Beadle Center organizes international event to study redox reactions and health | Nebraska today

An international group of faculty and graduate students is gathering this week at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Beadle Center for a graduate course that studies redox reactions – electron transfers that have major implications for biological processes and health, from energy generation in cells to breaking down food for nutrients.

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

The Beadle Center provides the course Redox Regulation, Oxidative Stress and Selenoproteins. The event started on June 10 and ends on June 14. Graduate students from UNL and the University of Nebraska Medical Center are participating, along with interns from Karolinska Institutet; the Medical University of South Carolina; the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; University College London; and various institutions from Budapest.

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

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

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

“One of the key quotes of the course is from a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi – ‘Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest’ – which captures the spirit and relevance of the course ,” says Oleh Khalimonchuk, Willa Cather Professor of Biochemistry and director of the Redox Biology Center.

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

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

“We have repeatedly received very positive feedback from students, highlighting how valuable this course was to their thesis work and research efforts,” said Khalimonchuk. “Several former students attended the course as teachers, which was really worth seeing.”

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