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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics
141 Chalmers Hall
1711 Claflin Rd.
Manhattan, KS 66506
785-532-7278 fax

Biotechnology Core Facility
206 Burt Hall
785-532-6297 fax

Biomolecular NMR Facility
37 Chalmers Hall

Recent Department Achievements

Faculty Achievements

  • Jianhan Chen’s lab received a grant from NIH: 1/01/16 – 12/31/20, NIH R01 GM114300-01A1 (PI: Chen), “Multi-scale enhanced sampling of disordered proteins” $1,443,750 (total cost) (Co-Is: Michal Zolkiewski and Om Prakash)
  • John Tomich received a grant from SmartVet Holdings in Olathe, KS for “Surface absorption of BAPCs in Porcine Model.” (December 2015)
  • Maureen Gorman received a University Small Research Grant for "Pilot studies of iron uptake mechanisms in insects," $2,147, November 2015.
  • Jianhan Chen received a K-INBRE Bridging Grant for "Modulation of p53 structure and function by cancer-associated mutations," $40,000 (direct); $52,000 (total), 9/1/15 - 4/30/16.
  • Michal Zolkiewski received a K-INBRE Bridging Grant for "Molecular chaperones of Ehrlichia chaffeensis,” $52,000, 9/1/15 - 4/30/16.
  • Michael Kanost received a grant from NIH for "Proteinase systems in insect hemolymph, Administrative supplement for equipment," 4/1/15 - 3/31/16, $150,000. 
  • Timothy Durrett received a grant from USDA-NIFA for "Targeted engineering of Camelina seed biochemistry to synthesize valuable oleochemical feedstocks," $490,000, 1/15/15 - 1/14/19.
  • John Tomich was a finalist for the U.S. State Department Jefferson Fellowship (December 2015).
  • Michael Kanost received the John V. Osmun Alumni Professional Achievement Award in Entomology, Purdue University (November 2015).
  • Michael Kanost was named a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America at an awards ceremony at the Annual Meeting of the society in Minneapolis, 11/15/15.
  • Anna Zolkiewska was invited to serve as a permanent member of an NIH study section (Molecular Oncogenesis) for the 2016-2022 term (Sept 2015).
  • Lawrence Davis served with Larry Erickson as the program committee for the 12th International Conference of the International Phytotechnologies Society in Manhattan, KS, Sept 27-30. More than 200 people, representing over 25 countries were in attendance. About 80 posters and more than 150 oral presentations were made. 
  • Tim Durrett chaired the session on "Genetic Modification Studies" at the 12th International Phyotechnologies Conference (Sept 27-30, Manhattan, KS).
  • Anna Zolkiewska became a member of the Faculty Senate for the 2015-2018 term (Sept 2015).
  • Michael Kanost was selected as a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America. (August 2015)
  • Jianhan Chen was selected for the review panel, National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Proposal Evaluation for Allocation of Supercomputing Time for the Study of Molecular Dynamics (2015). July 2015.
  • Jianhan Chen was invited to serve on an NIH P01 panel (BCMB), June 2015.
  • Timothy Durrett served on the Genome Canada review panel in Toronto, Canada on May 26-29, 2015.
  • John Tomich was inducted as member of National Academy of Inventors. (March 2015)
  • Anna Zolkiewska served on an NIH study section panel “Molecular Oncogenesis”, February 19-20, 2015, in Washington DC.

Student Awards and Scholarships

  • Muriel Eaton (undergrad) received a 2015 Women in STEMM student achiever award (October 2015).
  • Karanbir Aulakh and Catherine Kornacki (graduates, Durrett) were PhytoScholars at the 12th International Phytotechnologies Conference Sept 27-30, Manhattan, KS, which was a competitive program for graduate students to receive funding to attend the conference.
  • James Houghton (undergraduate, Durrett) received an Undergraduate Research Award from the K-State Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry (Sept 2015).
Fall 2015 Undergraduate Cancer Research Awardees
  • Will Smith—Mentor: John Tomich—Designing a second generation of peptide nano-capsules for intra-cellular release of encapsulated cargo
  • Emily Wedeman—Mentor: John Tomich—Development of an in-gel digestion standard for the protein interactome
  • Kayla Wilkinson—Mentor: John Tomich—Preparation of peptide nanotubes using Double Stranded Oligo-Nucleotides as Template
  • Molly Zych—Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht—Dissecting the subcellular localization and function of the evolutionarily conserved Drosophila Importin-7 (Dim7) protein
Travel Awards
  • Randi Wise and Yu Qi (graduates, Zolkiewska) received Arts & Sciences Research Travel Awards to attend the Tumor Mestastasis meeting held in November in Austin, TX. The award is $800 per student.


  • Michael Kanost presented a seminar at Purdue University, Department of Entomology "Hemolymph proteins in immune responses of Manduca sexta", 11/6/15.
  • Michal Zolkiewski gave an invited seminar: "Molecular Chaperones and Protein Disaggregation: unscrambling scrambled eggs, one polypeptide at a time.” Department of Chemistry, Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas, October 5, 2015.
  • Jianhan Chen gave an invited talk titled “Multi-scale modeling of IDP structure and interaction” at University of Connecticut at part of the 12th Annual New England Structure Symposium on Oct 10, 2015.
  • Anna Zolkiewska presented a seminar on October 13, 2015, at the KU Cancer Center, University of Kansas Medical Center. The title of the seminar was:  “ADAM12: a new modulator of breast cancer stem cell signaling pathways”.
  • John Tomich presented a seminar at Oklahoma State University, Department of Chemistry Stillwater OK.  “Branched Amphipathic Peptide Bilayers: A Singularly Versatile Biomaterial.”  October 22, 2015.
  • John Tomich presented a seminar at University of Kansas, Center for Computational Biology. “Branched Amphipathic Peptide Bilayers: A Singularly Versatile Biomaterial.” October 27, 2015.
  • Om Prakash presented an invited seminar ‘Chemical and Structural Basis of Catalytic Function of Norovirous Cystein Protease: An Enzyme for Antiviral Drug Development’, on October 29, 2015 hosted by Department of Chemistry, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.
  • Lawrence Davis gave a platform presentation "Perennial phytotechnoloy for sustainable land management at the former military sites in Slovakia and Ukraine" at the 12th International Phytotechnologies Conference, Sept 27-20, Manhattan, KS.
  • Jianhan Chen presented, “Towards reliable atomistic simulation of disordered protein ensembles” at a CECAM Workshop on Intrinsically Disordered Proteins - Bringing together Physics, Computation and Biology in Zurich, Switzerland, Aug 18-21.

Research and Exhibitions

  • Randi Wise (graduate, Zolkiewska) presented a poster entitled: "Protein disulfide isomerases in the endoplasmic reticulum promote anchorage-independent growth of breast cancer cells” at the American Society for Cancer Research conference on Tumor Metastasis, in Austin, TX, Nov. 30-Dec. 3.
  • Yue Qi (graduate, Zolkiewska) presented a poster entitled: "ADAM12 is a novel regulator of stem-like cells in triple-negative breast cancer” at the American Society for Cancer Research conference on Tumor Metastasis, in Austin, TX, Nov. 30-Dec. 3.
  • Lawrence Davis was involved with 2 posters at the 12th International Phytotechnologies Conference Sept 27-30 in Manhattan, KS entitled "Boron uptake is regulated in sunflowers" and "Beneficial effects of trees at the Riley county landfill."
  • Tim Durrett presented two posters at the 12th International Phytotechnologies Conference Sept 27-30 in Manhattan, KS: “Elucidating the Regulation of Storage Lipid Synthesis in Developing Seeds” by Durrett and Karanbir Aulakh (graduate), which won second place at the poster competition; and “Progress in the production of improved biofuels: Enhancing the production of acetyl-TAGs in a transgenic oil seed crop” by Durrett, Catherine Kornacki and Tam Tran-Nguyen (graduates).
  • Mark Boatwright (graduate, Tomich) represented the department as he participated in the student poster competition session of the annual meeting of the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (SciX 2015) in Providence, RI, September 27, 2015.