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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Biochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsBiochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsBiochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsBiochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsBiochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsBiochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsBiochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsBiochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsBiochemistry and Molecular BiophysicsBiochemistry 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

About BMB

Located in Chalmers and Burt Halls, the BMB Program offers B.A., B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Departmental faculty have research programs supported by over $7 million in extramural support for studying various aspects of biochemistry in animals, plants, insects and microorganisms.

Browse this website to find information about our academics, faculty, seminars and more.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics is continuing with limited operations until the end of the semester. All in progress classes will continue remotely by March 23. For more details www.k-state.edu/covid-19.

PhD Defense

Pavithra NatarajanPavithra Natarjan defended her Ph.D. thesis on July 20, 2020. Her work spanned several areas including organic chemistry, nanomaterials, cell biology and cancer research. Her thesis studies generated 3 first author publications. As her co-advisor along with Sherry Fleming, in the Division of Biology, we greatly appreciated her hard work and dedication and wish her well with her future endeavors. -Dr. John Tomich, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Congratulations, Dr. Pavithra Natarajan!
Lynn Goss SchragLynn Goss Schrag successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled "Biophysical Studies of Selected Intrinsically Disordered Proteins: Insect Stress-response Peptides and Cancer-linked Variants of Human p53 Transactivation Domain" on June 22. The research presentation and final examination were performed over the Internet, as required by the university administration during the limited operations period at K-State. Schrag's faculty advisors are Dr. Om Prakash (Major Professor) and Dr. Michal Zolkiewski, (Co-Major Professor), Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Congratulations, Dr. Lynn Goss Shrag!

News Highlights

NIH Highlights the Work of Michal Kanost

NIH has highlighted the K-State video interview of Micheal Kanost about his work on their Biomedical Beat Blog.

eLife Online Recognizes work of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Student
Banner from eLife

Simran Bawa (grad, E. Geisbrecht) was first author on a published paper that was chosen for banner highlights on the eLife website. Bawa S, Brooks D, Neville K, Tipping M, Sagar M, Kollhoff J, Chawla G, Geisbrecht B, Tennessen J, Elicieri K, and Geisbrecht ER. (2020) Drosophila TRIM32 cooperates with glycolytic enzymes to promote cell growth. eLife. Published online March 30, 2020.

Presidential Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recipient from Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Ashish Kumar, doctoral student in biochemistry, is the 2020 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Kumar's award includes a $5,000 honorarium sponsored by the university president's office and Curtin Property Company, a real estate development firm with offices in Manhattan and Kansas City.

Ashish Kumar, GTA'Kumar has been a graduate teaching assistant for the biochemistry and molecular biophysics department since 2016 and consistently earns high marks from students for his teaching. Courses he has been involved with include General Biochemistry Lab and Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry, both of which serve 50 or more students each semester. He is in charge of ensuring the lab courses have the appropriate equipment and materials. He also has created a new experiment for the General Biochem Lab course based on his own research findings.

"Apart from concentrating on giving lectures, demonstrating labs, quizzes, etc., I try to create that kind of environment in the class where all the students can know each other more than just by their names," Kumar said. "And when this happens, interactive sessions with students become so fruitful. For me, this is the most enjoyable part about teaching."'

Philip Klebba, university distinguished professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, nominated Kumar for this distinguished award. Kumar has worked as a GTA with Klebba several semesters and is a member of his lab. Excerpt and photo courtesy of K-State News.

From Research and the State to Capitol Graduate Research Summit Top Honors for Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Student
Ashish Kumar and his poster at Topeka

After winning top honors and a $250 scholarship at Research and the State on October 31 (K-State News), Ashish Kumar, doctoral student in biochemistry, was one of 10 representatives of K-State at the 17th annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit on February 26, 2020, at the State Capitol in Topeka. He presented his poster "Fluorescence Assays for Detection, Discrimination and Quantification of Siderophores" and discussed the implications his work has on issues in the state of Kansas with state legislators, members of the Kansas Board of Regents, and the public. Kumar again won top honors and received a $500 award sponsored by MO Valley PDA and a $250 certificate for enrollment in a professional development workshop sponsored by BioKansas. Kumar's faculty advisor is Dr. Phillip Klebba, university distinguished professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics. Photo courtesy of K-State News

Michael Kanost Recognized with Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award
Michael Kanost

Michael Kanost, university distinguished professor of BMB and nationally recognized expert in insect biochemistry, is one of two recipients this year of Kansas State University's Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award. He will receive a honorarium of $2,500 for his excellence in mentoring and teaching of graduate students and in research. The award, Kansas State University's top honor for graduate teaching and research, recognizes current members of the graduate faculty who are respected nationally and internationally for their outstanding scholarly achievements and for their contributions to graduate education at the university. Photo courtesy of K-State News.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics' Charlie Hedgcoth, Jr. and Phillip Nordin Graduate Memorial Awards for Excellence

Congratulations to Ashish Kumar and Taihao Yang (grads, Klebba) 2019 recipients of the BMB Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award.

Congratulations to Simran Bawa (grad, E. Geisbrect) and Ashish Kumar (grad, Klebba) 2019 recipients of the BMB Excellence in Graduate Research Award.

The Recent BMB Active Site News

Read the latest news in BMB. Summer 2019 Newsletter created by department faculty and staff. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required.

Faculty Research Videos

Image of Dr. Finnigan discussing research with students.Image of Dr. Michal Zolkiewski explaining research results to lab staff
Dr. Gregory Finnigan
Dr. Michal Zolkiewski
Image of Dr. Kanost discussing research poster with students.Image of Dr. Durrett helping a grad student with research and link to Dr. Durrett's Youtube research video
Dr. Michael Kanost
Dr. Timothy Durrett
Image of Dr. Brian Geisbrecht overseeing research with lab staff and link to Dr. B. Geisbrecht's YouTube research videoImage of Dr. Erika Geisbrecht demonstrating research results and link to Dr. E. Gesbrecht's Youtube research video
Dr. Brian Geisbrecht
Dr. Erika Geisbrecht
Image of Dr. Klebba's research meeting and link to Dr. Klebba's YouTube research videoImage of Dr. Tomich with student and link to Dr. Tomich's YouTube research video
Dr. Phillip E. Klebba
Dr. John Tomich

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Recent News

Brooks D, Naeem F, Stetsiv M*, Goetting SC*, Bawa S, Green N, Clark C, Bashirullah A, Geisbrecht ER. Drosophila NUAK functions with Starvin/BAG3 in autophagic protein turnover. PLoS Genet. 2020 Apr 22;16(4):e1008700. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008700. PMID: 32320396
*Marta Stetsiv and Samantha Goetting (undergrads, E. Geisbrecht)

Diana G. Najera*, Neal T. Dittmer, Jacob J. Weber, Michael R. Kanost, and Maureen J. Gorman . (2020) Phylogenetic and sequence analyses of insect transferrins suggest that only transferrin 1 has a role in iron homeostasis. Insect Science 31 March 2020. doi: 10.1111/1744-7917.12783.
*Diana Najera (undergrad, Gorman)

Jacob Weber (grad, Gorman) received a Johnson Cancer Research Center Graduate Summer Stipend Award for his research project "Biochemical properties and physiological functions of extracellular iron-binding proteins".

Mi Young Noha, Sung Hyun Kimb, Maureen J. Gorman, Karl J. Kramer, Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan, Yasuyuki Arakane. Yellow-g and Yellow-g2 proteins are required for egg desiccation resistanceand temporal pigmentation in the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 122 (2020) 103386.

Phil Haynos (senior, BMB) was selected for the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows Program.

Maxwell Harman (sophomore, BMB) was awarded a Walter Martin Memorial Scholarship by Blue Key Honor Society. "Blue Key scholarships are awarded based on the honorary's values of scholarship, leadership and service. All scholarship recipients undergo a rigorous application process." K-State News

Sara Haggard, Curtis Niehues, and Kinsley Ochsner (freshmen, BMB) were selected as new members of Silver Key, the sophomore honorary for 2020-2021. K-State News

Erika Geisbrecht received a 5 year renewal on her NIH grant 2 RO1 AR60788 entitled ‘Mechanisms Underlying Muscle Development and Maintenance in Drosophila'.

Abigail Parker (undergrad, biochem) was awarded the Tillman Family Scholarship for undergraduates who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance in plant pathology minor or through plant pathology undergraduate research. K-State Today

Michelle Coca (undergrad, Gorman) was awarded the Developing Scholars Anita Cortez award for excellence in research, innovative thinking, grit and work toward social justice.

Om Prakash gave an invited talk "Structure-Property Relationships of Noro-Virus Protease and Staphylococcal Peroxidase Inhibitor”, on February 27, 2020 at the International Symposium on Current Trends in Pharmaceutical and Medical Sciences. Kashipur, India.

Om Prakash gave an invited talk "NMR Structural Basis for Immune Evasion by Staphylococcus Inhibitor of Myeloperoxidase”, on February 18, 2020 at the International Conference on Molecules to Human Behaviour and Beyond, Rajkot, India.

BMB students received awards for their scientific research presentations at the 18th annual K-INBRE Symposium Jan. 18-19 in Wichita. K-State Today

  • Isabel Lewis (undergrad, Finnigan) gave an oral presentation "CRISPR Cas12a endonuclease in a gene drive: Cuts only as good as the guide."
  • Erianna Basgall (undergrad, Finnigan) presented a poster "Design of S. pyogenes Cas9 nuclease immune to anti-CRISPR inhibition."
  • Mayme Loyd (undergrad, Tamura [A&P]) presented a poster "Cell wall membrane fraction of Chlorella sorokiniana enhances host anti-tumor immunity and inhibits colon carcinoma growth in mice."

Pavithra Natarajan (grad, Tomich) emerged as one of the eight finalists in the Three Minute Thesis competition with "A magnetized peptide-based delivery system for tracking and treating melanoma" on February 14. She will compete in the final competition at 5:30 p.m. on February 27 in the K-State Alumni Center Banquet Room. K-State Today