News

Harry Noller's group recently solved the x-ray crystallographic structure of 70S ribosome functional complexes, first at 7.8 angstrom resolution, then at 5.5 angstrom resolution. These views of ribosome functional complexes are major advances, supporting the model that ribosome function, including the mechanisms of tRNA binding, peptide bond formation, and translocation of tRNA and mRNA within the ribosome, is based on RNA function. This work was were reported as cover stories in the journal Science on September 24 1999 (pages 2095-104) and on May 4 2001 (pages 883-96).

The Tech Sight section of the April 20, 2001 issue of Science discusses the nanopore system developed by the UCSC nanopore research team. The figure provided in this article comes from a paper by Wenonah Vercoutere, a graduate student in chemistry.

UC Santa Cruz has just approved a new Bachelor of Science program in bioinformatics. The program was developed through the CBSE and owes its existence to the special efforts of computer engineering professors Richard Hughey and Kevin Karplus. This is the first approved academic program for the CBSE.

The bioinformatics certificate program offered by UCSC Extension has been named "outstanding credit program for 2001" by the the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA). This is the highest educational program award from the UCEA, which spans universities, colleges, and professional affiliates from throughout the United States and several other countries.

CBSE faculty worked together with other UCSC faculty and UCSC Extension instructors to develop this program, which trains people from industry and academia in the use of bioinformatics tools.

Researchers at UCSC collaborated with other Human Genome Project teams to publish the first working draft of the human genome sequence in Nature.

A press conference was held today to celebrate the publication of the human genome in the scientific journals Nature and Science. The contributions of Celera Genomics and the National Human Genome Consortium were acknowledged. Craig Venter and Francis Collins spoke along with scientists involved in the project.

View the press conference where the completion of the sequencing and assembly of the human genome was announced: Webcast

Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and head of the international Human Genome Project presented President Clinton with a CD-ROM of the human genome. The CD was produced by Patrick Gavin and Jorge Garcia of the UCSC human genome project team. Patrick Gavin created a new data compression algorithm in order to fit the entire genome on a 700mb CD.

David Haussler was the keynote speaker at the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB 2001), and Professor Richard Hughey was a session co-chair. The conference also featured three papers by UCSC researchers.

On the final round of Jeopardy that aired December 15th, under the category "Science News" the answer was, "Made available for download by scientists at UCSC, the 739MB file of this project consists of A's, T's, G's and C's." All three contestants, including a cooking instructor from Chicago and a school teacher from Mississippi, knew the question: "What is the Human Genome Project'"

Professor Kevin Karplus successfully led the UCSC team in the 4th international Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP4), which took place December 3-7 in Pacific Grove, California.

The CASP prediction team from UCSC took 4th place overall. The team experienced some disappointment in the placing of the automatic server.

Participants submit structure models for different target proteins that have no published structure, and these predictions are compared with experimental models from x-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy.

As a partner in one of the first California Institutes for Science and Innovation, UC Santa Cruz was awarded $5 million of a $100 million three-campus award for the next four years in support of the Institute for Bioengineering, Biotechnology, and Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3). This Institute award supports joint research between UC San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley.

The UCSC Genome Browser is mentioned in Science Magazine's NetWatch feature. It indicates that scientists gearing up to make sense of the public draft of the human genome now have a new way to home in on specific sequences. Find it in Science 15 September 2000;289(5486).

Jim Kent, a biology graduate student working with computer science professor David Haussler at UCSC, has developed a new web-based tool for viewing the human genome sequence. This genome browser allows researchers to look at any segment of interest in the context of its exact location in the genome.

R. Michael Tanner, professor of computer science, has been appointed as Interim Director of the new UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Center.

The Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering received a $1 million award from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in support of the project: "Bioinformatic and microarray expression analysis of nervous system function."

Research will be conducted by professors Manny Ares, Andrew Chisholm, Tony Fink, David Haussler, Richard Hughey, Yishi Jin, Kevin Karplus, Hongyun Wang, and Alan Zahler. This award will provide funding for the microarray facility, supplies, and students over four years.

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who performed the computer analysis to assemble a working draft of the human genome sequence have now posted their results on a UCSC web site (http://genome.ucsc.edu). Biomedical researchers throughout the world can now search the working draft for particular genes or DNA sequences of interest to them.

The SAM server, a bioinformatics tool for sequence alignment and modeling, was ranked by Links2go as number four out of the top 50 sites for bioinformatics resources. The SAM server was developed and is hosted by UCSC.

On June 26, 2000, the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium announced that it has assembled the first working draft of the human genome--the genetic blueprint for a human being. Members of the consortium from UCSC, led by David Haussler, director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, created a powerful new computer program to assemble the working draft of the human genome.

David Haussler, professor of biomolecular engineering, and Yishi Jin , professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, have been named investigators with the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Foundation.

Professor David Haussler has been appointed to the UC Presidential Chair of Computer Science at the Santa Cruz campus. The appointment lasts from July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001, and may be renewed for up to two additional years. Annual support for this position is approximately $45,000.

Two UCSC faculty members--professor of computer science David Haussler and professor of philosophy David Hoy--have been appointed to UC Presidential Chairs on the Santa Cruz campus.

Chancellor Greenwood made the appointments, which will extend from July 1, 2000, through June 30, 2001, and may be renewed for up to two additional years. Annual support for each chair is approximately $45,000.

The emerging field of bioinformatics research and its application to the Human Genome Project is the subject of an articlein Science Daily: "Genome scientists muster computer software tools for handling the flood of raw data from the Human Genome Project and related efforts."

A new discipline has emerged at the intersection of computer science and biotechnology, bringing the power of advanced computational techniques to bear on complex problems in molecular biology. Called bioinformatics or computational biology, this new field is providing essential tools for scientists on the leading edge of research in genetics and other fundamental areas of biology.

The University of California, Santa Cruz recently received a $150,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in support of a professional masters degree program in bioinformatics put forth by the CBSE. The program is a collaborative effort between the School of Engineering and the Division of Natural Sciences.

Professor Harry Noller, Director of the UCSC Center for the Molecular Biology of RNA, and his team have solved the structure of the ribosome, the largest and most important macromolecular complex ever solved. The results were presented in a recent issue of Science.