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12-12-2016

Clarkson University Professor Visits Research Institute in Romania

Clarkson University Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Costel C. Darie received a travel grant from the Romanian National Science Foundation (Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding, also called UEFISCDI in Romanian) to visit Professor Alina D. Zamfir's laboratory to strengthen their research collaborations.

Costel DarieZamfir's lab is located at the National Institute for Research and Development in Electrochemistry and Condensed Matter (INCEMC) in Timisoara, Romania.

The purpose of the grant was to bring together two researchers of Romanian origins who live in and outside Romania and establish or strengthen their research collaborations. Darie visited Zamfir's lab for a week this fall, and he will return to the lab for his sabbatical in the spring semester.

Zamfir is one of a few experts in glycoproteomics, the science that investigates the carbohydrates and sugars that are bound to proteins. Her main research focuses on identifying a carbohydrate biomarker signature that will allow her to detect the lysosomal storage diseases such as Fabry disease in newborns, an inherited condition that can affect blood vessels throughout the body.

Most of Zamfir's work requires the use of mass spectrometry and chip-based electrospray. Darie focuses on proteomics, the study of proteins.

"We study proteins and modified proteins such as phosphoproteins. While it is not simple, the proteins are built from a DNA/RNA template, so the amino acid sequence of a protein or a peptide -- a part of a protein -- is easier to identify by mass spectrometry. However, carbohydrates do not have a template from which they are built on proteins. That makes the interpretation of the data a little bit more complicated," Darie said. "Also, there are very few experts in the world in this field. Prof. Zamfir is one of them."

Darie and Zamfir originally met at an America Society for Mass Spectrometry meeting in 2007. At that time, Zamfir had just received a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) grant that allowed her to organize a mass spectrometry conference, which she invited Darie to attend.

Their collaboration has since continued, and in 2014 Zamfir sent two of her lab members to Darie’s lab at Clarkson.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: From left to right, Professor Alina D. Zamfir, graduate student Adrian Robu, postdoctoral fellow Mirela Sarbu, and Clarkson University Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Costel C. Darie.

[Photographs for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/darie-zamfir.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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