Link: University of Iowa

Archive for April, 2018

Kelli Sylvers Receives AHA Predoctoral Fellowship

Monday, April 30th, 2018


Kelli Sylvers, Biochemistry graduate student in Dr. Brandon Davies’ lab, has received an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship. The AHA Predoctoral Fellowship is intended to support “promising students” in pre-doctoral or clinical health training programs. Kelli’s proposal entitled, “Lipase inhibition by ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8” will be funded at the maximum amount for two full years. The project focuses on understanding how two proteins, ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL8, regulate HDL and triglyceride metabolism. High triglyceride levels and low HDL levels are associated with cardiovascular disease. The project asks two important questions: 1) How does ANGPTL3 inhibit its targets lipoprotein lipase (the protein responsible for clearing triglycerides from the blood) and endothelial lipase (a protein that reduces HDL levels in the blood). 2) Does ANGPTL3 require ANGPTL8 to inhibit EL (the Davies lab has previously shown that ANGPTL3 requires ANGPTL8 to inhibit LPL). To answer these questions, experiments have been designed to study protein binding and protein activity as well as studies using a mouse model lacking ANGPTL8 to understand the effects in a living organism. Targeting ANGPTL3 or ANGPTL8 has the potential to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering plasma triglyceride levels. This research may enhance our ability to target these proteins in a way that would have less side-effects or unintended consequences for patients being treated for cardiovascular disorders.

Biochemistry Alum, Tristram Parslow, receives CCOM Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Tristram Parslow, 1983 MD/PhD with Dr. Daryl Granner, was recently awarded a Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award for Acheivement. Dr. Parslow has excelled in every aspect of his career—as a researcher, teacher, and department leader. His early work at the University of Iowa on immunoglobulin gene expression addressed issues that stumped Nobel laureates and National Academy of Sciences members. While on the pathology department faculty at the University of California, San Francisco at the height of the AIDS epidemic, Dr. Parslow engaged in a series of studies of the molecular virology of HIV and other RNA viruses, including influenza. In the 14 years since Dr. Parslow joined Emory University as chair of the Department of Pathology, their annual National Institutes of Health funding has grown from $12 million to $34 million. He continues to lead and mentor others in the field, both at Emory and as president of the Association of Pathology Chairs.

Five Undergraduate Students Awarded 2018 Rex Montgomery Scholarships

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

The 2018 Rex Montgomery Scholarships were award to:

  • Jesse Cochran, Dr. Dale Abel’s laboratory;
  • Abinav Jyotis, Dr. Krystal Parker’s laboratory;
  • Ariel Kopel, Dr. Sheila Baker’s laboratory;
  • Brianna Lupo, Dr. Catherine Musselman’s laboratory; and
  • Johnathan Melvin.

Rex Montgomery Scholarships recognize undergraduate students for their outstanding academic record and commitment to research. This scholarship was established by the late Dr. Rex Montgomery, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Montgomery began his career at the University of Iowa in 1955, and was admired for his impact as a researcher, teacher and mentor. Dr. Montgomery was 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.

Preston Anderson Publishes in Cell Stem Cell

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Preston Anderson, a Biochemistry senior undergraduate student in John Engelhardt’s Lab,  is the first author on a paper published in Cell Stem Cell. The paper entitled, “Submucosal Gland Myoepithelial Cells are Reserve Stem Cells that can Regenerate Mouse Tracheal Epithelium” describes research on glandular myoepithelial cells (MECs). These cell were found to to be flexible and develop into replacement cells in their local environment.

“We demonstrated that MECs can self-renew and differentiate into seven distinct cell types in the airway,” says study co-first author Preston Anderson, a UI undergraduate working in the lab of John Engelhardt, UI professor and department head of anatomy and cell biology. “No other cell type in the lung has been identified with this much stem cell plasticity.” (Noon News – April 12, 2018)Congratulations Preston and the Engelhardt lab!

Dr. Dieckman awarded Nebraska EPSCoR First Award

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Dr. Lynne Dieckman (Creighton University) former Biochemistry Post-Doc (Musselman Lab) and Molecular and Cell Biology Program PhD Student (Washington lab) is the recipient of the Nebraska EPSCoR FIRST Award. This is a one year award that includes a 100% match from Creighton University. The purpose of this NSF funded award is to help early career faculty compete for an NSF CAREER grant.

The National Science Foundation EPSCoR FIRST Award will fund Dr. Lynne Dieckman’s project entitled “Understanding Protein Interactions that Link DNA Replication and Nucleosome Assembly.” All living things, from simple microbes to higher plants and animals, depend on the stable transmission of biological information from parent to offspring. Genomic instability results from alterations in gene expression, which is controlled largely through the organization of the genes in eukaryotic chromosomes – i.e., the packaging of DNA into nucleosomes. The eukaryotic genome must be accurately organized into nucleosomes immediately following DNA replication. This process is called replication-coupled nucleosome assembly, and is mediated by two key factors: CAF-1, the protein complex that induces the formation of nucleosomes on newly synthesized DNA, and PCNA, the ring-shaped sliding clamp that recruits and regulates proteins during replication and nucleosome assembly. Studies show that the direct interaction between CAF-1 and PCNA is essential for the coupling of DNA replication and nucleosome assembly. However, how these two proteins interact and regulate replication-coupled nucleosome assembly is not clear. The major goals of Dr. Dieckman’s lab are to determine the biochemical and structural basis for binding between CAF-1 and PCNA, and how this interaction regulates CAF-1 activity and maintains genomic integrity. These studies will lead to a greater understanding of the link between DNA replication and nucleosome assembly, how the activity of CAF-1 is mediated by PCNA, and how disruptions of this regulation lead to aberrant gene expression.