Link: University of Iowa

Archive for June, 2012

Kenneth Mann receives CCOM Distinguished Alumni Award

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Biochemistry alum Kenneth Mann was awarded the Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award on Friday, June 8. Dr. Mann was a NASA and NIH-funded pre-doctoral student with Professor and Head of Biochemistry Carl Vestling, and earned his PhD in 1967. He trained as a postdoc with Dr. Charles Tanford (former UI faculty member) at Duke. Dr. Mann began his independent career as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in 1970, and from 1972-1984 held joint appointments at the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic. In 1984 he was recruited to the University of Vermont as Chair of Biochemistry, a position he held for 21 years. Dr. Mann remains a professor at UVM, and has recently indexed his 418th paper on PubMed, been awarded an RC2 GO grant, and is principal investigator of a multiply-renewed  Program Project Grand a a T32 Training Grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

With the advent of his independent career in 1970, Dr. Mann launched an entirely new line of research. with remarkable perspicacity, he decided to purify and characterize thrombin and dedicate his career to characterizing the biochemistry of blood coagulation. The results of Professor Mann’s decision and his creative career in blood research are nothing short of spectacular. His discoveries of factor V and his major contributions to the dissection of vitamin K-dependent coagulation enzymes have shed light on the normal, essential processes in clot formation as well as pathological states in acquired and congenital thrombotic and hemorrhagic diseases. His work has led to improved procedures for diagnosis and therapeutic interventions in bleeding and clotting disorders based on sound biochemical analysis. With 22 patents issued to Dr. Mann and his collaborators, his influence in medical approaches to promote and inhibit blood coagulation are striking.

Dr. Mann has also been instrumental in training the best and brightest young scientists in blood biochemistry. Throughout his career he has trained 52 postdoctoral fellows, 24 PhD students and countless undergraduates. The majority of his trainees now have well-established careers in industry and academia, with many of them making sustained independent contributions to the blood coagulation field.

CCOM is not the first to claim Dr. Mann as a distinguished alumnus – he was given the honor by the Mayo Clinic in 1994, and was named a Distinguished Scientist by the American Heart Association earlier this year. He has four named lectureships (Virginia, Wayne State, Columbia and the Mayo). In 1987 he was presented the State of Art Lecture at the International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis in Brussels and a  Distinguished Career Award for Contribution to Hemostasis. Dr. Mann was also given a University of Vermont Scholar award in 1988 and a MERIT grant from the NIH in 1989.

The CCOM announcement can be found here. Congratulations to Dr. Mann on this well-deserved honor.

Professor Rex Montgomery receives Distinguished Alumni Award

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Professor Emeritus Rex Montgomery was honored on Saturday, June 9 at the University of Iowa Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony. Dr. Montgomery received the Faculty/Staff Distinguished Alumni Award, granted to retired or former UI faculty/staff in recognition of significant achievement or service to the university.

A 1946 PhD from the University of Birmingham, Dr. Montgomery began as an assistant professor at the University of Iowa in 1955, and became a full professor in 1963. Dr. Montgomery also served as associate dean for academic affairs in the Carver College of Medicine from 1974-1995, during which time he also held the positions of associate dean of research in the CCOM and interim vice president of research for the University.

Specializing in carbohydrate research, Dr. Montgomery has attracted millions of dollars in federal funding to the UI during his 56-year tenure. His research and scholarly efforts have had a major global impact; two of his textbooks, described as influential and strikingly important, transformed biochemistry education. Dr. Montgomery is admired and appreciated for his remarkable impact as a teacher and mentor.

In 1974, Dr. Montgomery established a new physician assistant program at the University of Iowa, and served as its director until 1976. In the years since, graduates of this program have gone on to help myriad patients throughout the state, nation and the world. The University named the Rex Montgomery Physician Assistant Student Society and scholarship fund in his honor.

Dr. Montgomery transitioned to emeritus status in 2006, though he continues to make an impact in the department and in the field of biochemistry. He still comes to work and writes numerous papers and reviews. Dr. Montgomery also invests generously in the University through charitable giving.

The Alumni Association press release can be read here. Congratulations to Dr. Montgomery for this well-deserved recognition!

Three members of the department receive American Heart Association awards

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Defying all odds, three members of the department have received American Heart Association monies after the winter application cycle. This reflects a 100 percent success rate for AHA applications in the department for that cycle.

Dr. Madeline Shea received a Grant-in-Aid award for her work entitled “Calmodulin-Mediated Regulation of Calcineurin”. The long-term goal is to understand the calcium-mediated effects of calcineurin on the events that commit a cell to become heart muscle.

Dr. Jiannan Guo, a postdoctoral fellow with David Price, was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to support his work on the transcription elongation by RNA Polymerase II.

Xu Liu, a graduate student with Ernie Fuentes, was awarded a predoctoral fellowship to complete his PhD work on “Determining the mechanism of Tiam1/syndecan1 signaling in cell adhesion and migration.”

Congratulations to Madeline, Jiannan and Xu for these awards!


Miles Pufall speaks at V Foundation fundraiser

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Miles Pufall, a recently named V Foundation Scholar, was a speaker at a benefit gala for cancer research in Cedar Rapids on June 4th. Dr. Pufall gave remarks on his path to becoming a cancer researcher. Also in attendance was Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and ardent supporter of the V Foundation, Dick Vitale, who gave an impassioned speech on the importance of cancer research.

Postdoctoral fellow news

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Two University of Iowa postdoctoral fellows with Biochemistry connections have recently joined the leadership of the University of Iowa Postdoc Association. Katrina Bogan, a 2010 PhD with Charles Brenner and current postdoc in the Welsh lab in Internal Medicine, was elected as the Carver College of Medicine representative to the association’s Council of College Representatives. Becky Fagan, a current postdoc with Charles Brenner, was elected Secretary/Treasurer on the Executive Board of the association.

Dr. Fagan’s work was also featured in the most recent issue of  “Graduate Education at Iowa,” a magazine produced by the Graduate College. The article can be accessed here.

Paul Barnard, former Stellwagen RA, receives teaching awards

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Paul Barnard, a former research assistant with Dr. Nancy Stellwagen, has been awarded the Robert Noyce Scholarship for Math and Science Majors to Teach and the American Chemical Society—Hach Second Career Teacher Scholarship. Congratulations to Paul!

Additionally, Dr. Stellwagen was an invited participant at an Editors’ Conference May 11-13, sponsored by the Elsevier Publishing Company, to discuss future trends in scientific journal publishing.