Nate Lord, Phd, Receives New Innovator Award from NIH

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Nate Lord on receiving the five-year, $1.5 million New Innovator Award! This award supports highly innovative research from promising early-career researchers.

Nate’s research focuses on the complex network of chemical communications between embryos and stem cells, bringing science closer to being able to manipulate the cells in a useful way.

Read the full Pitt Wire feature here!

NIH Awards 2023 Transformative Research Grant to CSB’s Anne-Ruxandra Carvunis, PhD & Co-PIs

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Anne-Ruxandra Carvunis & her Co-PIs on receiving one of six 2023 NIH Director’s Transformative Research Awards!

The awarded project,Unraveling Microprotein Biology with an Evolutionary-Immunological Framework”, examines microproteins and how they may interact with our immune systems, triggering false alarms and leading to autoimmune diseases. Or over time, the proteins could persist and potentially evolve useful functions, such as the ability to protect us from viral infections.

Part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, this award was established in 2009 to promote cross-cutting, interdisciplinary approaches and supports individuals and teams of investigators who propose research that could potentially create or challenge existing paradigms.

Read the full Pitt Wire feature on the award here!

Dr. Frederick P. (Fritz) Roth Announced as New Dept. Chair by Dean Shekhar

From Dean Shekhar:

I am pleased to announce that Frederick P. (Fritz) Roth, PhD, known worldwide for his work in computational biology and genomics, will join the School of Medicine as professor and chair of the Department of Computational and Systems Biology (CSB), effective October 1, 2023. Dr. Roth will also lead the development of the school’s institutional computational genomic strategy. Since 2011, Dr. Roth has been jointly appointed as professor of molecular genetics and computer science at the University of Toronto’s Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research and senior investigator at Sinai Health System’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI), also in Toronto. His research team at both the Donnelly Centre and LTRI carries out computational and experimental genomics research and pursues technology development through fundamental discovery and clinical applications.

Click to read the full announcement

Jianhua Xing Awarded Emerging Mathematics in Biology (eMB) Grant

The Department of Computational & Systems Biology at the University of Pittsburgh is pleased to announce that our own Dr. Jianhua Xing has been awarded an NSF grant for the Emerging Mathematics in Biology (eMB) program. As described by NSF, the eMB program seeks to stimulate fundamental interdisciplinary and potentially transformative research pertaining to the development of innovative mathematical/statistical/computational theories, tools, and modeling approaches to investigate challenging questions of great interest to biologists and public health policymakers. It supports research projects in mathematical biology that address challenging and significant biological questions through novel applications of traditional, but nontrivial, mathematical tools and methods or the development of new theories particularly from foundational mathematics and/or computational/statistical tools, including Artificial Intelligence/Deep Learning/Machine Learning (AI/DL/ML).

The title of Dr. Xing’s proposal is “Mathematical analyses of multidimensional single cell transcriptional vector fields.” With the emergence of a new field of reconstructing large scale dynamical equations from single cell genomics data, the funded research is to address a new challenge to expand mathematical tools for downstream analyses of the dynamical equations and apply tools developed in other contexts to single cell data analyses.


Please join us in extending our most heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Xing and his collaborators!

Dr. Camacho & Collaborator Dr. Biondi et. al Report Latest Findings on the Regulation of the Master Kinase PDK1 in Science Signaling

The image shows models based on SEC-SAXS data of full-length monomeric PDK1 alone at the top and in complex with the inositol polyphosphate derivative HYG8 at the bottom. Credit: Sacerdoti et al./Science Signaling


CSB’s Dr. Camacho and his collaborator Dr. Biondi et. al reported their latest findings on the regulation of the master kinase PDK1 in Science Signaling.
“Our findings that distinct conformations elicited by interactions with small molecules resulted in differing substrate specificities is a significant contribution to the understanding of kinase behavior and function. PDK1 inhibition directly ameliorated Alzheimer’s and Prion disease pathologyThus, our discoveries can ultimately lead to the development of more effective and specific inhibitors or activators for this and other therapeutic purposes.”