New Glycobiology Study led by Tarun Dam


Tarun Dam led a new study, published this week in Biochemistryexamining the biomechanics of galectin-3’s interaction with glycosaminoglycans (GAG) and proteoglycans. His team includes graduate students Melanie Talaga, Ni Fan, Ashli Fueri, Robert Brown and Research Assistant Professor Purnima Bandyopadhyay.

At the Laboratory of Mechanistic Glycobiology, Dam and his students study the sugar, including glucose and other structural, complex sugars, that fuel our bodies. GAGs assist in controlling growth factor proteins, which go unchecked as cancerous tumors grow.

Even though the findings of the study were unexpected, it opens up new possibilities for understanding glycobiology and biomechanics. “Seeing galectin-3 interact with GAGs and proteoglycans is like finding a rose in the petunias—it’s very unexpected,” Dam says. “It’s fair to say that this requires revisiting the reported biological functions of GAGs, proteoglycans and galectin-3.”

Next, Dam and his team look into additional research, “Now we have to reconsider the whole drama, retracing the steps and actions of that character… we are using cell lines and animal models to study this interaction in a cellular context.”

Read more on Michigan Tech News, by Allison Mills.


Communicating Climate Science: Consensus Matters

Dr. Sarah Green, Professor
Department of Chemistry
Michigan Technological University
Date: April 22, 2016
Place: Chem-Sci Room 101
Time: 3:00 pm


Climate science does not translate directly into political action to curb climate change. We are conducting a global experiment by modifying the basic chemistry, physics, and biology of the planet. Climate science explains past changes and projects the possible outcomes of this experiment according to parameters that are adjusted through political decisions. The public cannot be expected to grasp all the details of climate science. Yet public acceptance of its key findings is essential to support climate policy. Recognition of the consensus among experts is a gateway to accepting the reality of climate change. How do we know there is a scientific consensus and how do we communicate that fact to the public?

Xia Research Group in Chemical & Engineering News

RutheniumDeposition followed by etching yields ruthenium nanoframes

Michigan Technological University chemists Xiaohu Xia and Haihang Ye, together with researchers at the University of Texas, Dallas, and elsewhere used a ruthenium chloride solution to preferentially deposit ruthenium on the edges and corners of nanosized palladium octahedral seed crystals.

Read more at Chemical & Engineering News, by Mitch Jacoby.

A Noble Calling: Ruthenium Nanoframes Open the Doors to Better Catalysts

The world is run by catalysts. They clean up after cars, help make fertilizers, and could be the key to better hydrogen fuel. Now, a team of chemists, led by Xiaohu Xia from Michigan Technological University, has found a better way to make metal catalysts.

“We are fine-tuning the surface, size, shape and crystal structure,” he says. “Our goal is to increase their catalytic activity while reducing the usage of this precious material.”

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Allison Mills.

Melanie Talaga Receives the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship

Graduate student Melanie Talaga is a Spring 2016 recipient of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship, as announced by the Graduate School.

Talaga’s advisor is Tarun Dam.

Talaga also received the Third Place Award for an Oral Presentation at the 2016 Graduate Research Colloquium. Hers was the Highest Attended Presentation.

Graduate students displaying research at Michigan Tech

“We use really big words and we’re use to using those words because we deal with it everyday,” said Melanie Talaga, MTU doctorate student. “Other general communities do not understand those words so we need to learn how to practice and break it down to everyone’s level. So then we can communicate our science and get people interested in our science.”

Read more at Upper Michigan’s Source, by Aleah Hordges.

GSC Winners 2016-2016
Sarah Hopson, Ni Fan, Tarun Dam, and Melanie Talaga