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Archive for the ‘Kelli Sylvers’ Category

Highlights of the 9th Annual Biochemistry Retreat and 70th Anniversary

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Over 115 faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff members, undergraduates, and alumni attended the Department of Biochemistry’s 9th Annual Retreat and 70th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, August 25, 2018, at the newly rebuilt  Hancher Auditorium.

Invited oral presentations included:

Junmin Peng, PhD., Professor, Departments of Structural Biology and Developmental Neurobiology, and Director of Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Title: Omics-based systems biology of human disease
Dr. Peng was a former graduate student in Dr. David Price’s lab, obtaining a PhD in Biochemistry in 1999.

Lois Weisman, PhD, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan
Title: From yeast to humans: Insights into myosin V based transport and phosphoinositide signaling
Dr. Weisman joined the University of Iowa, Department of Biochemistry in 1993.  In 2005, Dr. Weisman moved to her current position at the University of Michigan.

James Kranz, PhD, Director, Drug Product Development, Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals
Title: Biochemistry essentials and biopharmaceutical development: Everything I need to know I first learned from Dryer & Lata “Experimental Biochemistry”
Dr. Kranz received a B.S. in Biochemistry with Honors from the University of Iowa under the mentorship of Dr. Madeline Shea.

This event also included a panel discussion with current and former Department Heads:

Charles Brenner, PhD (2009 – present)
Arthur Spector, MD (1996 – 1998)
Alan Goodridge, PhD (1987 – 1996)

The retreat featured 39 poster presentations.  Winners of the poster presentations were (left to right below):


1st place:  Hannah Campbell (DeMali Lab), Force-induced apoptosis and the mechanoprotective role of PAK2
2nd place: Alicia Ortiz (DeMali Lab), Investigating Metabolic Changes in Response to Force on E-cadherin
3rd place:  Christopher Ball (Price Lab), Human Cytomegalovirus IE2 Differentially Modulates Transcription of Select Viral Transcription Units during Late Infection
4th place:  Kelli Sylvers (Davies Lab), Characterizing the interactions between ANGPTL3, ANGPLT8, and endothelial lipase

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!