Link: University of Iowa

Archive for July, 2019

Dr. Arpit Sharma Publishes in eLife

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Dr. Arpit Sharma, a 2018 PhD graduate with Dr. Eric Taylor, is the first author on a paper published in eLife. The paper is entitled, “Impaired skeletal muscle mitochondrial pyruvate uptake rewires glucose metabolism to drive whole-body leanness.”

Metabolic cycles are a fundamental element of cellular and organismal function. Among the most critical in higher organisms is the Cori Cycle, the systemic cycling between lactate and glucose. This manuscript explains how muscle-specific Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier (MPC) deletion in mice drives increased Cori cycling and fatty-acid oxidation that contribute to increased energy expenditure. Sharma et al. and Taylor show that this increased energy expenditure leads to strikingly decreased fat mass with complete muscle mass and strength retention in mice. Additionally, acutely disrupting the MPC in obese, high fat diet-fed mice when returning them to a normal fat diet accelerated fat mass loss and metabolic recovery. These findings raise the possibility that modulating skeletal muscle pyruvate metabolism in obese and T2D patients may aid fat mass loss and improvement of whole-body insulin sensitivity.


Congratulations Arpit!!

Drs. Maria Spies and Ashley Spies receive a seed grant award

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019


Drs. Maria Spies and Ashley Spies received a seed grant award from the Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing (CBB) for project entitled “Targeting RAD51 DNA repair protein for cancer therapy: development of a combined experimental/computational workflow.” The researchers are looking to initiate a drug-discovery campaign targeting human RAD51 recombinase, an important part in homology-directed DNA repair. This grant will allow them to carry out a fragment screen to identify RAD51 binders by SPR and to characterize the effect of the hits on the biochemical activities of RAD51.


Congratulations Ashley & Maria!!!

Dr. Lori Wallrath Awarded 2019 SROP Mentoring Award

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Dr. Lori Wallrath was awarded a 2019 Mentoring Award from the University of Iowa Graduate College Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) for student advising and for her mentorship of undergraduate Misty Perez, from Whittier College. The UI Summer Research Opportunities program is the biggest in the BIG 10 and is designed to provide underrepresented undergraduate students with experience in research. During this program, students will receive first-hand exposure to graduate school life and to faculty life as they are paired with a mentor whose research is closely related to the students interests or goals.





Congratulations Lori!!


Tyler Weaver and Kyle Powers Co-winners of 2019 Subramanian Thesis Award

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

Tyler Weaver, who completed his PhD with Dr. Catherine Musselman, and Kyle Powers, who completed his PhD with Dr. Todd Washington, were awarded the 2019 Subramanian Award for the best PhD theses  in the Department of Biochemistry. The Subramanian Award is made possible by a gift from Dr. Alap Subramanian, a 1964 PhD student from the department, who parlayed his training with the late George Kalnitsky, (and with Irving Klotz at Northwestern and both Bernard Davis and Herman Kalckar at Harvard Medical School), into a highly successful career at the Max-Planck-Institute.

Dr. Weaver’s thesis was entitled “Regulation of polycomb repressive complexes by histone reader domains.” Tyler received his PhD in May 2019 and is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Bret Freudenthal’s lab.

Dr. Powers’s thesis was entitled “Structure and Function of the Disordered Tails in Translesion Synthesis DNA Polymerases.” Kyle received his PhD in December 2018 and is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in Dr. Christiane Berger-Schaffitzel’s lab at the University of Bristol. 



Drs. London, Brenner, and Irani Receive NIH R01

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Drs. Barry London, Kaikobad Irani and Charles Brenner were awarded a multiple PI NIH R01 grant for their project “Evaluating NAD Supplementation as a Novel Treatment for Arrhythmias.” The researchers will study ways to prevent cardiac arrhythmia by determining how metabolism changes sodium channel structure. A great example of team science at work! Congrats!