James Ntambi, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and leading researcher in nutritional biochemistry, bends down in the Ugandan soil outside a primary school. His study abroad students huddle around him. He picks up a stick and begins to work math problems in the dirt. “He started telling us how he knew they practiced math …
If humans are to live in outer space for years at a time, it’s important to understand how the microbes in and on their bodies are affected by space conditions. Humans have trouble performing the most basic tasks when in space thanks to microgravity and they must wear protective gear to safeguard them from the interstellar radiation. But how do microbes experience these effects that aren’t present on Earth?
Researchers in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry perform in vivo biochemical studies. With the advent of gene editing technologies such as CRISPR, the in vivo studies are cracking open exciting new ways to understand what’s going on at the genetic and molecular levels in organisms.
In the complicated process of drug discovery, scientists screen large collections of molecules in search of a range of properties that indicate they could be used as antibiotic, antifungal, or anticancer agents, or even neurological drugs. When compared to the types of molecules synthesized for drug discovery today, the old-school way in which biochemistry emeritus professor Laurens Anderson’s molecules were made gives them some unique properties, so they are taking on new significance.
Studies of plants in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry span everything from how they can be grown or consumed for agricultural or bioenergy purposes to a basic understanding of cell biology in plants and animals.
The complexity of life makes it difficult to study. In biochemistry, there are often just too many processes and reactions taking place in a cell for humans to wrap their heads around. What helps biochemists make sense of it all? Cue computational biology and biochemistry.
Imaging is a powerful tool in many biochemists’ repertoire. The Department of Biochemistry is home to a large collection of equipment and facilities, including the Biochemistry Optical Core (BOC) and upcoming cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) facility, that allows scientists to pursue their many imaging endeavors.
Biochemistry professor Srivatsan (“Vatsan”) Raman hopes to harness the power of phages — viruses that infect bacteria but leave humans unscathed. With help from a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Raman’s team is designing phages to specifically target bacteria that are causing diseases in infants.
Hannah Poe peers into a large microscope in the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Building, seeing not just florescent molecules of RNA, but also a future career in biochemistry research. Poe is about to start her last year in the Department of Biochemistry’s undergraduate program, but it will only be her second year on the …
Structural biology and collaboration are two strong and enduring aspects of research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In keeping with this tradition, the Department of Biochemistry has led a concerted cross-campus effort to bring cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to campus.