Link: University of Iowa

Archive for May, 2020

Hannah Campbell receives 2020 Subramanian Thesis Award

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Hannah Campbell, who completed her PhD with Dr. Kris DeMali, was awarded the 2020 Subramanian Award for the best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry. The Subramanian Award is made possible by a gift from Dr. Alap Subramanian, a 1964 PhD student 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-Institute.

Dr. Campbell’s thesis was entitled, “Mechanisms of E-Cadherin Force Transmission.” Hannah received her PhD in August 2019 and is currently an Applications Scientist at Integrated DNA Technologies in Coralville, Iowa.


Congratulations Dr. Campbell!

Three Undergraduate Students Awarded 2020 Rex Montgomery Scholarships

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

The 2020 Rex Montgomery Scholarships were awarded to:

  • Geoff Collins, Dr. David Price’s laboratory
  • Dariya (Dasha) Kozlova, Dr. Brandon Davies laboratory
  • Cade Rahlf, Dr. Madeline Shea’s laboratory

Rex Montgomery Scholarships recognize sophomore or junior undergraduate students for their outstanding academic record and commitment to research. The purpose of this scholarship is to ease the recipient’s financial load at the University of Iowa during his/her undergraduate education and research training.

This scholarship was established in 2014 by the late Dr. Rex Montgomery, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Montgomery began his career at the University of Iowa in 1955, and was admired for his impact as a researcher, teacher and mentor. Dr. Montgomery was an internationally recognized carbohydrate biochemist and textbook author. While on the faculty, he served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Medicine, the Vice President of Research for the University and was the founding director of the University of Iowa Physician Assistant Program. Dr. Montgomery retired in 2005 after more than 50 years on the faculty.

Brianna Lupo and Francesca Spencer awarded Montgomery Scholar’s Prizes

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

Brianna Lupo, who did undergraduate research in the Dr. Catherine Musselman laboratory, and Francesca Spencer who did undergraduate research in the Dr. Daniel Weeks laboratory, have been awarded 2020 Montgomery Biochemistry Scholar’s Prizes for their outstanding research accomplishments and excellent presentations at the Lata Symposium.

This prize was established by mentees, colleagues and friends of the late Dr. Rex Montgomery, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Montgomery began his career at the University of Iowa in 1955, and is admired for his impact as a researcher, teacher and mentor. Dr. Montgomery is an internationally recognized carbohydrate biochemist and textbook author. While on the faculty, he served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Medicine, the Vice President of Research for the University and was the founding director of the University of Iowa Physician Assistant Program. Dr. Montgomery retired in 2005 after more than 50 years on the faculty.



The Whittmann and Khorana Scholar awards

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

The Wittmann and Khorana Scholar awards are given to a male and female Biochemistry major, respectively, recognizing their exceptional understanding of biochemistry and its value to society.

Nick Shaw won the 2020 Professor H.G. Wittmann Scholar Award. Nick did research in the Wallrath lab.  After graduating, he will be continuing to perform research in the Wallrath lab on nuclear envelope-related myopathies.  Next fall, he will be pursing a position at UIHC that involves patient interactions, with plans of attending medical school in the near future.

Emeleeta Paintsil won the 2020 Professor H.G. Khorana Scholar Award.  Emeleeta did research in the Spies lab examining the functions of RAD52 on replication fork remodeling enzymes.  She will be attending the Medical College of Wisconsin in the fall to pursue a Ph.D. in their Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Biomedical Sciences.

These awards are sponsored by Dr. Alap Subramanian.  Dr. Subramanian earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa in 1964 studying with Dr. George Kalnitsky.


Congratulations Nick and Emeleeta!

Benjamin Hinz awarded Summer ICRU Fellowship

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Benjamin Hinz, a Biochemistry undergraduate in the Wallrath laboratory, received a Summer ICRU Fellowship. He will be performing on-line research focused on the genetics of rare muscular dystrophies caused by mutations in genes encoding nuclear envelope proteins.

Congratulations Benjamin!

Department of Biochemistry 2020 Publications

Monday, May 11th, 2020

Department of Biochemistry 2020 Publications since April 30, 2020

  • Tiwari, M. Lopez-Redondo, L. Miguel-Romero, et al., The SrrAB two-component system regulates Staphylococcus aureuspathogenicity through redox sensitive cysteines, PNAS (2020),
  • Zhang, H. T. Rube, C.A. Vakulskas, et al., Systematic in vitro profiling of off-target affinity, cleavagre and efficiency for CRISPR enzymes, Nucleic Acids Research (2020),
  • Pufall, A.M. Wilson, An idea to explore: A collaboration and cross training in an extended classroom- based undergraduate research experience between primarily undergraduate and research-intensive institutions, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education (2020),
  • C. Sanchez, L. Zhang, S. Evoli, et al., The molecular basis of specific DNA binding by the BRG1 AT-hook and bromodomain, BBA – Gene Regulatory Mechanisms (2018),
  • Skuodas, A. Clemons, M. Hayes, et al., The ABCF gene family facilitates disaggregation during animal development, Molecular Biology of the Cell (2020),
  • K. Shetty, R. Walzem, B. Davies, A novel NanoBiT-based assay monitors the interaction between lipoprotein lipase and GPIHBP1 in real time, Journal of Lipid Research (2020),
  • Qiao, S.K. Shetty, K.M. Spitler, et al., Obesity Reduces Maternal Blood Triglyceride Concentrations by Reducing Angiopoietin-like Protein 4 Expression in Mice, Diabetes (2020),
  • Johnson, M.G. Flores, J. Rosa, et al., The High Content of Fructose in Human Semen Competitively Inhibits Broad and Potent Antivirals That Target High-Mannose Glycans, Journal of Virology (2020),
  • DeMali, A. Salvi, J. Bays, Mechanisms Linking Mechanotransduction and Cell Metabolism, The FASEB Journal (2020),
  • H. Elcock, Challenges to the Creation of Dynamic Structural Models of Intracellular Systems,Biophysical Journal (2020),
  • Duan, N. Green, T.L. Tootle, P.K. Geyer, Nuclear architecture as an intrinsic regulator of Drosophila female germline stem cell maintenance, Current Opinion in Insect Science (2020),
  • Duan, S.C. Kitzman, P.K. Geyer, Survival of Drosophila germline stem cells requires the chromatin binding protein Barrier-to-autointegration factor, Development (2020),
  • Li, C.B. Ball, G. Collins, et al., Human cytomegalovirus IE2 drives transcription initiation from a select subset of late infection viral promoters by host RNA polymerase II, PLoS pathogens (2020),
  • M. Kilpatrick, R.W. Mahling, M.A. Shea, Energetics of Calmodulin Recognition of a Skeletal Muscle Ryanodine Receptor Site, Biophysical Journal (2020),
  • Stefanovie, S. Hengel, J. Mlcouskova, et al., DSS1 interacts with and stimulates RAD52 to promote the repair of DSBs, Nucleic Acids Research (2020),
  • Malacaria, M. Honda, A Franchirro, M. Spies, P. Pichierri, Physiological and Pathological Roles of RAD52 at DNA Replication Forks, Cancers (2020),
  • Honda, E. Paintsil, M. Spies, RAD52 DNA Repair Protein is a Gatekeeper that Protects DNA Replication Forks by Regression by Fork Reversal Motors, Biophysical Journal (2020),
  • Troitskaia, B. Stekas, M. Spies, Y.R. Chemla, Sequence-Dependent Pausing of a DNA Repair Helicase, Biophysical Journal (2020),
  • Subramanyam, M. Spies, RAD51 discrimination between single-and double-strand DNA: a matter of flexibility and enthalpy, The EMBO Journal (2020),
  • Earle, T.J. Kirby, G.R. Fedorchak, et al., Mutant lamins cause nuclear envelope rupture and DNA damage in skeletal muscle cells, Nature Materials (2020),
  • M. Weaver, L.M. Cortez, T.H. Khoang, et al., Visualizing Rev1 Catalyze Protein-template DNA Synthesis, bioRxiv (2020),
  • M. Ripley, M.S. Gildenberg, M.T. Washington, Control of DNA Damage Bypass by Ubiquitylation of PCNA, Genes (2020),
  • Nakamori, G. Panigrahi, S. Lanni, et al., A slipped-CAG DNA-binding small molecule induces trinucleotide-repeat contractions in vivo, Nature Genetics (2020),
  • Gilmour, B.C., Gudmundsrud, R., Frank, J., Hov, A., Hindkjær Lautrup, S., Aman, Y., Røsjø, H., Brenner, C., Ziegler, M., Tysnes, O.B., Tzoulis, C., Omland, T., Søraas, A., Holmøy, T., Bergersen, L.H., Storm-Mathisen, J., Nilsen, H., Evandro F Fang, E.F., “Targeting NAD+in Translational Research to Relieve Diseases and Conditions of Metabolic Stress and Ageing,” Mechanisms of Ageing and Development186, 2020, DOI:10.1016/j.mad.2020.111208
  • Fluharty, N.T. & Brenner, C., “Fat Mobilization Without Weight Loss is a Potentially Rapid Response to Nicotinamide Riboside in Obese People: It’s Time to Test with Exercise, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in press, 2020.
  • Heer, C.D. & Brenner, C., “Letting off Electrons to Cope with Metabolic Stress,” Nature Metabolism, in press, 2020.
  • Matasic, D.S., Yoon, J-Y., Mehdi, H., McLendon, J.M., Schmidt, M.S., Greiner, A.M., Quinones, P., Morgan, G.M., Boudreau, R., Irani, K., Brenner, C. & London, B., “Modulation of the Cardiac Sodium Channel Nav1.5 Peak and Late Currents by NAD+Precursors,” Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, v. 141, pp. 70-81,
  • Parker, R., Schmidt, M.S., Cain, O., Gunson, B., & Brenner, C., “The NAD+Metabolome is Functionally Depressed in Patients Undergoing Liver Transplantation for Alcohol-related Liver Disease,” Hepatology Communications, in press, 2020.
  • Gerasimenko, M., Cherepanov, S., Furuhara, K., Lopatina, O., Salmina, A., Shabalova, A., Tsuji, C., Yokoyama, S., Ishihara, K., Brenner, C., & Higashida, H., “Nicotinamide Riboside Supplementation Corrects the Deficits in Oxytocin, Sociability and Anxiety of CD157 Mutants in a Mouse Model of Autism Spectrum Disorder,” Scientific Reports, in press, 2020
  • Pirinen, E., Auranen, M., Khan, N., Brilhante, V., Urho, N., Pessia, A., Hakkarainen, A., Kuula, J., Heinonen, U., Schmidt, M.S., Haimilahti, K., Piirilä, P., Lundbom, N., Taskinen, M.R., Brenner, C., Velagapudi, V., Pietiläinen, K., Suomalainen, A., “Niacin Improves Systemic NAD+and Performance in Mitochondrial Myopathy,” Cell Metabolism, in press, 2020,
  • Levine, D.C., Hong, H., Ramsey, K.M., Affinati, A.H., Schmidt, M.S., Cedernaes, J., Omura, C., Lee, C., Brenner, C., Peek, C.B. & Bass, J., “NAD Controls Circadian Reprogramming Through PER2 Nuclear Translocation,” Molecular Cell, in press, 2020,

16th Annual (and 1st Virtual!) Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium

Monday, May 11th, 2020

Six students presented at this year’s Undergraduate Honors Program. This year marks the sixteenth year for the Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium and first Virtual symposium.

The speakers this year were:

OLUMAYOKUN (MAYO) AKINBO Implications of Tyrosine Kinase 2 in Lacrimal Gland Disease in a Mouse Model of Sjögren’s Syndrome
Mentor: Scott Lieberman

ANGELA BENTONInvestigating the neural crest gene regulatory network: identification of an enhancer nearby tfap2a
Mentor: Robert Cornell

BRIANNA LUPOThe molecular basis of multivalent DNA-binding by the BRM AT- hook and bromodomain
Mentor: Catherine Musselman

ANGELA MAHONEYDevelopment of a Cell Based Assay to Investigate KCNV2 Retinopathy
Mentor: Sheila Baker

EMELEETA PAINTSILThe mechanism of Stalled DNA Replication Forks Protection by the RAD52 DNA Repair Protein
Mentor: Maria Spies

FRANCESCA SPENCERHow protein aggregation may establish nucleolar domain formation and function
Mentor: Daniel Weeks

Please join Professor Marc Wold, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Honors Advisor, in congratulating these 2020 graduates and their research mentors for a job well done.

Jacintha Thomas featured on UIHC “The Loop”

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Jacintha Thomas, a Research Assistant in Dr. Lori Wallrath’s lab, was featured in the May 7th UIHC publication called “The Loop”. During the COVID-19 shut down, Jacintha divides her time between the adjacent laboratories of Lori Wallrath and Arlene Drack (Ophthamology and Visual Sciences). Jacintha has been instrumental in maintaining valuable mice and fruit fly stocks used for studies of human disease.


The Loop article can be found here.


Thanks Jacintha!

Brian Krueger at forefront of COVID-19 DNA testing

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Brian Krueger, Associate Vice President, Technical Director, R&D, LabCorp and a 2009 PhD graduate of the Department of Biochemistry, has been at the forefront of COVID-19 DNA testing. On January 12, 2020, China published the first DNA sequence of the coronavirus genome from patients with COVID-19. By March 16, 2020, in unprecedented record time, Dr. Krueger and his co-workers developed the first FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approval for a clinical DNA diagnostic test. On April 21, 2020, they were the first to receive EUA approval for the first at-home test kit based on nasal swabbing. We are proud that a Biochemistry alumnus is helping to keep our country safe.

Thank you Dr. Krueger!

Francesca Spencer coauthored a paper published in Nature Scientific Reports

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Francesca Spencer, graduating senior in Biochemistry and Italian at the University of Iowa, is coauthor of a paper appearing in Nature Scientific Reports. She collaborated with a group of scientists and students from the University of Keele, U.K., led by Dr. Jamie Pringle, and helped analyzing data from a  very long study (longest globally, starting in Dec. 2007 and still ongoing) of geophysical monitoring of simulated clandestine burials on the Keele campus using pig cadavers as human proxies. This study will be crucial as it will tell forensic search practitioners a) which geophysical technique is optimal to use to find a body in different timeframes after death/burial, b) optimal equipment configuration(s) for body detection and c) provide comparable datasets for them to see what anomalies should be looking like, and thus where to dig. Dr. Pringle has applied this methodology to unsolved cold cases in Wales and participated in international collaborations to locate mass graves from the Spanish Civil War. Ms Spencer plans to continue her studies next year focusing on Forensics as a graduate student at the University of Utah.

The article entitled, “Geophysical monitoring of simulated homicide burials for forensic investigations” can be found here.


Congratulations Francesca!