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  • March 23, 2016


    The most common polymer on earth is cellulose, the major structural component of plant cell walls. However we have very little knowledge, at the molecular level, of how cellulose is synthesised. In a collaboration with the group of Jochen Zimmer at the University of Virginia, the Withers laboratory has provided "snapshots" of the process of synthesis. To get these insights the Withers laboratory synthesised a series analogues of the natural building blocks used by the enzyme responsible for cellulose assembly -cellulose synthase- that had been designed to "freeze-frame" the synthetic...

  • October 1, 2015

    In a collaboration led by researchers at the US Forest Service and UBC Forestry, the Brumer Lab contributed a fluorescent probe to directly visualize the activity of enzymes responsible for rearranging the structural polysaccharide xyloglucan in the "tension wood" of tree stems responding to gravity.  An image of this activity, obtained in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Groover of the US Forest Service, was featured as the cover image of the October 2015 issue of The...

  • November 5, 2015

    This article was first published in the website of UBC’s Centre for Blood Research (CBR). It has been reposted here with their permission.

    Uncontrolled blood loss is the most common cause of death in severe trauma, which cumulatively results in more than five million deaths per year. Similarly, post-partum hemorrhage is the most common cause of maternal mortality. Among these patients, uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death. In open wounds, bleeding can be controlled, in part, by delivering therapeutics topically to the damaged blood vessels. However,...

  • October 2, 2015

    UBC researchers have created the first self-propelled particles capable of delivering coagulants against the flow of blood to treat severe bleeding, a potentially huge advancement in trauma care.

    “Bleeding is the number one killer of young people, and maternal death from postpartum hemorrhage can be as high as one in 50 births in low resource settings so these are extreme problems,” explains Christian Kastrup, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Michael Smith Laboratories at the...

  • September 30, 2015

    New research by scientists at UBC and BC Children’s Hospital finds that infants can be protected from getting asthma if they acquire four types of gut bacteria by three months of age. More than 300 families from across Canada participated in this research through the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study.

    “This research supports the hygiene hypothesis that we’re making our environment too clean. It shows that gut bacteria play a role in asthma, but it is early in life when the baby’s immune system is being established,” said the...

  • September 18, 2015

    Congratulations to Dr. Joerg Bohlmann for being inducted into the Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) in the Life Science Division!  This is the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the arts, humanities and sciences in Canada.

    Dr. Bohlmann is a world leader in the fields of plant and forestry genomics and in plant natural products biology.  He is distinguished for his research on the genomics of defense and resistance mechanisms of conifers against insect pests and insect-associated fungal pathogens, as well as on plant terpenoid biochemistry.  New systems...

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