Link: University of Iowa

Congrats Fall 2018 Biochemistry PhD Graduates

January 16th, 2019 by Briana Horwath

Wesley Lay, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Adrian Elcock, received a PhD on December 14, 2018. His thesis was entitled, “Optimizing Computer Simulation Models for Carbohydrates and Proteins at the Atomistic and Coarse-Grained Level”.

Arpit Sharma, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Eric Taylor, received a PhD on December 14, 2018. His thesis was entitled, “Loss of the Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier Drives Cori Cycling and Whole-body Leanness”.  Arpit is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at Harvard School of Public Health.

Kyle Powers, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Todd Washington, received a PhD on December 14, 2018. His thesis was entitled, “Structure and Function of the Disordered Tails in Translesion Synthesis DNA Polymerases”. Kyle is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in Dr. Christiane Berger-Schaffitzel’s lab at the University of Bristol.

Congrats Wesley, Arpit, and Kyle!

Dr. Pamela Geyer Elected to the Board of Directors of the Genetics Society of America

December 19th, 2018 by Briana Horwath

Dr. Pamela Geyer (Professor, Biochemistry, Obstetrics and Gynecology) was elected to the Board of Directors of the Genetics Society of American (GSA). Founded in 1931, the GSA is a professional scientific society for scientific researchers and educators in the field of genetics. Dr. Geyer is excited to join this board at this time of rapid paced discoveries in genetics. She brings to the board her long-standing commitment to training and will continue advancing initiatives to ensure a vibrant, inclusive and diverse network of engaged geneticists. Dr. Geyer is a strong supporter of model organisms and their utility in providing platforms for scientific advances, and looks forward to advocating for these communities. She will serve on the board until 2021.

Congrats Dr. Geyer!

Dr. Madeline Shea Elected as AAAS Fellow

November 29th, 2018 by Briana Horwath

Dr. Madeline Shea has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Shea was elected for her “distinguished contributions to the field of biochemistry and biophysics, particularly in the role of calmodulin in signal transduction, and for the establishment of innovative educational programs.” Among current Biochemistry primary faculty, Dr. Shea joins Drs. Pamela Geyer, Marc Wold, Charles Brenner, David Price, and Peter Rubinstein.

416 fellows have been elected this year and Dr. Shea is one of two scientists from the University of Iowa.

Congratulations Dr. Shea!

For the full press release please visit Iowa Now.

Dr. Price receives 2018 CCOM Collegiate Teaching Award

November 12th, 2018 by Maren Rogers

Congratulations to Dr. David Price for being chosen to receive a Carver College of Medicine (CCOM) Collegiate Teaching Award for 2018. Professor Price has been a prominent teacher in the Department of Biochemistry since joining the University of Iowa in 1989. He has demonstrated unusually significant and meritorious teaching throughout his career. Professor Price has taught thousands of undergraduate and graduate students in core courses focused on Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His teaching has extended to the laboratory, where he has trained a remarkable 125 individuals whose research has been published in top ranked journals such as Cell and Molecular Cell. These individuals describe Professor Price as a caring mentor that taught them how to critically evaluate data and write clear manuscripts, which have been critical tools for their success.

Among current Biochemistry primary faculty, Dr. Price joins Drs. Peter Rubenstein, Adrian Elcock, Lori Wallrath, Dan Weeks, Todd Washington, Kris DeMali, Pamela Geyer, Marc Wold, and Ernesto Fuentes as recipients of the CCOM Collegiate Teaching Award.

Hannah Campbell awarded the People’s Choice Award for Three Minute Thesis challenge

November 5th, 2018 by Maren Rogers

Hannah Campbell, a graduate student in the DeMali Laboratory, was selected as one of nine finalist for the The University of Iowa’s fifth Three Minute Thesis competition, which challenges graduate students to clearly and concisely articulate complex research to non-specialist audiences.  Hannah was awarded the People’s Choice Award, selected by audience ballot, for her presentation entitled, “Cells that work together, stay together.” Congratulations, Hannah!

2018 Biochemistry Newsletter now available

November 5th, 2018 by Maren Rogers

The 2018 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 biochem@uiowa.edu. While you are at it, feel free to send us your news and updates! Previous newsletters are also available online.

Samuel Trammell receives the 2018 Marion Dave Francis Innovator Award

September 5th, 2018 by Maren Rogers

Dr. Samuel Trammell, a 2016 Genetics PhD with Dr. Charles Brenner, received the 2018 Marion Dave Francis Innovator Award which recognizes a PhD student whose research has demonstrated their singular personal initiative, creativity, and resulting continuous discovery, as exemplified by Dr. Francis. Dr. Trammell’s PhD work represents a quantum leap in analytical chemistry of the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) metabolome. His body of work greatly advanced methodology and our understanding of regulation and dysregulation of NAD metabolism in health and disease. Sam is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Gillium at the University of Copenhagen. Congratulations, Dr. Trammell!

Jennifer Bays awarded the 2018 Subramanian Thesis and 2018 Clarence Berg Awards

September 5th, 2018 by Maren Rogers

Dr. Jennifer Bays, a 2017 PhD with Dr. Kris DeMali, has been named the winner of the 2018 Subramanian Award for best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry.  Dr. Bays’ thesis was entitled “Mechanisms of E-cadherin Mechanotransduction.” Jennifer is the 23nd 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.

Jennifer was also named the winner of the 2018 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.” Clarence P. Berg, an internationally known amino acid biochemist who was a member of the department for 36 years (1932-1968). Dr. Berg is well known as the author of the 1980 book, “The University of Iowa and Biochemistry from their Beginnings.”

Jennifer is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Christopher Chen’s laboratory at Boston University. Congratulations, Dr. Bays!

Highlights of the 9th Annual Biochemistry Retreat and 70th Anniversary

August 29th, 2018 by Judy Means

Over 115 faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff members, undergraduates, and alumni attended the Department of Biochemistry’s 9th Annual Retreat and 70th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, August 25, 2018, at the newly rebuilt  Hancher Auditorium.

Invited oral presentations included:

Junmin Peng, PhD., Professor, Departments of Structural Biology and Developmental Neurobiology, and Director of Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Title: Omics-based systems biology of human disease
Dr. Peng was a former graduate student in Dr. David Price’s lab, obtaining a PhD in Biochemistry in 1999.

Lois Weisman, PhD, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan
Title: From yeast to humans: Insights into myosin V based transport and phosphoinositide signaling
Dr. Weisman joined the University of Iowa, Department of Biochemistry in 1993.  In 2005, Dr. Weisman moved to her current position at the University of Michigan.

James Kranz, PhD, Director, Drug Product Development, Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals
Title: Biochemistry essentials and biopharmaceutical development: Everything I need to know I first learned from Dryer & Lata “Experimental Biochemistry”
Dr. Kranz received a B.S. in Biochemistry with Honors from the University of Iowa under the mentorship of Dr. Madeline Shea.

This event also included a panel discussion with current and former Department Heads:

Charles Brenner, PhD (2009 – present)
Arthur Spector, MD (1996 – 1998)
Alan Goodridge, PhD (1987 – 1996)

The retreat featured 39 poster presentations.  Winners of the poster presentations were (left to right below):


1st place:  Hannah Campbell (DeMali Lab), Force-induced apoptosis and the mechanoprotective role of PAK2
2nd place: Alicia Ortiz (DeMali Lab), Investigating Metabolic Changes in Response to Force on E-cadherin
3rd place:  Christopher Ball (Price Lab), Human Cytomegalovirus IE2 Differentially Modulates Transcription of Select Viral Transcription Units during Late Infection
4th place:  Kelli Sylvers (Davies Lab), Characterizing the interactions between ANGPTL3, ANGPLT8, and endothelial lipase

Congrats Summer 2018 Biochemistry PhD Graduates

August 14th, 2018 by Briana Horwath

Quinn Li, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Ashley Spies, received a PhD on August 3, 2018, entitled, “Elucidating enzyme catalyic power and protein-ligand dynamics of human glucokinase: The role of modern allostery”. Quinn plans to travel after her PhD.

Mark Miller, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Adrian Elcock, received a PhD on August 3, 2018, entitled, “Use of osmotic coefficient measurements to validate and to correct the interaction thermodynamics of amino acids in molecular dynamics simulations”. Mark will be teaching Chemistry and Physics at Iowa Mennonite School in the fall.

Emily Malcolm Cushing, a Biochemistry PhD student mentor by Dr. Brandon Davies, received a PhD on August 3, 2018, entitled, “Regulation of plasma triglycerides by ANGPTL4 and GPIHBP1”. Emily is currently working as a post doc in Dr. Brandon Davies’ lab.