Recent Department Achievements
"First Graduating Class of BMB Medical Biochemistry Majors Achieve 100% Acceptance to the University of Kansas School of Medicine"
Photo by Maxwell Braasch
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics is pleased to report that all of its undergraduate majors who applied to the 2021 Class of the University of Kansas School of Medicine were accepted. The students are in order left to right: Natalie Ost, Matthew Brettmann, Samuel Broll, Tate Gilchrist, Mackenzie Wahl and Garrison Olds. All six of these seniors participated in the recently developed Medical Biochemistry track, which BMB created in 2013 for its undergraduate students. This curriculum allows biochemistry students who desire a career in medicine or other health-related fields to both prepare for entrance exams and focus their classroom study on subject matter that will comprise their first year of medical, veterinary or nursing school. In 2016, the overall acceptance rate for US applicants to in-state medical schools was 60.6%, so K-State BMB's 2017 acceptance rate of 100% was well above the norm. (Read full pdf article.)
- D. Fernando Estrada (B.S. 1999) was featured in ASBMB Today, a publication of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as the Research Spotlight on May 1.
- John Tomich is featured in K-State news as Phoreus Biotechnology licenses his team's bio-delivery technology known as BAPCs. K-State Today.
- John Tomich and Gerald Reeck recognized for their work in developing "nanomaterial that delivers targeted, lethal rations to insect pests." K-State Today.
- Gregory Finnigan received an NIH Kansas-INBRE grant for "Molecular analysis of septin function during MAPK-mediated cellular transitions", May 1, 2018 - April 30, 2020. ($218,042)
Student Awards and Scholarships
- Miao Li was awarded the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Charlie Hedgcoth, Jr. and Phillip Nordin Graduate Memorial Award for Excellence in Graduate Research.
- Miao Li, Pavithra Natarajan, and Indhujah Thevarajan were awarded the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Charlie Hedgcoth, Jr. and Phillip Nordin Graduate Memorial Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching for 2017-2018.
- Isabel Lewis (undergrad, Finnigan) has received an Arts and Sciences Research Award for Summer 2018.
- Simranjot Bawa (grad, E. Geisbrecht) received a Graduate Student Council Travel Award ($450) to attend the Society for Developmental Biology 77th Annual Meeting in Portland, OR, July 20-24.
- Yanan Xhou (BMB grad, Yang - Biology) received a Graduate Student Council Travel Award ($400) to attend ASV 2018, the American Society for Virology 37th Annual Meeting, at the University of Maryland in College Park, July 14-18.
- Erianna Basgall (undergrad, Finnigan) was awarded the American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship ($6000) for summer 2018.
- Wolf Blaser, Samantha Goetting, Ethan Kallenberger, Haley Lindell, Mackenzie Penny, and Marta Stetsiv (BMB Undergrads) received Junior Merit Awards from Gamma Sigma Delta the Honor Society of Agriculture.
- Micah Meyer (BMB undergrad) was selected as a member of the Chimes Junior Honorary for 2018-2019 school year. announcement
- James Houghton (BMB undergrad) received the $1000 Michael E. Brown Alpha Tau Omega Mortar Board Leadership Scholarship. announcement
- Michelle Coca Mora (undergrad, Gorman) received the James R. Coffman Award of Excellence in Research Honorable Mention for first year students in the Developing Scholars Program.
- Carolina Fonte, Reina Garcia, Sarah Gillaspie, and Madeline Woodard (BMB undergrads) have been elected to the Kansas State University Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. Spring 2018
- Bailey Porter (BMB undergrad) selected for the Staley School of Leadership Studies 2018-2019 class of Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows. announcement
- Vaithish Velazhahan, (BMB undergrad, Schrick - Biology) was the first K-State student and one of 35 US students to receive the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship in 2018. This scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge while pursuing a full-time postgraduate degree. announcement
Fall 2018 K-State Johnson Cancer Center Undergraduate Cancer Research Awards
Announcement. BMB undergraduate and mentor unless otherwise noted.
- Baltazar Claro Martinez – Mentor: John Tomich - "Development of Timed-Release Peptide Nano-Capsules"
- Michelle Coca - Mentor: Maureen Gorman - "Mechanisms of regulated iron uptake by cells"
- Hawa Dembele – Mentor: Om Prakash - "NMR Studies of an Insect Cytokine: Towards Understanding the Structural Basis for Development of EGFR Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment"
- Samantha Gameros – Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht - "TRIM32-mediated regulation of glycolysis a new model for the Warburg effect in cancer"
- Megan Goeckel (Microbiology) – Mentor: Gregory Finnigan - "Development of a molecular screening tool for new CRISPR variants for use in gene therapies"
- Madelyn Hilgers – Mentor: Chingakham Singh (Biology) - "Transitional reprogramming during adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) production through eIF5-mimic protein"
- Isabel Lewis – Mentor: Gregory Finnigan - "Control of gene editing using novel anti-CRISPR proteins to the Cast12a nuclease"
- Fawwaz Naeem (Biology) - Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht - "Identification of genes that function with Starvin/Bag3 to elucidate cancer-related functions"
- Samuel Ockerhausen - Mentor: Jeroen Roelofs (Biology) - "Understanding the mislocalization of the proteasome, a cancer drug target, upon subunit truncation"
- Seth Peery – Mentor: Kathrin Schrick (Biology) - "Origin of flavonoid anticancer compounds in charophycean green algae"
- Robert Small – Mentor: John Tomich -"Interactions of Proteins with the outer leaflet of Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules"
- Aritri Majumdar successfully defended her doctoral thesis, "TonB-dependent Transport of Ferric Enterobactin through FepA in Gram-negative Bacteria" on November 13. 2018. Major professor: Dr. Phillip Klebba.
- Karanbir S. Aulakh successfully defended his doctoral thesis, "Transcriptomic and lipidomic profiling in developing seeds of two Brassicaceae species to identify key regulators associated with storage oil synthesis ," on September 24, 2018. Major professor: Dr. Timothy Durrett.
- Ho Leung Ng will be a discussion leader for the poster session short talks on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at the Gordon Research Conference on Diffraction Methods in Structural Biology in Bates College in Lewiston, ME.
- Nicole Green successfully defended her doctoral thesis, "The biological ‘Six Degrees’ of muscle and immunity: using Drosophila to uncover new intersections in tissue maintenance," on May 3, 2018. Major professor: Dr. Erika Geisbrecht.
- Michal Zolkiewski gave an invited seminar, "Molecular Chaperone ClpB: Protein Disaggregase Becomes a Novel Antimicrobial Target" on April 3, 2018 at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.
- Ho Leung Ng gave an oral presentation, "Identifying drug binding sites on proteins from surface conservation and fragment docking" on March 19 at the 255th American Chemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans, LA. March 18-22, 2018.
- Nicoleta Ploscariu successfully defended her doctoral thesis, "Novel Staphylococcal Inhibitors of Neutrophil Granule Enzymes," on April 5, 2018. Major professor: Dr. Brian Geisbrecht.
- Brandon Garcia gave an oral presentation, "Molecular Mechanisms of Classical Pathway Complement Evasion in Borrelia Spp." on January 23 at the 2018 Biology of Spirochetes Gordon Research Conference in Ventura, CA. January 21-26.
- Mark Boatwright successfully defended his doctoral thesis, "Near infrared quantitative chemical imaging as an objective, analytical tool for optimization of the industrial processing of wheat" on December 1, 2017. Major professor: Dr. John Tomich. Supporting Professor: Dr. David Wetzel, Grain Science.
- Susan Whitaker successfully defended her masters thesis, "Dynamics of peptide capsules in saline solutions" on November 30, 2017. Major professor: Dr. John Tomich.
- Yan Shipelskiy successfully defended his doctoral thesis, "Gram-positive heme acquisition," on
November 17, 2017. Major professor: Dr. Phillip Klebba.
- Randi Wise successfully defended her doctoral thesis, "The Role of the Secretory Pathway and Cell Surface Proteolysis in the Regulation of the Aggressiveness of Breast Cancer Cells," on November 9, 2017. Major professor: Dr. Anna Zolkiewska.
- Simranjot Bawa successfully defended her masters thesis,"Exploring the molecular mechanisms of Drosophila dTRIM32 implicated in pathogenesis of Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2H," on
November 7, 2017. Major professor: Dr. Erika Geisbrecht.
Research and Exhibitions
- Ho Leung Ng will be presenting a research poster on “Applying Artificial Intelligence Methods to Enhance Images from Crystallography and Microscopy” on July 28-Aug 3, 2018 at the Gordon Research Conference on Diffraction Methods in Structural Biology in Bates College in Lewiston, ME.
- Erianna Basgall (undergrad, Finnigan) presented a poster, "Gene drive inhibition by the anti-CRISPR proteins AcrIIA2 and AcrIIA4 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae," June 24-26, 2018 at the National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE) conference in Washington D.C.
- Gorman, M.J., Brummett, L.M., LeSuer, L.A., Weber, J.J. and Kanost. M.R. (2018) Characterization of Transferrin-1 from Drosophila melanogaster. American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting, San Diego. April 21-25, 2018
- Li., M., Christen, J.M., Dittmer, N.T., Cao, X., Zhang, X., Jiang, H. and Kanost, M.R. (2018) Analysis of serpin genes and proteins in the tobacco hornworm. American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting, San Diego. April 21-25, 2018.
- Anne Dykeman (undergrad, Davis) will present "Fatty Acid, Phospholipid and Sterol Composition of Salt Cedar (Tamarix spp.) Roots" at Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in Topeka on February 14. announcement
- Timothy Durrett presented a poster, "Targeted metabolic engineering of Camelina sativa to synthesize high levels of industrially useful lipids," by Jose Aznar-Moreno, Linah Alkotami, Cathering Kornacki, Tam Tran-Nguyen, Shahna Campbell, and Timothy Durrett, on January 12 at the USDA-NIFA Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.
- Michal Zolkiewski presented a poster, "Interaction of Substrate-mimicking Peptides with the AAA+ Atpase ClpB from Escherichia coli," by Chathurange Ranaweera, Przemyslaw Glaza, and Michal Zolkiewski, on January 13 at the Midwest Stress Response and Molecular Chaperone Meeting in Evanston, IL.
- Ho Leung Ng presented a poster, "Computational tools for discovering allosteric Ras inhibitors," December 6-8 at The Second RAS Initiative Symposium in Frederick, MD.
- Leutert, M., Menzel, S., Braren, R., Rissiek, B., Hopp, A. K., Nowak, K., Bisceglie, L., Gehrig, P., Li, H., Zolkiewska, A., Koch-Nolte, F., Hottiger, M. O. (2018) Proteomic characterization of the heart and skeletal muscle reveals widespread arginine ADP-ribosylation by the ARTC1 ectoenzyme. Cell Reports 24,1916-1929
- V. pidlisnyuk, L. Erickson, J.Trogl, P. Shapoval, L. Davis, J. Popelka, T. Tsefanovska, Ge. Hettiarachchi (2018) Metals uptake behaviour in Miscanthus x giganteus plant during growth at the contaminated soil from the military site in Sliac, Slovakia. Polish Journal of Chemical Technology, vol 20, p.1-7, doi:10.2478/pjct-2018-0016
- Noh MY, Muthukrishnan S, Kramer KJ, Arakane Y (2018) A chitinase with two catalytic domains is required for organization of the cuticular extracellular matrix of a beetle. PLoS Genet 14(3): e1007307. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007307
- Basgall*, E.M., Goetting*, S.C., Goeckel*, M.E., Giersch, R.M., Roggenkamp, E., Schrock, M.N., Halloran, M., and Finnigan, G.C. (2018) Gene drive inhibition by the anti-CRISPR proteins AcrIIA2 and AcrIIA4 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Microbiology doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000635.
*Authors contributed equally.
- Roggenkamp*, E., Giersch*, R.M., Schrock*, M.N., Turnquist, E., Halloran, M., and Finnigan, G.C. (2018) Tuning CRISPR/Cas9 gene drives in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. G3 (Bethesda) January 18, 2018; https://doi.org/10.1534/g3.117.300557
*Authors contributed equally.
- Giersch, R.M. and Finnigan, G.C. (2017) Yeast still a Beast: Diverse Application of CRISPR/Cas Editing Technology in S. cerevisiae. Yale J Biol Med 90(4): 643–651.
- Forest K, Alfulaij N, Arora K, Lawrence JLM, Yoshikawa G, Ng HL, Hruby VJ, Nichols RA. (2017). Neuroprotection against β-Amyloid toxicity by a non-toxic endogenous N-terminal β-amyloid fragment and its active hexapeptide core sequence. J. Neurochemistry. doi:10.1111/jnc.14257