University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute

In This Issue
New Clues into Alzheimer's
The Elegance of the Tunicate
Outsmarting Bacteria
New Light on Evolution

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March 30, 2010

Welcome to the first issue of explore LSI. As you're probably already aware, the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) is a unique and interesting place: a hub for biomedical research at the LSI websiteUniversity of Michigan. Our scientists come together under the umbrella of the LSI to work in collaboration with other basic science researchers in order to foster innovative scientific discoveries.


Chemists work with biologists, stem cell scientists work with geneticists, molecular medicine researchers work with pharmacological experts, and the combinations go on and on. And, all of these researchers collaborate with other world-class researchers, doctors, and scientists across the U-M campus with the following mission in mind: to improve human health through collaborative scientific discovery.


With explore LSI you'll get up-to-date information on LSI science news, initiatives, disease research, and faculty. Please forward this newsletter to others who you think would be interested, check out the LSI website at, and stay tuned for more news from
the LSI.


We'd like your feedback on what information you would most like to hear about; tell us what you'd like to see in upcoming issues of explore LSI. Send us an e-mail with your ideas at:

Shedding Light on Alzheimer's Disease
Chemist meets donor

LSI research assistant professor Mi Hee Lim and her lab recently had a visit from a local donor, the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). AAQI founder Ami Simms wanted to hand deliver a $30,000 check to Dr. Lim and her team to help support their research into th

e role of metal ions in Alzheimer's disease. Ami read about Dr. Lim's work during an online search and contacted her through the LSI website about applying for an AAQI grant.


AAQI Lim story

During her visit, Ami shared her story of serving as caregiver to her mother who died of the disease. She also brought a selection of quilts made by volunteers to spread awareness and raise money to fund research. An emotional connection was made between the lab members and Ami as she described the insidious nature of Alzheimer's, which robs families of their loved ones long before their death. This unique connection between donor and research team will resonate as they build a molecule that could someday make all the difference in so many people's lives.


To read the full story and view a slideshow of the visit,
click here.


The Elegance of a Tunicate
With a new $4.3 million, five-year grant award,
David Sherman and his lab aim to create
new ways to develop cancer-fighting
drugs using natural products 

It wouldn't be much of a stretch to call LSI research professor David Sherman the "Indiana JSherman Labones of the Sea" - just check the fedora for scuba gear. A mild-mannered Midwesterner, he is an explorer at heart. A chemistry professor like his mother, he teaches at the University of Michigan, but every few years he can be found diving into the waters of the south Pacific, of which few have broken the surface. Sherman is in search of sponges, tunicates, and sediments to take back to his lab at the LSI to synthesize into new antibiotics and drugs to fight cancer and other diseases.
Sherman alone holds formal, legal permissions to dive in and collect samples from sites off of Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, areas that contain coral reef habitats that provide the most concentrated form of marine invertebrate biodiversity. These environments also hold tremendous promise for drug development.


To read the full story and view a slideshow of Dr. Sherman's dives, click here.

Outsmarting Bacteria
Recently published: Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova's Lab is working to develop a new, faster method for generating novel, more effective antibiotics

It's in the news on a regular basis: antibiotics are losing their efficacy against bacteria that have built up resistance to them. Decades of clinical use (and over-use) have made bacteria smarter and trickier to subvert.   

 Sylvie Lab

"There's currently a huge problem associated with bacterial resistance to antibiotics-so, all the drugs that people discover, bacteria comes up with tricks to become resistant to those drugs," says Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and research assistant professor in the Life Sciences Institute.


Read more

New Light on Evolutionary Theory
Alexey Kondrashov publishes article in Nature

Collaborating with his son Fyodor Kondrashov, Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain, and other colleagues, LSI Research Professor Alexey Kondrashov published a paper earlier this year in Nature.
Their study sheds a different light on previous notions about the nature of Darwinian evolution-being that evolution is a gradual process consisting of a consecutive accumulation of mutations of small effects and such accumulation of consecutive mutational steps gives rise to complex organs and explains the diversity of species.

Read more

About University of Michigan
Life Sciences Institute

At the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute (LSI) a team of more than 400 professionals, including world-class faculty in chemistry, cell and developmental biology, physiology, human genetics, bioinformatics, hematology and oncology works together to solve fundamental problems in human health. Founded in 2002, the LSI serves as an intellectual and biomedical technology hub for the entire University of Michigan system.  

University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute
210 Washtenaw
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109