February 2015 News

Dr. Yoshi Azuma Yoshi Azuma (associate professor) is the recipient of a Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for his proposal entitled “Regulation of kinetochore function by topoisomerase II.”   The aim of this four year grant is to determine the molecular mechanism of topoisomerase II, one of the major targets of cancer chemotherapeutics, on the checkpoint of the cell division cycle.



Dr. Scott Hefty Scott Hefty (associate professor) was awarded a Provost's Strategic Initiative - Level II Research Investment Grant for Enabling Technology for Chlamydia pathogenesis.  The funds are primarily in support of personnel learning murine models of Chlamydia infection from colleagues at Harvard Medical School and the University of Arkansas Medical Center to establish proficiency of these models at the University of Kansas. 



Dr. Josie ChandlerDr. John Karanicolas Josie Chandler (assistant professor) and John Karanicolas (associate professor) are part of a team of scientists to receive a University of Kansas Level 1 Strategic Initiative Grant from the Research Investment Council. The project is titled “Validating bacterial iron metabolism as a target for antibiotic discovery.” The project leader is Mario Rivera (Chemistry) and other members of the team are Bill Picking (Pharmaceutical Chemistry), Lester Mitcher (Medicinal Chemistry) and Richard Bunce (Chemistry, OSU).  The award was highlighted in this month’s “KU Discovery and Innovation” bulletin.


Dr. Raymond CaylorDr. Raymond Caylor (doctoral graduate, Ackley Lab) will be starting a research coordinator position at the Pediatric Genomic Medicine Center at Children’s Mercy Hospital on February 2.


Andrew McShanAndrew McShan (graduate student, De Guzman lab) returned from a semester-long internship at Genentech in South San Francisco, CA. During this time he worked for Dr. John Wang in the Department of Late Stage Pharmaceutical Development where he evaluated the propensity of different surfactants to undergo enzymatic hydrolysis by carboxylester hydrolyases from a broad range of organisms. His work has direct implications for future development of protein drug formulations. The internship was in fulfillment of his NIH-supported Biotechnology Predoctoral Training Program.


Justin MasseyJustin Massey (undergraduate, Hefty Lab) is a recipient of a Spring 2015 KU Undergraduate Research Award. This $1000 award will be used to support an independent research project on developing conditional gene repression mechanisms in Chlamydia trachomatis.

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February 2015 Presentations

Scott Hefty (associate professor) gave a seminar at the University of Dusseldorf, Germany (Heinrich-Hiene University - Institute for Functional Genomics of Microorganisms) entitled "Molecular Biology and Genetics of Chlamydia" on December 3rd. This presentation was part of a mini-symposium for which Dr. Hefty was joined by Dr. Michael Starnbach (Harvard University) and Dr. Agathe Subtil (Pasteur Institute) as keynote speakers.

John Karanicolas (associate professor) gave a seminar at the 2015 Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Symposium entitled “Designing inhibitors of non-traditional drug targets: protein-RNA interactions” on January 17.

Christian Ray (assistant professor) gave a seminar at the 2015 Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Symposium entitled “The outsized effects of enzyme saturation on cellular physiology” on January 18.

Erik Lundquist (professor) gave a seminar presentation at Clemson University and the Greenwood Genetic Center, Greenwood, South Carolina, entitled “Using the Model Organism Nematode Worm C. elegans to Understand Human Genetics” on January 13.

Christian Gomez (graduate student, Neufeld lab) gave a seminar for the Biology Department at Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas, entitled “Goblet Cells of Human and Mouse Intestinal Tissues Show Increased Levels of the Tumor Suppressor Protein APC” on October 24, 2014.

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February 2015 Publications

Amunts A, Fiedorczuk K, Truong TT, Chandler JR, Greenberg EP, Ramakrishnan V.  Bactobolin A binds to a site on the 70S ribosome distinct from previously seen antibiotics. J Mol Biol [Epub ahead of print]

Kuczera K.  Molecular modeling of peptidesMethods Mol Biol 1268: 15-41.

Merkes C, Turkalo TK, Wilder N, Park H, Wenger LW, Lewin SJ, Azuma MEwing sarcoma Ewsa protein regulates chondrogenesis of Meckel’s cartilage through modulation of Sox9 in zebrafish. PLoS ONE: e0116627.

Sridharan V, Park H, Ryu H, Azuma YSUMOylation regulates Polo-like kinase 1-interacting checkpoint helicase (PICH) during mitosis.  J Biol Chem. [Epub ahead of print]

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Molecular Biosciences

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Yamini Mutreja (graduate student, Gamblin lab) presented a poster entitled "Mutations in Tau have Differential Effects on the Aggregation and Microtubule Stabilization Properties of its Isoforms" at the 2014 American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting on December 9th in Philadelphia, PA. http://ascb.org/
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