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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

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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 conducting classes in person, hybrid, and online as conditions permit. Masks and social distancing are required. Thorough cleaning procedures are in place. Employees are working from home when possible. For more details www.k-state.edu/covid-19.

The Recent BMB Active Site News

Read the latest news in BMB. Fall 2020 Newsletter created by department faculty and staff. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required.

PhD Defense

Dr. Chathu RanaweeraOn April 6, 2021, Chathurange Bharathee Ranaweera successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Bacterial AAA+ Disaggregase ClpB: Mechanism and inhibition”. Chathu Ranaweera works in Michal Zolkiewski’s laboratory. Part of Chathu’s research has been performed in the laboratory of Dr. Roman Ganta, Diagnostic Medicine/ Pathobiology. Chathu’s results will help develop novel antimicrobial therapies targeting a molecular chaperone ClpB.

MS Defense

Hawa DembeleHawa Dembele successfully defended her master's dissertation entitled “NMR and Molecular Dynamics Structural Investigations of Manduca sexta Stress Response Peptides and Anopheles gambiae Ecdysis Triggering Hormone” on April 9, 2021. She will be joining Harvard Medical School to begin her Ph.D. as a Herchel Smith Fellow during Fall 2021. Hawa’s major professor is Dr. Om Prakash, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Congratulations, Hawa Dembele!

News Highlights

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Senior Awarded Fulbright Travel Grant

Cole Wilson Fulbright RecipientCole Wilson, senior in biochemistry, is granted a Fulbright award for travel abroad in the next academic year. He will travel to Germany to conduct bioengineering and neuroscience research. Fulbright grant recipients receive round-trip transportation, tuition when applicable and a monthly living stipend for one academic year abroad. In 2019, Wilson was awarded a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, or German Academic Exchange Service, internship to Potsdam, Germany. Wilson works with Timothy Durrett, associate professor in biochemistry and molecular biophysics, researching why different plant enzymes produce different oil products. Photo and story courtesy of K-State News.

Jessica Changstrom Wins Stamey Award for Advising

Jessica ChangstromThe College of Arts and Sciences recognizes Jessica Changestrom with the 2020 William L. Stamey Award for Advising. Changstrom is the primary advisor for biochemistry and molecular biophysics. Her nominator says this about her, "Jessy's job as the chief undergraduate advisor in three highly dissimilar departments should be considered unique, unconventional and quite challenging. It is Jessy's enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work, but also her warm and empathic personality, which made her a truly outstanding advisor for an incredibly diverse group of students." Story courtesy of K-State Today.

Phillip E. Klebba Selected as a 2020 AAAS Fellow

Dr. Phillep E. Klebba, AAAS FellowThe world's largest scientific society, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has chosen Phillip E. Klebba as one of the 489 fellows this year. The fellowship program recognizes individuals whose efforts toward advancing science applications are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. Klebba distinguished himself with contributions to the understanding of the membrane transport mechanisms of bacteria relevant to their practical applications in human and animal health. Photo and story courtesy of K-State News.

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

Graduate Program

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Recent News

Nicholas Neumann (grad, Durrett) gave an oral presentation, "Generation of Camelina Mid-oleic Acid Seed Oil by Identification and Stacking of Fatty Acid Biosynthetic Mutants", at the 2021 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo in the Plant and Algae Lipid Biotechnology and Genomics session on May 6, 2021 by Zoom.

Diana Najera (undergrad, Gorman) was awarded the Rita G. Perez Exemplary Scholar Award from Developing Scholars. This award honors a Scholar who, like Rita Perez herself, exemplifies the whole package! K-State Today

Ruth Mekuria (undergrad, Klebba) was the First Year, honorable mention in the Coffman Excellence in Research Awards from Developing Scholars. This award is given for excellence in research, student engagement and accomplishments. K-State Today

Souza SA*, Held A, Lu WJ, Drouhard B*, Avila B, Leyva-Montes R*, Hu M, Miller III BR, Ng HL. (2021). Mechanisms of allosteric and mixed mode aromatase inhibitors. RSC Chem. Biol. Advance Article. 19 March 2021.
*Samson Souza (grad, Ng); *Brendan Drouhard, Bryant Avila, and Raul Leyva-Montes (undergrads, Ng)

Dylan Feist and Lindy Karrer (undergrads, biochemistry) were selected as members of Silver Key Honor Society's class of 2021-22. K-State Today

Max Harman (undergrad, biochemistry) was selected as a member of Blue Key Honor Society's class of 2021-22. K-State News

Anna Zolkiewska received the Flossie West Breast Cancer Research Award from the K-State Johnson Cancer Research Center for "Imunotherapies for Breast Cancer"

BMB students recieving Fall 2020 K-State Johnson Cancer Center Undergraduate Cancer Research Awards: K-State News.

  • Mayme Loyd – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura (Anatomy & Physiology) – "Study of the mechanism underlying Euglena-dependent inhibition of viral infection and lung cancer growth"
  • Hawa Dembele – Mentor: Om Prakash – "Understanding the Structural Basis for Development of EGFR Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment"
  • Kierra Holloman – Mentor: Michael Kanost – "Regulation of protease inhibitors by oxidation of cysteine residues"
  • Alexander Vontz – Mentor: Brian Geisbrecht – "gC1qR as an Emerging Therapeutic Target for Breast Cancer"

Nicholas G. Neumann*, Tara J. Nazaremus, Jose A. Aznar-Moreno, Sergio A. Rodriguez-Aponte, Valerie A. Meijas Veintidos, Luca Comai, Timothy P. Durrett, Edgar B. Cahoon. (2021) Generation of camelina mid-oleic acid seed oil by identification and stacking of fatty acid biosynthetic mutants. Industrial Crops & Products 2021 January 159:113074. doi.org/
10.1016/j.indcrop.2020.113074. Epub 2020 Nov 18.
*Nicholas G. Neumann (grad, Durrett)

Weber, J.J.*, Kashipathy, M.M., Battaile, K.P., Go, E., Desaire, H., Kanost, M.R., Lovell, S., and Gorman, M.J. (2020) Structural insight into the novel iron-coordination and domain interactions of transferrin-1 from a model insect, Manduca sexta. Protein Science, Nov 16. doi: 10.1002/pro.3999.
*Jacob J. Weber (grad, Gorman)

Weber, J.J.*, Kanost M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2020) Iron binding and release properties of transferrin-1 from Drosophila melanogaster and Manduca sexta: implications for insect iron homeostasis. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 125: 103438. doi: 10.1016/
*Jacob J. Weber (grad, Gorman)