Link: University of Iowa

Xu Liu and Casey Andrews Successfully Defend Theses Fall 2014

January 9th, 2015 by Briana Horwath

Liu, Xu Online Xu Liu, A Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Ernesto   Fuentes, successfully defended his thesis on December 1, 2014, entitled “Specificity, Structure, Dynamics and Inhibition of the Tiam PDZ Domain/Ligand Complexes”. Xu is currently a post-doctoral research scholar in Dr. Ernesto Fuentes Laboratory. Later this year, he will begin a post-doctoral position in the Laboratory of Georges Mer at the Mayo Clinic.


Andrews, Casey OnlineCasey Andrews, a biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Adrian Elcock successfully defended his thesis on December 2, 2014, entitled “Coarse Grained Potential Functions for Proteins Derived from All-Atom Explicit-Solvent Molecular Dynamics Simulations”. Casey currently holds a post-doctoral research scholar position in the lab of Dr. Adrian Elcock. Casey will also be teaching under Dr. Adam Moser at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Congratulations Xu and Casey!

Professor Geyer receives the CCOM Collegiate Teaching Award

December 12th, 2014 by Maren Rogers

Congratulations to Professor Pamela Geyer for being chosen to receive a Carver College of Medicine Collegiate Teaching Award for 2014. Professor Geyer has demonstrated excellence in teaching for the past two and a half decades at the University of Iowa. The superb ratings and comments from students are a testament of her skill as an instructor. Professor Geyer has had an enormous impact on graduate education at the University of Iowa, chairing a task force that re-shaped the graduate curriculum that is in place today.

Among current Biochemistry primary faculty, Dr. Geyer joins Drs. Peter Rubenstein, Adrian Elcock, Lori Wallrath, Dan Weeks, Todd Washington, and Kris DeMali recipients of the CCOM Collegiate Teaching Award. This is the 5th consecutive year a Biochemistry faculty member has received this award.

Shea recognized as an Outstanding Educator in Medical Education

December 5th, 2014 by Maren Rogers


Professor Madeline Shea was recognized as an Outstanding Educator at the 2014 Medical Education Celebration Day on November 13, 2014. In Dr. Brenner’s nomination for Professor Shea, he wrote “For more than a decade, Madeline’s lectures on hemoglobin function to Carver College students were as central to the fall semester as home games at Kinnick. She taught thousands of doctors how the energetics of protein conformation underlie molecular medicine.” He continued, “Madeline completed an 11 year tour of duty teaching protein structure and function to M1 medical students in the former medical biochemistry course. Her lectures were paragons of clarity and organization and her student reviews were stellar.”

Andrea Diaz’s poster takes 3rd at the 40th Annual National Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Conference

December 4th, 2014 by Maren Rogers

Andrea Diaz, an IBA undergraduate student working in Dr. Maria Spies’ laboratory attended the 40th Annual National Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Conference held in Detroit, Michigan on November 5 – 9, 2014.  Andrea placed 3rd, out of 23 undergraduate technical poster competition finalists, for her poster  titled “Characterization of RAD52 Mutant Protein ssDNA Annealing Function.” Congratulations, Andrea!

Rubenstein Elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

December 3rd, 2014 by Maren Rogers

Dr. Peter Rubenstein has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) “for distinguished contributions to the fields of actin cytoskeletal biochemistry and cell biology and to innovations in the teaching of basic science in medical education.” Among current Biochemistry primary faculty, Dr. Rubenstein joins Drs. Marc Wold, Charles Brenner and David Price as AAAS fellows.

Dr. Rubenstein  is one of three faculty in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine who have been awarded the distinction of 2014 Fellow of the AAAS, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. The UI recipients are among 401individuals elected this year by peers. AAAS members are elevated to the rank of “Fellow” because their efforts to advance science or its applications are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. The new Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a rosette pin on Saturday, February 14, 2014, during the AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose, California.

Yeal Escobar, Biochemistry Summer Student, Wins Poster Award at ABRCSM

November 19th, 2014 by Judy Means

Summer undergraduate Yeal Escobar won a poster award at the 2014 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) held in San Antonio, TX. Yeal’s poster titled “The role of lamin-associated muscular dystrophy mutations in gene expression” described research she carried out in the laboratory of Lori Wallrath. Yeal was supported by the U of Iowa MSTP summer research program program and the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARCS) program at her home institution, the University of Arizona.

Article by Ran Chen and Marc Wold Featured on the Cover of BioEssays

November 14th, 2014 by Briana Horwath

Graduate student Ran Chen (Wold Lab) and Biochemistry Professor Marc Wold recently published an article that was featured on the cover of BioEssays (volume 35, issue 12). The article, entitled “Replication protein A: Single-stranded DNA’s first responder”, reviews recent discoveries from the Wold and other labs that show that replication protein A (RPA), the major eukaryotic single-stranded DNA-binding protein, binds DNA dynamically. It also proposes a new model for RPA binding and discusses the importance of dynamic binding in the correct processing of single-stranded DNA intermediates and genome stability.


2014 Biochemistry Newsletter now available

October 31st, 2014 by Maren Rogers

The 2014 Biochemistry@Iowa newsletter is hot off the presses and available for download. Alumni and friends should receive a hard copy in the mail this week. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please send your contact information to While you are at it, feel free to send us your news and updates! Previous newsletters are also available online.

Dr. Andrew Norris Appointed Associate Director, FOEDRC

October 24th, 2014 by Maren Rogers

Dr. Andrew Norris, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry at the University of Iowa has been appointed to Associate Director of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC). Dr. Norris is a physician-scientist whose research is focused on the causes and treatments of diabetes across the lifespan. He received his PhD in molecular biophysics and MD from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. Dr. Norris was trained in diabetes research and pediatric endocrinology at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Boston Children’s Hospital, both at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Norris already supports the mission of the FOEDRC by organizing a scientific research development discussion group to increase the success of research grant applications, in addition to providing scientific expertise in developing critical experimental techniques in the metabolism research core laboratories for measuring glucose metabolism and insulin resistance in laboratory animals that will be used by many members of the FOEDRC. In his new role, Dr. Norris will increase his duties by expanding career development tools available to FOEDRC Investigators such as developing and enhancing pre-submission review opportunities and other approaches that will increase the likelihood of success of grant proposals submitted by FOEDRC members. He will also assist in coordinating the weekly Diabetes & Obesity Talk series which draws talented research speakers from around the country. Dr. Norris will work closely with Dr. Abel in providing leadership and strategic planning to foster ongoing success and growth of the FOEDRC.

Congratulations, Dr. Norris!

Biochemistry Alumnus Bradley T. Hyman elected into the Institute of Medicine

October 21st, 2014 by Maren Rogers

Bradley T. Hyman, a 1982 Biochemistry PhD with Arthur Spector and a 1983 MD from the Carver College of Medicine,  has been elected into the Institute of Medicine.  Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

Dr. Hyman is the John B. Penney Jr. Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, and the the Director of the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is in the same IOM class as Nobelists Randy Schekman and Brian Kobilka and  joins a group of fewer than 1800 leading US medical scientists in this elite advisory organization.

Congratulations, Dr. Hyman!