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CCNY-led research team identifies new organelle in parasitic wasp venom

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City College of New York biologist Shubha Govind and her research team have identified the composition of “virus-like particles" (VLPs) found in the venom of a wasp that is a parasite of fruit flies. Invisible to the eye, wasp VLPs suppress the flies’ immune responses by killing their blood cells.

Wasps lay their eggs along with spiked VLP particles into the worm-like immature bodies of Drosophila melanogaster, the long-venerated genetic model of human disease and development. In the wild, parasitic wasps attack insects and are used to naturally control crop damage by insect pests. The Govind lab has developed a model to study this host/parasite interaction in the laboratory. While the particles were originally termed “virus like” due to their size and structure, this work has shifted that view.

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The Division of Science at City College has a proud legacy and a proud future.  Ten Nobel Laureates studied science and mathematics at CCNY.  World-renowned physicists like Myriam Sarachik, who serves on the governing council of the National Academy of Sciences, and well-known author Michio Kaku teach our students, and distinguished professors conduct cutting edge research on everything from climate change to structural biology to sustainable energy, and everything in between.  City College students, even as undergraduates, have an unprecedented opportunity to work in these labs.  In the past 8 years the Division has produced two Rhodes Scholars and several Goldwater and Truman scholars, as well as graduates who have gone on to the most prestigious graduate schools, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation to pursue their research.

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For over 150 years, The City College of New York has provided access to excellence in the scientific disciplines for the diverse population of New York City, molding sharp minds from all backgrounds into a potent STEM workforce to meet national needs. Today, the Division of Science aspires to ensure a diverse and engaging environment, knowing that the creative energy and innovative insights that result from diversity are vital for the intellectual rigor and social fabric of the College, and are requisite for a highly effective scientific workforce of the future. As a scholarly community, the Division welcomes people of all racial, ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, national and international backgrounds, without regard to religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

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