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Call Stephen Michnick a gene grammarian
Date:12/16/2008

This release is available in French.

Montreal, December 16, 2008 While life on Earth didn't originate from a blueprint, Stephen Michnick is helping the scientific community uncover the basic architecture of living things. A Universit de Montral biochemistry professor and Canada Research Chair in Integrative Genomics, Dr. Michnick has developed novel technologies that have enabled him to examine how proteins interact within cells.

Dr. Michnick's new ways of seeing living cells promises to reduce big chunks of analysis to understand how our genomic blueprint translates into complex life. The raison d'tre of his work is to understand the fundamental chemistry of life, pinpoint where diseases begin and map out where they can be stopped killer illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer's.

"We think of genes and proteins interact in the same manner as people process sentences," says Dr. Michnick. "Living cells do something similar with genes proteins read DNA sequence from beginning to end and translate this information in turn into new protein, which are essentially molecules that build the cells structure and control biochemical processes. But like language, there's much more to it than a simple grammatical problem; there are more abstract processes at the heart of reading genes that we need to understand."

Learning how to read genes

Dr. Michnick, who was recruited to the Universit de Montral from Harvard University, routinely collaborates with top scientists in his quest to know where life began. In a recent study published in the journal PLoS Biology, led by Harvard University's Fred Winston, the University of Toronto's Tim Hughes, Dr. Michnick and the Universit de Montral's Christian Landry helped identify genes that code for proteins that in turn control the reading of genes.

"Our team found that w
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Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
sylvain-jacques.desjardins@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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