News Releases

IBBR research discovery could be crucial to development of cross-species Ebola vaccines and treatments


October 16, 2018 -- The recent cases of Ebola virus infection in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are an alarming reminder of the 2014 outbreak in West Africa.  IBBR Fellow Dr. Gilad Ofek, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, recently solved the crystal structure of a cross-protective antibody bound to an important ebolavirus surface protein. Structural insights from this work lay important groundwork for the development of vaccines and therapeutics effective across all five species of the virus.

Harnessing viral enzymes to combat bacterial infections in dairy cows


October 1, 2018 -- When most of us think about viruses and bacteria, we envision germs that make people sick. But, Dr. Daniel Nelson, IBBR Fellow and Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland College Park, studies viruses that may end up making us well -- by killing disease-causing bacteria. 

IBBR Doctoral Candidate, Tsega Solomon, Travels to Dublin to Present Protein Folding Research


August 30, 2018 -- Tsega Solomon, a doctoral candidate in Dr. John Orban’s laboratory at the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR), attended the XXVIII International Conference on Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems, at the University College Dublin, Ireland, on August 19-24, 2018.  Solomon’s poster, on temperature-dependent protein fold switching, was chosen as one of the best at the event, for which she received a Suraj Manrao Student Science Fund poster award. 

Orban Presents at Gordon Conference in Switzerland


August 23, 2018 -- IBBR Fellow Dr. John Orban spoke at the Intrinsically Disordered Proteins Gordon Research Conference held in Les Diablerets, Switzerland in early July. Dr. Orban presented work from two systems his team is exploring in his talk titled “Disordered Regions in Ensemble and Fold Switching”.

Montgomery County Students Gain Biotechnology Experience at IBBR


August 23, 2018 -- IBBR’s 2018 Summer Intern program culminated on Thursday, August 16, as six Montgomery County high school students presented their research results to their peers, colleagues, family, and friends at a poster session held at the Institute’s Shady Grove campus. Begun in 2003, the IBBR Summer Intern program has provided approximately 160 local high school students with real-world experience in biology, chemistry, and engineering.

New Cell Lines Will Facilitate Optimized Production of Antibody-based Therapeutics


August 13, 2018 -- A family of drugs called monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.  In 2016, NIST released a reference standard for mAbs called NISTmAb.  Now, NIST and UMD researchers at IBBR have developed three cell lines that produce antibodies very similar to the NISTmAb standard.  The new cell lines will be publicly available, valuable tools for studying the biomanufacturing production process for new mAb drugs.

IBBR Researchers Develop Web Platform for Modeling Structure of Immune System Proteins


August 9, 2018 -- Immune system proteins called T cell receptors (TCRs) are involved in fighting infectious disease, are implicated in a number of autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and have major potential as a platform for the development of cancer drugs. TCRModel, developed by IBBR Fellow Dr. Brian Pierce and postdoctoral associate Dr. Ragul Gowthaman, allows researchers to input TCR sequences and retrieve high-resolution structure predictions in a matter of minutes.

University of Maryland Student Experiment Returns from Space


August 8, 2018 -- University of Maryland undergraduates Rushi Challa and Natalie Ivanina learned techniques and optimized their experiment for space conditions with the help of IBBR Fellow Daniel Nelson and his lab group. 

2 IBBR Researchers Receive UM Ventures Seed Grants


August 1, 2018 -- IBBR Fellows Dr. Silvia Muro and Dr. Daniel Nelson were each awarded $15,000 Seed Grants from UM Ventures. Dr. Muro’s project will expand the applications of her patented peptides that specifically target cellular structures called lysosomes, defects of which are the cause of a range of severe genetic disorders. Dr. Nelson’s project will advance his patented technology that targets Bacillus bacteria, including organisms that cause anthrax and a serious form of food-poisoning. 

IBBR Researchers Receive $1.5M NSF Award


July 31, 2018 -- The National Science Foundation’s SemiSynBio program recently awarded $1.5 million to IBBR Fellows Dr. Bill Bentley and Dr. Greg Payne and their collaborators at University of Maryland’s Institute for Systems Research, University of Nebraska, and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The team's unique insight is that both biology and electronic devices can communicate through reduction and oxidation reactions - referred to as "redox".