May 2017 News 

Yoshiaki Azuma has been promoted to full professor.  Dr. Azuma earned his Ph.D. as Kyushu University, was a post-doctoral research fellow at the National Institute of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD and joined the department in 2005. His laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanism of chromosome segregation regulated by the essential protein modifier Small Ubiquitin-like MOdifier (SUMO).



P. Scott Hefty has been promoted to full professor. Dr. Hefty earned his Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center before performing his post-doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Hefty joined the faculty at the University of Kansas in 2006. His research interests are in a better understanding of the basic biology and pathogenesis of Chlamydia



Professor James Orr is retiring from the University of Kansas after 42 dedicated years of service. Jim received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1974 before joining the faculty in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology at KU in 1975. He was promoted to Associate Professor, with tenure in 1980 and to Professor in 1987. Jim’s time at KU was marked by multiple professional successes in research, teaching and service. His work on cardiac/respiratory physiology led to over 50 publications in peer reviewed journals and funding from, among other places, The American Heart Association.  Jim was the recipient of an Established Investigator award from the American Heart Association from 1981 to 1986.  Jim was an accomplished and cherished instructor, having been voted “Favorite Professor” four times (2013, 2008, 2000 & 1995). But, it was not only the students who appreciated Jim’s teaching, Jim was twice a finalist for the Honor for Outstanding Progressive Educator (HOPE) award from the University, received both the Kemper Fellow and the Ned Fleming Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005), was named a National Academies of Education Fellow in the Life Sciences in 2006, and received the Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award in 2013. In addition to his teaching success, Jim served on numerous committees and in leadership positions both within and outside the University, including the Chair of the Division of Biological Sciences (1992-2006), and the President of the Kansas Affiliate of the American Heart Association (1992-1993).   Jim worked tirelessly to improve access to biological research, especially for underrepresented minorities. This work started in 1999 with the funding of the 500 Nations Bridge Program, which “enhances the successful transfer of American Indian students from Haskell Indian Nations University to four-year institutions, including KU.” Jim worked with faculty at KU and the Haskell Indian Nations University, including Dr. Estela Gavosto (Mathematics), Dr. Marigold Lindon (KU Provost’s Office), Dr. Mary Lou Michaelis (Pharmacology and Toxicology) and Dr. Dennis O’Malley (HINU) on obtaining and administering NIH-funded initiatives including the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards program (IRACDA), Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD), KU Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) and RISE: Advancing Biomedical Research for Indians. Jim is an admired and convivial colleague, and he will be missed by his colleagues who wish him all the best as he moves on to the next chapter of his life.


Audrey Lamb (professor) is a recipient of a K. Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.  This award honors the contribution of faculty who mentor undergraduate researchers to their students' development and to their own discipline.  The award was presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium banquet on April 22.  Read the KU Today article.



Kara Hinshaw (graduate student, Chandler lab) was the recipient of the best poster award at the American Society for Microbiology Missouri Valley Branch Meeting in Springfield, Missouri held on March 16-17 for her poster entitled “Quorum sensing control of antibiotic resistance protects cooperating bacterial cells during interspecies competition.”



Aaron Rudeen (graduate student, Neufeld lab) was the recipient of the Graduate Research Competition Award for the 2016-17 academic year. This award was based on his poster presentation entitled, “Investigating a role for tumor-suppressor Adenomatous polyposis coli in chemotherapeutic drug resistance in colorectal cancer” at the Graduate Research Competition, on April 6.




Kathryn Brewer (undergraduate, Lamb lab) is a recipient of a Sally Mason Woman Student in Science Award from the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity.  This award honors female undergraduate students in the sciences who have demonstrated academic excellence, involvement in campus activities, and leadership in their academic department. 



Cara Davis (undergraduate, Lamb lab) was the recipient of a best poster presentation award at the KU Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 22.  Her poster was entitled “Structural and functional characterization of a Yersinia pestis opine dehydrogenase involved in metallophore biosynthesis.”



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May 2017 Presentations

Saida Benomar (postdoc, Chandler lab) gave an invited talk to the Division of Biology at Kansas State University entitled, "Microbial communities: friendship or war in an artificial bacterial consortium” on April 20.


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May 2017 Publications

Eshelman K, Yao H, Punchi Hewage AN, Deay JJ, Chandler JR, Rivera M.  Inhibiting the BfrB:Bfd interaction in Pseudomonas causes irreversible iron accumulation in bacterioferritn and iron deficiency in the bacterial cytosolMetallomics [Epub ahead of print]

Kaur K, Wu X, Fields JK, Johnson DK, Lan L, Pratt M, Somoza AD, Wang CCC, Karanicolas J, Oakley BR, Xu L, De Guzman RNThe fungal natural product azaphilone-9 binds to HuR and inhibits HuR-RNA interaction in vitroPLoS One 12(4):e0175471.


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Molecular Biosciences

We are an interdisciplinary group of faculty who perform cutting edge research in a wide range of areas including biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, bioinformatics, cancer biology, genetics, genomics, immunology, microbiology, virology, neurobiology, molecular, cellular and developmental biology.  We work closely with postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates to investigate fundamental biological problems on all levels from molecules to cells to organisms.  The Department of Molecular Biosciences, located on the Lawrence campus of the University of Kansas system, is an excellent environment for research and education.

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