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Archive for August, 2017

Elizabeth Boehm receives 2017 Subramanian Thesis Award

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Elizabeth Boehm, who completed her PhD with Dr. M. Todd Washington, has been awarded the 2017 Subramanian Award for best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Boehm’s thesis was entitled “The regulation of translesion synthesis through binding and activation of polymerases by PCNA.” Elizabeth received her PhD in June 2016 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Johannes Walter at Harvard Medical School.

Elizabeth is the 22nd 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. Our deepest thanks to Dr. Subramanian and our heartiest congratulations to Dr. Boehm.

Please visit our website for a complete list of previous winners of the Subramanian Award.

Highlights of the 8th Annual Biochemistry Retreat

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

The Department of Biochemistry held their 8th Annual Retreat on August, 26, 2017, in the Pomerantz Center on the University of Iowa Campus. The retreat featured talks by Brittany Ripley (Graduate Student-Washington Lab), Pamela Geyer (Professor), Adam Rauckhorst (Postdoc.-Taylor Lab), and Maria Spies (Professor) and 32 poster presentations.

It was exciting to learn about all the science happening in the Department! Congratulations to the winners of the various contests listed below.

Graduate Student/Postdoc Poster Competition
There was a three way tie for 1st place.
Emily Malcolm Cushing (Davies Lab) “GPIHBP1-independent mechanisms of triglyceride clearance”
Lalita Oonthonpan (Taylor Lab) “A conserved role for the MPC1 C-terminus in MPC complex assembly and function”
Arpit Sharma (Taylor Lab) “Loss of skeletal muscle Mpc1 in mice stimulates fatty acid oxidation, leanness, and nitrogen retention”

Undergraduate/Others Poster Competition
Myles Young (Taylor Lab)¬†“Nutritional-metabolic regulation of mitochondrial morphology”

Art Show Competition
Tingting Duan (Geyer Lab) “The Beauty of Drosophila”

Congrats Summer 2017 Biochemistry PhD Graduates!

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Jennifer Bays, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Kris DeMali, received a PhD on August 4, 2017. Jen’s thesis is entitled, ” Mechanisms of E-cadherin Mechanotransduction”. Jen has accepted a postdoctoral position with Dr. Chris Chen at Boston University.




John Brogie, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. David Price, recieved a PhD on August 4,2017. His thesis is¬†entitled,”Reconsitution and functional analysis of 7SK snRNP”. John has accepted a postdoctoral position at Iowa State University


Xun (Allison) Chi, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Brandon Davies, received her PhD on August 4, 2017. Her thesis is entitled, “Extracellular regulation of LPL activity by angiopoietin-like proteins”. Xun has accepted a postdoctoral position with Dr. Steve Bensinger at the University of California Los Angeles.




Sarah Hengel, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Maria Spies, received her PhD on August 4, 2017. Her thesis is entitled, “Dissecting RAD52 function in DNA repair”. Sarah has accepted a postdoctoral position in Dr. Kara Bernstein’s Lab at the University of Pittsburgh in the Hillman Cancer Center.

Madeline Shea receives Biophysical Society’s Emily M. Gray Award

Friday, August 4th, 2017
Congratulations to Dr. Madeline Shea who was chosen to receive The Biophysical Society’s Emily M. Gray Award for her outstanding contributions to education in biophysics at all educational levels in local, regional, and national communities. Read more on Dr. Shea’s nomination here.
The Biophysical Society, founded in 1958, is a professional, scientific Society established to encourage development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics. The Society promotes growth in this expanding field through its annual meeting, monthly journal, and committee and outreach activities. Its 9000 members are located throughout the U.S. and the world, where they teach and conduct research in colleges, universities, laboratories, government agencies, and industry. For more information on these awards, the Society, or the 2018 Annual Meeting, visit