NC State College of Veterinary Medicine 

Annual Research Forum and Litwack Lecture

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Annual CVM Research Forum sponsored by the Faculty Committee on Research is scheduled for Friday, August 16th at the CVM. The forum will be followed by an awards ceremony.

The forum includes the Litwack Lecture, given annually in honor of the late Dr. Martin Litwack, a Raleigh veterinarian and an early advocate of the College of Veterinary Medicine. This year’s lecture will be presented by Dr. Lynne Maquat, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Director, Center for RNA Biology at University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Maquat was awarded the 2018 FASEB Excellence in Science Award.and the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences.

The Research Forum will include three levels of participation:

  • A poster session, open to DVM students, graduate students, house officers, and staff.
  • Oral presentations by DVM students, graduate students/house officers, and staff.
  • Second Annual Research Image Competition – Do you have a scientific image that is beautiful enough to share? Enter your science images in the Research Image Competition at the CVM Litwack Research Day! Images will be enlarged and displayed on Research Day, and winners will be selected by popular vote (fan favorites). The rules are simple:
    – All types of images are welcome – microscopy, protein structure predictions, western blots, clinical photos – anything that you think is visually appealing and is/was part of a research study
    – Everyone is eligible to submit – students, house officers, post docs, staff, faculty
    – The only restriction is that the image must be yours and associated with a past or present research study

CVM faculty will judge poster & oral presentation sessions. Prizes for oral and poster categories will be awarded as follows:

  • The top 2 posters, oral presentations will receive a Top Honor award – $150 each.
  • The next 2 posters and oral presentations will receive an Honorable Mention award – $75 each.

Oral presentations will be limited to 10 minutes (eight minutes for presentation and two minutes for questions). Presentations will be strictly timed to ensure that all are completed in a reasonable time frame. Poster presentations will be on display all day at the Research Forum. Poster presentations must be set up by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 15th. All CVM faculty are asked to attend.


Follow these instructions for submitting an abstract in the new Abstract Submission Portal. 

Litwack Lecture

NC State CVM 2019 Litwack Lecturer Dr. Lynne Elizabeth Maquat

Lynne Elizabeth Maquat, Ph.D. - 2018 FASEB Excellence in Science Award and the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences

Dr Maquat was awarded the 2018 FASEB Excellence in Science Award and the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences

Research in Dr. Maquat’s lab focuses on RNA decay pathways. One pathway, called nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) or mRNA surveillance, surveys all newly synthesized mRNAs during what we call a “pioneer” round of translation. This round of translation involves mRNA that is associated with the cap-binding heterodimer CBP80 and CBP20. It is distinct from the type of translation that supports the bulk of cellular protein synthesis and involves a different cap-binding protein, eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4E. Generally, if translation terminates more than 50-55 nt upstream of an exon-exon junction that is marked by the NMD factors Upf3 or Upf3X, Upf2 and ultimately Upf1, then the mRNA will be subject to NMD. By the time CBP80 and CBP20 have been replaced by eIF4E, the Upf mark has been removed so that mRNA is largely immune to NMD.

Studies in progress will significantly advance our understanding of the mRNP proteins, translation factors and nucleases that trigger NMD. Results will be useful when designing therapies that aim to abrogate NMD in order to abrogate the severity of nonsense-generated diseases. Dr. Maquat’s lab is also interested in further characterizing the pioneer translation initiation complex and requirements for its remodeling to the steady-state initiation complex that involves eIF4E. Additionally, we are interested in the cycle of posttranslational modifications that typify at least some of the NMD factors, including phosphorylation of Upf1 that is mediated by the PI 3-kinase-related protein kinase Smg1.

Over the past 15 years, their discovery and subsequent work on the mechanism of Staufen (Stau)-mediated mRNA decay (SMD) has uncovered new roles for cytoplasmic long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and retrotransposon-derived short interspersed elements (SINEs) in post-transcriptional gene regulation. These SINEs include human Alu elements and mouse B1, B2, B4 and ID elements. We have shown that NMD and SMD are competitive pathways in ways that contribute to cellular homeostasis and also differentiation. Dr. Maquat’s lab continues to define new cellular roles for SINEs as sites for nucleating intermolecular base-pairing between different mRNAs, between mRNAs and lncRNAs, and between different lncRNAs. The lab is additionally extending their studies of inverted-repeat Alu elements (IRAlus) and how competitive binding among the many nuclear and cytoplasmic double-stranded RNA binding proteins influence nuclear and cytoplasmic IRAlus-containing RNA metabolism.

Most recently, Dr. Maquat’s lab has discovered a new microRNA decay pathway that is mediated by Tudor-SN. This pathway, which they call TumiD, promotes G1-to-S phase transition by degrading microRNAs that degrade mRNAs encoding proteins that promote this transition. They are currently working on how TumiD is regulated.

PreviousLitwack Lecture Distinguished Speakers


Schedule of Events

Time Event Location
8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Coffee & Bagels Green Commons
8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Oral Presentations A-101
8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Oral Presentations North Theater
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. CVM Research Image Competition CVM lobbies
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. House Officer/Graduate Student Posters Judged Green Commons
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. DVM Student Posters Judged Green Commons
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Oral Presentations North Theater
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Oral Presentations A-101
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Litwack Lecture – Dr. Lynne Maquat North Theater
5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony (awards presented by Dr. Maquat) North Theater


History of the Litwack Lecture 

Martin Litwack

A Legacy of Leadership in Veterinary Medicine

The Litwack Lectures are supported by the Martin Litwack Fund, an endowment created by family and friends as a living memorial to Dr. Litwack, who was an acknowledged leader in establishing the College of Veterinary Medicine at NC State University. Dr. Litwack was a charter member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation and was active in many professional organizations including the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association. He served as president of the Triangle, Eastern North Carolina and North Carolina Veterinary Medical Associations. Dr. Litwack was also very active in community affairs and received many awards in recognition of his service and leadership, including the North Carolina Association of the Professions Special Recognition Award. Dr. Litwack is perhaps best remembered for his love of his family and profession, his deep commitment to education and to North Carolina State University, and his strong sense of obligation to the North Carolina livestock industry and to the general public.