Link: University of Iowa

SMWC announces Dr. Theresa L. Gioannini Endowment for Women in Science, awards student Gioannini Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

May 13th, 2015 by Maren Rogers

_D3A3851Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) announced its first endowed fellowship for undergraduate research honoring the life of Theresa L. Gioannini, Ph.D., Biochemistry Adjunct Professor and 1971 SMWC graduate. Dr. Gioannini passed away in January 2014. Through the generosity and love for his wife, Jerry Weiss, Ph.D., established the Gioannini Endowment for Women in Science. With this endowment, SMWC is able to offer a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Gioannini’s memory.

Read more about Dr. Gioannini and the endowed fellowship here.

Eleventh Annual Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Symposium

May 7th, 2015 by Judy Means

Ten students presented at this year’s Undergraduate Honors Program. This year marks the eleventh year for the Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium. Please join Professor Marc Wold, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Honors Advisor, in congratulating these 2015 graduates and their research mentors for a job well done.

Lata group

Back row (left to right): David Wadkins, Michael Turek, Alexander Hjelmaas, Brady Campbell
Front row (left to right): Yinjie Zhai, Grant Young, Xin Xu, Liam Hovey, Sarah Mayer
Inset: Samuel Mueting
  • Brady A. Campbell
    Mentor: Adrian Elcock
    Understanding the DNA: AA Interface through Molecular Dynamics Simulations
  • Alexander J. Hjelmaas
    Mentor: Brandon Davies
    Investigating the Nature of ANGPTL3 Inactivation of LPL
  • Liam Hovey
    Mentor: Madeline Shea
    Calcium/Calmodulin Modulation of Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels
  • Sarah L. Mayer
    Mentor: Daniel Weeks
    Studies on Smooth Muscle Actin Mutations Linked to Human Disease
  • Samuel R. Mueting
    Mentor: Todd Washington
    Regulation of TLS Polymerase Activity by Ubiquitin Binding to a Novel Site on the Catalytic Core
  • Michael E. Turek
    Mentor: David Price
    Characterization of an RNA Polymerase II CTD Phosphatase
  • David Wadkins
    Mentor: Adrian Elcock
    Molecular Simulation Studies of Sequence Dependent Features of DNA and RNA Conformation
  • Xin Xu
    Mentor: Charles Brenner
    Understanding Site Specificity of Non-enzymatic Protein Acetylation in Mitochondria
  • Grant H. Young
    Mentor: Lori Wallrath
    A Fruit Fly Model of Muscular Dystrophy Reveals Novel Mechanisms of Pathology
  • Yinjie Zhai
    Mentor: Hillel Haim
    Structural Modulation of HIV-1 Env by Stability Modifying Agents

The symposium also included the presentation of two undergraduate awards, made possible by a gift from Alap Subramanian. The H.G. Wittmann Scholar Award was presented to Alexander J. Hjelmaas (Davies lab) and the H.G. Khorana Scholar Award was presented to Sarah L. Mayer (Weeks lab), recognizing their exceptional understanding of biochemistry and its value to society.

Congratulations to everyone named above and all of our 2015 graduates!

Alumnus Michael Feldkamp et al. received top honors at Vanderbilt’s TechVenture Challange

May 4th, 2015 by Maren Rogers

Biochemistry Alumnus Michael Feldkamp (Shea Lab, 2010 PhD) and a team of of graduate, business and law students from Vanderbilt University won top honors at last week’s TechVenture Challenge which teaches students how to bring patented “inventions” by Vanderbilt faculty members to market.

Mike’s team, named First Diagnostics, pitched Corafix (fluorocoxib A), a fluorescently labeled selective inhibitor of the COX-2 enzyme developed by Md. Jashim Uddin, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and scientific mentor of First Diagnostics team, and Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology. COX-2 is overexpressed in many cancers, including colorectal cancer.

Read more about competition and their winning proposal here.

Three undergraduates receive 2015 Rex Montgomery Scholarship Awards

May 1st, 2015 by Maren Rogers

The 2015 Rex Montgomery Scholarships were award to:

  • Maria Nunez Hernandez, Madeline Shea’s laboratory;
  • Mohammed Ismail, Maria Spies’ laboratory;
  • and Nicholas McCarty, Dale Abel’s laboratory.

Rex Montgomery Scholarships recognize undergraduate students for their outstanding academic record and commitment to research. This scholarship was established by Dr. Rex Montgomery, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Montgomery began his career at the University of Iowa in 1955, and is admired for his impact as a researcher, teacher and mentor. Dr. Montgomery is an internationally recognized carbohydrate biochemist and textbook author. While on the faculty, he served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Medicine, the Vice President of Research for the University and was the founding director of the University of Iowa Physician Assistant Program. Dr. Montgomery retired in 2005 after more than 50 years on the faculty.

Congratulations – Maria, Mohammed, and Nicholas!

Larry Gray receives Most Outstanding Entry for the CCOM Health Sciences Research Week Poster Competition

April 23rd, 2015 by Maren Rogers

Larry GrayDr. Larry Gray, a postdoc in the Taylor laboratory, received a a most outstanding entry for the Carver College of Medicine Health Sciences Research Week poster competition. Larry was recognized at the Research Week awards reception on Thursday, April 23, 2015.

Congratulations, Larry!

Davies receives an ICRU 2015 Distinguished Mentor Award

April 8th, 2015 by Maren Rogers

Dr. Brandon Davies was recently awarded an  Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) 2015 Distinguished Mentor Award. The Distinguished Mentor Award recognizes the outstanding mentoring of undergraduate students in research and creative projects at the University of Iowa. Winners are nominated by mentees. Faculty/staff recipients of the Distinguished Mentor Awards are provided funding for one ICRU Research Fellow for the academic year following their selection.

Dr. Davies will be recognized at the annual Celebration of Excellence in Research dinner, hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, in April 2015.


Allyson Mayer, Biochemistry Undergraduate Alumna, receives NSF Fellowship

April 7th, 2015 by Maren Rogers

Biochemistry Undergraduate Alumna, Allyson Mayer, who studied in the Brenner Laboratory, was recently awarded an NSF Fellowship for her thesis project entitled “The Role of Glucose Transporter 8 (GLUT8) in Hepatic Metabolic Control.” Allyson is currently pursuing her PhD in Molecular Cell Biology under Drs. Brian DeBosch and Kelle Moley at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. Congratulations, Allyson!

John Pryor wins the Clarence Berg Award

March 16th, 2015 by Maren Rogers

John Pryor, a 2012 PhD with Dr. Todd Washington, has been named the winner of the 2014 Clarence Berg Award. The Berg Award is given biennially in honor of our former Professor Clarence P. Berg to the graduate student who demonstrates “scholarship, integrity, cooperativeness, consideration and a willingness to help others.” Dr. Pryor was an American Heart Association-funded graduate student who focused on the role of replication accessory factors in promoting translesion DNA synthesis.

Previously, John was named the winner of the 2013 Subramanian Award for best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry.  John is a Lineberger Cancer Center Postdoctoral Fellow in Dale Ramsden’s laboratory at the University of North Carolina. His postdoctoral work will focus on the mechanism of DNA double-strand break repair by the non-homologous end-joining pathway. Congratulations to Dr. Pryor!

Karina Kruth wins the Subramanian Thesis Award

March 16th, 2015 by Maren Rogers

Karina Kruth, who completed her PhD with Dr. Peter Rubenstein, has been named the 2014 Subramanian Award for best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry. Karina is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Miles Pufall’s laboratory at the University of Iowa, Department of Biochemistry. Her postdoctoral work will focus on the glucocorticoid receptor structure and resistance to glucocorticoid treatment in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Karina is the 21st 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. Kruth.

Brandon Davies awarded a 2015 Carver Trust Grant

March 13th, 2015 by Maren Rogers

Davies 200x300Dr. Brandon Davies has been awarded a 2015 Carver Trust Medical Research Initiative Grant for his project entitled “Understanding the Roles of ANGPATL in Triglyceride Metabolism.”

Three members of the angiopoietin-like (ANGPTL) family–ANGPTL3, ANGPTL4, and ANGPTL8, are important regulators of triglyceride metabolism. Each is thought the influence the activity of lipoprotein lipase, the enzyme responsible for processing circulating triglycerides. Dr. Davies’ goal is to understand how ANGPTL3, ANGPTL4, and ANGPTL8 interact with each other and with LPL.

Congratulations, Dr. Davies!