August 2017 News

Erik Lundquist (professor), along with co-investigator David Miller at Vanderbilt University, was awarded an R21 Exploratory/ Developmental Research Grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (one of the National Institutes of Health) entitled “The Role of ETR-1/CELF, an RNA-Binding Protein, in Neuronal Migration.” This project involves identification of mRNA targets of ETR-1 processing that are involved in migration of neuroblasts in C. elegans. The project will utilize fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) coupled with mutant analysis and whole transcriptome mRNA sequencing (RNAseq) to identify targets regulated by ETR-1.

 

Dana K. Tucker (postdoc, Ackley lab; fellow in the KU IRACDA program) is starting a faculty appointment at the University of Central Missouri on August 1. Dana’s work has focused on how neurons sense directions to properly orient axon growth during development. She has identified mutations in a set of genes that contribute to axon guidance. Mutations in these genes are linked to Autism Spectrum Disorder in humans, and thus this work will advance our understanding of how brain development may be affected in people with ASD. Dana and the Ackley lab will continue to collaborate on this project.

 

 

Kara Hinshaw (graduate student, Chandler lab) is the recipient of several honors.  She is the recipient of the E.L. And Mildred Pursell Wolf Scholarship covering summer tuition and a Molecular Biosciences Summer Research Fellowship.  Kara was also awarded the Ida H. Hyde Scholarship for Women in Science to study at a non-KU research laboratory, which she used to travel to Maine to take the Environmental Genomics 2017 course at the MDI Biological Laboratory. The course focused on teaching participants how to design, analyze and interpret population-scale genomics studies on environmental stress.

 

The University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC) officially renewed their National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation for five years. The University of Kansas Cancer Center remains one of only 69 nationally designated centers by the NCI. Molecular Biosciences faculty members are active in two of the four research programs of the KUCC.  Kristi Neufeld serves as co-leader of the Cancer Biology (CB) program, which uses model systems to identify targets for drug development and analyze potential chemotherapeutic agents. Many of the chemical compounds evaluated by the CB group are generated by members of the Drug Discovery, Delivery and Experimental Therapeutics (D3ET) program. Read about NCI designation here:                                                                                      http://www.kucancercenter.org/about-us/news/NCI-renewal-2017. 

 

                                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chancellor’s Office held a surprise birthday celebration for Del Shankel (emeritus professor for Molecular Biosciences and former KU Chancellor) on Wednesday, August 9. Dr. Shankel celebrated his 90th birthday and was greeted by his fellow colleagues. From left to right: Profs.Matthew Buechner, Kzysztof Kuczera, Del Shankel, Susan Egan, Steve Benedict, and Dean Stetler.  

Del served in the Army until 1952, where he learned about Lab Technology. Following his Army service, he earned a doctorate in bacteriology from The University of Texas. In 1959, Del came to KU as an Assistant Professor in the Microbiology Department. Del’s prolific career at KU has spanned over 50 years, and with his many roles he has influenced many colleagues. He has held the title of chancellor, executive vice chancellor, acting vice chancellor for academic affairs, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, chair of the Department of Microbiology, interim director of intercollegiate athletics, and interim president of the KU Alumni Association. He is currently an emeritus professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and Chancellor Emeritus. Del and his wife Carol established the Del & Carol Shankel Biomedical Scholarship to sponsor undergraduates in biology who are planning a career in biomedical sciences. In 2004, the Delbert M. Shankel Structural Biology Center was named in his honor. Read more about Dr. Shankel and the naming of SBC.  

 

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August 2017 Presentations

Stuart Macdonald (associate professor) gave an invited talk entitled “Dissecting Trait Variation using Multiparental Mapping Populations in Drosophila” at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology special symposium Evolution and Core Processes in Gene Expression held at the Stowers Institute July 13-17.

Audrey Lamb (professor) gave an invited talk entitled “Unraveling the MSTery” in the Enzymes Structure, Discovery and Mechanism session of the Enzymes, Coenzymes and Metabolic Pathways Gordon Research Conference in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, July 16-21.

Tom Hill (postdoc, Unckless lab) gave a talk entitled “Adaptation of Baculoviruses and Nudiviruses in Drosophila and other arthropods” at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution 2017 in Austin, Texas, July 5. 

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August 2017 Publications

Rowland MA, Greenbaum JM, Deeds EJ.  Crosstalk and the evolvability of intracellular communicationNature Communications 8: 16009.

 

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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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