Link: University of Iowa

Archive for June, 2019

Michael Hayes receives the 2019 Marion Dave Francis Innovator Award

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Dr. Michael Hayes, a 2019 MD and Cell and Molecular Biology PhD with Dr. Daniel Weeks, received the 2019 Marion Dave Francis Innovator Award which recognizes a PhD student whose research has demonstrated their singular personal initiative, creativity, and resulting  continuous discovery, as exemplified by Dr. Hayes.

Dr. Michael Hayes’ research examined the formation of non-pathological protein aggregates essential for the formation of non-membrane bound organelles. He initiated efforts to develop assays that will allow us to better understand conditions that promote the normal assembly of essential aggregates and further our understanding of what goes wrong when toxic aggregates are formed in diseases like Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s. His thesis work resulted in two first author publications, a Biology Open article published in 2016 and a second publication in eLife in 2018. Michael is currently a surgical resident at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Congratulations, Dr. Hayes!


Lalita Oonthonpan Publishes in The Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Lalita Oonthonpan, a Biochemistry graduate student in Dr. Eric Taylor’s Lab, is an author on a paper published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight. The paper entitled, “Two human patient mitochondrial pyruvate carrier mutations reveal distinct molecular mechanisms of dysfunction” describes research on the Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier (MPC).

Mitochondrial pyruvate uptake is an important cellular process unifying cytosolic and mitochondrial sugar metabolism. This manuscript helps explain how human mutations in the protein complex that transports pyruvate into mitochondria lead to disease. Using patient-derived cells and a novel, heterologous gene complementation system with the highly metabolically active mouse C2C12 myoblast cell line, Oonthonpan et al. and Taylor found that the MPC1 C289T mutation results in destabilization and loss of the MPC complex whereas the MPC1 T236A mutation results in an inactive MPC complex. These findings could inform future treatment options for rare pyruvate transporter mutations and other in-born errors of metabolism.