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Archive for April, 2019

15th Annual Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Eleven students presented at this year’s Undergraduate Honors Program.  This year marks the fifteenth year for the Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium. Please join Professor Marc Wold, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Honors Advisor, in congratulating these 2019 graduates and their research mentors for a job well done.

(front row – left to right): Ariel Kopel, Samantha Mackin, Ashley Segura-Roman, Irini Petros (back row – left to right): Samuel Cole Kitzman, Derek Metzger, Andrew Henry, Lucas Maakestad, Sophia Vogeler

(left) Ian McElree, (right) Jesse Cochran










Jesse Cochran
Mentor: E. Dale Abel
Sex Differences in the Response of C57BL/6 Mice to Ketogenic Diets

Andrew Henry
Mentor: Andrew Norris
Influence of CFTR on Linoleic Acid Metabolism

Samuel (Cole) Kitzman
Mentor: Pamela Geyer
Modeling a premature aging syndrome by a mutant form of Barrier-to-Autointegration Factor (BAF) in Drosophila

Ariel Kopel
Mentor: Sheila Baker
The Role of Synaptic Calcium Channels in Cone Photoreceptors

Lucas Maakestad
Mentor: Todd Washington
Overexpression and Purification of the Fork-Remodeling Enzyme Rad5

Samantha Mackin
Mentor: Kris DeMali
Identifying Mechanisms Coupling Cell Metabolism to Force Transmission

Ian McElree
Mentor: Chun-Fang Wu
Exploration of the rosA Oscillatory ERG Phenotype in Drosophila

Derek Metzger
Mentor: Brandon Davies
Functional Analysis of Human ANGPTL3 Mutants

Irini Petros
Mentor: Dan Weeks
Protein Aggregates in Different Subnucleolar Compartments in Xenopus laevis

Ashley Segura-Roman
Mentor: Brandon Davies
Endothelial Lipase Regulation by ANGPTL3

Sophia Vogeler
Mentor: Charles Brenner
Evaluating the Efficacy of NAD Precursors in Treating Hyperphagia

The symposium also included the presentation of two undergraduate awards (see pictures below), made possible by a gift from Alap Subramanian. The H.G. Wittmann Scholar Award was presented to Derek Metzger (Davies lab) and the H.G. Khorana Scholar Award was presented to Sophia Vogeler (Brenner lab), recognizing their exceptional understanding of biochemistry and its value to society.


Congratulations to everyone named above and all of our 2019 graduates!







Article by Colleen Caldwell, Marc Wold, and Maria Spies featured on the cover of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology

Friday, April 5th, 2019

Graduate student Colleen Caldwell (M. Spies Lab) was the co-first author on a paper published in, and featured on, the cover of the February 2019 issue of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (volume 26, issue 2, page 129). The article titled, “Dynamics and selective remodeling of the DNA-binding domains of RPA” was the product of a collaboration between the laboratories of Professors Marc Wold, Maria Spies, and Edwin Antony (Marquette University). It describes biochemistry and single-molecule studies that characterized the conformational dynamics of individual domains of Replication Protein A (RPA). RPA binds to single-stranded DNA and is essential for the replication and repair of DNA. This paper shows that individual domains of RPA rapidly bind and dissociate from DNA and that these dynamic interactions are modulated when RPA interacts with partner proteins. These studies suggest that remodeling of the RPA complex probably directs the proper processing of different single-stranded DNA intermediates in the cell.

Congrats Colleen, Dr. Wold, and Dr. Spies!

Cole Kitzman Recieves Ishan Jain Travel Award

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

Cole Kitzman, a Biochemistry and Pre-Medicine major in Dr. Pamela Geyer’s lab, has received the Ishan Jain Travel award. This award is presented to an undergraduate student performing research within the Cell and Developmental Biology Program at the University of Iowa. Cole used these funds to travel to the 60th Annual Drosophila Research Conference March 27-31 in Dallas, TX and present a poster entitled, “Modeling a premature aging syndrome caused by a mutant form of Barrier-to-Autointegration Factor (BAF) in Drosophila”

Congrats Cole!