April 2014 News


Dr. Susan EganSusan Egan (full professor) will serve as the chair of the department of Molecular Biosciences starting July 1, 2014 for a term of five years.




Dr. John KaranicolasJohn Karanicolas (assistant professor) is the recipient of a renewal award for their Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) computing allocation, supported by the National Science Foundation. Their project is entitled "Identifying direct and allosteric binding sites for small-molecule inhibitors of protein interactions", and this allocation will provide computer time to help identify compounds that modulate a wide assortment of signaling pathways important for human disease.  Dr. Karanicolas and his collaborator Mark Fisher at the medical school are also the recipients of a KU Proof of Concept Award for the proposal entitled, “Acceleration the Drug discovery Pipeline by combining Novel in silico Docking Approaches using Ray Casting (DARC) /Medicinal Chemistry design and HTS Chaperonin BLI Stability Screening.”  This project will allow them to build an integrated screening platform for identifying compounds that stabilize specific proteins that are susceptible to misfolding.  This may facilitate drug discovery in a number of human “misfolding” diseases, including type 2 diabetes, dialysis-related amyloidosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.  Read the KU Today article entitled “Four projects awarded through Proof of Concept Fund”.

Dr. Steve BenedictSteve Benedict (professor) has his research highlighted in Global Medical Discovery for his article entitled “Elimination of T cell reactivity to pancreatic  β cells and partial preservation of β cell activity by peptide blockade of LFA-1:ICAM-1 interaction with the NOD mouse model” which appears in the journal Clinical Immunology.




Matt JosephsonMatt Josephson (graduate student, Lundquist lab) was awarded $2000 from the KU Doctoral Student Research Fund for his proposal entitled “Live Imaging to Examine Role of EGL-20/Wnt in Timing of Caenorhabditis elegans Q Neuroblast Migration” to spend 6 weeks in the lab of Dr. Guangshuo Ou at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.  This trip is also funded by the Carr Travel Award from KU Molecular Biosciences.  The goal of his work in China is to learn and apply the live imaging protocol pioneered by Dr. Ou to augment his dissertation research on Q neuroblast migration. 


Denny SwartzlanderDenny Swartzlander (graduate student, Gleason lab) was awarded $2000 from the KU Doctoral Student Research Fund for his proposal entitled “The Genetic Basis of Pheromone Production in Drosophila”. The goal of this project is to identify the regulatory regions of the D. sechellia desatF and eloF genes by attempting to drive expression of a reporter gene. This work will support Denny’s dissertation research on the genetics of reproductive isolation in Drosophila.




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April 2014 Presentations

Raymond Caylor (Ackley lab) successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Calcium signaling components and their effect on synaptic morphology during neuronal development” on March 14.

Heba Mostafa (Davido lab) successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled “Interplay between viral and host factors determines the fate of HSV-1 infection” on March 25.

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April 2014 Publications

Liu T, Sanchez JF, Chiang Y-M, Oakley BR, Wang CCC.  Rational Domain Swaps Reveal Insights about Chain Length Control by Ketosynthase Domains in Fungal Nonreducing Polyketide Synthases. Org Lett 16, 1676-9.

Wang L, Yang H, Palmbos PL, Ney G, Detzler TA, Coleman D, Leflein J, Davis M, Zhang M, Tang W, Hicks JK, Helchowski CM, Prasad J, Lawrence TS, Xu L, Yu X, Canman CE, Ljungman M, Simeone DM.  ATDC/TRIM29 phosphorylation by ATM/MAPKAP Kinase 2 mediates radioresistance in pancreatic cancer cells.  Cancer Res 74, 1778-88.

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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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Heba Mostafa (Davido lab) successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled “Interplay between viral and host factors determines the fate of HSV-1 infection” on March 25.