiltonians, ab initio molecular orbital and density functional calculations to support and interpret experimental findings.
The Montana State University Technology Transfer Office serves to protect and promote the intellectual property interests of the institution.
Design of an effective vaccine against HIV must take into account the high degree of variability in the sequence of the envelope proteins that has been observed in clinical isolates, and the high mutation rate of the virus. Vaccines based on the envelope glycoprotein gp120 have been ineffective in protecting against clinical isolates of HIV. Most of the antibodies that are elicited are directed against variable portions of the sequence. Some HIV-infected patients, however, develop neutralizing antibodies with broader strain specificity, many of which appear to be directed at the three- dimensional shape of the CD4 binding site on gp120. This part of the molecule is conserved in structure, because all HIV use the CD4 receptor to gain entry into the cell. Our hypothesis is that this part of gp120 will make a more effective vaccine antigen than the whole protein. We are therefore constructing recombinant or synthetic molecules that display this conformation-dependent structure. We have identified peptide structures that can mimic the sites recognized by some of the neutralizing antibodies using phage-display technology and are displaying these peptides on the surface of other viruses or nanoparticles, and using them to immunize mice and rabbits. We are also taking the synthetic peptide sequences and determining their three-dimensional structures when bound to the antibodies. The information obtained from X-ray crystallography of the peptide-antibody complexes will be used to design better antigens that can elicit a more effective immune response to the virus. Comparing the structures of different antibodies to the CD4 binding site that vary significantly in their ability to neutralize primary HIV strains will also shed light on what determines their potency.
Blocking The Interaction Between the HIV Envelope Protein and the Chemokine Receptors CCR5 and CXCR4:
This project aims to determine the structure of the CCR5 and CXCR4 chemokine receptors at their ligand binding sites and their interaction with agonist and antagonist molecules. CCR5 is the co-receptor required for infection by primary isolates of HIV (the M-tropic/R5 strains predominantly transmitted between people) and CXCR4 is used by the X4 strains that predominate at later stages. The goals of the project are to: (1) Synthesize photo-activatable analogs of peptide and non-peptide antagonists that block HIV infection. (2) Photo-crosslink bioactive analogs to CCR5 or CXCR4, and locate crosslinking sites using mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) to map the antagonist binding pocket in the receptor. (3) Map the structure of the HIV/chemokine binding pocket by scanning photoactivatable amino acid analogs over chemokine peptide agonist sequences, photocrosslinking the bioactive analogs to the receptors, and using MS to determine residues lining the binding sites. The ultimate goal is to provide a foundation for more effective structure-based design of HIV entry inhibitors.
Design of small-molecule CXCR4 antagonists for HIV and cancer treatment
We are designing and synthesizing non-peptide small molecule inhibitors of CXCR4. Lead compounds that compete with known CXCR4 antagonists, such as the peptide T-140, are being tested for their ability to inhibit HIV infection in vitro, and to inhibit tumor cell metastasis in vitro and in vivo.
The Thermal Biology Institute supports interdisciplinary cutting–edge research focused on the geothermal environments of Yellowstone National Park. Our research encompasses geochemistry, microbial ecology, virology, plant physiology, protein thermal stability, nanotechnology and biological and chemical engineering.
TBI faculty work in 5 departments that span 3 colleges at Montana State University.
The MSU EM Facility is a resource center for transmission electron microscopy, providing investigators with consultation, training, access to equipment and other services.
The University of Montana-Missoula pursues academic excellence as demonstrated by the quality of curriculum and instruction, student performance, and faculty professional accomplishments. The University accomplishes this mission, in part, by providing unique educational experiences through the integration of the liberal arts, graduate study, and professional training with international and interdisciplinary emphases. The University also educates competent and humane professionals and informed, ethical, and engaged citizens of local and global communities; and provides basic and applied research, technology transfer, cultural outreach, and service benefiting the local community, region, State, nation and the world.
The Veterinary Molecular Biology department focuses on molecular and genetic studies of animal and pathogen biology, understanding molecular pathways of communication between pathogen and host, regulation of host immune responses in human and animal diseases, and uncovering molecular mechanisms of pathogen virulence.
The long-term objective of our research is to define the influence of sensory/regulatory systems on Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) virulence using clinically relevant strains. Relatively little is known about how pathogens detect components of the human innate immune system to respond and survive within the host. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded projects in our laboratory investigate molecular mechanisms used by S. aureus to avert destruction by the human innate immune system at the host-pathogen interface during bacteremia and skin infections. Additional NIH funded projects include investigating the characteristics and incidence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization in minority populations. Our lab is also funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For our USDA projects we investigate incidence and characteristics of S. aureus in Montana’s dairy herds and study the antimicrobial potential of a chemokine found in bovine milk. We have also started to determine the zoonotic potential of S. aureus and are focusing on the incidence and transmission potential of S. aureus in Montana’s equine populations.
A partnership with the University of Washington School of Medicine and the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. Forty years of collaboration and innovation, all in the service of educating physician health-care professionals.
Our group develops and utilizes optical methods to study chemical structure, organization and reactivity at surfaces. While the systems studied are diverse and far ranging, our goal is always the same: we work hard to understand how asymmetric forces found at surfaces alter interfacial chemistry from bulk material limits. Projects currently underway fall into two general categories: 1) solvation at liquid surfaces and 2) high temperature surface chemistry in electrochemical devices.
The Ward lab primarily studies cyanobacterial mat communities common in alkaline siliceous hot springs in Yellowstone National Park.
The Ward lab is also focused on understanding the relationship between mat cell component biomarkers and the community members that contribute them to mats build by cyanobacteria and anoxygenic phototrophs. The goal is to understand how biomarkers and isotopic signatures in fossilized mats (stromatolites) should be interpreted.
The Montana State University Macromolecular Crystallography Facility provides modern facilities for macromolecular crystallization and structural analysis.
My program is focused on the use of viruses as genetic and molecular tools for fundamental discovery. By combining biochemical and genetic approaches, with the tools of molecular and structural biology. I examine the interplay of viral and host gene products and mechanisms of viral assembly and disassembly. The principle areas of research currently under investigation include:
1. The use of viral protein cages as constrained reaction vessels for nano-materials synthesis with applications in medicine and material sciences.
2. The isolation and genetic characterization of novel viruses from extreme thermal environments found in Yellowstone National Park and other thermal regions worldwide.
Found 104 resource providers .