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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!

Dr. Madeline Shea Elected as AAAS Fellow

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Dr. Madeline Shea has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Shea was elected for her “distinguished contributions to the field of biochemistry and biophysics, particularly in the role of calmodulin in signal transduction, and for the establishment of innovative educational programs.” Among current Biochemistry primary faculty, Dr. Shea joins Drs. Pamela Geyer, Marc Wold, Charles Brenner, David Price, and Peter Rubinstein.

416 fellows have been elected this year and Dr. Shea is one of two scientists from the University of Iowa.

Congratulations Dr. Shea!

For the full press release please visit Iowa Now.

2018 Biochemistry Newsletter now available

Monday, November 5th, 2018

The 2018 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.

Congrats Summer 2018 Biochemistry PhD Graduates

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Quinn Li, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Ashley Spies, received a PhD on August 3, 2018, entitled, “Elucidating enzyme catalyic power and protein-ligand dynamics of human glucokinase: The role of modern allostery”. Quinn plans to travel after her PhD.

Mark Miller, a Biochemistry PhD student mentored by Dr. Adrian Elcock, received a PhD on August 3, 2018, entitled, “Use of osmotic coefficient measurements to validate and to correct the interaction thermodynamics of amino acids in molecular dynamics simulations”. Mark will be teaching Chemistry and Physics at Iowa Mennonite School in the fall.

Emily Malcolm Cushing, a Biochemistry PhD student mentor by Dr. Brandon Davies, received a PhD on August 3, 2018, entitled, “Regulation of plasma triglycerides by ANGPTL4 and GPIHBP1”. Emily is currently working as a post doc in Dr. Brandon Davies’ lab.

Brittany Ripley Receives AHA Predoctoral Fellowship.

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Brittany Ripley, Biochemistry graduate student in Dr. M. Todd Washington’s lab, has received an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship. Brittany’s proposal entitled, “RAD6-18, the master regulator of translesion synthesis” will be funded at the maximum amount for two full years. Brittany’s project is described below.

“My research focuses on how cells cope with DNA damage during cell division. Specifically I study how cells regulate the replication of damaged DNA via the ubiquitin conjugating and ligase enzymes, Rad6 and Rad18. To understand regulation, I am determining the network of interactions Rad6 and Rad18 make with two vital polymerases in the DNA damage bypass pathway, translesion synthesis, and how these interactions affect translesion synthesis.”

Hannah Campbell Recieves AHA Predoctoral Fellowship

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Hannah Campbell, Biochemistry graduate student in Dr. Kris DeMali’s lab, has received an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship. Hannah’s proposal entitled, “Force-induced apoptosis and the mechanoprotective role of PAK2” will be funded at the maximum amount for two full years. Hannah’s project is described below.

“All cells experience forces throughout their lifetimes. These forces are sensed by cell surface adhesion receptors and trigger robust actin cytoskeletal rearrangements and growth of the associated adhesion complex to counter the applied forces. This process is known as cell stiffening and is generally thought to be beneficial to the overall health of the cell.  However there are also instances in hypertensive patients and other diseased settings when cells experience supraphysiological forces that initiate cell death.  The key determinants of whether cells survive or die in response to force are not well understood. Here, we show that application of force on E-cadherin activates p21-activated kinase 2 (PAK2). In addition, force recruits PAK2 to the cadherin containing adhesion complex. At this complex, we hypothesize PAK2 serves as a critical component of a signaling cascade culminating in increased contractility and cell stiffening.”

Congrats Hannah!

Tingting Duan Featured on the July Cover of Genetics

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

An image from an article by Tingting Duan (Graduate Student, Geyer Lab) and Pamela Geyer was featured on the July cover of Genetics. The image was taken using a confocal microscope and shows a Drosophila 7-day testis.  Mature spermatozoa form through a process called sperm individualization, wherein an actin rich individualization compex (blue spikes) separates individual sperm (gold) from a 64-spermatid syncytium. Individualization complexes are labeled with phalloidin and sperm are labeled with an antibody to polyglycylated tubulin found in the sperm tails.

Tingting’s article was also featured in Genetics and is described below:

“Drosophila Suppressor of Hairy-wing [Su(Hw)] is a multivalent transcription factor. Although best known for its gypsy retrotransposon insulator function, its functions at non-gypsy genomic binding sites are poorly understood. Duan and Geyer study the newly-discovered requirement for Su(Hw) in spermatogenesis, showing that Su(Hw) is required in testis cyst cells for sustained male fertility. Additionally, their studies build evidence that the prominent function of Su(Hw) at non-gypsy binding sites is as a transcriptional repressor, with its loss causing cell-specific changes in gene expression.”

Congrats Tingting!

Spring 2018 Wallrath Lab Accomplishments

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Lori Wallrath (Professor and Vice Chair, Biochemistry) was featured in the Spring 2018 addition of Quest, a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) new publication, where she praised MDA’s “umbrella” structure of supporting dozens of neuromuscular diseases so that researchers and clinician’s benefit from the “cross-fertilization” of ideas. The article can be found at: http://www.mda.org/quest.

Recent research from the Wallrath Lab was published in Aging Cell. This article describes a new model and potential therapy for cardiac disease associated with several types of muscular dystrophy that are caused by mutations in the human LMNA gene. This project was in collaboration with Dr. Girish Melkani (San Diego State University). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/acel.12747

Biochemistry Senior Laura Fischer Featured in The Daily Iowan

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Laura Fischer, recent Biochemistry graduate, was featured in the May 10, 2018, edition of The Daily Iowan.  Please click on Laura’s picture for link to the May 10th Daily Iowan.