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Archive for the ‘graduate students’ Category

Elizabeth Boehm receives 2017 Subramanian Thesis Award

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Elizabeth Boehm, who completed her PhD with Dr. M. Todd Washington, has been awarded the 2017 Subramanian Award for best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Boehm’s thesis was entitled “The regulation of translesion synthesis through binding and activation of polymerases by PCNA.” Elizabeth received her PhD in June 2016 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Johannes Walter at Harvard Medical School.

Elizabeth is the 22nd winner of the Subramanian Award, which is made possible by a gift from Dr. Alap Subramanian, a 1964 PhD 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-Institut. Our deepest thanks to Dr. Subramanian and our heartiest congratulations to Dr. Boehm.

Please visit our website for a complete list of previous winners of the Subramanian Award.

Samuel Trammell receives special Graduate Deans’ Distinguished Dissertation Award

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Dr. Samuel Trammell, a 2016 Genetics PhD with Dr. Charles Brenner, is the recipient of a Graduate Deans’ Distinguished Dissertation Award for his dissertation entitled “Novel NAD+ Metabolomics Technologies and Their Applications to Nicotinamide Riboside Interventions.” The Graduate Deans’ Distinguished Dissertation Award is made only occasionally and recognizes exceptionally meritorious scholarship. Dr. Trammell will be recognized at the 20th Annual James F. Jakobsen Memorial Research Conference on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at the Iowa Memorial Union. Dr. Trammell is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen with Dr. Matthew Gillium working on lipid metabolism in diabetes.

 

2017 IDT & Smith-Gehring Graduate Fellowships

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

The IDT and Smith-Gehring Graduate Fellowships are awarded to three of the most meritorious second year Biochemistry graduate students based on academic and research achievements.

The 2017 IDT Graduate Fellows are Kelli Sylvers and Christopher Ball:

Ms. Kelli Sylvers had a productive first year in the graduate program and made significant scientific progress. Her rotation work has already contributed to one research paper. Ms. Sylvers grew up in Coon Rapids, Minnesota and graduated with a B.S in Biochemistry and a B.A in Biology from The College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, MN) in spring 2016. Ms. Sylvers is training in the laboratory of Dr. Brandon Davies. Her research involves the characterization of two circulating factors, ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8, that regulate lipid metabolism. ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8 form a complex that inhibits lipoprotein lipase, the enzyme responsible for delivering triglycerides from the bloodstream to tissue. ANGPTL3, and possibly ANGPTL8, can also inhibit endothelial lipase, a major regulator of HDL.  Moreover, targeting ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8 can therapeutically lower plasma lipids, which may reduce the risk of cardiac disease. The goals of Ms. Sylvers research are to understand the interactions between ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8, characterize the mechanisms by which they inhibit lipoprotein lipase and endothelial lipase, and to identify small molecules that can disrupt the action of ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8 complexes.

Mr. Christopher Ball had an outstanding first year. He earned over a 4.0 average in his classes for the two semesters and performed in an exemplary manner during his three rotations. During his rotations, he got up to speed quickly in each of the three very different research environments and was able to contribute intellectually to each project. Having a good idea is easier than putting that idea into practice, but Mr. Ball is able to fully translate his imagination into experiments that work. Mr. Ball entered Dr. David Price’s lab in the Spring and has begun several projects aimed at understanding the regulation of transcription by human RNA polymerase II. He is utilizing both biochemical and molecular approaches. Key to his success is his soft spoken thoughtfulness coupled with a drive to succeed. Mr. Ball will attend the Cold Spring Harbor Lab meeting on Transcriptional Mechanisms in the Fall where he will present some of his first results demonstrating a rapid increase in transcribing RNA polymerase II in cells under oxidative stress.

The 2017 Smith-Gehring Graduate Fellow is Alicia Ortiz:

Ms. Alicia Ortiz joined the Biochemistry Department in the Fall of 2016 after having been actively engaged in microbiology research at University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  Upon her recruitment to the University of Iowa, Alicia was named an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar, a fellowship awarded to promote the doctoral training of deserving US citizens from minority backgrounds.  As a first year student in the Biochemistry graduate program, Ms. Ortiz excelled accumulating an impressive academic and research credentials.  As a consequence of her successes, she was awarded a position on the Predoctoral Training Grant in the Pharmacological Sciences.  This is an NIH-funded institutional training program that promotes the interdisciplinary training of graduate students.  Ms. Ortiz will carry out her dissertation work in the laboratory of Dr. Kris DeMali and will focus her research efforts on understanding how epithelial cells sense and transmit forces in normal and cancer cells.

Congratulations to the 2017 IDT & Smith-Gehring Graduate Fellows!

Elizabeth Boehm receives 2017 Marion Dave Francis Innovator Award

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Dr. Elizabeth Boehm, a 2016 PhD with Dr. Todd Washington, received the 2017 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. Francis.

Dr. Elizabeth Boehm grew up in small farming community in northern Illinois. She attended Winona State University in Winona, MN where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She joined the graduate program in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Iowa in August 2012. She earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in August 2016 under the mentorship of Professor Todd Washington. Her research focused on understanding what happens when damaged DNA is replicated during cell division. She developed an experimental approach that allowed her to observe the formation of individual protein complexes in real time. This approach and the new computational tools that she developed for this project will be widely applicable to researchers studying similar protein complexes in many other fields. Currently, Elizabeth is a post-doctoral research associate at Harvard Medical School working with Professor Johannes Walter, a leader in the DNA replication and repair field.

Congratulations, Elizabeth!

Taylor Lab wins FOEDRC Research Day scientific poster awards

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Adam Rauckhorst (center) & Arpit Sharma (second from right) along with the other FOEDRC poster winners.

Graduate Student Arpit Sharma’s poster entitled “Loss of Skeletal Muscle Mpc1 in Mice Stimulates Fatty Acid Oxidation, Nitrogen Retention, and Leanness,” won the award for best poster in the pre-doctoral category.

Postdoc Adam Rauckhorst’s poster entitled “The mitochondrial pyruvate carrier mediates high fat diet-induced increases in hepatic TCA cycle capacity and hyperglycemia,” tied with three others for the best poster in the post-doctoral/Jr. faculty category.

Kyle Nilson receives Most Outstanding Entry for the CCOM Health Sciences Research Week Poster Competition

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Dr. Kyle Nilson, a postdoc in the Price laboratory, received a most outstanding entry for the Carver College of Medicine Health Sciences Research Week poster competition for his poster entitled “Oxidative stress rapidly stabilizes promoter-proximal paused RNA polymerase II across the human genome.”

Lacy Barton wins 2016 Clarence Berg Award

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Lacy Barton, a 2014 PhD with Dr. Pamela Geyer, has been named the winner of the 2016 Clarence Berg Award. The Berg Award is given biennially in honor of our former Professor Clarence P. Berg to the graduate student who demonstrates “scholarship, integrity, cooperativeness, consideration and a willingness to help others.”

Lacy was also recently named the winner of the 2015 Subramanian Award for best PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry.  Lacy is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Ruth Lehmann’s laboratory at New York University School of Medicine in New York, NY. She was awarded a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Fellowship for her project entitled “Mechanisms of directed cell migration in a complex in vivo environment.” Damon Runyon fellowships are among the most recognized postdoctoral awards and a high accolade for an early career scientist. Congratulations, Dr. Barton!

2016 Biochemistry Newsletter now available

Friday, November 4th, 2016

2016_newslettercoverimageThe 2016 Biochemistry @ Iowa newsletter is hot off the presses and available for download. Alumni and friends should receive a hard copy in the mail this week. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please send your contact information to biochem@uiowa.edu. While you are at it, feel free to send us your news and updates! Previous newsletters are also available online.

Tingting Duan won second place in the Art in Science Competition at the Iowa Microscopy Society

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

image-competion-2016-a-testis-carpet-tingting

Tingting Duan, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Pamela Geyer, was awarded second place in the Art in Science Competition by voters attending the Iowa Microscopy Society Fall Symposium. Her image of a tetis carpet “[drew] out beauty on an extremely small scale.” The goal of the Iowa Art in Science Contest is to recognize the combination of outstanding scientific discovery and artistic appeal inherent to microscopy research.

Maria Spies lab publishes in PNAS

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Dr. Maria Spies laboratory recently published an Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences article entitled “Tyrosine phosphorylation stimulates activity of human RAD51 recombinase through altered nucleoprotein filament dynamics.” In this article the Spies laboratory addressed the regulation of the homologous genetic recombination, an enigmatic cellular mechanism responsible for the stability of our genomes and accurate repair of the most deleterious DNA damage. They combined the tools of biochemistry, chemical biology and single-molecule biophysics to determine the mechanism by which c-ABL kinase (and its oncogenic counterpart BCR-ABL) enhances the activity of human RAD51 recombinase, which catalyzes the central step in homologous recombination. Recent PhD, Shyamal Subramanyam, was first author of this work, which was a cornerstone of his dissertation.