Link: University of Iowa

Archive for September, 2019

Dr. Lori Wallrath receives 2019 Summer Research Fellowship Outstanding Mentor in Basic Science Research

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Congratulations to Professor Lori Wallrath, who has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Summer Research Fellowship Outstanding Mentor in Basic Science Research. We appreciate her enormous impact on graduate education for the past 23 years she has been with the Department of Biochemistry.

Colleen Caldwell recipient of UI CCOM Trainee Scholar Travel Award

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Colleen Caldwell, a Biochemistry graduate student in Dr. Maria Spies lab, received The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Trainee Scholar Travel Award. Colleen’s first author publication entitled, “Dyamics and selective remodeling of the DNA-binding domains of RPA,” demonstrated her commitment to research and the research mission of the College of Medicine. Colleen will use the award funds for future travel to meetings and/or conferences.

Congratulations Colleen!

Dr. Pamela Geyer recognized on August 2019 dean’s list for notable and novel scientific awards

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Dr. Pamela Geyer was featured on the August 2019 Dean’s List receiving special recognition from the dean’s office. Dr. Geyer received recognition for the NIH grant titled, “The Role of LEM Domain Proteins in Nuclear Function.”

Congratulations Dr. Geyer!

Margaret Ketterer awarded 2020 Mary Jo Small Staff Fellowship Award

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Margaret (Meg) Ketterer, Research Assistant in the Wallrath Lab, was awarded the 2020 Mary Jo Small Staff Fellowship Award. The award is given to University of Iowa staff members to further their professional development. Meg will use the award to help defray the costs associated with attending the Allied Genetics Conference in Spring of 2020.



Congratulations Meg!

Dr. Bryan Allen appointed to be leader of the cancer center’s Experimental Therapeutics program

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Bryan Allen, a MD, PhD graduate from Dr. Daniel Weeks lab, was appointed to be leader of the Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Experimental Therapeutics (ET) Program. Allen is an associate professor and associate chair of translational research in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Allen is featured in noon news here.

“Supporting the careers of these successful faculty members and providing them with an opportunity to serve in leadership roles will ensure even greater success for Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center,” Weiner says. “All of them have demonstrated their dedication to keeping Holden at the forefront of patient care and a leader in the search for new ways to prevent and cure cancer.” -George Weiner, MD, director of the cancer center

Congratulations Dr. Allen!

Sean Tompkins (Taylor Lab) publishes thesis in Cell Reports

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Sean Tompkins, a MSTP student in Dr. Eric Taylor’s lab, had his thesis published by Cell Reports. His thesis is entitled, “Disrupting Mitochondrial Pyruvate Uptake Directs Glutamine into the TCA Cycle away from Glutathione Synthesis and Impairs Hepatocellular Tumorigenesis.”

“Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) driven by obesity and diabetes is the fastest growing cause of liver cancer in the developed world and new therapies are needed to curb its growing burden. This manuscript demonstrates and helps explain how impairing the ability of liver mitochondria to use a glucose byproduct called pyruvate decreases liver tumor development. Using a mouse model of liver cancer, Tompkins et al. and Taylor discovered that liver-specific disruption of the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC), the protein complex that transports pyruvate into mitochondria, led to two thirds fewer tumors that were smaller and had a higher cell death rate. Using RNA-sequencing and biochemical assays, they determined that MPC-deficient tumors had impaired glutathione metabolism. Continued experiments using stable isotope tracing and metabolomic analysis demonstrated hepatocyte MPC disruption increases mitochondrial glutamine utilization at the expense of glutathione synthesis, which is critical for tumor development. These results identify modulation of mitochondrial pyruvate uptake as a potential strategy to prevent obesity- and diabetes-driven liver cancer development.”


Dr. Charles Brenner researches potential new treatment of a childhood brain cancer

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Dr. Charles Brenner, co-senior author in an article published in Nature Communications, may have identified a class of drugs that could lead to new treatment of a childhood brain cancer.

According to The Daily Iowan ,”the researchers focused on diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, or DIPG, an inoperable brainstem tumor found in children. The team concluded that a specific class of drugs have the potential to kill mutant tumor cells.” The team made use of Dr. Brenner’s expertise in synthesis and characterization of NAD, the central regulator of metabolism, to specifically target this glioma.

“My mom taught me that life is not always fair–this is an example where an innocent child is receiving a death sentence in his or her first decade,” Brenner said. “We want to be able to do something for these children.”

Congratulations, Dr. Brenner!

Dr. Shelia Baker featured on KCRG

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Dr. Shelia Baker (Associate Professor, Biochemistry, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences) was featured on KCRG. Dr. Baker is working with a group of scientists around the world in hopes of getting closer to finding a cure for blindness, specifically in older adults.

Congratulations Dr. Baker!

Dr. Charles Brenner recognized on July 2019 dean’s List for notable and novel scientific awards

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019


Dr. Charles Brenner was recognized on the July 2019 list of notable awards receiving special recognition from the dean’s office. The first notable award was received for a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation titled, “Testing NAD Precursors as Galactagogues.” A grant from ChromaDex, Inc. titled, “Evaluating the Oral Bioavailability of NAD Boosters” was also listed as a notable award for Dr. Brenner.

Congratulations Dr. Brenner!