April 2016 News
Berl Oakley (Irving S. Johnson distinguished professor) is the recipient of funding from Pacific Northwest National Laboratories for his project entitled “Expression of Polyketide Synthases in Aspergillus nidulans.” The overall project funding is from the Department of Energy. The goal of this work is to discover new compounds that can be produced cheaply by the fungus Aspergillus nidulans as it grows on biological feedstocks, and that can be readily converted to biomedically-relevant chemical compounds.
Ilya Vakser (professor) is the recipient of funding from the Division of Biological Infrastructure of the National Science Foundation for his proposal entitled “Modeling protein interactions to interpret genetic variation.” The project will result in an integrated approach for large-scale prediction of protein structures and their association. A database of predicted structures and complexes for model organisms will be established upon which genetic variants will be mapped and their phenotypic effects assessed. The grant is awarded under the US NSF/BIO - UK BBSRC joint program (UK collaborator - Professor Michael Sternberg, Imperial College London).
Christian Gomez (graduate student, Neufeld lab) received a Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program Horizon Award from the Department of Defense office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs to study “A Role for APC in Goblet Cell Function and the Unfolded Protein Response”. The Horizon Award allows junior investigators to “develop a research project investigating a problem or question in the field of cancer, conduct impactful research with the mentorship of an experienced cancer researcher and further their intellectual development as a cancer researcher of the future”. Gomez was one of 4 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the colorectal cancer topic area chosen for this award, which will provide stipend, supply and travel funds for a year.
Kelly Harrison and Scott Labrie (graduate students, Hefty lab) were both recipients of Outstanding Graduate Student Poster Presentation Awards at the Missouri Valley Branch Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Kansas City on March 4-5. Kelly’s presentation was entitled “Discovery of Genetic Correlates Encoded by Chlamydia that are Important for Mammalian Infection,” and Scott’s presentation was “Phenotypic Analysis of Transposon Mutant Strains of Chlamydia trachomatis."
Kawaljit Kaur (graduate student, De Guzman lab) is the recipient of the 2016 Philip & Marjorie Newmark Award for excellence in biochemical research for her project and presentation entitled, "Azaphilones derived from a fungal natural product inhibit the HuR-mRNA interaction", a collaborative project with Liang Xu. Chad Highfill (graduate student, Macdonald lab) was also a finalist for the award.
Kathryn Brewer (undergraduate, Lamb lab) has been selected to be a Beckman Scholar, a 15 month program to conduct innovative mentored research here at KU. Kathryn receives research and travel stipends and supply funds to conduct her research project. Kathryn will be studying the enzymes of siderophore biosynthesis. Read more in the KU Today article.
Mackenzie Bloom (undergraduate, Neufeld lab) was the winner of the “Research is a Process” category of the Image of Research competition sponsored by The University of Kansas Libraries. She was also chosen to serve as Ambassador for program in the upcoming year. The winning images, including the one on the right, and her descriptions are found here.