Link: University of Iowa

Archive for November, 2011

Biochemistry undergraduates present honors talks

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Two Biochemistry Honors students presented their research yesterday at the Biochemistry Workshop. Min Jung Choi of the McNamara Lab (Hematology/Oncology) gave a talk entitled “Non-invasive delivery of macromolecules to the brain.” Steve Linden of the Khademi lab spoke on “The expression and purification of the urea channel in helicobacter pylori.” Both are graduating with honors in biochemistry this December. Min Jung, originally from Wonju City, South Korea, plans to pursue a PhD in Biophysics/Structural Biology and Steve, originally from Sioux City, Iowa, plans to attend Dental School. Congratulations to both on their accomplishments!

Jay Dunlap delivers 2011 Vestling Lecture

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Dr. Jay C. Dunlap delivered this year’s Vestling Lecture, entitled “Genetic and Molecular Dissection of a Simple Circadian System.” Jay is the Nathan Smith Chair of genetics at Dartmouth, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the recipient of the George Beadle Medal from the Genetics Society of America. His laboratory, jointly run with Dr. Jennifer Loros, has made fundamental contributions to the molecular dissection of circadian function. Their discoveries include broad-ranging contributions to transcriptional regulation of rhythm; definition of feedback loops that are regulated by light, temperature and post-translational processing; characterization of roles of anti-sense RNA, alternative splicing, chromatin remodeling, the cell cycle, and protein stability in circadian regulation; and the functional genomics of Neurospora.

Dr. Dunlap joins an elite group of investigators, who have given this lecture in honor and in memory of Carl Vestling, the third Head of Biochemistry at Iowa.

Vestling and Dunlap both started their independent careers with spectroscopic studies of small molecules before turning their attention to more complex problems. In Dr. Vestling’s case, the small molecule was porphyrin. He later developed a research program on some of the most classic enzymes, such as fructokinase, lactate dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. In addition to his influential work on characterization of lactate dehydrogenase, he established methods to determine dissociation constants of two-substrate enzyme systems and helped build the legacy of biochemistry at Iowa. Dr. Dunlap’s graduate project, before he took on circadian function, involved using spectroscopy to determine the structure of Dinoflagellate luciferin.

Dr. Dunlap’s lecture was jointly sponsored by the Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Biomedical Scholars Lecture Series. After the lecture, the Department hosted a reception to reopen the newly remodeled Heath Conference Room.

Biochemistry alumna Susan Wente honored, publishes career review in MBoC

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Susan Wente, a 1984 BS with Alice Fulton, and currently the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences, and Professor of Cell & Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University, was recently awarded the 2011 Women in Cell Biology Senior Award. On the occasion of her receiving this award, Wente published an article in Molecular Biology of the Cell entitled “Spatial and temporal impacts on a career in science,” which reviews her career and thanks her many mentors.

Dr. Wente began by recalling Dr. Gene Lata, who launched the undergraduate Biochemistry major and served as Susan’s undergraduate advisor. Dr. Lata guided Susan to Dr. Jeffrey Field’s laboratory (Internal Medicine) and later to an honors thesis with Dr. Fulton. Dr. Wente credits Peter Rubenstein with an introduction that led to her appointment at Washington University in St. Louis. During her time in St. Louis, Susan recalls meeting John York, a 1986 BS with Arthur Arnone, and the “spatial and temporal connections” they shared through Iowa Biochemistry.

Susan’s article can be accessed online.