Upcoming Events

Melissa Maginnis: "Cellular Determinants of Viral Infection: Proper ID Required"

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May 5, 2016 4:00 P.M.  – 5:00 P.M.
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Melissa Meginnis' research is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular basis of viral disease. Specifically, her work seeks to define the viral and host cell factors that regulate infection and viral pathogenesis of the human JC polyomavirus (JCPyV). 


The majority of the population is infected with JCPyV, which establishes a lifelong, persistent infection in the kidney without symptoms. In immunocompromised hosts, such as individuals receiving immunomodulatory therapies for autoimmune diseases or those with HIV, the virus can spread from the kidney to the central nervous system and cause a lytic infection in the brain. Viral destruction of the glial cells astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, which are critical for myelin production, results in the fatal, demyelinating disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). There is currently no effective treatment for PML.  Viruses are complex, yet extremely efficient machines that hijack the host cell machinery to complete an infectious cycle and produce progeny virus. The interplay between JCPyV and host cell factors is critical to understanding disease outcomes and PML pathogenesis. 

Research in her laboratory is focused on understanding the detailed molecular interactions between the virus and host cell factors that drive the early steps in the infectious cycle including entry, trafficking, and viral transcription. In particular, she is focused on defining how JCPyV uses the serotonin receptor to transverse the plasma membrane, identifying signaling cascades that drive viral transcription, and elucidating how the virus causes persistent and lytic infections. This research allows her to define key unanswered questions in JCPyV biology, provide crucial insights into JCPyV pathogenesis, and identify novel targets for rational drug design for prevention and treatment of PML.

Maginnis is assistant professor of microbiology at University of Maine. She received her BS from Neumann College and her PhD from Vanderbilt University.

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Film Screening: 'A Climate of Change'

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May 5, 2016 7:00 P.M.  – 8:30 P.M.
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

'A Climate of Change' is a series of four short films that examine the effects associated with climate change on the fishing industry, including warming waters, lack of biodiversity, and ocean acidification. Across New England and the nation, fishermen and scientists are observing notable shifts in the ecosystem and dramatic changes on the water. The Island Institute has held screenings of these films up and down the coast from Washington, DC to New York City to Boston to Portland.

There will be a casual networking event before the film from 6:30-7:00pm (in the lobby outside Smith Auditorium), and a Q&A panel after the screening. Collin Roesler, Bowdoin professor of earth and oceanographic science will participate on the panel.
 
This event is free, but attendees are asked to register online.

At Bowdoin, the screening is hosted by the student club CERES (Coalition for Expanding the Reach of Earth Sciences).

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George Shields: "Water, Atmospheric Chemistry, and Global Warming: What Do We Know and How Can We Help?"

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May 6, 2016 3:00 P.M.  – 4:00 P.M.
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Dr. George Shields will discuss the structure of water, and how water is involved in the formation of aerosols, explaining how the formation of aerosols in the atmosphere is not well understood and how the formation of clouds from aerosols is shrouded in mystery. He will illustrate how computational chemistry can be used to gain insight on all three of these areas, with a special emphasis on the role of undergraduates in the research process.

Shields received his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry and his doctorate in physical chemistry all from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He did his postdoctoral research at Yale University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His postdoctoral research on protein-DNA interactions was conducted in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Steitz, the 2009 Chemistry Nobel Laureate.

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