Graduate Student Receives ASBMB Award

Minfei Su, a doctoral student in Dr. Sangita Sinha’s lab in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was chosen to receive an ASBMB 2015 Best Thematic Poster Award. Her poster entitled “Targeting the γ-Herpesvirus Bcl-2–Mediated Inhibition of Autophagy and Apoptosis”attracted extensive attention in the Molecular Mechanisms of Infection and Immunity posters section during the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In this study, Minfei and her coauthors designed a peptide to selectively bind to a γ-herpesvirus protein, to abrogate it mediated down regulation of autophagy, which is a very important intracellular degradation pathway that has a wide variety of physiological and pathophysiological roles including protecting cells from pathogens. Such selective inhibitors are important for understanding the role of γ-herpesvirus proteins in viral reactivation and oncogenic transformation of host cells. This workis now published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry: (http://www.jbc.org/content/early/2014/01/17/jbc.M113.515361). In addition to this award, Minfei’s research achievements have led to several recent honors and awards including the ND EPSCoR Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, ASBMB 2015 Graduate/Postdoctoral Travel Award and CSM Graduate Student Travel Grant.