MIP Newsletter

Volume 8, Issue 2, February 2011

Drs Wheat, Brennan, and Spencer

Bill Wheat, Patrick Brennan, and John Spencer

2011 is starting out pretty well for this handsome MRL threesome. This month, their groups published back-to-back papers in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology describing the serology of leprosy in humans and armadillos.  One of these papers has been selected as one of the American Society for Microbiology’s  papers of the month!  Check it out in the "Journal Highlights" section of the upcoming March edition of the ASM publication Microbe.

Searching the MIP archives, we found what we believe is a photo of this same trio from the 70’s. Click here to help us verify the resemblance.

Alexa Dickson

Congratulations to Alexa Dickson, a postdoctoral fellow in the Wilusz2 labs, for being selected as the sole awardee in a American Society for Microbiology national competition for the Heatley-Payne Exchange Program Award for Early Career Scientists. Alexa will receive $4,000 to cover transportation, housing and registration expenses to attend the annual scientific meeting of the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Harrogate, England this April. Following the meeting, Alexa will spend ~ a week in the laboratory of Dr. Sheila Graham in the University of Glasgow to enhance US-UK collaborative science. Assuming she survives the haggis, this should be a truly exciting opportunity for Alexa!

Brian Foy

On Feb 16th, MIP’s Brian Foy joined a panel of four CSU faculty members at 6.023 x 1023 (aka Avogadro’s Number) on Mason Street to discuss the relationships between climate change and infectious diseases.

In the News...

Tawfik Aboellail was highlighted on the front page of the February 5, 2011 Coloradoan in the article, "Students, professors rally to support protestors", for the rally he organized to show solidarity with pro-Democracy protestors in Egypt.
Read the article...

Bill Black was quoted in the LA Times and Chicago Tribure stating, "We have egg on our face..." Find out why by reading the Full Story.

Congratulations to Todd Harding and his co-workers, Brian Gary and Susan Moore, for their radio show on KUAD/Fort Collins being nominated by the Academy of Country Music Awards for "Best Small Market Personality".

pub highlight

An Aptamer-siRNA Chimera Suppresses HIV-1 Viral Loads and Protects from Helper CD4+ T Cell Decline in Humanized Mice

C. Preston Neff, Jiehua Zhou, Leila Remling, Jes Kuruvilla, Jane Zhang, Haitang Li, David Smith, Piotr Swiderski, John Rossi and Ramesh Akkina

Science Translational Medicine Vol 3: 66ra6

Yes faithful readers of the MIPnews, for the first time in history we have an MIP laboratory who has garnered back-to-back MIPublication of the Month honors! Ramesh Akkina and his collaborators at the City of Hope have come out with a very exciting approach to harness the awesome power of in vitro-evolved RNA aptamers and RNA interference. In this paper in the Science spin off Science Translational Medicine journal, they report on a form of ‘superdrug’ that not only effectively targets HIV in cells but appears to overcome one of the main hurdles for these RNA-based technologies – effective in vivo delivery.

Ramesh et al make their superdrug in a very straightforward fashion on a ribonucleic acid synthesizer and the way works is extremely elegant. One half of the drug (the ‘aptamer’ region) folds into a structure that binds the HIV gp120 glycoprotein with nanomolar affinity (yes Virginia, RNA is such a cool molecule that you can even train it to recognize most anything with very high affinity). Therefore this moiety specifically targets the superdrug to the surface of HIV infected cells (since gp120 is expressed on the cell surface) and allows the superdrug to be effectively taken up by the cells via natural endocytosis. In addition to targeting, this aptamer portion also possesses some anti-HIV efficacy as well since it can presumably neutralize virus infectivity by interfering with gp120 function. The other half of the superdrug is a standard siRNA that targets the tat/rev common exon of the HIV genome. This provides the second punch, and perhaps the knockout blow, to HIV via targeting viral RNAs for degradation by the RNAi machinery in the cell. In this manuscript, Preston, Leila, Jes et al test the superdrug in the lab’s RAG-hu mice that contain a humanized immune system and can be persistently infected with HIV. The superdrug knocks down HIV virus load by three orders of magnitude or greater, protects the animal’s CD4+ T cells from depletion, shows a duration of protection for several weeks and evidence to date indicate that HIV has not been able to generate any dominant mutations that allow for easy viral escape from the drug. In summary, this work very significantly extends the group’s initial 2009 studies with this superdrug in tissue culture cells and we think represents a very attractive approach to complement the published antibody-based delivery methods for dispensing siRNAs to specific cells in the body to combat viral infections.

So why did we choose this paper for the coveted title of MIPublication of the Month®? First, this is an extremely cool application of a pair of RNA-based technologies to combat the major viral pathogenic scourge on the human population over the last 30 years. Since HIV has a propensity to evolve resistance to many small molecule therapeutics, any and all new antiviral technologies are extremely welcome. Do we really need to list any additional reasons??? ‘Nuff said.

Congratulations once again to Preston and Ramesh on being our first repeat Pub of the Month authors. Do I hear chants of ‘three-peat’ in the hallway?

MIP Publications Late Jan 2011 - Early Feb 2011

Neff CP, Zhou J, Remling L, Kuruvilla J, Zhang J, Li H, Smith DD, Swiderski P, Rossi JJ, Akkina R.  An Aptamer-siRNA Chimera Suppresses HIV-1 Viral Loads and Protects from Helper CD4+ T Cell Decline in Humanized Mice.  Sci Transl Med. 2011 Jan 19;3(66):66ra6.

Wolschendorf F, Ackart D, Shrestha TB, Hascall-Dove L, Nolan S, Lamichhane G, Wang Y, Bossmann SH, Basaraba RJ, Niederweis M.  Copper resistance is essential for virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jan 25;108(4):1621-6.

Spencer JS, Kim HJ, Wheat WH, Chatterjee D, Balagon MV, Cellona RV, Tan EV, Gelber R, Saunderson P, Duthie MS, Reece ST, Burman W, Belknap R, Mac Kenzie WR, Geluk A, Oskam L, Dockrell HM, Brennan PJ; on behalf of the IDEAL Consortium.  Analysis of Antibody Responses to Mycobacterium leprae Phenolic Glycolipid I, Lipoarabinomannan, and Recombinant Proteins To Define Disease Subtype-Specific Antigenic Profiles in Leprosy.  Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Feb;18(2):260-267.

Basile F, Sibray T, Belisle JT, Bowen RA.  Analysis of lipids from crude lung tissue extracts by desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and pattern recognition. Anal Biochem. 2011 Jan 15;408(2):289-96.

Yang H, Troudt J, Grover A, Arnett K, Lucas M, Cho YS, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Taylor J, Izzo A, Dobos KM.  Three Protein Cocktails Mediate Delayed-Type Hypersensitivity Responses Indistinguishable from That Elicited by Purified Protein Derivative in the Guinea Pig Model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection.  Infect Immun. 2011 Feb;79(2):716-23.

Kamstock DA, Ehrhart EJ, Getzy DM, Bacon NJ, Rassnick KM, Moroff SD, Liu SM, Straw RC, McKnight CA, Amorim RL, Bienzle D, Cassali GD, Cullen JM, Dennis MM, Esplin DG, Foster RA, Goldschmidt MH, Gruber AD, Hellmén E, Howerth EW, Labelle P, Lenz SD, Lipscomb TP, Locke E, McGill LD, Miller MA, Mouser PJ, O'Toole D, Pool RR, Powers BE, Ramos-Vara JA, Roccabianca P, Ross AD, Sailasuta A, Sarli G, Scase TJ, Schulman FY, Shoieb AM, Singh K, Sledge D, Smedley RC, Smith KC, Spangler WL, Steficek B, Stromberg PC, Valli VE, Yager J, Kiupel M.  Recommended guidelines for submission, trimming, margin evaluation, and reporting of tumor biopsy specimens in veterinary surgical pathology.  Vet Pathol. 2011 Jan;48(1):19-31.

Denkers ND, Telling GC, Hoover EA.  Minor oral lesions facilitate transmission of chronic wasting disease.  J Virol. 2011 Feb;85(3):1396-9.

Rosas-Taraco AG, Higgins DM, Sánchez-Campillo J, Lee EJ, Orme IM, González-Juarrero M.  Local pulmonary immunotherapy with siRNA targeting TGFβ1 enhances antimicrobial capacity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infected mice.  Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2011 Jan;91(1):98-106

González-Juarrero M, O'Sullivan MP.  Optimization of inhaled therapies for tuberculosis: The role of macrophages and dendritic cells.  Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2011 Jan;91(1):86-92.

Bonizzoni M, Dunn WA, Campbell CL, Olson KE, Dimon MT, Marinotti O, James AA.  RNA-seq analyses of blood-induced changes in gene expression in the mosquito vector species, Aedes aegypti.  BMC Genomics. 2011 Jan 28;12(1):82.

Bai X, Chmura K, Ovrutsky AR, Bowler RP, Scheinman RI, Oberley-Deegan RE, Liu H, Shang S, Ordway D, Chan ED.  Mycobacterium tuberculosis increases IP-10 and MIG protein despite inhibition of IP-10 and MIG transcription.  Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2011 Jan;91(1):26-35.

Dennis MM, McSporran KD, Bacon NJ, Schulman FY, Foster RA, Powers BE.  Prognostic factors for cutaneous and subcutaneous soft tissue sarcomas in dogs.  Vet Pathol. 2011 Jan;48(1):73-84.

Kingry LC, Troyer RM, Marlenee NL, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Bowen RA, Schenkel AR, Dow SW, Slayden RA.  Genetic identification of unique immunological responses in mice infected with virulent and attenuated Francisella tularensis.  Microbes Infect. 2011 Mar;13(3):261-75.

Duthie MS, Truman RW, Goto W, O'Donnell J, Hay MN, Spencer JS, Carter D, Reed SG.  Insight toward Early Diagnosis of Leprosy through Analysis of the Developing Antibody Responses of Mycobacterium leprae-Infected Armadillos.  Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Feb;18(2):254-9.

Shock BC, Murphy SM, Patton LL, Shock PM, Olfenbuttel C, Beringer J, Prange S, Grove DM, Peek M, Butfiloski JW, Hughes DW, Lockhart JM, Bevins SN, Vandewoude S, Crooks KR, Nettles VF, Brown HM, Peterson DS, Yabsley MJ.  Distribution and prevalence of Cytauxzoon felis in bobcats (Lynx rufus), the natural reservoir, and other wild felids in thirteen states.  Vet Parasitol. 2011 Feb 10;175(3-4):325-30.


Thank you

Please see the attached letter from the Salvation Army "Angels Among Us" program thanking everyone in MIP for their generous giving this past holiday season.


The Faculty Seminar Series is in full gear and your attendance is encouraged! Be sure to attend some, if not all, of the interesting seminars given by both internal and external speakers. Check out the Schedule of Speakers and we'll see you there!

CSEFJudges Wanted

It’s that time again to sign up as a judge for the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair. The competition will be held at CSU on Thursday April 7th. You can sign up on line at CSEF website.

Art and Science Expo

March 11th - April 8th

For the sixth year, the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts are co-sponsoring the Art and Science Exhibition - an 'all media' show featuring the work of CSU artists and scientists. CSU students, staff, and faculty are invited to submit works for this show.

Deadline for registration is Weds, March 2 and you MUST register online

RMASM Spring Mtg

Calendar Undergrads/Grad Students/Postdocs/Faculty Mark your calendars! The Spring meeting of the Rocky Mtn Branch of the American Society for Microbiology will take place on the CU-Boulder campus on April 1-2. Please make every effort to attend this local meeting as we need a strong CSU contingent commensurate with our regional leadership in the field.

A plenary talk by Dr. Corrie Detweiler will take place Friday evening (April 1st) at 7PM followed by a social/networking activity. The Saturday session will be a ‘9AM-5PM’ affair containing talks and posters from students (undergrad & grad), postdocs and faculty. In addition, Dr. Ken Noll from the Univ of Connecticut will present our ASM Branch Lecture on "Challenges and Opportunities for Microbes Living at High Temperatures"

This meeting is a terrific place for networking with other microbiologists throughout the region as well as for students and postdocs to hone their presentation skills.

CRC Call for Proposals

The College Research Council (CRC) 2011 Call for Proposals information is now available on the web at the College Employee Resources Webpage. The deadline for proposal submission is 5:00pm on Monday, March 21st.

CVMBS Research Day


The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) 12th Annual CVMBS Research Day will be held on March 5, 2011.

If you have questions contact Dr. James Graham at jkgraham@colostate.edu



This year's Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity event will be held on April 19 in the Main Ballroom of the Lory Student Center. Registration is open at the CURC website. Presenting at CURC is a great resume builder and awards will be given for most outstanding poster presentations.

If you have undergraduate students working in your lab, please encourage them to participate!

Deadline for Abstract Submission: March 30, 2011 at Noon

Cancer Research Call for Proposals

The CSU Cancer Supercluster (CaSC) has released a request for proposals to fund projects to develop and enhance cancer research, capacity and activities at CSU. Information on the CaSC, its mission and goals are available on the CaSC Website.

The primary intent of this RFP is to promote translational research and expand CaSC capabilities at CSU.

Letters of intent due March 1

Proposals due May 2

Annual Symposium

The Lory Student Center is the place on Friday February 25th at 3PM for the Annual Cell & Molecular Biology/Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Neurosciences/Biochemistry & Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology graduate recruitment poster symposium. Thanks to all of the students/postdocs who are presenting as well as the MIPers who have volunteered to judge the event.

STP Annual Symposium

Hyatt Regency, Denver
June 19-23, 2011

Registration for Residents, Graduate Students and Postdocs from CSU will be waived if you apply for student membership by March 1st!

Visit the STP Membership Online Application to apply for membership.

See the STP Annual Meeting site for more information about the meeting.

New Lab Website

Check out the new Clinical Immunology Laboratory website!. Contact Erin Napier if you are interested in developing a website for your lab!

Recycle Mania

RecycleMania, a recycling contest between colleges and universities around the country, kicked off at Colorado State University Feb. 6 and will run through April 2.

A campus trash audit is scheduled for March 2 where trash from around campus will be sorted on University Avenue to help educate the community about which items are recyclable. Last year’s trash audit revealed that 37 percent of what was thrown away could have been recycled.

Pitch-in and help CSU win this year!

LAR Bulletin

Check out the February 2011 Issue of the Lab Animal Resources newsletter, LAR Bulletin


MIP Bits

Quote of the Month

"A cold in the head causes less suffering than an idea."
~Jules Renard , French author


Frozen Falls

Micro Majors Eric Collins, Ryan Goffredi, Drew Bombard and Ian Wallace chillin’ outside of their favorite building.

    Alternative captions
  • Who says Micro majors don’t clean up real nice…
  • The last time there were four suits around the Micro Bldg there was probably a poker game going on
  • Quick, before you graduate – how many bacteria and viruses are transmitted by the common handshake?
  • The first four contestants voted off in the ‘Dressin’ like Bill Black’ competition console each other outside the venue
  • Submit your own

Alumni Corner Megan Cassicy

Megan Cassidy, a Microbiology 2008 BS graduate who worked in Dr. Carol Blair's laboratory as an undergraduate (extracting DNA from thousands of mosquitoes), is completing the teacher prep course at CSU and recently applied for the Knowles Fellowship. Of 200 applicants, Megan is one of 72 that has been selected as a finalist. The KSTF Teaching Fellowships, the foundation’s signature program, supports, sustains and inspires exceptional young men and women committed to making a difference as teachers. The program provides Fellows with comprehensive professional development, mentoring and a community of peers to help them stay in the profession and become leaders in education. KSTF Teaching Fellowships are renewable for up to 5 years and include both financial and professional support for beginning high school science and mathematics teachers. The fellowship is valued at nearly $150,000 over the five years and the selection process is rigorous and extremely competitive.

Questions for MIPuzzle #62
MIPuzzle #62 Answers
MIPuzzle 62

NIH Happenings
  • NIH announces administrative supplement for China-US collaborative research

    Do you have at least one year remaining on your NCI or NIAID grant and have any colleagues in China? Then you might want to take advantage of a new NIH grant supplement program to support new, previously unforeseen research opportunities enhancing existing grants through collaboration between U.S. and Chinese scientists. Applications are due April 14th. More information can be found at the NIH website.

  • Get connected to NIH

    Tired of waiting for the middle of the month to get updates on relevant NIH programs, policies or grant opportunities via the MIPnews? If so, put yourself on NIH, eRA Commons and your favorite institute’s email list. More info can be obtained at the NIAID Funding Newsletter and the ERA website.

Great horned owl

On December 17th, Erin Napier was pleasantly surprised to find a Great-Horned Owl enjoying lunch in the tree outside her office window in Pathology.

New Grant Awards

Anne Avery, "Reduction of Murine Malaria in Plasma using the Mirasol PRT Process and an In Vivo Mouse Model", CaridianBCT Biotechnologies, LLC.

Claudia Gentry-Weeks, "Development of Rapid Biodetection Methods using Bacteriophage Amplification - Subcontract Amendment #2", Colorado School of Mines.

Herbert Schweizer, "Evaluating Antimicrobials Against B. pseudomallei in vitro and in vivo", Trius Therapeutics, Inc.

Karen Dobos, "Mycobacterium spp. Research Reagent Replenishment ", ATCC-American Type Culture Collection.

Mark Zabel, "Evaluation of Biological and Environmental Materials for Chronic Wasting Disease Prions Using Protein...", USDA-APHIS.

Susan VandeWoude, "The Effects of Urban Fragmentation and Landscape Connectivity on Disease Prevalence and Transmission in North America", National Science Foundation.

Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
Grad Seminar
Microscopy Seminar 8am, 101 DMC
3  4
7 8
Grad Seminar
Microscopy Seminar 8am, 101 DMC
Faculty Seminar 4pm, Path 103
10  11
14 15
Grad Seminar
Microscopy Seminar 8am, 101 DMC
Faculty Seminar 4pm, Path 103
17  18 
21 22
Grad Seminar
Microscopy Seminar 8am, 101 DMC
Faculty Seminar 4pm, Path 103
Faculty Photos 3-6PM
Faculty Mtg 4PM


MARCH 2011
Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
Grad Seminar
Microscopy Seminar 8am, 101 DMC
Faculty Seminar 4pm, Path 103
3  4
7 8
Grad Seminar
Microscopy Seminar 8am, 101 DMC
10  11
21 22
Grad Seminar
Microscopy Seminar 8am, 101 DMC
Faculty Seminar 4pm, Path 103
24  25
Faculty Mtg 4PM
28 29
Grad Seminar
Microscopy Seminar 8am, 101 DMC
Faculty Seminar 4pm, Path 103

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Send In your ideas or newsworthy items. Contributions make the Newsletter better!

MIP Newsletter Volume 8, Issue 2, February 2011

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