23rd Penn State Symposium in Plant Biology: RNA Biology

Stephane Bentolila, Associate Research Professor, and graduate student Jose Lombana attended the 23rd Penn State Symposium in Plant Biology: RNA Biology meeting from May 18 – 20, 2022. Bentolila (photo above) presented on “The involvement of the RanBP2 zinc finger domain in plant organelle RNA processing” as part of the RNA and Cell Biology section of the meeting.

Ancient enzymes: a potential path to improve photosynthesis

An April 2022 publication in Science Advances, describes some recent work in the lab to improve photosynthesis. The paper describes the evolution of Rubisco, an important yet inefficient carbon-fixing enzyme, using computational methods. These computational methods led to the prediction of ancestral Rubisco variants that were tested in E. coli under different CO2 conditions. Enzymes with higher catalytic efficiency were identified. Overall, the results highlight ways to help plants adapt to anthropogenic climate change. Check out a Cornell CALS news article for a longer description of the work.

Dr. Maureen Hanson and Dr. Myat Lin
Photo credit: Cornell University

PNAS publication describes work to remove molecular barriers in improving photosynthesis

Members of the Hanson Lab have co-authored a new Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publication on work towards improving photosynthesis. Kevin Hines (Ph.D. ’19), a recent Hanson Lab alum, and Vishal Chaudhari, postdoctoral associate in Hanson’s lab, were co-first authors. Kristen Edgeworth, a former NSF REU student, and Thomas Owens, Section of Plant Biology, joined Hines and Chaudhari, and Hanson in the work.

The paper outlines progress towards the goal of concentrating carbon dioxide (CO2) in the chloroplast of plants. A feat that would improve photosynthesis by enhancing the efficiency of carbon fixation. The removal of carbonic anhydrase is an important step in the overall process. Carbonic anhydrase is naturally occurring in plants and works to balance levels of CO2 and bicarbonate.

The Cornell Chronicle has published an article that describes this work in more detail.

Congratulations to Dr. Gipson

Stephane Bentolila, Andrew Gipson, and Maureen Hanson at the celebration of Andrew’s successful completion of his Ph.D. exam, July 2021

Andrew Gipson’s Cornell career started with an NSF REU BTI/Cornell internship in the Hanson lab, where he won the “Colonel’s Cup” for best research presentation.  After graduating from Kenyon College and working at U. Minnesota as a technician, Andrew returned to Cornell and completed his Ph.D. on plant organelle organelle editing, co-advised by Stephane Bentolila and Maureen Hanson.  Andrew has become an accomplished teacher, holding several head TA positions.  Andrew presented his work at a minisymposium at the 2020 online ASPB meeting. He is co-author of a paper on an RNA splicing factor.   With the publication of a review article, Andrew is officially an expert in zinc finger proteins in plants!

Hanson elected to two Academies

Dr. Maureen Hanson has been elected to two important organizations in April 2021.

On April 22, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced their 2021 election results. A total of 252 new members were elected. Hanson joins other newly elected members Oprah Winfrey (Harpo, Inc.; Oprah Winfrey Network), Sanjay K. Gupta (CNN; Emory University School of Medicine), and H. Holden Thorp (American Association for the Advancement of Science). The Cornell Chronicle has featured Hanson’s election in a recent article.

Shortly after, on April 26, the National Academy of Sciences released their list of 120 newly elected members. Hanson joins a renowned group of national and international scientists.  Members are elected based on “their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” Election to the NAS is one of the highest honors in the scientific field.  The Cornell Chronicle has a second article featuring two faculty from Cornell who were elected this year.

Plasma proteomics publication shows disrupted cell-to-cell signaling

We are proud to announce our latest plasma proteomics publication is available as open access in Proteomes.

This manuscript takes a look at 4,790 circulating plasma proteins from 20 ME/CFS women compared to 20 healthy women, over an unprecedented range, for ME/CFS, of 9 orders of magnitude.

Arnaud Germain, PhD

Pathway analysis uncovered disrupted cell-to-cell communication, specifically in the ephrin-Eph signaling pathway. This pathway is crucial for many aspects of our body’s homeostasis, including development, physiology, and disease regulation.

Additionally, the paper outlines promising results for the development of a diagnostic test using protein ratios.

First author, Arnaud Germain, PhD, outlines these findings in a video abstract below.

Transcripts for the video are available:

Chinese, French, and Spanish subtitles for the video abstract are available. See video settings to select an option.

Nature publication outlines progress towards improving photosynthesis

Hanson Lab Postdoctoral Research Associate, Myat Lin, is first author on a Nature Plants publication that outlines new advances on the use of Escherichia coli for improving photosynthesis. The publication highlights key work in providing a microbial platform for the continued enhancement of Rubisco enzyme kinetics. Vishal Chaudhari and Maureen Hanson from our lab and William Stone ’18 contributed to this work.

Dr. Maureen Hanson and Dr. Myat Lin
Photo credit: Cornell University

The Cornell Chronicle has published an article on this work. The Nature Plants publication has limited access, but the Cornell Chronicle article is freely available.

Working to improve plant photosynthesis with collaborators at Lancaster University

Collaboration between the Hanson Lab and researchers at the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, produced a February 2020 publication in Plant Physiology. The publication outlines progress towards engineering a cyanobacteria CO2 concentrating mechanism in plants, an achievement that has the potential to increase crop production by improving photosynthesis. Particularly, the paper demonstrates the ability to form a hybrid Rubisco enzyme composed of a plant (tobacco) small subunit and a cyanobacteria (Synechococcus elongatus) large subunit. Check out the publication to take a closer look into this fascinating research.

Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University
Photo credit: www.lancaster.ac.uk

Congratulations to Kevin Hines

Dr. Maureen Hanson and Dr. Kevin Hines at the Cornell hooding ceremony

From an REU internship to a Ph.D., Kevin Hines has made a notable impact on the Hanson Lab. His journey in the Hanson Lab started in 2012 as an NSF REU summer intern. This internship involved developing genetic tools for the production of carboxysomes in tobacco chloroplasts. His work proved fruitful contributing to a publication in Plant Journal.

After his internship, Hines decided to continue his research efforts at Cornell and joined the Hanson Lab as a graduate student. Building off of his previous work, Hines developed an aptitude for microscopy where he collaborated in the publication of articles on stromules, RNA editing, and carboxysomes (under review). His skilled application of scientific techniques enabled him to explore a thesis regarding carbonic anhydrase in plant chloroplasts. Cornell’s OVPR highlighted this work in an article.

His time in the lab included participating in the ASPB meeting and the Photosynthesis from Light to Life conference in 2018. In that same year, he also presented at the International Symposium on Photosynthesis and Chloroplast in Kurashiki, Japan. All of this work came together on November 20, 2019 when he successfully defended his thesis. Congratulations, Dr. Hines!

Kevin Hines featured on OVPR website

Hanson lab graduate student, Kevin Hines, was featured in an article on the Cornell Office of the Vice Provost for Research website. The article provides insight into Hines from his research journey at Cornell to his current work on increasing photosynthetic efficiency in tobacco. Click the link above to read the full article.

Maureen Hanson participates in the SFB-TRR 175 meeting on Chloroplast Acclimation

Photo credit: The Green Hub TRR 175

From August 5th to 9th, 2019, Dr. Maureen Hanson participated in the SFB-TRR meeting titled “Acclimation and Chloroplast Biology: from Genes to Systems” at Kloster Irsee near Munich, Germany. Particularly, Dr. Hanson spoke about her lab’s current work on plant rubisco and carbonic anhydrase.

The meeting is part of The Green Hub SFB-TRR 175 focusing on the coordination of acclimation in plants. Also, for non-German readers, SFBs (Sonderforschungsbereich) are German-based collaborative research centers and the TRR (Transregio) indicates that it is transregional.

Congratulations to Alexandra Mandarano

Dr. Alexandra Mandarano

The Hanson Lab would like to congratulate Alexandra Mandarano on passing her Ph.D. thesis exam on July 19, 2019. Mandarano joined the Hanson Lab after completing a B.S. in Biochemistry from SUNY-Geneseo. In the lab, her work focused on the gut microbiome and immune cell metabolism in ME/CFS. This work is highlighted in a microbiome publication in PeerJ and a T cell metabolism publication in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The latter of which also has an accompany video.

Her time in the lab included participating in several conferences and meetings. One of these events, the NIH Accelerating Research on ME/CFS meeting in 2019, she presented her work along with other key speakers. She also received a travel scholarship to attend an ME/CFS conference in London. Since graduating, Mandarano has started a postdoctoral position at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Congratulations, Dr. Mandarano!

Collaboration leads to designer protein production in plants

Jennifer Schmidt at ASPB 2018

A collaboration between the Hanson Lab and the labs of Beth Ahner at Cornell University and Steve Long at the University of Illinois resulted in a publication in Nature Plants.  The work done is a proof of principle showing that plants can be used to produce designer proteins. Engineered plants producing cellulase protein Cel6A, and with enough sun, water and fertilizer, were able to grow normally in the field. A Cornell Chronicle article, “Designer plants one step closer to growing low-cost medical, industrial proteins“, goes into more detail about this work and includes a video illustration.

Maureen Hanson speaks at Plant Canada 2019

Photo credit: Plant Canada 2019

Dr. Maureen Hanson was invited to be a plenary speaker at Plant Canada 2019. The conference was held in Guelph, Canada from July 7-10, 2019, and brought together several Canadian plant science societies and international speakers. Dr. Hanson spoke about improving photosynthesis in C3 plants. Additional information about the program can be found here.

Ludovic Giloteaux attends ISEV 2019

Dr. Ludovic Giloteaux

The International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) held their 2019 annual meeting in Kyoto, Japan from April 24th to 28th. Center member Dr. Ludovic Giloteaux attended the conference to network with international experts on the latest extracellular vesicle (EV) research. Dr. Giloteaux also presented some of our current EV research on cytokine and miRNA profiling of plasma EVs in ME/CFS. Check out the conference program for an overview of what information was covered.

Meeting venue

Maureen Hanson and Alex Mandarano attend 14th Invest in ME Research International ME Conference

Photo credit: Investinme.org

InvestinME Research hosted a series of events in London with the purpose of promoting better education about ME/CFS and increasing international collaboration on ME/CFS research. The series began with the Thinking the Future Young/ECR conference on May 28th, 2019, for which Hanson lab graduate student Alexandra Mandarano received a travel scholarship to attend. Dr. Maureen Hanson attended and presented at the ninth Biomedical Research into ME Colloquium and at the public 14th Invest in ME Research Conference on May 31st.

A full report of the conference is available on the InvestinME website here and includes a recording of Dr. Hanson’s talk.

Maureen Hanson speaks at GRC RNA Editing 2019

Some of the GRC RNA Editing participants at I1 Ciocco in Italy

The 2019 Gordon Research Conference on RNA Editing was held in Barga, Italy from March 24th to 29th, 2019. This event marked the 11th occurrence and is subtitled “Next-generation epitranscriptomics in health and disease”. Dr. Maureen Hanson attended this conference and gave a talk titled “The RNA Editing Complex in Flowering Plants,” which was part of the “Macromolecular Machines: Complexity of RNA Modification/Editing Systems” session.

Stephane Bentolila speaks at ICPMB 2019

Dr. Stephane Bentolila Photo credit: ICPMB 2019

The 11th meeting of the International Conference for Plant and Mitochondrial Biology was held in Ein Gedi, Israel from March 10th to 15th, 2019. Stephane Bentolila, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor presented “Investigating OZ2, a protein related to the plastid editing factor OZ1.” His talk was part of Session 5: Gene Expression, Transcription & RNA Processing I. Take a look at the ICPMB 2019 website for the complete program and additional photos.

Maureen Hanson and Kevin Hines visit Japan

Kurashiki, Japan

Dr. Hanson and BMCB graduate student Kevin Hines spoke at the Conference on Photosynthesis and Chloroplast Biogenesis in Kurashiki, Japan in November 2018, hosted by Okayama University.  Dr. Hanson’s lecture was “Engineering photosynthesis in C3 plants” and Hines topic was “Chloroplast carbonic anhydrases function in photosynthesis and plant development.”  After the meeting in Kurashiki, Dr. Hanson traveled to the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Okinawa to give a lecture entitled “Biology of a common but neglected disease: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” in the Distinguished Speaker Seminar Series.

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

Hanson Lab represented at the 2018 ASPB and ISPR meetings in Montreal

From left to right: Dr. Vishal Chaudhari, Dr. Maureen Hanson, Dr. Myat Lin, and Kevin Hines

Dr. Hanson, Dr. Vishal Chaudhari, Dr. Myat Lin and BMCB student Kevin Hines all attended and presented posters at the July 2018 American Society for Plant Biology Meeting Hines gave an ASPB mini-symposium talk “Chloroplast carbonic anhydrases function in photosynthesis and plant development.”

At the satellite meeting “Photosynthesis from Light to Life,” sponsored by the International Society for Photosynthesis Research, Dr. Hanson spoke on “Improving the efficiency of photosynthetic carbon fixation in C3 plants.” 

Cyanobacterial Rubisco Publication in Nature Journal

Cyanobacterial Rubisco introduced into transplastomic tobacco plants was reported in Nature in September, 2014.  Two different tobacco genotypes that fix all carbon with a Rubisco enzyme derived from cyanobacteria have been produced following engineering the chloroplast genome by two different strategies.  Producing these plants are an important step needed to introduce the entire cyanobacterial CO2-concentration mechanism into crop plants for improved photosynthesis and crop yield.
Nature News Nature Editorial New Scientist Cornell Chronicle MIT Technology Review Cornell Daily Sun Gizmodo PBS Newshour Chemical and Engineering News Science Alert (Australia) Planet Experts Spektrum (in German) Le Scienze (in Italian) Popular Mechanics ZME Science Futurity IFL Science Rothamsted Research Nature World News The Why Files: The Science Behind the News

Scroll to top