Research Probes Key Protein’s Role in Cancer Cell Growth

Cornell researchers discover protein regulating mechanism which could be the key to eventually treating over 30 percent of all human cancers. For more than three decades, mutant Ras proteins have been known to play a vital role in driving 95 percent of pancreatic cancers and 45 percent of colorectal cancers. With this in mind, Dr. Hui Jing and Dr. Xiaoyu Zhang, both former graduate students who worked under Professor Hening Lin, chemical biology, sought to learn more about the regulation of human cancers by studying K-Ras4a: one of the four members of the Ras protein family. In addition to studying K-Ras4a, Zhang and Lin studied SIRT2, which is another protein that has been closely implicated in aging related diseases. “In the basic research field, scientists still do not fully understand how SIRT2 promotes the formation of the certain types of cancers” said Zhang.

Evolution of Darwin’s Finches: Integrating Behavior, Ecology, and Genetics

For many, Drs. Rosemary and Peter Grant, evolutionary biology, Princeton University, are living legends in the field of modern evolutionary biology, having conducted over four decades of field research on the Galapagos finches. On Monday, March 12, students, professors and alumni packed into Call Auditorium in Kennedy Hall to witness the scientists bring their research on the Galapagos Finches to life. Rosemary’s talk, titled “Evolution of Darwin’s Finches: Integrating Behavior, Ecology, and Genetics” kicked off the Paul C. Mundinger Distinguished Lectureship, in honor of the late Paul C. Mundinger. Mundiger received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1967 and developed a strong attachment with lab of Ornithology as a graduate student.