June 11, 2024

Beadle Center hosts international event to study redox reactions and health

About 35 people pose on a staircase outside the Beadle Center.

The Beadle Center is hosting the course Redox Regulation, Oxidative Stress and Selenoproteins from June 10 to 14.

An international group of lecturers and graduate students is meeting at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Beadle Center this week for a graduate course studying redox reactions — electron transfers that have major ramifications for biological processes and health, from generating energy in cells to breaking down food for nutrients.

The university’s partner institutions for the annual summer graduate course are Karolinska Institutet of Stockholm, Sweden; the Medical University of South Carolina; and the National Institute of Oncology of Budapest, Hungary. Each summer, the event rotates among the partner organizations. This is the first time Nebraska has hosted the event since 2019.

The Beadle Center is hosting the course, Redox Regulation, Oxidative Stress and Selenoproteins. The event began June 10 and concludes June 14. Graduate students from UNL and the University of Nebraska Medical Center are participating, along with trainees from Karolinska Institutet; the Medical University of South Carolina; the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; University College London; and several institutions from Budapest.

UNL’s Redox Biology Center and partner universities are providing joint training through discussions among graduate students in redox biology and leading experts in the field. The event also includes lectures, training in oral presentation, career counseling sessions and a written exam on redox biology.

During afternoon sessions, students offer presentations followed by discussions between lecturers and students.

Topics include the study of nitric oxide, a molecule whose interactions influence cell signaling, blood vessel dilation and immune response, as well as analysis of calcium signaling important for cell viability.

“One of the course’s staple quotes is by a Nobel prize-winning biochemist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi — ‘Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest’ — which captures the course’s spirit and relevance,” said Oleh Khalimonchuk, Willa Cather Professor of biochemistry and director of the Redox Biology Center.

Because “redox reactions are at the core of virtually every biological process and have huge implications in human health, understanding the basics of redox biology is the key to many scientific endeavors, from basic research to clinical trials,” he said.

The partner organizations have offered the course since 2009. More than 250 students from UNL, UNMC, Karolinska and the Medical University of South Carolina have participated.

“We’ve repeatedly received highly positive feedback from students, highlighting how valuable this course was for their thesis work and research endeavors,” Khalimonchuk said. “Several former trainees have made appearances at the course as lecturers, which was truly rewarding to see.”