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Protein Society Recognizes NDSU Researcher Paper

The Protein Society recently selected a paper published by the NDSU research group of Dr. Sangita Sinha, as one of the two "Best Paper" awards for 2017. Each year the not-for-profit scholarly society selects and recognizes two papers from all articles published in their journal.

Dr. Sinha was the senior author directing the research reported in the paper "BECN2 interacts with ATG14 through a metastable coiled-coil to regulate autophagy." Dr. Minfei Su, as the lead junior author, will be the recipient of this award at the Protein Society meeting in Boston this summer. Other NDSU researchers who participated in this research are Dr. Christopher Colbert, and graduate students Ms. Yue Li and Mr. Shane Wyborny, all from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The paper is the first to provide structural information on a BECN2 domain and delineates similarities and differences in the interaction of the BECN paralogs with ATG14, which is essential for autophagy. 

Dr. Sinha

Dr. Su

Autophagy is the natural process of the orderly destruction and recycling of cellular components. Sinha said about the research, "Such a comparative understanding of the structural and thermodynamic details of how BECN homologs self-assemble and recruit binding partners is critical to deciphering the molecular decisions that contribute to cellular homeostasis, and also to the evolution of BECN paralogs."

Sinha continued, "Minfei performed the majority of the research reported in this paper and trained and mentored two students who then contributed to the research (and are coauthors on the paper). I am fortunate to have had Minfei in my group and am exceedingly pleased that such a deserving student will receive this honor."

Dr. Su commented "I am very appreciative of the guidance and support from Dr. Sinha over the years which helped me develop commitment towards pursuing a career in academia."

Dr. Minfei Su grew up in Jiangsu Province, China where she obtained a MS in Botany from Nanjing University and a BS in Biotechnology from the Nanjing Agricultural University. While at Nanjing Agriculture University, she received “Best-all-round Student Scholarship” and “Outstanding Graduate” recognition. She was admitted to the Ph.D. program in the NDSU Biochemistry Department in 2010 and graduated from Dr. Sinha’s lab with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2016. She is now a postdoc at Weill Cornell Medical College.

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