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Archive for September, 2011

Wold lab members present at 2011 Cold Spring Harbor Meeting

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Cathy Hass, a graduate student in the Wold lab, has been selected to give a platform talk on her research at the 2011 Cold Spring Harbor Meeting on eukaryotic DNA replication and genome maintenance. The title of her talk is “New Insights into Repair-Specific Roles of Replication Protein A.”

Also presenting at this meeting is Ran Chen, a third year graduate student in the Wold lab. Ran’s poster is entitled: “Function of alternative Replication Protein A in Normal and Transformed Cells.”

Department fetes Plapp and Donelson

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Biochemists gathered on August 29 at Chef’s Table in Iowa City to celebrate the transitions to emeritus of Bryce Plapp and John Donelson, who contributed a combined 77 years of service to the Department.  Charles Brenner read a commendation letter written by Samuel Zakhari of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism on the 40th anniversary of Bryce’s first NIH grant, commending him for his “remarkably productive career in alcohol research, particularly on a central enzyme of alcohol metabolism, alcohol dehydrogenase.” Zakhari’s letter referred to Bryce’s scientific heritage as a senior fellow with Nobelists Stein and Moore and recognized his “extraordinary commitment to mentoring young research scientists.”

James Hartley and Michael Lenardo, former post-doctoral fellows in the Donelson lab, made the trip from the NIH where they now direct laboratories. This gave John the opportunity to muse on James’s DNA sequencing project, the yeast 2 micron circle. Michael brought a commendation letter from Louis Miller of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who wrote that “you were always the leader in the world in molecular biology of Trypanosomes.” He also read from two published recollections of John’s post-doctoral adviser Frederick Sanger (Nobel 1958 and Nobel 1980) on John’s contribution to the development of DNA sequencing.

Highlights of the Annual Retreat

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

The 2011 Biochemistry Annual Retreat, chaired by Lori Wallrath and Lacy Barton, was held on Saturday, August 27 at the Coralville Public Library. Short talks were given in the morning by Kris DeMali, Larry Gray, Lacy Barton, Daniel Weeks,  Todd Washington, Xu Liu, Aaron Ver Heul and Madeline Shea. After lunch, talks were given by Marc Wold, Charles Brenner and Miles Pufall .

The poster session featured 31 posters. Seven awards were given in two divisions. Ashley Angell from the DeMali laboratory and Kristen Syring from the Wallrath laboratory won first and second place in the undergraduate division. In the post-doctoral and staff division, Rebecca Fagan from the Brenner laboratory took first place.  There was a three way tie for second place between Jennifer Bays from the DeMali laboratory, Brett Waite from the Shea laboratory, and Kuo-Kuang Wen from the Rubenstein laboratory.

Two Lois Bigger Gehring Awards  were given to support graduate student travel to research conferences. These awards were given to John Pryor from the Washington laboratory and Alexey Soshnev from the Geyer laboratory.

Thanks to everyone for participating.

Xiao Peng wins the Subramanian Thesis Award

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Xiao Peng, who recently completed her PhD with Kris DeMali, has been named the winner of the 2011 Subramanian Award for best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Peng was an American Heart Association-funded graduate student who focused on the role of vinculin in adherens junctions. With this support, she uncovered the first role for vinculin in cell-cell junctions and identified novel mechanisms for the activation and recruitment of vinculin to sites of intercellular adhesion.

Xiao is pursuing post-doctoral studies at the University of California San Francisco in the laboratory of Dr. Keith Mostov.

Xiao is the 18th 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 Kalnitzky into a highly succesful career at the Max-Planck-Institut. Our deepest thanks to Dr. Subraminian and our heartiest congratulations to Dr. Peng.