Link: University of Iowa

Francesca Spencer coauthored a paper published in Nature Scientific Reports

May 7th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)

Francesca Spencer, graduating senior in Biochemistry and Italian at the University of Iowa, is coauthor of a paper appearing in Nature Scientific Reports. She collaborated with a group of scientists and students from the University of Keele, U.K., led by Dr. Jamie Pringle, and helped analyzing data from a  very long study (longest globally, starting in Dec. 2007 and still ongoing) of geophysical monitoring of simulated clandestine burials on the Keele campus using pig cadavers as human proxies. This study will be crucial as it will tell forensic search practitioners a) which geophysical technique is optimal to use to find a body in different timeframes after death/burial, b) optimal equipment configuration(s) for body detection and c) provide comparable datasets for them to see what anomalies should be looking like, and thus where to dig. Dr. Pringle has applied this methodology to unsolved cold cases in Wales and participated in international collaborations to locate mass graves from the Spanish Civil War. Ms Spencer plans to continue her studies next year focusing on Forensics as a graduate student at the University of Utah.

The article entitled, “Geophysical monitoring of simulated homicide burials for forensic investigations” can be found here.


Congratulations Francesca!

Will Hacker awarded Graduate Research Excellence Award

April 14th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)

Will Hacker, a Biochemistry Graduate Student in the Elcock lab, has been awarded the Graduate Research Excellence Award. This award is given to one graduate student in each broad discipline area.

The Graduate Research Excellence Award honors students in terminal degree programs conducting research and scholarly activity that is recognized as highly original work and makes a significant contribution to the field.

Congrats Will!

Arpit Sharma publishes article in Science

April 14th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)

Arpit Sharma, a 2018 Biochemistry PhD student in Dr. Eric Taylor’s lab, recently published an article in Science. The article is entitled, “Finding community during a pandemic.”


Congratulations Arpit!

Nicholas Luedtke awarded Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

March 30th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)

Nicholas Luedtke has been awarded an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award by the Council on Teaching for his excellent work in Experimental Biochemistry (BIOC3140).

Congratulations Nicholas!!

Dr. Pam Geyer elected to the AAAS Electorate Nominating Committee

March 26th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)


Dr. Pam Geyer has been elected to the AAAS Electorate Nominating Committee, starting her three-year membership in February 2020. This elected committee is tasked with identifying and recruiting candidates to run for elected office within each disciplinary section. Her nomination was announced in the February 28, 2020 issue of Science Magazine.


Congratulations Dr. Geyer!!!

Article co-authored by Marc Wold featured on the cover of Nature Genetics

March 4th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)

Marc Wold co-authored an article titled “A slipped-CAG DNA-binding small molecule induces trinucleotide-repeat contractions in vivo” that was published in, and featured on the cover of, the February, 2020 issue of Nature Genetics (volume 52, issue 2, page 146).  CAG/CTG repeat sequences cause at least 17 human neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases, such as Huntington’s disease (HD).  The number of CAG/CTG repeats expands in affected tissues and contributes to disease onset, progression and severity. This paper describes a multi-laboratory research effort, lead by Christopher Pearson (Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto), that identified a small molecule that binds to slipped-CAG repeats and causes repeat contractions in HD patient cells and in the brains of HD model mice.  This suggests that small molecule treatments may be able to reverse the disease-causing repeat expansions.

Congratulations Dr. Wold!!!!

Dr. Kris DeMali receives NIH MIRA grant

February 27th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)

Dr. Kris DeMali received a NIH R35 MIRA grant for her project entitled, “Molecular Mechanisms Underlying E-cadherin Mechanotransduction.”


Congratulations Dr. DeMali!!!

Alicia Salvi awarded NIH F31 Pre-doctoral Fellowship

February 20th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)


Alicia Salvi, a Biochemistry Graduate Student, was awarded a NIH F31 Pre-doctoral Fellowship. Her project was entitled, “Investigating E-cadherin mechanotransduction.”


Congratulations Alicia!

Dr. Ernesto Fuentes awarded CCOM Innovation Research Grant

February 19th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)

Dr. Ernesto Fuentes, Associate Professor of Biochemistry, was awarded the 2019/2020 CCOM Innovation Research Grant. His project is entitled, “Cryo-electron Microscopy Studies of the Bacterial Two-component Histidine Kinase SrrB.”

This grant supports innovative, think-outside-the-box ideas in which little or no preliminary data currently exists. The goal of the CCOM Innovation Research Grant is to fund innovative proposals that may develop into a new opportunity for scholarship and federal funding.


Congratulations Dr. Fuentes!

Drs. Lori Wallrath and Benjamin Darbro awarded NIH R21 grant

February 17th, 2020 by Johnson, Abby T (UI Health Care)

Lori Wallrath, PhD and Benjamin Darbro, MD/PhD (Pediatrics) received an NIH R21 grant to study genetic modifiers of lamin-associated muscular dystrophies.


Congratulations Dr. Wallrath and Darbro!