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Archive for April, 2010

Biochem Honors students present at Lata Symposium

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Eleven Biochemistry Honors students presented their research this afternoon at the 6th Annual Gene F. Lata Undergraduate Research Symposium. Please join Undergraduate Advisor, Professor Alice Fulton, Honors Advisor Professor Bryce Plapp, and myself in congratulating these 2010 graduates and their research mentors for a job well done. (more…)

Brenner’s outreach program featured in Nature

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Biochemistry research depends on a supply of qualified students and the demand of the public for understanding of the molecular basis for organ function and disease. Accordingly, scientists across the country are reaching out to the schools on National Lab Day. Charles Brenner, head of biochemistry, and his post-doctoral fellow, Szu-Chieh “Christy” Mei will visit Kevin Koepnick’s advanced placement biology classes at Iowa City High School on May 12 to demonstrate some features of the yeast model system. Students will be able to look at cells under a microscope and perform an experiment in which they will determine how sugar availability affects lifespan. This outreach activity has been featured in the current issue of Nature.

Dr. Michael Feldkamp

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Congratulations are due to our newest PhD, Michael Feldkamp. A student of Madeline Shea, Dr. Feldkamp defended his thesis on “Thermodynamic and Structural Determinants of Calcium-Independent Interactions of Calmodulin.” Mike will finish up some loose ends with Madeline before heading out to Vanderbilt to conduct post-doctoral work in structural biology with Walter Chazin.

Dr. Bret Freudenthal

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Congratulations are due to our newest PhD, Bret Freudenthal. A member of Todd Washington’s research group, Dr. Freudenthal defended his thesis on “Studies of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and its role in translesion synthesis.” He plans to conduct post-doctoral research on DNA metabolism, specifically focusing on DNA repair or recombination. Watch this space for an announcement of post-doctoral plans.

Department to welcome 9 new graduate students

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The graduate recruiting season has come to a successful close with nine students committing to the Department of Biochemistry.

Casey Andrews hails from Spring Lake, Michigan and attended Grant Valley State University. An inorganic chemist by training, he has a primary research interest in carcinogenesis.

John Brogie is from Oskaloosa, Iowa and attended Wayne State College. He has conducted research on biofuel production from Clostridium acetobutylicum and plans to do high tech research with awesome facilities.

Yingyue (Annie) Li is from Cangzhou City in China. At Hebei University, she cloned odorant receptor genes from snail antenna. She remarked in her application that she is eager to apply her inquisitiveness, research ability and determination to her PhD at Iowa.

Sufang Mao is from Guangzhou, China and attended South China Agricultural University, where she worked on natural products from the mushroom, Cordyceps militaris. Her main interests are allosteric regulation, large scale modeling and structural biology.

Yuan Pan is from Shenzhen, China and attended Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She has conducted research on microtubule plus-end protein EB1 and will pursue her PhD in an area of fundamental biochemistry.

Nicole Vanderpool is from Mason City, Illinois and attended University of Illinois, Springfield. She conducted undergraduate research on the relationship between iron availability and nitrogen consumption in soil microbes. Going into graduate school, she has a strong interest in chromatin.

Om Kumar Shrestha is from Bharatpur, Nepal and attended Monmouth College, where he did NMR on enzymatic digestion of cellulosic biomass and engineered E. coli to resist ethanol. His interest in biochemistry was inspired by research mentors. He therefore wants to conduct research and continue the chain of mentorship to the next generation.

Zhen Xu is from Hefei, China and attended University of Science and Technology of China, where he did structural biology research. He enters graduate school with a strong interest in membrane proteins.

Chaoqun Zheng is from Beijing, China and attended Shanghai Jiaotong University, where he worked on C. elegans genomics. He enters graduate school with a strong interest in epigenetics, function of tumor suppressor genes, and metabolism.

Watch for the arrival of this class of graduate students this summer!

Rick McGee and Brad Hyman win Distinguished Alumni Awards

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Richard McGee, a 1975 PhD in Biochemistry with Arthur Spector, has been named a Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus. Dr. McGee, formerly at Georgetown and Mayo and now the Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment and Professional Development at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, is nationally known for development of programs that create a pipeline of qualified underrepresented students into biomedical research.

Former CCOM Distinguished Alumnus, Bradley Hyman, a 1982 PhD with Arthur Spector and a 1983 MD, 1988 resident and 1989 fellow, returns to campus to be lauded as a University of Iowa Distinguished Alumnus. Dr. Hyman, the John B. Penney, Jr. Professor of Neurology at Harvard, is an active physician scientist who directs the Alzheimer’s unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease.

Congratulations to Drs. McGee, Hyman and Spector for these honors.

Biochem grad Laurie Zelnio headlines “Sustainable U”

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Laurie Zelnio, a 1977 BA in Biochemistry, currently the director of safety, environment and standards for John Deere & Company, was today’s guest speaker at the College of Engineering’s Sustainable U Seminar. She is a member of the board of directors of the National Safety Council, and a member of the Corporate EHS Roundatable, the Conference Board of Environmental & Safety Health Councils, and the Manufacturers Alliance of Environmental Council. Zelnio also is a member of the University of Iowa Water Sustainability Initiative Advisory Board, the College of Public Health Advisory Board, and a board member of the Deere & Company Credit Union.

Ryan Baxley’s Poster Awards

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Kudos to Ryan Baxley, a graduate student in Pam Geyer’s laboratory, who was recognized with a poster award at the Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Washington, DC. Ryan presented “Elucidating the Role of a Drosophila Insulator Protein in the Female Germline” with co-authors Alexey Soshnev, Harsha Doddapaneni, John Manak and Dr. Geyer. Ryan returned to Iowa City to present his poster at the college of medicine’s research week, where he won a best poster award!

Dr. Phillip Butler

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Congratulations are due to our newest PhD, Phillip Butler. A member of Rama Mallampalli’s research group, now located at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Butler defended his thesis on “Enzymatic Regulation of Phosphatidylcholine Synthesis via Protein Ubiquitination.”

Dr. Aaron Mason

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Congratulations are due to our newest PhD, Aaron Mason.  A member of Marc Wold’s group, Aaron defended his thesis entitled, “Functional Analysis of an Alternative Replication Protein A Complex Containing Rpa4.”  Aaron’s work established the potential anti-proliferative roles of aRPA and suggested roles for this complex in DNA repair. Aaron plans to work on the structural biology of DNA repair with Brandt Eichman at Vanderbilt.