New science at K-State attracts $4.2 million from National Science Foundation

oR program.

The center's core research team includes five K-State scientists and three University of Kansas scientists.

Xuemin (Sam) Wang, K-State biochemist, is the center's scientific director, and K-State biologist Ruth Welti will co-direct and oversee analytical activities. Other researchers associated with the center are K-State biologists Jyoti Shah and David Rintoul, K-State cereal chemist Susan Sun, University of Kansas pharmacology and toxicology researcher Rick Dobrowsky, Todd Williams, who directs the University of Kansas Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, and Steve LeVine, of KU Medical Center's Molecular and Integrative Physiology department.

Research on lipidomics undertaken at the new center will be supported through grants from various funding agencies.

"Having the center as part of the state's science infrastructure is going to place Kansas scientists in a much better position to compete for future funding," Wang said.

The K-State research group will focus first on profiling the lipid molecular species that constitute cell membranes as well as other lipid metabolites.

Collaborative research by University of Kansas scientists will focus on functions of lipids in animals, the roles of lipids in diseases like multiple sclerosis and globoid cell leukodystrophy, and cell growth arrest, cell differentiation or cell death.

According to Wang, lipidomics, or a high-throughput, comprehensive approach to studying lipids has gained increasing scientific attention. "Realizing that lipids play pivotal roles in regulating a wide variety of cellular processes is one of the major advances in modern biology of the last 20 years," Wang explained in a recent interview in The Scientist.

Lipids are the structural backbone for cell membranes of plants, animals and humans. They are the sources of metabolic energy, and the sources of regulators of numerous cellular functions in all organisms. Alterations in lipid

Contact: Mike Herman
Kansas State University

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