Link: University of Iowa

13th Annual Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium

May 5th, 2017 by Judy Means

Eight students presented at this year’s Undergraduate Honors Program. This year marks the thirteenth year for the Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium. Please join Professor Marc Wold, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Honors Advisor, in congratulating these 2017 graduates and their research mentors for a job well done.

(left to right): Emily Britt, Sarah Gardner, Zachary Wehrspan, Maria Núñez Hernandez, Maureen O’Connor, Sarah Van Dorin, Nicholas McCarty, Nicholas Mullen
  • Emily C. Britt
    Mentor: Brandon Davies
    Investigating the Interactions Between ANGPTL3, ANGPTL8, and Lipoprotein Lipase
  • Sarah H. Gardner
    Mentor: Sheila Baker
    Post-Synaptic Development of the First Visual Synapse
  • Maria Núñez Hernandez
    Mentor: Madeline Shea
    Calcium-Dependent Regulation of Calcineurin Activity
  • Nicholas S. McCarty
    Mentor: E. Dale Abel
    Exploring Mechanisms by which the Insulin Responsive Glucose Transporter GLUT4 is Regulated in High-Fat Fed Hearts
  • Nicholas J. Mullen
    Mentor: David Price
    Oxidative Stress Reveals Mechanistic Insight into Human 5’ mRNA Capping
  • Maureen O’Connor
    Mentor: Lori Wallrath
    Lamin localization and genome integrity in rare types of muscular dystrophy
  • Sarah Van Dorin
    Mentor: Ronald Weigel
    Role of TFAP2A in Transcriptional Regulation of Melanoma
  • Zachary Wehrspan
    Mentor: Ronald Weigel
    TFAP2C orchestrates pH regulation in breast tumors, and its loss leads to EMT, facilitating the Warburg Effect

The symposium also included the presentation of two undergraduate awards, made possible by a gift from Alap Subramanian. The H.G. Wittmann Scholar Award was presented to Nicholas J. Mullen (Price lab) and the H.G. Khorana Scholar Award was presented to Emily Britt (Davies lab), recognizing their exceptional understanding of biochemistry and its value to society.

Congratulations to everyone named above and all of our 2017 graduates!

Nicholas McCarty receives Fulbright Award

May 4th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Biochemistry senior Nicholas McCarty, who works in Dr. Dale Abel’s lab,  has been awarded a nationally competitive Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase understanding between the people of the United States and other countries by providing participants opportunities to study, teach, conduct research, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Kris DeMali receives 2017 Honors Thesis Mentor Award

May 3rd, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Dr. Kris DeMali was selected as the 2017 Honors Thesis Mentor Award recipient. Each year the University of Iowa Honors Program selects a single faculty member to recognize with this honor, which is driven by student nominations. Dr. DeMali will be recognized at the Honors Commendation Ceremony on May 12, 2017.


Four undergraduates receive 2017 Rex Montgomery Scholarships

May 2nd, 2017 by Maren Rogers

The 2017 Rex Montgomery Scholarships were award to:

  • Laura Fischer, Marc Wold’s laboratory;
  • Titus Hou, Ernesto Fuentes’ laboratory;
  • Sophia Vogeler, Charles Brenner’s laboratory; and
  • Peter Addo,  Ronald Weigel’s laboratory.

Rex Montgomery Scholarships recognize undergraduate students for their outstanding academic record and commitment to research. This scholarship was established by Dr. Rex Montgomery, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Montgomery began his career at the University of Iowa in 1955, and is admired for his impact as a researcher, teacher and mentor. Dr. Montgomery is an internationally recognized carbohydrate biochemist and textbook author. While on the faculty, he served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Medicine, the Vice President of Research for the University and was the founding director of the University of Iowa Physician Assistant Program. Dr. Montgomery retired in 2005 after more than 50 years on the faculty.

Peter Rubenstein receives Michael J. Brody Service Award

April 27th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Congratulations to Professor Peter Rubenstein who was recently selected, along with UI Professor Larry Weber, as a recipient of the 2017 Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service. The Brody Award named in honor of the late Michael J. Brody, former president of the UI Faculty Senate, recognizes outstanding faculty who have made exceptionally effective contributions to the UI and the community.

In his nomination letter, Dr. Charles Brenner wrote, “Professor Rubenstein’s altruistic approach to the core missions of the University of Iowa over the past 40 years put him in a class with the late Professor Brody. Through service, teaching and scholarship, he has continually strived to make the University of Iowa a forerunner in education and training at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level. He has been a long-standing leader in faculty governance and played a significant role in curriculum development. He brings novel ideas and integrative approaches to solve challenging problems that improve the overall environment at the University of Iowa. Through his outreach, he has reached countless people in the community, across the state and, indeed, across the world.”

Taylor Lab wins FOEDRC Research Day scientific poster awards

April 27th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

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

April 21st, 2017 by Maren Rogers

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.”

Biochemistry Alumnus Billy Hudson receives the Protein Society’s 2017 Carl Brändén Award

April 18th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Dr. Billy G. Hudson, a 1966 PhD with Drs. Rex Montgomery and Robert Barker, is the recipient of the Protein Society’s 2017 Carl Brändén Award which honors an outstanding protein scientist who has also made exceptional contributions in the areas of education and/or service to the field. Dr. Hudson is currently the Elliot V. Newman Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, & Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, as well as, the Director of the Center for Matrix Biology at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Hudson has worked tirelessly to develop the Aspirnaut K-20 STEM Pipeline for Diversity Program that provides internships to an untapped pool of talented high-school students to encourage them to work in the STEM fields and go on to college. Dr. Hudson’s outstanding research accomplishments include seminal discoveries about the structure and chemistry of collagen IV scaffolds in extracellular basement membranes and have led to a potential treatment of diabetic kidney disease.

Vijay Kamalumpundi receives ICRU summer fellowship

April 7th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Vijay Kamalumpundi, an undergraduate in the Taylor Lab, has been award an ICRU summer fellowship for a project entitled, “Metabolic Gradients in Mouse Liver Metabolism.” Vijay will test whether mitochondrial metabolism is different between lobes of the mouse liver, and whether there are unique metabolic gradients within each lobe. Understanding this question will be helpful for designing reproducible experiments and understanding the translational relevance to human liver function. Success is expected to inform major human diseases that afflict the liver, like diabetes and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Former undergraduate earns NSF Graduate Fellowship

April 7th, 2017 by Maren Rogers

Jill Hauer, who studied in Dr. Michael Schnieder’s laboratory as an undergraduate and is now a Genetics PhD student with Dr. Richard Smith, received an NSF Graduate Fellowship. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards fellowships to outstanding graduate students based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering. Read more about this story here.