Category: News and Events


Researcher of the Month: Natalia Jura, PhD

Natalia Jura, PhD, is focused on how cells transmit signals via protein molecules on their surface to elucidate what goes wrong in cellular communication with cancer. “We are using cryogenic electron microscopy to tackle the structure of a class of these proteins called Receptor Tyrosine Kinases. These are the first studies that will allow us to look at these molecules as a whole piece, understand their architecture, and see how mutations change them.”

Read the Interview.


CVRI/Neonatology Faculty Search

Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics

Cardiovascular Research Institute

UCSF School of Medicine and Benioff Children’s Hospital

 

Associate/Full Professor (Ladder Rank or In Residence)

 

The Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Children’s Hospital and the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) at UCSF seek an accomplished researcher to join the CVRI and Division of Neonatology.  The main duties of this position are to maintain an exciting and impactful research program as a member of the CVRI research community and to nurture fellows and junior faculty developing research programs in the Neonatology Division.  PhD, ScD and MD applicants are welcomed.  An established research program with a record of creative contributions spanning at least five years is required.  Research may be in any field relevant to cardiovascular biology including but not limited to genetics, developmental biology, cell and tissue biology or physiology.

 

The successful candidate will be appointed at the Associate or full Professor rank in the Ladder Rank or In Residence Series and will be proposed for faculty membership in UCSF’s Biomedical Sciences graduate program.  Permanent partial salary support and laboratory space in the Smith Cardiovascular Research Building on UCSF’s Mission Bay Campus will be provided. If an MD with board certification or eligibility in Neonatology, optional clinical activity can be made available at Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Interested candidates must apply online at https://aprecruit.ucsf.edu/JPF02795 with a cover letter, CV, and a description of research accomplishments (maximum 2 pages), future research plans (maximum 2 pages), and a statement of contributions to diversity.  In addition, applicants will be asked to provide the contact information for three references.

 

Review of applications will begin on March 1, 2020 and should be submitted

prior to that date for full consideration.

 

Questions to the search committee [Brian Black and Yao Sun (chairs), Akiko Hata, Andy Chang, Natalia Jura, Jennifer Puck, Kevin Shannon, Barbara Panning and Xianhua Piao] should be directed to Aja.Flores@ucsf.edu.

 

UCSF seeks candidates whose experience, teaching, research, or community service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status.


$13 Million Grant to Probe the Genome of Heart Cells

The genome of human cells looks a lot like a tangled ball of yarn, with tightly wound clumps from which myriad loose strands escape and loop out. But there is order to this tangle, and growing evidence that the genome’s 3D architecture influences the activity of its genes.

Understanding the rules that control gene activity has been the object of a long collaboration between Gladstone Investigators Deepak Srivastava, Benoit Bruneau, Katherine Pollard, Bruce Conklin, and Nevan Krogan, and their UC San Francisco (UCSF) partner Brian Black. Together, they have already found many key regulators of gene activity in the heart.

Full story link


Golgi localized β1-adrenergic receptors stimulate Golgi PI4P hydrolysis by PLCε to regulate cardiac hypertrophy

Beta blockers are among the most widely used drugs for treating heart failure.  It has long been thought that these drugs act on proteins, known as adrenergic receptors, that solely reside on cell surfaces.  A recent study by scientists at CVRI and the University of Michigan has discovered a previously unknown role for adrenergic receptors within cells. When beta blockers were developed, there were no considerations for their abilities to access internal adrenergic receptors.  This new knowledge can potentially lead to the development of drugs that are more effective in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

https://elifesciences.org/articles/48167

 


A Bullfrog’s Powerful Defense Against Toxic Red Tides

 

As climate change raises ocean temperatures, fisheries and public health agencies closely monitor the waters for harmful algal blooms known as red tides. The algae in these blooms produce a neurotoxin that accumulates in shellfish, rendering them dangerous, or even lethal, for human consumption. Bullfrogs, however, have a natural defense in the form of a protein known as saxiphilin.

Article

 


How Scientists Detect the Most Lethal Shellfish Toxin You’ve Never Heard Of

There is a weapon that is released by algae around the world and concentrated, invisible, in the flesh of shellfish. An amount the size of a poppy seed is enough to kill a grown person. It’s part of an onslaught from which we’ve defended ourselves for decades, which might be why you’ve never heard of it.

https://www.kqed.org/science/1944148/how-scientists-detect-the-most-lethal-shellfish-toxin-youve-never-heard-of

 


Understanding the Language of Cells: A Look Inside the Jura Lab

The biochemists and structural biologists in the Jura Lab, which is affiliated with the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) and the UCSF Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, seek to understand what regulates how cells compute signals received from other cells or the environment to control cell growth and survival.

The lab, led by Natalia Jura, PhD, looks at how cells grow when they are healthy, and what goes wrong in diseases, such as cancer or neurodegenerative disorders. Signaling requires precise function of proteins, which often rely on phosphorylation/dephosphorylated cycle, a controlled process of addition and loss of a phosphate component. This cycle is orchestrated by enzymes called kinases that put on the phosphates and phosphatases that remove these modifications. “These are key enzymes that keep our tissues healthy,” said Jura. “Something happens to them – they change their protein structure due to a mutation, get abnormally activated or silenced, and then precise control of signaling pathways is gone. This then leads to disease because core functions of the cell, including decisions to survive, migrate, or die, are out of balance.”

Read more


Frog Protein May Mitigate Dangers Posed by Toxic Marine Microbes Fueled by Climate Change

CVRI investigators have uncovered how an American bullfrog protein known as saxiphilin binds to and inhibits the action of saxitoxin. This deadly neurotoxin, which is about one thousand times more potent than cyanide, is made by algal blooms known as ‘red tide’. If ingested from contaminated shellfish, the toxin blocks electrical signaling in nerves and muscles, leading to death. Red tides are becoming more common due to climate change and these findings may lead to new ways to detect and neutralize the toxin.

Article

Paper


Unique transmembrane domain interactions differentially modulate integrin αvβ3 and αIIbβ3 function

CVRI investigators decipher the mechanism by which platelets are activated to form clots, a key step in both normal and thrombotic processes. The researchers reveal how interactions between transmembrane helices of key proteins found in the membranes of platelets and many other cells help orchestrate the process. Their work is also informs our understanding of the assembly of many other proteins involved in transmembrane signal transduction.

Rustem I. Litvinov, Marco Mravic, Hua Zhu, John W. Weisel, William F. DeGrado, and Joel S. Bennett

PNAS paper