June 2019 News

Dan Dixon (associate professor) and Liang Xu (professor), with Yong Zeng (associate professor, Chemistry) were awarded a Multi-PI Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Cancer Institute  (NCI) entitled "Nano-Engineered Lab-on-a-Chip for Assessing HuR-Regulated Exosomes for Cancer Monitoring and Targeted Therapy”. The goal of this award is to develop new technologies for analysis of circulating exosomes and potential exosomal biomarkers and blood-based tests for precision diagnosis and treatment of cancers.

Josephine Chandler (assistant professor) was awarded a National Institutes of Health COBRE Chemical Biology of Infectious Diseases pilot project award for her project entitled, “Chemical biology studies of malleilactone, a small-molecule toxin produced by Burkholderia pseudomallei.” The goal of this project is to understand how secondary metabolites influence the disease process and evaluate secondary metabolites as novel therapeutic targets for combatting infections.

 

Tony Fehr (assistant professor) published a paper in PLos Pathogens entitled, The coronavirus macrodomain is required to prevent PARP-mediated inhibition of virus replication and enhancement of IFN expression. It was highlighted as Featured Research on the PLos Pathogens website and a press release was also issued to Eurekalerts.

 

Mizuki Azuma (associate professor) and Steve Benedict (professor) were recognized as “Favorite Professors” by the Biology Class of 2019 at the University of Kansas Undergraduate Biology Recognition Ceremony on May 18.

 

 

Erik Lundquist (professor) was recognized with the McNair Mentor Award on May 2, 2019. Dr. Lundquist was mentor for McNair Scholars Program participant Aubrie Stricker (undergraduate) who was awarded the McNair Exceptional Research Award.

 

 

Jenn Klaus (graduate student, Chandler lab) received the 2019 Phillip and Marjorie Newmark Award for Excellence in Biochemistry Research for her project entitled, “Novel iron acquisition mechanisms in the pathogenic bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei.” The other finalist for the prize was Meghan Franklin (Slusky lab). The 2019 invited Newmark lecturer was Stephen H. White of the University of California - Irvine.  Jenn was also awarded the 2019 Hirata Summer Fellowship which will provide full summer support for research, manuscript writing, and thesis defense preparation. Finally, Jenn was awarded a KU Robert H. Ammar Graduate Teaching Award (Microbiology), for excellence in teaching of the class BIOL507 (Bacterial Infectious Diseases Lab) in the spring of 2019.

 

Elizabeth Everman (postdoc, Macdonald lab) received a two-year F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship from the NIH for her project "Genetic dissection and characterization of variation in copper resistance in Drosophila melanogaster". The goal of her work is to genetically dissect the response to toxic levels of copper sulfate using the fruit fly model system, and to identify the genes and genetic networks that confer resistance via genetic mapping, expression profiling, and genome editing. In addition to using large, sequenced laboratory panels of flies, she will also use flies collected from multiple wild populations known to have experienced high levels of toxic metal contamination (e.g., Superfund sites) to examine the effect of toxic metal exposure on the evolution of metal resistance in natural populations.

 

Molecular Biosciences participated in the University of Kansas Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on May 19, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From left to right: Jeff McFarlane and his mentor Audrey Lamb, Mark Richter, mentor to Jittasak Khowsathit, and Lisa Timmons, mentor to Vaishnavi Nagarajan

 

Lauren Jennings (undergraduate, Neufeld lab) has received a KU Undergraduate Research Award for Summer 2019 for her project: “Analysis of Axin1 in Destruction Complex Localization Following Wnt ligand presentation.”

Kirsten Kent (undergraduate, Dixon Lab) received a 2019 Undergraduate Research Award (UGRA) from the Center for Undergraduate Research to study the regulation of the cell cycle in colon cancer.

 

 

 

Aubrie Stricker (undergraduate, Lundquist lab) received a BS MCDB degree with Honors from Biological Sciences. She will begin PhD studies in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University in the fall of 2019.

 

 

Sierra Mortimer (undergraduate, Lundquist lab) received a BS MCDB degree with Honors from Biological Sciences. She will begin PhD studies in the Human Genetics program at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2019.

Natalie Eppler (undergraduate, Chandler lab) will be entering the interdisciplinary PhD program in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Kansas Medical Center in the fall 2019.

 

 

 

Skye Perkins joined the Unckless Lab for a summer research program through the KU-Haskell Bridge partnership and will be working on Inhibition of Drosophila pathogens by natural plant compounds.

 

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June 2019 Presentations

Dan Dixon (associate professor) gave an invited talk entitled “Understanding the Role of mRNA Decay in Cancer” at the Baker University Department of Biology on April 24, 2019.

Anuja Bhatta (graduate student, Benedict lab) presented her work entitled, Engagement of CD45 alters early signaling events in human T cells costimulated through TCR + CD28 at the American Association for Immunology meeting in San Diego, CA on May 12.

 

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June 2019 Publications

Duxbury, E.ML., Day, J.P., Vespasiani, D.M., Thüringer,Y.,  Tolosana, I., Smith.S.CL., Tagliaferri, L., Kamacioglu, A., Lindsley, I., Love, L., Unckless, R.L., Jiggins, F.M., Longdon, B., (2019) Host-pathogen coevolution increases genetic variation in susceptibility to infection. eLife. Apr 30.

Baker, H.A., Fabian, C.J., Hastings, R.C., Dixon, D.A., Nydegger, J.L., Phillips, T.A., Powers, K.R., Kimler, B.F. (2019) Circulating adipose stromal cells as a response biomarker in phase II energy balance trials of obese breast cancer survivors and high-risk women. Breast Cancer Res. Treat. Apr 30

Al-Hashimi, H., Chiarellie, T., Lundquist, E.A., Buechner, M., Novel exc Genes Involved in Formation of the Tubular Excretory Canals of Caenorhabditis elegans. G3: Genes/Genomes/Genetics on May 7. G3 (Bethesda). 2019 May 7;9(5):1339-1353. doi: 10.1534/g3.119.200626. PMID: 30885922

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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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