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Archive for May, 2018

Spring 2018 Wallrath Lab Accomplishments

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Lori Wallrath (Professor and Vice Chair, Biochemistry) was featured in the Spring 2018 addition of Quest, a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) new publication, where she praised MDA’s “umbrella” structure of supporting dozens of neuromuscular diseases so that researchers and clinician’s benefit from the “cross-fertilization” of ideas. The article can be found at: http://www.mda.org/quest.

Recent research from the Wallrath Lab was published in Aging Cell. This article describes a new model and potential therapy for cardiac disease associated with several types of muscular dystrophy that are caused by mutations in the human LMNA gene. This project was in collaboration with Dr. Girish Melkani (San Diego State University). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/acel.12747

Dr. Weeks appointed the Harold A. Myers Professor in the Basic Sciences

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Dr. Daniel Weeks has been appointed as the Dr. Harold A. Myers Professor in the Basic Sciences. This three year professorship, effective August 1, 2018, was established to support a PhD faculty member who exhibits exemplary skill and passion for the teaching of medical students and who is a leader in understanding and developing new methods of medical education. This well-deserved honor is a testament to Dr. Week’s outstanding commitment and dedication to the education of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Biochemistry Senior Laura Fischer Featured in The Daily Iowan

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Laura Fischer, recent Biochemistry graduate, was featured in the May 10, 2018, edition of The Daily Iowan.  Please click on Laura’s picture for link to the May 10th Daily Iowan.

Tien Thuy (Jane) Nguyen Awarded the Hancher-Finkbine Undergraduate Student Medallion

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Tien Thuy (Jane) Nguyen was awarded the Hancher-Finkbine Undergraduate Student Medallion at the 101st Finkbine Dinner on April 10, 2018.  Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers was emcee, and UI President J. Bruce Harreld presented the Hancher-Finkbine Medallions and Distinguished Student Leader certificates. 

Jane Nguyen, from Sioux City, Iowa, is majoring in biochemistry in the Carver College of Medicine. Nguyen is an active leader, participant, and co-founder of the Conversation Center, an integrated learning platform designed to provide non-confident English speakers the opportunity to explore and better understand the English language. The center, now a part of the rhetoric department’s curriculum, has provided over 3,101 independent one-on-one sessions since the spring of 2016. In addition, Nguyen has actively participated in more than 800 hours of undergraduate independent research in the Department of Biochemistry, focusing on Replication Protein A and its effect on DNA repair. She exemplifies leadership not only in the classroom but also in her extracurricular activities. As current president and co-founder of Alpha Kappa Delta Phi, Nguyen has played an integral part in the organization’s accomplishments, including achieving active status in the Multicultural Greek Council, establishing the Chapter Alumnae Association, and hosting campuswide workshops aimed at increasing mental health awareness within the Asian community. In the spring of 2017, Nguyen was awarded the T. Anne Cleary scholarship and the Helen Reich scholarship for her scholarship, leadership, and service.

Congratulations, Jane!

Two Biochemistry Students Recognized by the Honors program as Honors at Iowa Scholars

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Each year, the Honors program identifies extraordinary graduating seniors across the University of Iowa for celebration as Honors at Iowa Scholars. This high recognition acclaims student work in and beyond the classroom, with an emphasis on the applicant’s knowledge, skill, and experience as well as outstanding academic performance, excellence within their chosen discipline(s), and any contributions made to Honors and the University of Iowa community through performance, research, organizational leadership, volunteer service and intellectual or creative engagement.  Two of our graduating seniors were recognized by the Honors program:

Lance Heady, Quincy IL, Neurobiology, Biochemistry

Lance will graduate in May with degrees in Biochemistry and Neurobiology. Lance will be pursuing a PhD in neuroscience from UT Southwestern with hopes of continuing his pursuit of understanding how cells in the brain die. While there Lance also wants to continue growing mentoring skills to help guide students, a true love of his. He will also continue training in the art of ballroom dancing and hopes to one day be a national amateur champion. After graduating in May, Lance will be pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Alora Kraus, Biochemistry, Iowa City, IA

Alora Kraus will graduate in May with a degree in biochemistry and a certificate of writing. Alora has been involved with the Writing Fellows program through the UI Writing Center, where she helps peers improve their writing skills in classes of all disciplines. Alora has also worked with Michael Schultz, Craig Just, and Eric Taylor in research labs in Radiology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Biochemistry. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Alora studied abroad in Glasgow, Scotland, where she cultivated a love for culture and travel. Her next step will be applying to the Peace Corps for a position in the health sector. Alora will be applying for a Peace Corps position in the health sector for anywhere. Upon her return, she would like to enroll in a graduate program for public health.

Congratulations, Alora and Lance!

14th Annual Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Ten students presented at this year’s Undergraduate Honors Program. This year marks the fourteenth year for the Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium. Please join Professor Marc Wold, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Honors Advisor, in congratulating these 2018 graduates and their research mentors for a job well done.

(back row – left to right): Steven Huang, Gabriel Fortunato, Preston Anderson, Benjamin Spector
(front row – left to right): Devin Reusch, Alexandra Bess, Tien Thuy (Jane) Nguyen, Laura Fischer, Titus Hou
(far right) – Lance Heady
  • Preston Anderson
    Mentor: John Engelhardt
    Submucosal Gland Myoepithelial Cells Are Reserve Stem Cells That Can Regenerate Mouse Tracheal Epithelium 
  • Alexandra Bess
    Mentor: Jennifer Fiegel
    Protein Effects of BALF on Various Polystyrene Nanoparticles
  • Laura Fischer
    Mentor: Marc Wold
    A Potential Role of Alternative Replication Protein A in Huntington’s Disease Progression
  • Gabriel Fortunato
    Mentor: Amnon Kohen
    Uncovering the Evolutionary Mechanism of Enzyme Catalysis
  • Lance Heady
    Mentor: Andrew Pieper
    A Neuron and it’s Survival: A Tale of Drug Discovery
  • Titus Hou
    Mentor: Ernesto Fuentes
    A Newly Identified Sub-Pocket That Plays a Unique Role in Scribble PDZ1 – SGEF iPBM Interaction
  • Steven Huang
    Mentor: Ernesto Fuentes
    The Structural Characterization and Ligand Identification of the SrrB Cache Domain
  • Tien Thuy (Jane) Nguyen
    Mentor: Marc Wold
    Diverse Interactions of the Multifunctional, Regulatory Domain of Replication Protein A
  • Devin Reusch
    Mentor: Todd Washington
    Polymerase Switching During Translesion Synthesis: A Tale of the Tail
  • Benjamin Spector
    Mentor: David Price
    Association of the Pol II CTD Phosphatase Ssu72 with Transcription Complexes

The symposium also included the presentation of two undergraduate awards, made possible by a gift from Alap Subramanian. The H.G. Wittmann Scholar Award was presented to Steven Huang (Fuentes lab) and the H.G. Khorana Scholar Award was presented to Laura Fischer (Wold lab), recognizing their exceptional understanding of biochemistry and its value to society.

Congratulations to everyone named above and all of our 2018 graduates!