Petit Faculty Win Sigma Xi Awards

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Mark Borodovsky and Francesca Storici, faculty members of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, have been selected as Sigma Xi award winners for 2015.

Borodovsky, Regents’ Professor in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, won the Sustained Research Award, and will present highlights of his research at the Sigma Xi dinner on April 15, when he’ll be honored along with the rest of this year’s award winners.

As director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics, Borodovsky’s works on development of machine-learning algorithms for computational analysis of biological sequences: DNA, RNA and proteins. His research group’s primary focus is on prediction of protein-coding genes and regulatory sites in genomic DNA.

Storici, associate professor in the School of Biology, won the Best Faculty Paper award for research that appeared in the journal Nature. “We are interested in the relationship between RNA and DNA in the context of genome stability,” says Storici, whose group studied how RNA can directly repair DNA.

“We discovered that cells can use their own RNA molecules to heal DNA double-strand breaks, which are the most dangerous lesions in DNA,” she adds. “This study has revealed a previously unknown mechanism of recombination between RNA and DNA. Now, much work is ongoing to characterize how this mechanism works and where it is prevalent.”

Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society, a non-profit honor society, comprises about 60,000 scientists and engineers affiliated with more than 500 chapters at universities and colleges, government laboratories and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 winners of the Nobel Prize have been Sigma Xi members.


Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience


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