Link: University of Iowa

Archive for the ‘people’ Category

Sean Tompkins (Taylor Lab) publishes thesis in Cell Reports

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Sean Tompkins, a MSTP student in Dr. Eric Taylor’s lab, had his thesis published by Cell Reports. His thesis is entitled, “Disrupting Mitochondrial Pyruvate Uptake Directs Glutamine into the TCA Cycle away from Glutathione Synthesis and Impairs Hepatocellular Tumorigenesis.”

“Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) driven by obesity and diabetes is the fastest growing cause of liver cancer in the developed world and new therapies are needed to curb its growing burden. This manuscript demonstrates and helps explain how impairing the ability of liver mitochondria to use a glucose byproduct called pyruvate decreases liver tumor development. Using a mouse model of liver cancer, Tompkins et al. and Taylor discovered that liver-specific disruption of the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC), the protein complex that transports pyruvate into mitochondria, led to two thirds fewer tumors that were smaller and had a higher cell death rate. Using RNA-sequencing and biochemical assays, they determined that MPC-deficient tumors had impaired glutathione metabolism. Continued experiments using stable isotope tracing and metabolomic analysis demonstrated hepatocyte MPC disruption increases mitochondrial glutamine utilization at the expense of glutathione synthesis, which is critical for tumor development. These results identify modulation of mitochondrial pyruvate uptake as a potential strategy to prevent obesity- and diabetes-driven liver cancer development.”

Congratulations!

Dr. Charles Brenner researches potential new treatment of a childhood brain cancer

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Dr. Charles Brenner, co-senior author in an article published in Nature Communications, may have identified a class of drugs that could lead to new treatment of a childhood brain cancer.

According to The Daily Iowan ,”the researchers focused on diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, or DIPG, an inoperable brainstem tumor found in children. The team concluded that a specific class of drugs have the potential to kill mutant tumor cells.” The team made use of Dr. Brenner’s expertise in synthesis and characterization of NAD, the central regulator of metabolism, to specifically target this glioma.

“My mom taught me that life is not always fair–this is an example where an innocent child is receiving a death sentence in his or her first decade,” Brenner said. “We want to be able to do something for these children.”

Congratulations, Dr. Brenner!

Dr. Charles Brenner recognized on July 2019 dean’s List for notable and novel scientific awards

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

 

Dr. Charles Brenner was recognized on the July 2019 list of notable awards receiving special recognition from the dean’s office. The first notable award was received for a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation titled, “Testing NAD Precursors as Galactagogues.” A grant from ChromaDex, Inc. titled, “Evaluating the Oral Bioavailability of NAD Boosters” was also listed as a notable award for Dr. Brenner.

Congratulations Dr. Brenner!

Drs. London, Brenner, and Irani Receive NIH R01

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Drs. Barry London, Kaikobad Irani and Charles Brenner were awarded a multiple PI NIH R01 grant for their project “Evaluating NAD Supplementation as a Novel Treatment for Arrhythmias.” The researchers will study ways to prevent cardiac arrhythmia by determining how metabolism changes sodium channel structure. A great example of team science at work! Congrats!

Guowei Qi named 2019 Goldwater Scholar

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Congratulations to Guowei Qi, a sophomore Biochemistry student, who has been named a 2019 Goldwater Scholar. Guowei is currently a member of Dr. Michael Schnieders’ Lab researching protein side optimization. Guowei is a member of the University of Iowa Honors Program, the Presidential Scholar community, UI Student Government, and the UI Environmental Coalition. He has also recently served on the 2018 CLAS Dean Search Committee and is an Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) Ambassador.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields. Four-year institutions in the United States are eligible to submit up to four nominations. This year, the Goldwater Committee received 1223 nominations.

A full list of the 2019 Goldwater Scholars can be found here: https://goldwater.scholarsapply.org/2019-goldwater-scholars-by-institution-state/

Samantha Mackin and Ian McElree awarded Montgomery Scholar’s Prizes

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Samantha Makin, an undergraduate major in the Dr. Kris DeMali’s laboratory,  and Ian McElree, an undergraduate in Dr. Chun-Fang Wu’s laboratory in the Department of Biology, have been awarded 2019 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 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.

 

Three Undergraduate Students Awarded 2019 Rex Montgomery Scholarships

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

The 2019 Rex Montgomery Scholarships were award to:

  • Kinsey Gudenkauf, Dr. Scott Shaw’s laboratory;
  • Jade Miller, Dr. Maria Spies’ laboratory; and
  • Francesca Spencer, Dr. Daniel Weeks’ laboratory

Rex Montgomery Scholarships recognize undergraduate students for their outstanding academic record and commitment to research. This scholarship was established 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.

Dr. Brandon Davies Named as Junior Associate Editor of the Journal of Lipid Research

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Dr. Brandon Davies was one of four junior faculty members working anywhere in the world to be named Junior Associate Editors of the Journal of Lipid Research. Dr. Davies is part of the first cohort that were nominated by the journal’s associate editors. Dr. Davies was chosen on the basis of his outstanding contributions to the field and in anticipation of his future impact in lipid biochemistry and physiology. An assistant professor of Biochemistry since 2012, Dr. Davies was also the recipient of the Journal of Lipids Research Junior Investigator Award in 2017 and is currently serving on the Deuel Conference Board.

Congratulations to Dr. Davies!

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!