August 2018 News   

Molecular Biosciences is deeply saddened by the passing of former Chancellor Del Shankel on July 12, 2018.  Del came to KU in 1959 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology (later Molecular Biosciences). Among the faculty he joined in Microbiology were Dr. David Paretsky (former University Distinguished Professor) and Dr. Cora Downs (the first woman to receive a PhD at KU and namesake of the new Downs residence hall). Del was hired to begin research and teaching programs in the area of Microbial Genetics, a new field at the time. Del continued the research he began in graduate school on the effects and prevention of mutations caused by environmental exposures, using bacteria as model systems. The latter part of his research career involved the identification and study of compounds (often plant derived compounds such as those from green tea) that can prevent or reduce the effects of environmental mutagens – an area dubbed anti-mutagenesis. He was an active member of the American Society for Microbiology and the Environmental Mutagen Society for many years, and mentored more than 30 graduate students in their Masters or PhD research in his lab. Del also found great joy in classroom teaching of students, which he continued until his retirement in 1996, and was a strong supporter of undergraduate student research through establishment of the Del and Carol Shankel Biomedical Research Award. Of course, Del is widely known at KU for the many administrative positions he held – 13 positions over the course of his 37 years on the KU faculty, most notably serving twice as chancellor. In 2010, the Shankel Structural Biology Center was named to honor Del’s service to KU. Our sincerest condolences go out to Del’s wife Carol, their two daughters, and everyone whose life he touched. We will miss Del’s counsel, his benevolence, and his humor.

A memorial service will be held on the KU campus on Saturday, August 18, 2018, at 4 p.m. in Woodruff auditorium, Kansas Union, followed by a reception at the Adams Alumni Center. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Del and Carol Shankel Biomedical Research Award at the KU Endowment Association.

Audrey Lamb (professor) served as the organizer of the Power Hour at the Enzymes, Coenzymes, and Metabolic Pathways Gordon Research Conference in Waterville Valley on July 23. The Power Hour is designed to help address the challenges women face in science and support professional growth by providing an open forum for discussion and mentoring.




Andrea Darby joined the Unckless lab as part of KU's PREP Program. Drea joins us from Allen Gibbs' lab at UNLV. She will continue to work on the role of immunity and the microbiome in adaptation to desiccation.  


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August 2018 Presentations

Rob Unckless (assistant professor) was a plenary speaker at the 2018 Workshop on Resistance to Gene Drive in Arolla, Switzerland on June 18th. He gave a talk entitled “The Landscape of Resistance to Natural and Synthetic Gene Drives”. 

Cara Davis (undergraduate, Lamb lab) gave a selected talk entitled “Biosynthesis of Yersinopine: an opine metallophore from Yersinia pestis” at the 7th Biennial National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE) in Washington DC on June 26.  Cara also gave her talk at KU Mini College, explaining her research project to alumni on June 5.

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August 2018 Publications

Davido DJ, Tu EM, Wang H, Korom M, Gazquez Casals A, Reddy PJ, Mostafa HH, Combs B, Haenchen SD, Morrison LA. Attenuated HSV-1 expressing a mutant form of ICP6 stimulates a strong immune response that protects mice against HSV-1-induced corneal disease. J Virol. 2018 Jun 27. pii: JVI.01036-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01036-18. [Epub ahead of print]

V. Paolillo (Lundquist lab), C.B. Jenkinson, T. Horio, B.R. Oakley Cyclins in aspergilli: Phylogenetic and functional analyses of group I cyclins. in Science Direct June 2018.

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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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