HCRI researchers win CTSI awards

Holly Weiss-Bilka, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded ‘best poster presentation’ in the postdoctoral division at the 2015 Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) annual meeting. As part of the award, Weiss-Bilka will receive $1,000 in research supply funds from the Indiana CTSI. Under the direction of basic-science supervisor Dr. Matthew Ravosa (University of Notre Dame) and clinical mentor Dr. Sean Shih-Yao Liu (Indiana University School of Dentistry), Dr. Weiss-Bilka’s project seeks to identify variation in bone cell behavior throughout the developing skull in mammals. This multidisciplinary research team also included current (Justin Brill) and former (Matthew Mazur) Notre Dame undergraduates. While the bones of the skull have traditionally been considered to be identical, regardless of their anatomical location and embryological origin, the group’s recent studies indicate that this assumption is incorrect. Rather, bone cells derived from specific regions of the skull possess site-specific behaviors that vary with respect to their ability to proliferate and to deposit bone tissue. The award-winning poster highlighted differences in the way that bone cells isolated from the skullcap and mandible deposit tissue compared to bone cells derived from the cranial base. Identifying such novel differences in the mechanobiology of disparate cranial regions could lead to improved, targeted therapies for bone(s) in need of corrective intervention due to developmental defects or trauma.

Selected from CTSI posters for presentation at Eli Lilly:

Tim Riley:  Deconstructing the Peptide Specificity of TCR Recognition

Ruth Nelson:  Homology Modeling of Cancer Neoepitopes 

Cory Ayres:  Molecular Dynamics Studies of the Role of Protein Flexibility in Immunological Molecular Recognition

Sydney Blevins:  Conserved residues in TCR CDR loops and their role in influencing MHC recognition