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Friday, January 7, 2005

  • The cell's emergency response system
  • Digital firm's CEO boasts Renison links
  • Pixels in the big picture
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Orthodox Christmas


[Xenopus frog]

From Xenopus Express

The cell's emergency response system -- from the research office's Showcase web site

The improved understanding of heat shock proteins, with the possible application for several diseases, as well as development of molecular biomarkers of environmental stress is the focus of research by John Heikkila of UW's department of biology.

The holder of the Canada Research Chair in Stress Protein Gene Research, Heikkila examines heat shock or stress proteins in Xenopus (pictured above), the South African clawed frog. That's because most of the cellular and molecular information collected from Xenopus is applicable to human cells.

In his stress protein research, Heikkila (pictured below) will continue to explore the expression and function of Xenopus HSPs, with particular attention to the role of small HSPs (sHSPs). His aim is to accomplish five goals: characterize the molecular chaperone activity of two sHSP genes (HSP30C and D) and assess their ability to stabilize activity of proteins used in diagnostic and industrial processes; study the function of constitutive and heat-inducible [Heikkila in lab] members of the HSP30 gene family during development; analyze the mechanisms involved with developmental regulation of the HSP30 genes; characterize the expression and function of the newly discovered basic sHSPs; and study the impact of multiple stressors on sHSP gene expression.

All organisms undergo a heat shock or stress response when exposed to temperatures a few degrees above their normal temperature. A similar reaction comes when they're exposed to certain environmental stressors -- including some heavy metals or oxidizing agents -- or pathophysiological conditions such as loss of blood flow, fever, tissue injury and disease states. During the stress response, cells manufacture heat shock proteins (HSPs), a class of molecular chaperone that help repair the damage and provide tolerance against further stresses.

Certain HSPs exist and function in cells at all times, in protein synthesis, protein folding, translocation of proteins across membranes and the assembly of multi-purpose complexes. But during times of stress, more HSPs are synthesized to maintain the solubility of partially unfolded proteins, prevent their aggregation and assist in their refolding.

In Heikkila's lab, investigations are under way to evaluate the potential therapeutic role of HSPs in treating diseases associated with misfolded or aggregated protein such as cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Creutzfeld-Jacob.

Digital firm's CEO boasts Renison links

There's a close family connection when Christie Digital Systems Inc. makes a gift to Renison College, such as the audio-visual equipment it presented in 2003. Christie is also listed as a major donor to the addition that Renison will start building later this year.

[Remers] The connection: Christie's president and CEO is Gerry Remers (left), whose father-in-law was the late William Townshend, long-time chair of the Renison board of governors.

Now Remers is a member of the board himself, where, says UW's annual donor report for 2003-04, he "brings acute business acumen with a strong sense of tradition and knowledge about Renison".

Says Remers: "Bill was a strong supporter of Renison and I am certain that he would be pleased to know that the tradition of involvement continues into the future." The tradition is a long one. Betty Townshend, Gerry's mother-in-law, is a charter member of the Town & Gown Society of Renison College, and Gerry's wife Susan is a recent member. Townshend uncles, nephews, and cousins have all been involved with the college as well.

Says the report: "Future planning is what led Christie Digital Systems Inc. to contribute digital projection units to Renison College. Christie, with expertise in film projection since 1929 and professional projection systems since 1979, arranged a donation of digital projection units to be installed immediately in classrooms and seminar rooms at the College, providing advanced teaching technology for faculty and students."

It quotes Remers again: "Giving support to the local community where Christie makes its home is important to us. Renison College offers unique programs within the University of Waterloo and being able to make a difference to students enrolled in their programs by enhancing the educational experience is very rewarding."

WHEN AND WHERE
Imaginus poster sale winds up today, Student Life Centre.

FASS auditions 7 to 9 p.m. Humanities room 334, details online.

Let's Make a Deal contest (quit smoking or "continue to be completely smoke-free"), registration starts Monday, 10:30 to 2:30, Student Life Centre.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group open house and volunteer information session, Monday 4:00 to 8:00, Student Life Centre.

Engineers without Borders general meeting Monday 5:30, Davis Centre room 1302, with more information about EWB and a presentation by Ross Groves and George Roter of the national office.

Blood donor clinic January 13 and 17-21, Student Life Centre, sign-up and information booth in the SLC Tuesday 11:30 to 2:00.

Volunteer fair Wednesday 11:00 to 2:00, SLC.

On-campus part-time job fair Thursday 12:00 to 2:00, SLC.

ONE CLICK AWAY
  • Phuket Disaster Message Board
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  • Britain might list 'courses of national strategic importance'
  • Patent 'no longer pending' for Newfoundland prof
  • Michigan considers massive commitment to educating citizens
  • Laurier centre to study 'nascent entrepreneurship'
  • Berkeley called the world's top engineering and IT university (UW is 59th)
  • Speaking of Higher Education: The Academic's Book of Quotations
  • Details of proposed new 'smoke-free Ontario' law
  • Pixels in the big picture

    The dean of engineering made an announcement just before Christmas about the future of the engineering machine shop, which had been under review. The shop "is important to research and education in the Faculty of Engineering," dean Adel Sedra wrote in his response to the report. "It has had good leadership under the management of Rein Kaptein. However, Mr. Kaptein is scheduled to retire in the near future and it is important that we begin planning for his replacement." The dean approved the report's basic recommendation -- that the shop "should be retained and its capacity and capabilities need to be increased" -- and he also approved an increase in the rates the shop charges. The job of manager will "be redefined as a full time working supervisor". Other recommendations touched on safety regulations, new equipment (a CNC Mill has already arrived), sales of supplies to students, and extended operating hours.

    An "alumni juried exhibition" can be seen again at the UW art gallery in East Campus Hall, after being closed since early December. The show opened in November and continues for another two weeks. It includes sculpture, painting, drawing, ceramics and photography by a total of 27 artists who graduated from UW. Works were chosen (from 65 applicants) by a three-person jury, says curator Carol Podedworny. The gallery just passed its 40th birthday, and the show is being held as a celebration, "to document the part that students have played" over the decades. It's open to the public (no admission charge) Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 4, Thursday noon to 7, and Saturday 1 to 4.

    A note from UW's music department, based at Conrad Grebel University College, advises that the stage band "is looking for saxophones, trumpets, trombones and a rhythm section to be part of the ensemble for winter 2005. Rehearsals are held 7 to 10 p.m. on Mondays." If you can toot with the best of them, you can audition this coming Monday at 6:00; for more information or to book an audition, call 885-0220 ext. 226.

    A joint retirement was official on December 1, the human resources department reports. Leaving UW's staff are James Cairney, a painter in plant operations, and Jessie Cairney, copy centre operator for graphic services. Husband has been working at UW since December 1977, and wife since September 1988.

    The women's hockey Warriors will host Windsor on Sunday afternoon at the Columbia Icefield. It seems to be the only varsity sports event of the weekend, and it'll be a significant game for the team, the first under the guidance of a new coach. Previous coach Bill Antler left UW just before Christmas, the result of a personal situation, says director of athletics Judy McCrae. She scrambled to find a replacement, who turned up in the person of Mike Kadar -- usually busy as strength and conditioning coach for the Los Angeles Kings, who are idle because of the National Hockey League strike. Kadar hasn't coached women before, but sounds enthusiastic: he told the Record this week that "our goal is full steam ahead." It may take a few days for the team to adapt to new ways of doing things, but then just watch them go, says McCrae.

    Passes for Grand River Transit buses will be on sale at the Federation of Students office in the Student Life Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00 to 2:00. . . . The "Warm Up with Winter" promotion at the UW Shop, offering UW hoodies at $43.99, is continuing through January 15 (and backpacks are priced at 20 per cent off until the same date). . . . The Graduate Student Association is running a ski weekend at Blue Mountain January 14-16 (details available at the Grad House). . . .

    CAR


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