April 2017 News 

Liang Xu (professor) is a co-investigator of a National Cancer Institute Project Grant entitled “Synthetic Lethal Targeting of Growth Factor Receptors.”  Blake Peterson (KU School of Pharmacy) is leading this project.  The goal of this project is to develop a new cancer therapy targeting multiple receptors.




Sarah Mullinax (graduate student, Unckless lab) is the recipient of a Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship.  The fellowship provides four years of support for doctoral students who “demonstrate the promise to make significant contributions to their fields of study and society as a whole.”  Sarah will study the function of insect antimicrobial peptides. 



Aaron Rudeen (graduate student, Neufeld lab) was selected to represent the University of Kansas at the 14th Annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka, KS on March 10, 2017. Rudeen and seven other graduate students from KU joined peer students from other Kansas universities, including KUMC, Kansas State and Wichita State. Each participant presented a research poster for State government and education officials, as well as the general public.



Kathryn Brewer (undergraduate, Lamb lab) has been nominated by the University of Kansas for a Goldwater Scholarship, a premier undergraduate award to encourage excellence in science, engineering and mathematics.  Kathryn will be studying the enzymes of siderophore biosynthesis.  Read more in the KU Today article.




Cara Davis (undergraduate, Lamb lab) is the recipient of a Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Star Trainee Award.  The scholarship enables Cara to continue her research on the biosynthesis of a novel metallophore from Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague.  Understanding nutrient acquisition by pathogenic bacteria provides new pathways for antimicrobial drug design.




The Molecular Bioscience Graduate Student Organization (MB-GSO) hosted a science education program for Japanese high school students from the global science education program at the University of Fukui, Japan.  From March 20 to 24, fifteen Japanese high school students shadowed research activity in seven laboratories in our department.  Graduate students in each laboratory mentored high schools students in laboratory experiments and preparation of a presentation.



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April 2017 Presentations

Kristi Neufeld (professor) was hosted by the KUMC Vice Chancellor of Research for her TED-like talk entitled “Go with Your Gut: The Study of a Protein that Fights Colon Cancer” presented at the Research and Discovery Grand Rounds on March 30.

Nikola Kenjic and Jeff McFarlane (graduate students, Lamb lab) gave talks at the 22nd Annual Symposium of the graduate training program in Dynamic Aspects of Chemical BiologyNikola’s talk was entitled PvdF as potential novel transformylase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa,” whereas Jeff spoke about the “Characterization of a novel metallophore biosynthetic pathway found in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.

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April 2017 Publications

De Vries RP. . .Oakley BR. . .Grigoriev IV.  Comparative genomics reveals high biological diversity and specific adaptations in the industrially and medically important fungal genus Aspergillus. Genome Biol. 18:28.

Unckless RL, Clark AG, Messer PW.  Evolution of resistance against CRISPR/Cas9 gene driveGenetics 205, 827-841.


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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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