Link: University of Iowa

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.

Dr. Ernesto Fuentes takes over as Director of Graduate Studies after Dr. Daniel Weeks 17 years of service

August 8th, 2018 by Maren Rogers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Daniel Weeks, having served as the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for Biochemistry since 2001, is handing the reins of the graduate program to Dr. Ernesto Fuentes. This is a major transition for the Department. Dan is not going anywhere. He is just starting a new 4 year National Institutes of Health R01 award and is serving as the Harold A. Myers Professor in Basic Sciences and has agreed to assist Ernie in his first year as DGS.

As you know, Ernie Fuentes began as an assistant professor in the Department in 2006 after completing his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014. Dr. Fuentes has built national prominence for his work on the structure, dynamics and specificity of PDZ domain-containing proteins. A terrific colleague, Ernie has been heavily invested in the recruitment, retention, and mentorship of underrepresented minorities at the University of Iowa. He has initiated new innovative programs, served as key participant in existing programs, and joined national organizations bringing visibility to the University of Iowa. He was awarded the CCOM Collegiate Teaching Award this past academic year and was just awarded a new R21 from the National Institutes of Health.

Dan began as an assistant professor in the Department in 1987 after completing his PhD at Purdue and postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1993, Full Professor in 2001, when he assumed the DGS position. He also served as Vice Chair in 2008-2009. Dan is an internationally known nuclei acid biochemist and developmental biologist who has made multiple contributions to vertebrate oocyte development including his latest discovery and characterization of phase-separated protein aggregates in Xenopus nuclei. He has been honored by the JP Long Award for Teaching, the CCOM Collegiate Teaching Award, the CCOM Outstanding Educator Award, the Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award, the President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence, the CCOM Faculty Service Award and he was recently appointed the Harold A. Myers Professorship in Basic Sciences. The faculty and graduates of the Biochemistry PhD program are indebted to him for his remarkably effective 17 years of service in leading the program.

Please join us in congratulating Ernie on this appointment and thanking Dan for his terrific service to Biochemistry!

 

Brittany Ripley Receives AHA Predoctoral Fellowship.

July 30th, 2018 by Briana Horwath

Brittany Ripley, Biochemistry graduate student in Dr. M. Todd Washington’s lab, has received an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship. Brittany’s proposal entitled, “RAD6-18, the master regulator of translesion synthesis” will be funded at the maximum amount for two full years. Brittany’s project is described below.

“My research focuses on how cells cope with DNA damage during cell division. Specifically I study how cells regulate the replication of damaged DNA via the ubiquitin conjugating and ligase enzymes, Rad6 and Rad18. To understand regulation, I am determining the network of interactions Rad6 and Rad18 make with two vital polymerases in the DNA damage bypass pathway, translesion synthesis, and how these interactions affect translesion synthesis.”

Hannah Campbell Recieves AHA Predoctoral Fellowship

July 25th, 2018 by Briana Horwath

Hannah Campbell, Biochemistry graduate student in Dr. Kris DeMali’s lab, has received an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship. Hannah’s proposal entitled, “Force-induced apoptosis and the mechanoprotective role of PAK2” will be funded at the maximum amount for two full years. Hannah’s project is described below.

“All cells experience forces throughout their lifetimes. These forces are sensed by cell surface adhesion receptors and trigger robust actin cytoskeletal rearrangements and growth of the associated adhesion complex to counter the applied forces. This process is known as cell stiffening and is generally thought to be beneficial to the overall health of the cell.  However there are also instances in hypertensive patients and other diseased settings when cells experience supraphysiological forces that initiate cell death.  The key determinants of whether cells survive or die in response to force are not well understood. Here, we show that application of force on E-cadherin activates p21-activated kinase 2 (PAK2). In addition, force recruits PAK2 to the cadherin containing adhesion complex. At this complex, we hypothesize PAK2 serves as a critical component of a signaling cascade culminating in increased contractility and cell stiffening.”

Congrats Hannah!