Link: University of Iowa

Archive for May, 2012

Xiao Peng wins Jane Coffin Childs Fund fellowship

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Dr. Xiao Peng, a 2011 PhD with Dr. Kris DeMali and current postdoctoral fellow at UCSF, was recently awarded a 3-year fellowship from the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research. This highly competitive and prestigious fellowship will support Dr. Peng’s research on the regulation of growth control during epithelial morphogenesis in the laboratory of Dr. Keith Mostov at UCSF.

Department announces hiring of Dr. Brandon Davies

Monday, May 28th, 2012

The Department of Biochemistry, the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC), and the Obesity Initiative (OI) are pleased to announce the 2nd faculty hire from the diabetes and obesity search initiated in September 2011.

Dr. Brandon Davies is a 2000 BA from University of Utah and a 2005 PhD from University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley, in Jasper Rine’s laboratory, he uncovered a role for sterol levels in oxygen sensing and adaptation to hypoxia in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. His work was published in first author papers in Genetics and Molecular& Cellular Biology.

In 2006, he moved to Stephen Young’s laboratory in the Cellular and Molecular Cardiology Unit of the Department of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Davies has thrived in this environment, producing a body of 23 original research papers (4 first author), and 8 reviews (4 first author). His work has made a high impact in two areas. First, he has used engineered forms of Lamin A to dissect the significance of the post-translational farnesylation and proteolysis of prelamin A and how defects in these processing steps contribute to laminopathies. Second, he performed groundbreaking work on a molecule termed GPIHBP1, which he discovered is essential to transport lipoprotein lipase from muscle and fat cells into the bloodstream. Dr. Davies’s major discoveries have been published in first author articles in Cell Metabolism. His work is highly cited and original.

In the course of Dr. Davies’s post-doctoral fellowship, he has given invited or awarded presentations at four national meetings, won numerous awards at UCLA, and obtained an American Heart Association (AHA) post-doctoral fellowship award. He is now the PI of a $280,000 (direct cost) AHA Scientist Development Grant that he will bring to the University of Iowa. The goal of his research laboratory will be to exploit the role of GPIHBP1 to dissect regulation of lipid transport and utilization in health and in diseases of energy imbalance such as type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

Om Shrestha defends MS thesis

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Om Shrestha, a Master’s student co-mentored by Lori Wallrath and Liping Yu, has successfully defended his thesis, entitled “The effects of LMNA mutations on the lamin lg-fold structure and muscle gene expression.” Congratulations to Om!

Department announces hiring of Dr. Eric Taylor

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The Department of Biochemistry, the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) and the Obesity Initiative (OI) are pleased to announce the 1st faculty hire from the diabetes and obesity search initiated in September 2011. Dr. Taylor is a 2005 PhD from Brigham Young in Physiology and Developmental Biology, who published 7 papers as a graduate student (4 first author) on the regulation of Lkb1 and AMP-activated protein kinase signaling by small molecules and exercise.

Dr. Taylor did a two year post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Laurie Goodyear at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School where he published 7 papers (2 first author). In Dr. Goodyear’s laboratory, he was funded by an individual NIH post-doctoral fellowship to identify molecular mechanisms by which the Rab GAPs AS160 and TBC1D1 regulate glucose uptake in skeletal muscle. This work was recognized by a national award in the post-doctoral section of the American Physiology Society.

In 2007, Dr. Taylor moved to Dr. Jared Rutter’s laboratory at the University of Utah, where he has truly excelled in two projects to discover the function of uncharacterized, highly conserved mitochondrial proteins. First, he helped identify a system for mitochondrial protein quality control, which has produced three units of funding for him including an NIH K99-R00 Pathway to Independence Award. Second, using systems from yeast to human patient samples, he helped discover the identity of the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier, a finding which has implications for multiple human diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes. Dr. Taylor is a co-first author of the manuscript detailing this discovery, which is in press in Science.

Dr. Taylor will open his laboratory at the University of Iowa on July 1 with a focus on mitochondrial protein quality control and the pyruvate transporter as they relate to obesity and diabetes. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Taylor to the Department of Biochemistry.

Dr. Cathy Hass

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Congratulations are due to Dr. Cathy Hass for successful completion of her PhD. A student of Marc Wold, Dr. Hass successfully defended her thesis in Molecular and Cellular Biology, entitled “Function of Replication Protein A in DNA Repair and Cell Checkpoints.”

Cathy will be starting as a Research Scientist at a biotech start-up in Minneapolis, BioAmber.

Allyson Mayer is a national Goldwater Scholar

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Congratulations to Allyson Mayer, a junior in the Brenner lab, who has been named a 2012 Goldwater Scholar. Allyson is one of only two University of Iowa Goldwaters and only 282 mathematics, science and engineering students nationwide awarded this prestigious honor. Allyson conducts research on new steps in NAD metabolism and plans to go to graduate school to pursue a PhD in biochemistry or an allied discipline. The University’s press release can be read here.

Biochemistry undergraduates inducted into Phi Beta Kappa society

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Congratulations to the five Biochemistry undergraduates who were inducted in the Alpha of Iowa Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa: Alex Crider, Clayton Oakley, Garrett Shackleton (Brenner lab), Ashley Angell (DeMali lab), and Kathleen White. Phi Beta Kappa is a prestigious undergraduate honors organization that recognizes the academic achievement of its members. Members from Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 were inducted on April 29, 2012.