Link: University of Iowa

7th Annual FUTURE in Biomedicine Program

FUTURE2015_GroupShot_withDeanSchwinn

The FUTURE in Biomedicine program, founded in 2009 by Madeline Shea, is developing a statewide network of scientist-educators and a pipeline of prospective students for our graduate and clinical program. The 7th annual program brought 25 faculty Fellows and students from primarily undergraduate institutions in Iowa to conduct research and pursue collaborations with UI faculty through summer laboratory work and weekly professional development activities. The Fellows also received support to use our state-of-the-art research core facilities such as those in genomics, crystallography and NMR.

Honts_Drake_SheaLab_2015Of the 13 Faculty Fellows, four worked with host professors in Biochemistry. Dr. Gary Coombs from Waldorf College worked on the role of lamins in regulating muscle function and metabolism with Professor Lori Wallrath. Dr. Heriberto Hernandez from Grinnell College worked on the role of thermodynamics in the formulation of pharmaceuticals with Assistant Professor Mike Schnieders. Dr. Hernandez was supported by the Ruth Ann Henriksen Fellowship that honors Dr. Henriksen, a Ph.D. graduate of our department who pursued her academic career at East Carolina University. Two Fellows from Drake University – Adina Kilpatrick in Physics and Jerry Honts in Biology – pursued a joint collaboration on Tetrahymena calcium-binding proteins with Professor Madeline Shea.

Hernandez_Grinnell_Schnieders_2015Two additional Faculty Fellows are Biochemistry Alumni – Dr. Ugur Akgun, now on the Physics faculty at Coe College had been a postdoctoral fellow with Shahram Khademi, and Dr. Heidi Sleister in Biology at Drake University was a former BSURF student.

Coombs_Waldorf_Wallrath_2015In addition, Ms. Dulce Chavez from St. Mary-of-the-Woods was the first recipient of the Gioannini Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship honoring our former colleague Dr. Theresa L. Gioannini, who held a joint appointment in Biochemistry. Mr. Adam Page, of Kirkwood Community College, conducted research with Professor E. Dale Abel, a joint appointee in Biochemistry, and Adam’s participation in the activities of the FUTURE in Biomedicine program were arranged by Ms. Juanita Limas, the faculty Director of the LSAMP program at Kirkwood who earned her B.S. in Biochemistry doing research with Professor Lori Wallrath.

2015_0720_3DPrinting_Pufall_Honts_008Members of the Department of Biochemistry featured prominently in the weekly activities of the FUTURE in Biomedicine program. These included a session when Professor Dan Weeks described preparation for our Ph.D. programs, a workshop on “3-D Printing in Research and Education” presented jointly by UI Biochemistry Assistant Professor Miles Pufall and Jerry Honts of Drake University, and a Career Panel on making the transition from postdoctoral fellow to teaching faculty, including two Biochemistry postdocs – Dr. Lynne Dieckman formerly in the Musselman laboratory and Dr. Casey Andrews in the Elcock laboratory. In the prior academic year, Dr. Andrews had a mentored semester-long teaching experience at Loras College with 2014 FUTURE Fellow Adam Moser.

Kilpatrick_Drake_Shea_2015The research being conducted in partnerships developed through the FUTURE in Biomedicine program is being published in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at national conferences. This reciprocal network is encouraging excellent candidates to apply to our training opportunities and openings for research assistants and postbac internships. The FUTURE program is committed to advancing closer ties with our alumni in the years ahead.

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