Link: University of Iowa

Ryan Sheldon receives F32 award

September 18th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Ryan Sheldon, a Postdoc in the Taylor laboratory, received an F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Dr. Sheldon’s project entitled “Regulation of Hepatic Lipogenesis by a Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier-Citrate Carrier Axis,” addresses the major public health problem of hyperlipidemia during Type 2 Diabetes.

Excess lipid production in the liver during type 2 diabetes leads to elevated lipids in the liver and circulation, which in turn drives many diabetes associated complications. The liver can make lipids from glucose. To do this, the glucose metabolite pyruvate is imported into mitochondria, converted to citrate, and exported to the cytosol, where is it channeled into pathways for making cholesterol and fatty acids. This research project seeks to understand how the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier and mitochondrial citrate carrier work together to influence liver lipid synthesis, accumulation, and release. Success may reveal opportunities for decreasing liver and circulating lipid content, thereby improving health outcomes in type 2 diabetes.

Congratulations, Ryan!

Elizabeth Boehm receives 2017 Subramanian Thesis Award

August 31st, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Elizabeth Boehm, who completed her PhD with Dr. M. Todd Washington, has been awarded the 2017 Subramanian Award for best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Boehm’s thesis was entitled “The regulation of translesion synthesis through binding and activation of polymerases by PCNA.” Elizabeth received her PhD in June 2016 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Johannes Walter at Harvard Medical School.

Elizabeth is the 22nd winner of the Subramanian Award, which is made possible by a gift from Dr. Alap Subramanian, a 1964 PhD from the department, who parlayed his training with the late George Kalnitsky, (and with Irving Klotz at Northwestern and both Bernard Davis and Herman Kalckar at Harvard Medical School), into a highly successful career at the Max-Planck-Institut. Our deepest thanks to Dr. Subramanian and our heartiest congratulations to Dr. Boehm.

Please visit our website for a complete list of previous winners of the Subramanian Award.

Highlights of the 8th Annual Biochemistry Retreat

August 31st, 2017 by Briana Horwath

The Department of Biochemistry held their 8th Annual Retreat on August, 26, 2017, in the Pomerantz Center on the University of Iowa Campus. The retreat featured talks by Brittany Ripley (Graduate Student-Washington Lab), Pamela Geyer (Professor), Adam Rauckhorst (Postdoc.-Taylor Lab), and Maria Spies (Professor) and 32 poster presentations.

It was exciting to learn about all the science happening in the Department! Congratulations to the winners of the various contests listed below.

Graduate Student/Postdoc Poster Competition
There was a three way tie for 1st place.
Emily Malcolm Cushing (Davies Lab) “GPIHBP1-independent mechanisms of triglyceride clearance”
Lalita Oonthonpan (Taylor Lab) “A conserved role for the MPC1 C-terminus in MPC complex assembly and function”
Arpit Sharma (Taylor Lab) “Loss of skeletal muscle Mpc1 in mice stimulates fatty acid oxidation, leanness, and nitrogen retention”

Undergraduate/Others Poster Competition
Myles Young (Taylor Lab) “Nutritional-metabolic regulation of mitochondrial morphology”

Art Show Competition
Tingting Duan (Geyer Lab) “The Beauty of Drosophila”

Congrats Summer 2017 Biochemistry PhD Graduates!

August 17th, 2017 by Briana Horwath

Jennifer Bays, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Kris DeMali, received a PhD on August 4, 2017. Jen’s thesis is entitled, ” Mechanisms of E-cadherin Mechanotransduction”. Jen has accepted a postdoctoral position with Dr. Chris Chen at Boston University.

 

 

 

John Brogie, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. David Price, recieved a PhD on August 4,2017. His thesis is entitled,”Reconsitution and functional analysis of 7SK snRNP”. John has accepted a postdoctoral position at Iowa State University

 

Xun (Allison) Chi, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Brandon Davies, received her PhD on August 4, 2017. Her thesis is entitled, “Extracellular regulation of LPL activity by angiopoietin-like proteins”. Xun has accepted a postdoctoral position with Dr. Steve Bensinger at the University of California Los Angeles.

 

 

 

Sarah Hengel, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Maria Spies, received her PhD on August 4, 2017. Her thesis is entitled, “Dissecting RAD52 function in DNA repair”. Sarah has accepted a postdoctoral position in Dr. Kara Bernstein’s Lab at the University of Pittsburgh in the Hillman Cancer Center.

Madeline Shea receives Biophysical Society’s Emily M. Gray Award

August 4th, 2017 by Maren Rogers
Congratulations to Dr. Madeline Shea who was chosen to receive The Biophysical Society’s Emily M. Gray Award for her outstanding contributions to education in biophysics at all educational levels in local, regional, and national communities. Read more on Dr. Shea’s nomination here.
The Biophysical Society, founded in 1958, is a professional, scientific Society established to encourage development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics. The Society promotes growth in this expanding field through its annual meeting, monthly journal, and committee and outreach activities. Its 9000 members are located throughout the U.S. and the world, where they teach and conduct research in colleges, universities, laboratories, government agencies, and industry. For more information on these awards, the Society, or the 2018 Annual Meeting, visit www.biophysics.org.

Samuel Trammell receives special Graduate Deans’ Distinguished Dissertation Award

July 13th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Dr. Samuel Trammell, a 2016 Genetics PhD with Dr. Charles Brenner, is the recipient of a Graduate Deans’ Distinguished Dissertation Award for his dissertation entitled “Novel NAD+ Metabolomics Technologies and Their Applications to Nicotinamide Riboside Interventions.” The Graduate Deans’ Distinguished Dissertation Award is made only occasionally and recognizes exceptionally meritorious scholarship. Dr. Trammell will be recognized at the 20th Annual James F. Jakobsen Memorial Research Conference on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at the Iowa Memorial Union. Dr. Trammell is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen with Dr. Matthew Gillium working on lipid metabolism in diabetes.

 

Sheila Baker promoted to Associate Professor

July 13th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Congratulations to Dr. Sheila Baker on her recent promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure!

Dr. Baker began working as an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry in July 2010 after completing a PhD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Vadim Y. Arshavsky at both Harvard Medical School and Duke University. During this period, she established novel systems for monitoring photoreceptor protein localization in frog eyes. Promoted to Research Assistant Professor at Duke in 2009, Dr. Baker wrote her first R01 proposal to the National Eye Institute, which was funded for five years. Dr. Baker has achieved national and international recognition as a scholar in protein trafficking in the vision system.

Colten Lankford receives multiple travel awards to attend FASEB summer conference

July 13th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Colten Lankford, a Molecular & Cellular Biology (MCB) graduate student in Dr. Sheila Baker’s laboratory, received travel awards from both the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and the MCB program to attend the FASEB summer conference on the Biology and Chemistry of Vision in Steamboat Springs, CO held June 25-30. Colten presented a Data Blitz and poster titled “Identification of HCN1 as a novel 14-3-3 client protein.”

2017 IDT & Smith-Gehring Graduate Fellowships

July 5th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

The IDT and Smith-Gehring Graduate Fellowships are awarded to three of the most meritorious second year Biochemistry graduate students based on academic and research achievements.

The 2017 IDT Graduate Fellows are Kelli Sylvers and Christopher Ball:

Ms. Kelli Sylvers had a productive first year in the graduate program and made significant scientific progress. Her rotation work has already contributed to one research paper. Ms. Sylvers grew up in Coon Rapids, Minnesota and graduated with a B.S in Biochemistry and a B.A in Biology from The College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, MN) in spring 2016. Ms. Sylvers is training in the laboratory of Dr. Brandon Davies. Her research involves the characterization of two circulating factors, ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8, that regulate lipid metabolism. ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8 form a complex that inhibits lipoprotein lipase, the enzyme responsible for delivering triglycerides from the bloodstream to tissue. ANGPTL3, and possibly ANGPTL8, can also inhibit endothelial lipase, a major regulator of HDL.  Moreover, targeting ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8 can therapeutically lower plasma lipids, which may reduce the risk of cardiac disease. The goals of Ms. Sylvers research are to understand the interactions between ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8, characterize the mechanisms by which they inhibit lipoprotein lipase and endothelial lipase, and to identify small molecules that can disrupt the action of ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8 complexes.

Mr. Christopher Ball had an outstanding first year. He earned over a 4.0 average in his classes for the two semesters and performed in an exemplary manner during his three rotations. During his rotations, he got up to speed quickly in each of the three very different research environments and was able to contribute intellectually to each project. Having a good idea is easier than putting that idea into practice, but Mr. Ball is able to fully translate his imagination into experiments that work. Mr. Ball entered Dr. David Price’s lab in the Spring and has begun several projects aimed at understanding the regulation of transcription by human RNA polymerase II. He is utilizing both biochemical and molecular approaches. Key to his success is his soft spoken thoughtfulness coupled with a drive to succeed. Mr. Ball will attend the Cold Spring Harbor Lab meeting on Transcriptional Mechanisms in the Fall where he will present some of his first results demonstrating a rapid increase in transcribing RNA polymerase II in cells under oxidative stress.

The 2017 Smith-Gehring Graduate Fellow is Alicia Ortiz:

Ms. Alicia Ortiz joined the Biochemistry Department in the Fall of 2016 after having been actively engaged in microbiology research at University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  Upon her recruitment to the University of Iowa, Alicia was named an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar, a fellowship awarded to promote the doctoral training of deserving US citizens from minority backgrounds.  As a first year student in the Biochemistry graduate program, Ms. Ortiz excelled accumulating an impressive academic and research credentials.  As a consequence of her successes, she was awarded a position on the Predoctoral Training Grant in the Pharmacological Sciences.  This is an NIH-funded institutional training program that promotes the interdisciplinary training of graduate students.  Ms. Ortiz will carry out her dissertation work in the laboratory of Dr. Kris DeMali and will focus her research efforts on understanding how epithelial cells sense and transmit forces in normal and cancer cells.

Congratulations to the 2017 IDT & Smith-Gehring Graduate Fellows!

Rachel Harder receives Women in Science and Engineering Scholarship

July 5th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Rachel Harder, a junior Biochemistry undergraduate student,  is the recipient of the J. Lynn Stoll Scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year. This scholarship is  awarded annually by Women in Science and Engineering, a UI program that focuses on helping females in all the STEM majors. Congratulations, Rachel!