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MSU Scientist Edits Unique Molecular Life Sciences Resource

Laurie Kaguni

Michigan State University Distinguished Professor Laurie S. Kaguni, internationally recognized for her expertise in the structural and mechanistic biochemistry of mitochondrial DNA replication, served as volume editor for the newly released comprehensive biochemistry encyclopedic reference, “Molecular Life Sciences,” published by Springer in a joint project with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  

A longstanding participant of the society, Kaguni, a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) in the College of Natural Science and director of the MSU Center for Mitochondrial Science and Medicine, was appointed to select four section editors who helped her recruit 78 authors for the one-of-a-kind resource to cover all areas of DNA structure and metabolism. Kaguni’s writing team completed 164 entries, which constitutes about 80 percent of the 1,246-page, two-volume encyclopedia. Seven researchers (including Kaguni) from MSU contributed to the project, which began in 2011.

“The purpose of creating this resource was to reach scientists at all levels—from the undergraduate student to the senior research scientist—through Springer’s bundling of materials (including journals and books) to universities, both nationally and internationally,” Kaguni explained. “It’s also freely available to all members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.”

The work includes articles on genes and genomes; protein structure and function; systems biology using genomics and proteomics as the focus; molecular aspects of cell structure and function; and unifying concepts and theories from biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics that are essential for understanding the molecular life sciences, that include teaching perspectives, assessment tools and basic aspects of various experimental approaches.

“The reason for producing such a large encyclopedic reference is to provide an accurate, comprehensive description of topics covering the entire realm of biochemistry—both online and in print form—to replace much of the incomplete and/or inaccurate information that is circulating in other less comprehensive or less expert references, such as Wikipedia,” Kaguni said.

Jon Kaguni, who is BMB’s director of graduate education, served as section editor and contributor. Other MSU authors are: C. Robin BuellKevin L. Childs and Shin-Han Shiuin the Department of Plant Biology; Ning Jiang in the Department of Horticulture; and Jon R. Stoltzfus in BMB.

Kaguni is in her consultancy year at MSU and will retire in May after serving 34 years in the department.

  • via College of Natural Science website

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