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Impact x2 Qais

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Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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Faculty Accolades: May 2009

The National Institutes of Health have awarded a five-year, $2 million grant to BJOERN REINHARD, assistant professor of chemistry, to probe the underlying mechanisms of the abnormal behavior of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) in cancerous cells. Because growth factors are overexpressed in many cancers, a molecular understanding of the EGFR activation mechanism will provide new opportunities for early cancer diagnosis and lead the way to developing efficient anti-cancer therapeutic strategies. Bjoern and his group have contributed significantly to research in the Department of Chemistry and at BU in the fields of nanoscience, photonics, and biological materials.

KAREN ALLEN, associate professor of chemistry and an internationally renowned crystallographer, along with BU graduate student Meng-Chiao Ho, post-doctoral associate Jean-Francois Menetret, and Hiro Tsuruta of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (a division of the National Accelerator Laboratory), published a paper in the May 21 online version of Nature. Titled “The Origin of the Electrostatic Perturbation in Acetoacetate Decarboxylase,” the paper highlights research that used x-ray crystallography to reveal the structural underpinnings of a widely-known enzyme, acetoacetate decarboxylase, that was first described more than 43 years ago. While earlier descriptions included how the enzyme accelerates its target reaction, there has never been a full explanation of how the reactions occur in the environment of the cell until the publishing of this paper. The breakthrough will have broad implications, from medicine to the protein engineering of new environmentally friendly “green” biofuels. To read the paper, click here.