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Michael Hayes receives the 2019 Marion Dave Francis Innovator Award

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Dr. Michael Hayes, a 2019 MD and Cell and Molecular Biology PhD with Dr. Daniel Weeks, received the 2019 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. Hayes.

Dr. Michael Hayes’ research examined the formation of non-pathological protein aggregates essential for the formation of non-membrane bound organelles. He initiated efforts to develop assays that will allow us to better understand conditions that promote the normal assembly of essential aggregates and further our understanding of what goes wrong when toxic aggregates are formed in diseases like Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s. His thesis work resulted in two first author publications, a Biology Open article published in 2016 and a second publication in eLife in 2018. Michael is currently a surgical resident at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Congratulations, Dr. Hayes!

 

Lalita Oonthonpan Publishes in The Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Lalita Oonthonpan, a Biochemistry graduate student in Dr. Eric Taylor’s Lab, is an author on a paper published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight. The paper entitled, “Two human patient mitochondrial pyruvate carrier mutations reveal distinct molecular mechanisms of dysfunction” describes research on the Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier (MPC).

Mitochondrial pyruvate uptake is an important cellular process unifying cytosolic and mitochondrial sugar metabolism. This manuscript helps explain how human mutations in the protein complex that transports pyruvate into mitochondria lead to disease. Using patient-derived cells and a novel, heterologous gene complementation system with the highly metabolically active mouse C2C12 myoblast cell line, Oonthonpan et al. and Taylor found that the MPC1 C289T mutation results in destabilization and loss of the MPC complex whereas the MPC1 T236A mutation results in an inactive MPC complex. These findings could inform future treatment options for rare pyruvate transporter mutations and other in-born errors of metabolism.

Congratulations!

 

Congrats Spring 2019 Biochemistry PhD Graduates

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Tyler Weaver, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Catherine Musselman, received a PhD on May 10, 2019. His thesis was entitled, “Regulation of polycomb repressive complexes by histone reader domains.” Tyler is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Bret Freudenthal’s lab.

 

Jacob Litman, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Michael Schnieders, received a PhD on May 10, 2019. His thesis was entitled, “Advanced optimization and sampling techniques for biomolecules using a polarizable force field.” Jacob is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher for the Biomedical Engineering Department in Dr. Michael Schnieders lab.

 

Young Joo Sun, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Ernesto Fuentes, received a PhD on May 10, 2019. His thesis was entitled, “Engineering PDZ Domain Specificity.” Young Joo is currently in Vinit Mahajan’s lab at Stanford University.

 

Congrats Tyler, Jacob, and Young Joo!

Dr. Bryan Allen Named Recipient of the J.W. Osborne Award

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Dr. Bryan Allen ,an alumni MSTP student in Dr. Daniel Weeks lab, was selected as the recipient of the J.W. Osborne Award presented by the Radiation Research Society. Dr. Bryan Allen is currently an associate professor and physician scientist in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of  Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The J.W. Osborne Award honors an RRS member who has made a critical contribution to the understanding of normal tissue radiation responses.

Congratulations Dr. Allen!

Cole Kitzman Recieves Ishan Jain Travel Award

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

Cole Kitzman, a Biochemistry and Pre-Medicine major in Dr. Pamela Geyer’s lab, has received the Ishan Jain Travel award. This award is presented to an undergraduate student performing research within the Cell and Developmental Biology Program at the University of Iowa. Cole used these funds to travel to the 60th Annual Drosophila Research Conference March 27-31 in Dallas, TX and present a poster entitled, “Modeling a premature aging syndrome caused by a mutant form of Barrier-to-Autointegration Factor (BAF) in Drosophila”

Congrats Cole!

Dr. John Dagle Named Recipient of the Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Dr. John Dagle (Pediatrics-Neonatology and secondary faculty in Biochemistry) was selected as the recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The Tow award recognizes those who demonstrate both clinical excellence and compassion in delivery of care and who show respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues.

Congratulations Dr. Dagle!

Ashley Segura-Roman – Callen Prize Winner

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Congratulations to Ashley Segura-Roman (Brandon Davies lab) for being named the recipient of the Joseph E. and Ursil I. Callen Prize for an outstanding senior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the academic year 2019-2020. The award is given to a University of Iowa senior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who shows a high academic record and evidence of school and/or civic leadership in high school and/or college.

Congrats, Ashley!

Juanita Limas Featured on UNC Webpage

Monday, March 4th, 2019

Juanita Limas, University of Iowa Biochemistry Undergraduate alumni, is currently featured on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) homepage. The article entitled, “Inspiring the Next Generation-Women in STEM” describes the research that women are doing at UNC and how they are inspiring the next generation of researchers. Juanita is featured in an associated video and she specifically thanks her University of Iowa TRiO counselor, Nancy Humbles, for supporting her goal of being a scientist.

Juanita graduated from the University of Iowa Biochemistry undergraduate program in 1999 and performed research in the laboratory of Dr. Lori Wallrath. At the University of North Carolina, she is researching cell cycle control in cancer in the laboratory of Dr. Jean Cook. She was also recently awarded a prestigious HHMI Gilliam Fellowship.

Congrats Juanita!

Congrats Fall 2018 Biochemistry PhD Graduates

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Wesley Lay, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Adrian Elcock, received a PhD on December 14, 2018. His thesis was entitled, “Optimizing Computer Simulation Models for Carbohydrates and Proteins at the Atomistic and Coarse-Grained Level”.

Arpit Sharma, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Eric Taylor, received a PhD on December 14, 2018. His thesis was entitled, “Loss of the Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier Drives Cori Cycling and Whole-body Leanness”.  Arpit is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at Harvard School of Public Health.

Kyle Powers, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Todd Washington, received a PhD on December 14, 2018. His thesis was entitled, “Structure and Function of the Disordered Tails in Translesion Synthesis DNA Polymerases”. Kyle is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in Dr. Christiane Berger-Schaffitzel’s lab at the University of Bristol.

Congrats Wesley, Arpit, and Kyle!

Dr. Pamela Geyer Elected to the Board of Directors of the Genetics Society of America

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Dr. Pamela Geyer (Professor, Biochemistry, Obstetrics and Gynecology) was elected to the Board of Directors of the Genetics Society of American (GSA). Founded in 1931, the GSA is a professional scientific society for scientific researchers and educators in the field of genetics. Dr. Geyer is excited to join this board at this time of rapid paced discoveries in genetics. She brings to the board her long-standing commitment to training and will continue advancing initiatives to ensure a vibrant, inclusive and diverse network of engaged geneticists. Dr. Geyer is a strong supporter of model organisms and their utility in providing platforms for scientific advances, and looks forward to advocating for these communities. She will serve on the board until 2021.

Congrats Dr. Geyer!