Eric Taylor, PhD, has been named Director of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) Metabolomics Core Facility. This facility will expand existing metabolomics capabilities at the University of Iowa, which until now has been offered through the High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS) Facility located in the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Taylor’s deep, multidisciplinary understanding of metabolism and outstanding track record of publications and extramural funding has enabled him to articulate a vision that will lead this new core facility to success. Congratulations, Dr. Taylor!
Congratulations to Postdoctoral Fellows Po Hien Ear (Brenner Lab) and Adam Rauckhorst (Taylor Lab) who were two of the three poster winners at the 2016 FOE Diabetes Research Center Retreat held on December 10, 2016, for their posters entitled “Nicotinamide riboside promotes maternal and neonatal health benefits” and “Novel mechanisms regulating mitochondrial glutamine metabolism,” respectively.
Professor Marc Wold has been awarded the 2016 John P. Long Teaching Award in the Basic Sciences, which recognizes outstanding career-level teaching contributions by the basic science faculty. Following in the footsteps of Arthur Spector (1999), Peter Rubenstein (2001), Madeline Shea (2009) and Daniel Weeks (2011) this was the fifth time a biochemist has claimed this honor in the history of the award.
Professor Wold has taught tens of thousands of students at all educational levels over the past 25 years at the University of Iowa. His approachability, patience, and thoroughness make him a sought after teacher. He is an internationally recognized leader in the field of DNA replication and repair, allowing him to integrate cutting edge molecular techniques and research findings into his instruction materials. In addition, he has served as mentor and academic advisor to thousands of students from multiple educational levels. These students have relied on his expert advice to shape their academic programming, thereby impacting their education, training and professional growth.
Lacy Barton, a 2014 PhD with Dr. Pamela Geyer, has been named the winner of the 2016 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.”
Lacy was also recently named the winner of the 2015 Subramanian Award for best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry. Lacy is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Ruth Lehmann’s laboratory at New York University School of Medicine in New York, NY. She was awarded a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Fellowship for her project entitled “Mechanisms of directed cell migration in a complex in vivo environment.” Damon Runyon fellowships are among the most recognized postdoctoral awards and a high accolade for an early career scientist. Congratulations, Dr. Barton!
The 2016 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 email@example.com. While you are at it, feel free to send us your news and updates! Previous newsletters are also available online.
Andrea Diaz, an undergraduate studying in Maria Spies’ laboratory, was offered a full-time position with Clorox Co. as a scientist in the company’s research and development department after interning with the company this past summer. Andrea credits her campus involvement and work experience with giving her the opportunities and skills she needed to make the most of her internship at Clorox. Read more about Andrea’s experience and opportunity in the IowaNow feature. Congratulations, Andrea!
Tingting Duan, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Pamela Geyer, was awarded second place in the Art in Science Competition by voters attending the Iowa Microscopy Society Fall Symposium. Her image of a tetis carpet “[drew] out beauty on an extremely small scale.” The goal of the Iowa Art in Science Contest is to recognize the combination of outstanding scientific discovery and artistic appeal inherent to microscopy research.
Brenner lab’s clinical trial on the effects of NR in humans shows the compound safely increases levels of important cell metaboliteOctober 13th, 2016 by Maren Rogers
In a study published on October 10 in Nature Communications, Dr. Charles Brenner, Roy J. Carver Chair of Biochemistry, in collaboration with visiting Levitt Professor, Dr. Marie Migaud, shows nicotinamide riboside (NR) increases levels of a cell metabolite that is critical for cellular energy production and protection against stress and DNA damage in humans. This was the first controlled clinical trial of the effects of NR in humans. “This trial shows that oral NR safely boosts human NAD+ metabolism,” Brenner says. “We are excited because everything we are learning from animal systems indicates that the effectiveness of NR depends on preserving and/or boosting NAD+ and related compounds in the face of metabolic stresses. Because the levels of supplementation in mice that produce beneficial effects are achievable in people, it appears that health benefits of NR will be translatable to humans safely.” This study was also featured on IowaNow.
Drs. Brandon Davies and Eric Taylor have been awarded FOEDRC Pilot & Feasiblity Grants of $50,000 to support their research proposal, with the possibility for a second year of funding, for a total of $100,000 over a two-year period.
Dr. Davies’s proposal entitled “Skeletal Muscle Programming of Capillary Endothelial Cells,” aims to to identify how skeletal muscle cells program adjacent endothelial cells to deliver triglyceride-derived fatty acids to muscle.
Dr. Taylor’s proposal entitled “A novel regulator of glutamine-driven gluconeogenesis,” aims to determine the biochemical activity of a recently discovered poorly annotated protein that is important for using the amino acid glutamine for gluconeogenesis, the mechanisms underlying its role in glutamine-driven gluconeogenesis, and how its function contributes to hyperglycemia during type-2 diabetes.
Dr. Maria Spies laboratory recently published an Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences article entitled “Tyrosine phosphorylation stimulates activity of human RAD51 recombinase through altered nucleoprotein filament dynamics.” In this article the Spies laboratory addressed the regulation of the homologous genetic recombination, an enigmatic cellular mechanism responsible for the stability of our genomes and accurate repair of the most deleterious DNA damage. They combined the tools of biochemistry, chemical biology and single-molecule biophysics to determine the mechanism by which c-ABL kinase (and its oncogenic counterpart BCR-ABL) enhances the activity of human RAD51 recombinase, which catalyzes the central step in homologous recombination. Recent PhD, Shyamal Subramanyam, was first author of this work, which was a cornerstone of his dissertation.