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Biophysics, literally the physics of life, enables scientists working at the intersection of physics, biology and chemistry to collaborate with clinicians, mathematicians and engineers to develop a predictive understanding of biological processes, including cancer, development, infection and the immune system.  Novel tools and techniques now permit biophysicists to see and measure what was once invisible. Physics has long played a prominent role in biology – Watson, Crick and Franklin, discoverers of the structure of DNA, considered themselves biophysicists – but that role has increased dramatically in recent years as the development of new methods has transformed our understanding of biological systems, their complexity and their molecular details.

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Notre Dame researchers study potential cause of common birth defect

Notre Dame researchers study potential cause of common birth defect

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Dovichi

Small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) proteins are small peptides that get added on to other proteins to regulate their activity. While SUMO has many regulatory roles in cells, it is especially important for controlling gene expression during early development. Just a few years ago this connection between SUMO and gene regulation was relatively unknown, but now, Notre Dame researchers are exploring how a disruption to the SUMO protein’s ability to regulate embryo development may be linked to congenital heart defects. 

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