July 10, 2014 -- Graduate student Erica Shannon passed her qualifying exam. Her examiners were Irina Kaverina, Chin Chiang, Jeff Davidson, and Ian Macara. Here is Erica (right) relaxing with a beer after it is over.
Scott McCall and colleagues paper entitled, "Bromine Is an Essential Trace Element for Assembly of Collagen IV Scaffolds in Tissue Development and Architecture" was published in Cell. The study found that the element bromine, previously thought not to be essential for life, is in fact essential in mediating crosslinking of the basement membrane. The Page-McCaw lab contributed by showing that fruitflies cannot survive without bromine; and before dying, flies raised without bromine display phenotypes similar to mutants lacking either the enzyme that crosslinks basement membrane or lacking a basement-membrane component.