…presented with their Trade Union Certificate of RecognitionThe Guyana Goldfields Incorporated has finally recognised the National Mine Workers Union (NMWU) as the official union representative for their workers, after the organisation was accredited with the relevant certification last week.Aurora Gold MineOn Monday, the company informed that they were in receipt of a certificate from the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board, identifying the NMWU as the ‘majority union’ for workers under their subsidiary, Aurora Gold Mine (AGM).It further stated that the Union will represent employees below the supervisory level and the company is working to abide to all stipulated regulations.“The NMWU is the bargaining unit that will represent AGM employees below the level of supervisor. As stated previously, the company is actively adhering to applicable laws and regulations and is facilitating communication with relevant authorities,” Guyana Goldfields said.The certificate which was seen by this publication, was issued on September 4, 2019 after being signed by Chief Labour Officer Charles Ogle. It stated that the Union has the authority to represent the workers, effective of August 20, 2019.NMWU had secured 52 per cent of the votes in a survey conducted by the Labour Department back in August. One of the workers had informed Guyana Times that they supported the Union after it had been backing their struggles since 2015. Many were happy since this achievement provided a voice to negotiate demands for better working conditions.President of the Union, Sherwayne Downer later expressed that they would continue their strides to advocate for miners’ rights. This development, he noted, was a victory for the AGM workers.“It is a victory for the workers of AGM. As President of the Union, I vow to go above and beyond to ensure that those employees, who would have trusted and placed confidence in us, will be on the receiving end of the highest level of effective representation”.In July, over 200 workers had downed their tools and initiated strike actions for two days after calls mounted for them to be officially represented by a union and to improve working conditions and wages.During the strike, the workers had claimed that they were threatened with having their internet connection disconnected— which is vital to ensure communication from their Cuyuni-Mazaruni location to the coast. They were also demanding better wages, better quality food and laundry services, out of town allowance, missing NIS contributions among others.Three days later, the Canadian-based company indicated that persons were returning to work on a phased approach and it is anticipated that full production will resume shortly. Three days without production has resulted in an estimated 22,500 ounces of unprocessed ore.A letter was then issued to employees, granting the second quarterly bonus of 7.6 per cent on July 25, while promising that the formula for the next bonus will be reviewed. However, most of these promises were yet to be fulfilled after weeks had elapsed and some miners had threatened to initiate strike actions once more.
ShareDavid Ruth713firstname.lastname@example.orgMike Williams713email@example.comSynthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals Rice University research targets Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, other proteasomal diseases HOUSTON – (April 8, 2014) – Synthetic genetic circuitry created by researchers at Rice University is helping them see, for the first time, how to regulate cell mechanisms that degrade the misfolded proteins implicated in Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other diseases.The Rice lab of chemical and biomolecular engineer Laura Segatori has designed a sophisticated circuit that signals increases in the degradation of proteins by the cell’s ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS).The research appears online today in Nature Communications.The UPS is essential to a variety of fundamental cellular processes, including the cell cycle, DNA repair, immune response, cell death and the degradation of misfolded and damaged proteins. It has several components: ubiquitin molecules that tag misfolded proteins for degradation and proteasomes that latch onto the tagged proteins and break them down into harmless peptides.When there are too few proteasomes in a cell, or they don’t function properly, misfolded proteins that remain floating in the cytoplasm can aggregate. These aggregates can form plaques, as often seen in the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases.The Rice team added to the cell a set of genetic circuits called Degradation On – “Deg-On” for short. These circuits produce a green fluorescent signal linked to UPS degradation and allow the researchers to monitor proteasomal activity.“The overall goal is to develop a technology to screen for molecules that would enhance or activate degradation,” said Segatori, Rice’s T.N. Law Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and an assistant professor of biochemistry and cell biology.“The proteasome is essentially a big barrel that unfolds and chops up misfolded proteins. We know how to inhibit degradation, but we want to find ways to activate it, because we think that will be useful to help prevent accumulation of misfolded proteins and aggregation, which are associated with the development of a number of human diseases.”The Deg-On circuit couples proteasomal degradation of an engineered tetracycline repressor to an easily detectable fluorescent signal. The tetracycline repressor is engineered to function as a UPS substrate; it essentially mimics a misfolded protein.Normally, enhanced degradation would dampen the output signal, but this genetic circuit makes it possible to link enhanced degradation to an increase in output. The engineered repressor can still be regulated by the antibiotic tetracycline, which allows calibrating the system for the detection of even minimal activation of UPS degradation. An additional synthetic circuit provides a feedback loop that enables the self-amplification of the repressor so that adding tetracycline further boosts the signal.The Rice team did extensive computer modeling of Deg-On to improve its sensitivity and dynamic range before building and testing the system on lab-standard HeLa cells. The team included graduate student and lead author Wenting Zhao, undergraduate Claire McWhite and Rice alumnus Matthew Bonem, in collaboration with Jonathan Silberg, an associate professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice.“We came up with the idea of having a feedback loop, which is a self-activation loop for the tetracycline repressor, in our second circuit (an enhanced Deg-On),” Zhao said. “We found that a small increase in UPS activity caused a small decrease in the TetR repressor protein. Because TetR activates its own expression in the enhanced Deg-On, the fluorescent output signal is amplified and the circuit gains in sensitivity and dynamic range.”“Wenting’s work was instrumental in predicting changes in the circuit architecture that would lead to enhanced sensitivity,” Segatori said.The lab’s immediate goal is to create assays for the rapid detection of small molecules or genes that can increase proteasomal activity, she said. “This will help us rationally design compounds or strategies that could enhance degradation not only for the study and treatment of misfolding diseases but also for a variety of other applications.“Misfolding and aggregation are among the main challenges in the fields of bioengineering and biotechnology. They are the bottleneck in the high-yield production of recombinant proteins, for example, in cells engineered to crank up expression of a protein of interest,” Segatori said.The National Science Foundation, the Welch Foundation and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, through a Rice Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering Medical Innovations Award Grant, supported the research.-30-Read the abstract at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4612Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated Materials:Segatori Research Group: http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~ls15/segatori/Home.htmlSilberg Research Group: http://www.bioc.rice.edu/~joff/Rice Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering: http://ibb.rice.eduImages for download: http://news.rice.edu/files/2014/03/0331_DegOn-2-web.jpgRice University researchers have engineered a synthetic circuit for a cell’s ubiquitin proteasome system to monitor its activities, among them the critical degradation of misfolded proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases. From left, graduate student Wenting Zhao, bioengineer Laura Segatori and graduate student Claire McWhite. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6.3-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here. http://news.rice.edu/files/2014/03/Graphic.jpgThe Deg-On system, an engineered regulator, controls the expression of a fluorescent reporter. Activation of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) enhances degradation of the regulator and leads to an increase in fluorescent output. Tetracycline, an inducer, can be used to fine-tune the system and optimize detection of different levels of UPS activation. (Credit: Segatori Group/Rice University) AddThis