January 2020 News

The natural sciences departments at the University of Kansas are excited to offer a one-day Graduate Admissions Workshop on April 18th, 2020. Sessions will include CV and personal statement writing, navigating the admissions process and more. Admission is free, reasonable travel will be covered and preference will be given to people from backgrounds underrepresented in the sciences. Participating departments include Chemistry, EEB, Molecular Bioscences and Physics & Astronomy. Application deadline is March 15th. Information at: http://dnsku.weebly.com.


Erik Lundquist (professor) has been appointed Associate Vice Chancellor for Research effective January 1, a position in which he has served as interim since June of 2018. He will work alongside the Vice Chancellor for Research and two other Associate Vice Chancellors for Research to oversee the operations of the Office of Research, and to facilitate the research enterprise at KU. His oversight responsibilities include the Animal Care and Use program, university core laboratories and facilities, and the Higuchi Biosciences Center. In this position, he also serves as Vice President of the KU Center for Research. As this is a 50% appointment, Dr. Lundquist will continue research and teaching activities as a faculty member in Molecular Biosciences.

Erik Lundquist (professor) has been awarded an R03 research grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke entitled “Regulation of growth cone polarity and protrusion in axon guidance”. The focus of the project is to use CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in C. elegans to tag axon guidance receptor molecules with Green Fluorescent Protein in order to visualize their distribution in the growth cone during directed axon guidance. These studies will test critical predictions of the polarity/protrusion model in axon guidance, which has the potential to guide strategies to treat central nervous system damage after traumatic injury or stroke.

Tom Hill (postdoc, Unckless lab) was awarded a KU Research Postdoctoral Achievement Award. The award was established in 2018 to recognize the numerous contributions of postdoctoral researchers to the KU research mission. It provides $5,000 in funds to be used for approved research or professional development activities. He will officially recognized at a ceremony on April 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Burge Union, where the recipients of the KU Research Staff Achievement Award and Steven F. Warren Research Achievement Award will also be recognized.


Kent Smith (graphic artist at KU) collaborated with Rob Unckless (assistant professor) to create journal cover artwork for a special issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society (B Series) on gene drives. The artwork depicts the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass”. The Red Queen is invoked in a theory about coevolution between different entities such that both players keep evolving in reaction to each other but never actually improve their fitness. 


Kelsey Hillyer (undergraduate, Gamblin lab) was awarded an Undergraduate Research Award (UGRA) from the KU Center for Undergraduate Research for her project entitled “In vitro study of FTDP-17 tau mutations”.



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January 2020 Presentations

Audrey Lamb (professor) gave an invited talk entitled “Two vignettes: Opine metallophore and riboflavin biosynthesis by bacterial pathogens” at Michigan State University on December 2.

Liang Xu (professor) gave an invited talk entitled “Drug the undruggable: molecular therapy targeting RNA-binding proteins” at the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics, University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), Kansas City, KS, on November 19.

Sanjana Sundararajan (graduate student, Y Azuma lab) presented a poster entitled “Binding of methylated H3 by TopoisomeraseIIalfa is required for resolving tangled genomic DNA during mitosis for faithful sister chromatid disjunction” at the ASCB/EMBO meeting in Washington DC on December 9.


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January 2020 Publications

A.R. Fehr. Bacterial Artificial Chromosome-Based Lambda Red Recombination with the I-SceI Homing Endonuclease for Genetic Alteration of MERS-CoV. Methods Mol. Biol. 2020; 2099:53-68

Schuler B, Borgia A, Borgia M, Heidarsson P, Holmstrom E, Nettels D, and Sottini A.  Binding without folding – the biomolecular function of disordered polyelectrolyte complexesCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology 2020; 60:66-76.

Liu H, Marquez RT, Wu X, Li K, Vadlamani S, Li S, Wang Y, Xu L, Wu D.  A non-intrusive evaluation method for tumor-targeting characteristics of nanomedicinesbased on in vivo near-infrared fluorescence imaging. J Mater Chem B 2019; 7(31):4751-4757.

Lan L, Xing M, Kashipathy MM, Douglas JT, Gao P, Battaile KP, Hanzlik RP, Lovell S, and Xu L.  Crystal and solution structures of human oncoprotein musashi-2 N-terminal RNA recognition motif 1. Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics 2019. PMID: 31603583 (in press)


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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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