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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

Samson SouzaSamson Souza successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Protein-Ligand Interactions of Druggable Protein Targets" on March 17. 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. Souza's faculty advisor is Dr. Ho Leung Ng, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics. Congratulations, Dr. Samson Souza!

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.

Goldwater Scholar from Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Erianna BasgallErianna Basgall, junior in biochemistry, was selected as one of three K-State 2019 Barry Goldwater Scholars. Basgall is working with CRISPR gene editing and developing applications in the lab of Gregory Finnigan, assistant professor in BMB. The Goldwater scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship for students interested in research careers in engineering, mathematics or the natural sciences.
Photo courtesy of K-State News.

Matthew Brettmann, Member of the First Graduating Class in BMB Medical Biochemistry, Speaks About His K-State Education

Matthew Brettmann speaks about his K-State education.

Read more from Matthew about his K-State education.  Photo courtesy of Arts and Sciences.

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


Images of the Department of Biochemistry, including Chalmers Hall

Chalmers Hall is home to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Main Office and Biomolecular Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Facility, in addition to the majority of faculty offices, research laboratories and classrooms.

Graduate Program

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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.

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

Heffel, M.G., and Finnigan, G.C. (2019) Mathematical modeling of self-contained CRISPR gene drive reversal systems. Sci Rep 9, 20050 doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54805-8

Mun, S., Noh, M. Y., Kramer, K. J., Muthukrishnan, S., Arakane, T. Gene functions in adult cuticle pigmentation of the yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor. 2020. Insect Biochem. Molec. Biol. 117, 103291 doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2019.103291

Romero, Y., Wise, R., and Zolkiewska, A.“Proteolytic processing of PD-L1 by ADAM proteases in breast cancer cells”. Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, DOI 10.1007/s00262-019-02437-2.

Erianna Basgall, Megan Goeckel, and Isabel Lewis (undergrads, Finnigan) received travel awards to attend and present posters at the American Society for Microbiology's Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Anaheim CA, November 13-16.

Receiving K-State Arts and Sciences Student Research Travel Awards:

  • Basgall presented "Design of S. pyogenes Cas9 nuclease immune to anti-CRISPR inhibition"
  • Goeckel presented “Examination of multiple septin association domains within Bud3 in S. cerevisiae

Receiving an ASM Student Travel Award,

  • Lewis presented "CRISPR gene drive with Cas12a nuclease: only as good as the guide"

Simran Bawa (grad, E. Geisbrecht) was recognized with the ‘Best talk’ award for her presentation "Drosophila TRIM32 cooperates with glycolytic enzymes to promote cell growth" at the recent Midwest Drosophila Conference held in Allerton, IL Nov. 2-3, 2019.

Diana Najera (undergrad, Gorman) was accepted as a 2019 McNair Scholar.

Sara Haggard (BMB undergrad) was selected as a member of Quest Freshman Honorary. K-State Today

Miao Li successfully defended her doctoral thesis "Study of Serpins and Antifungal Peptides in Manduca sexta" (pdf) on October 4, 2019. Major pofessor: Dr. Michael Kanost.

Anna Zolkiewska presented a talk “Protein ectodomain shedding by ADAM proteases in breast cancer” during the 2019 Martha Vaughan, M.D. Symposium: Remembering Her Legacy, which was held at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, MD, on September 9-10, 2019.

Gregory Finnigan gave and invited seminar "Shifting into second gear: programming CRISPR-based gene drives in budding yeast" on September 9, 2019 at Emporia State University.

Brian Geisbrecht gave a talk "Design of novel peroxidase inhibitory protein with broad target specificity" on September 7, 2019 at the 11th International Human Peroxidase Meeting in Brno, Czech Republik.

Yan, Y. and Finnigan, G.C. (2019) Analysis of CRISPR gene drive design in budding yeast. Access Microbiology. doi: 10.1099/acmi.0.000059