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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

  • Michael Kanost's NIH grant was renewed for years 27-31: Proteinase systems in insect hemolymph. NIH GM041247, 4/1/16 - 3/31/21, $1,875,000.
  • Lawrence Davis is part of an international consortium that received a $300,000 grant from NATO for a project entitled “New Phytotechnology for Cleaning Contaminated Military Sites.”
  • Saurav Misra received a core utilization grant from the University of Kansas COBRE-PSF for "Interaction mapping to understand how Bag2 protects oncogenic p53 mutants" ($2,700).
  • 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.
  • Saurav Misra was awarded an Innovative Research Award from the Johnson Cancer Center (March 2016).
  • 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.

Student Awards and Scholarships

  • Samuel Broll (undergrad) was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society (May 2016).
  • Samuel Broll (undergrad) received two scholarships through the K-State Office of International Programs to study abroad in Costa Rica (May 2016).
  • Adam Schieferecke (undergrad) was awarded the 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship (April 2016).
  • Alyssa Belford (undergrad) received an Undergraduate Research Award from the K-State Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry to work with Saurav Misra this summer (March 2016).
  • Rachel Proteau (undergrad) received the Big 12 Conference's highest academic honor for student athletes, the Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award (March 2016).
  • Jordan Strickler (undergrad) was selected as a member of the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society at K-State (March 2016).
  • Bailey Porter (undergrad) was selected as a member of Chimes, K-State's junior honorary (March 2016).
  • Ann McLean and Sarah Plum (undergrads) were selected as members of Silver Key, K-State's sophomore leadership honorary (March 2016).
  • Muriel Eaton and Adam Schieferecke (undergrads) were nominated for the 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship (February 2016).
  • Muriel Eaton (undergrad) received a 2015 Women in STEMM student achiever award (October 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 was $800 per student.


  • Timothy Durrett gave a seminar at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology (April 17-20, San Diego) entitled, "Targeted metabolic engineering of Camelina sativa to synthesize high levels of acetyl-TAG oils with reduced viscosity and crystallization temperature."
  • Jose Aznar-Moreno (postdoc, Durrett) gave a seminar at the American Society for Plant Biologists’ southern section meeting (April 2-4, Denton, TX) entitled, "Using genome editing to alter oil production in Camelina sativa."
  • Jianhan Chen gave an invited talk at the 251st ACS National Meeting in San Diego, "Multi-scale modeling of IDP structure and interaction."
  • Tim Durrett gave a seminar for the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Molecular Biology at Iowa State University on March 24 entitled "Exploring MBOAT Substrate Specificity to Increase Production of Low Viscosity Oil."
  • Cathernie Kornacki (grad, Durrett) gave a presentation about her research entitled “Biofuels! The Power of Plants” at "Science on Tap" on Feb 24, 2016 at the Tallgrass Tap House. The event was co-hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Sunset Zoo.
  • Tomich, J.M. "Branched Amphipathic Peptide Capsules: A Singularly Versatile Drug Delivery," University of Southern California, Biology Section, School of Gerontology, January 11, 2016
  • Tomich, J.M. "Branched Amphipathic Peptide Capsules: A Singularly Versatile Drug Delivery." Platform Talk 2016 K-INBRE Annual Conference, Overland Park, KS, January 16, 2016
  • John Tomich and Gerald Reeck delivered a talk over the internet that was followed at UC Davis, University of New Mexico, and the USDA Office in Fort Pierce, FL entitled, "Effective oral delivery of dsRNA to insects" for the USDA Citrus Greening Solutions Program on 1/28/16.
  • 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.

Research and Exhibitions

  • Saurav Misra presented a poster entitled “Structure-Function Analysis of the N-terminal Inhibitory Domain of the Cochaperone Bag2” at the 2016 Meeting on Protein Homeostasis in Health and Disease, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, Apr. 18-22, 2016.
  • Sunil Bansal, Catherine Kornacki, Tam Tran-Nguyen, Shahna Campbell, Jillian Silva, Ed Cahoon, Chaofu Lu and Timothy Durrett, "Targeted metabolic engineering of Camelina sativa to synthesize high levels of industrially useful lipids" (poster), presented at the USDA-NIFA Principal Investigator Meeting, San Diego, Jan. 8, 2016.
  • Randi Wise, Sara Duhachek-Muggy, Yue Qi, Michal Zolkiewski, and Anna Zolkiewska, “Protein disulfide isomerases promote anchorage-independent growth of breast cancer cells” (poster), presented at the 21st Annual Midwest Stress Response and Molecular Chaperone meeting, Evanston, Illinois, Jan 16, 2016.
  • 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.