Dr. Zvi Kelman (IBBR/NIST) has recently returned from Japan where he spent five weeks as an invited Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). This program is designed to enable Japanese researchers to invite their foreign colleagues to Japan to participate in cooperative work and other academic activities. Dr. Kelman’s fellowship was also supported by NIST.
“My visit to Japan was productive, stimulating and enjoyable.” commented Kelman, “I visited several universities and institutions including Kumamoto, Kyoto, Kyushu and Tokyo Universities and AIST. At each place I met with professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students. I had very interesting and stimulating discussions with everyone I met and learned a lot about the research in the various laboratories I visited.” In his discussions and seminars, Kelman spent significant time describing NIST and the Biomanufacturing program. In particular, Kelman described the Biomolecular Labeling laboratory (BL2), where he serves as Director (www.ibbr.umd.edu/facilities/bl2), and the research in his laboratory that focuses on the mechanism of chromosomal DNA replication.
From these discussions, several collaborative projects emerged. Dr. Kelman and his host at Kyushu University, Professor Yoshizumi Ishino, will explore the possibility that one of his Ph.D. students will come to the Kelman laboratory to perform studies for his thesis work. In addition, Drs. Kelman and Ishino are working on a joint manuscript that stemmed from the discussions during the Japan visit.
Dr. Kelman’s own research at IBBR focuses on the mechanism of chromosomal DNA replication. The goal of the research is to unravel the mechanism of initiation and elongation of DNA replication in archaea and other microorganisms using a combination of biochemical, biophysical, structural and genetic approaches. The laboratory models the studies on two anaerobic thermophilic euryarchaeal species, Thermococcus kodakarensis and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus. Using the genetic tools available in T. kodakarensis, the Kelman lab is identifying and isolating new replication factors. Biochemical and structural approaches are used to characterize the biochemical properties of the enzymes needed for the initiation of DNA replication as well as the proteins that participate in replisome formation and progression.