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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

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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.

BMB students working at open house.
BMB represented well at K-State's Open House on April 9, 2022.
Select photo for a larger view.

BMB Seminar

October 12 - Kenneth Lee

Biotechnology Center
Shawnee Mission Schools

PhD Defenses

Yu Song successfully defended his doctoral disseratation entitled "Genome-wide Association Study of Lipidomes of Arabidopsis thaliana Accessions Identifies Genes Affecting Lipid Metabolism under Unstressed and Stressed Conditions" on July 20, 2022. Song completed his degree under the mentorship of Dr. Ruth Welti in the Division of Biology. Congratulations, Dr. Song!

Ye Zou successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled "The new insights into protein structures by computational methods" on April 26, 2022. Dr. Ho Leung Ng served as her faculty mentor. Congratulations Dr. Zou!

Yao Yan successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled "Development of CRISPR/Cas9-based gene drive biotechnology in S. cerevisiae" on March 31, 2022. Her faculty advisor was Dr. Gregory Finningan. Congratulations Dr. Yan!

Mian Huang successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled "Structure-feature relationship of nuclear receptors and fluorescent proteins" on March 30, 2022. She was menotored by Dr. Ho Leung Ng. Congratulations Dr. Huang!

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.

News Highlights

Brian Geisbrecht named Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics' Newest University Distinguished Professor

Dr. Brian Geisbrecht, new University Distinguished Professor As one of the world's experts on the structure and biochemistry of proteins that function in the innate immune system, Dr. Brian Geisbrecht has received the lifetime honor of K-State's highest faculty title, university distinguished professor. He studies molecules produced by pathogenic bacteria that block activity of these innate immune components to understand their interactions and use that information as a basis for therapeutic discovery and development.

Since joining BMB in 2013, Geisbrecht has received NIH support of $5.8 million for his work. He has published numerous articles in prestigious journals including Journal of Immunology, Journal of Biological Chemistry and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Geisbrecht has served on national and international grant review panels and editorial boards of respected scientific journals. He has been invited to present at conferences and meetings across the U.S. and world. He has mentored four postdoctoral fellows, nine graduate students and 27 undergraduate researchers in his laboratory. Photo and story courtesy of K-State News.

BMB Undergrad Presents Research at the ASBMB Annual Meeting

Carson Gido presenting research posterCarson Gido, junior in biochemistry, was selected to present his research poster "Structural Basis for Nanomolar-Affinity Inhibition of Neutrophil Serine Protease Activity by the S. aureus EAP Domain Protein, Eap1" at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting April 2-5 in Philadelphia. Gido works with Brian Geisbrecht studying a white blood cell enzyme that, when over-activated, can cause lung cancer and other lung diseases. Gido's research experience and travel to the meeting were supported by the K-State Johnson Cancer Research Center through an Undergraduate Cancer Research Award. Photo and story courtesy of K-State News.

2020/2021 Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Charlie Hedgcoth, Jr. and Phillip Nordin Graduate Memorial Awards for Excellence

Jacob Weber (grad, Gorman), Xin Xu (grad, B. Geisbrecht) and Yao Yan (grad, Finnigan) were awarded for Excellence in Graduate Research.


Faculty Research Videos

Image of Dr. Michal Zolkiewski explaining research results to lab staffImage of Dr. Durrett helping a grad student with research and link to Dr. Durrett's Youtube research video
Dr. Michal Zolkiewski
Dr. Timothy Durrett
Image of Dr. Kanost discussing research poster with students.Image of Dr. Klebba's research meeting and link to Dr. Klebba's YouTube research video
Dr. Michael Kanost
Dr. Phillip E. Klebba
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. Tomich with student and link to Dr. Tomich's YouTube research video
Dr. John Tomich

Graduate Program

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Recent News

Gorman, M.J. (2023) Iron homeostasis in insects. Annual Review of Entomology 68: 51-67. doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ento-040622-092836. Epub ahead of print.

Weber, J.J., Brummett, L.M., Coca, M.E., Tabunoki, H., Kanost, M.R., Ragan, E.J., Park, Y., and Gorman, M.J. (2022) Phenotypic analyses, protein localization, and bacteriostatic activity of Drosophila melanogaster transferrin-1. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 147: 103811. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2022.103811.

Erika Geisbreacht awarded National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Supplement to Advance Research (STAR) from projects to programs. She leads an NIAMS-supported research project using the Drosophila model to determine mechanisms that prevent protein aggregation, and ultimately cellular degeneration, in muscle.

Hannah J Lusk, Nicholas Neumann*, Madeline Colter, Mary R Roth, Pamela Tamura, Libin Yao, Sunitha Shiva, Jyoti Shah, Kathrin Schrick, Timothy P Durrett, Ruth Welti. Lipidomic Analysis of Arabidopsis T-DNA Insertion Lines Leads to Identification and Characterization of C-Terminal Alterations in FATTY ACID DESATURASE 6. Plant and Cell Physiology 2022 Jun 21;pcac088. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcac088. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35726963
*Nicholas Neumann (grad, Durrett)

Geisbrecht BV, Lambris JD, Gros P. Complement component C3: A structural perspective and potential therapeutic implications.Semin Immunol. 2022 Jun 24:101627. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2022.101627. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35760703.

Mun, S., Noh, M. Y., Geisbrecht, E. R., Kramer, K. J., Muthukrishnan, S., Arakane, Y. 2022. Chitin deacetylases are necessary for insect femur muscle attachment and mobility. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 119, e2120853119.

Anna Zolkiewska received an R21 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases entitled "Mechanistic links between mutations in the CLPB gene and congenital neutropenia".

Qu, M., Guo, X., Tian, S., Yang, Q., Kim, M., Mun, S., Noh, M. Y., Kramer, K. J., Muthukrishnan, S., Arakane, Y. 2022. AA15 lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase is required for efficient chitinous cuticle turnover during insect molting. Communications Biology 5, 518.

BMB undergrads Michael Bartkowski (Baral, biology) and Samira Laytimi (Schrick, biology) received Summer Undergraduate Research Awards from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dreah Kuckelman (undergrad, biochemistry) was inducted into the Kansas State University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. K-State News

Ruth Mekuria (undergrad, biochemistry) was awarded the Above and Beyond Award from Developing Scholars. This award recognizes scholars who have done well in their research and beyond. K-State Today

BMB undergrad Samira Laytimi, (Schrick, biology) was awarded a Spring 2022 OURCI Research/ Creative Activity grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry.

Xu X*, Lewis Marffy AL, Keightley A, McCarthy AJ, Geisbrecht BV. Group B Streptococcus Surface Protein β: Structural Characterization of a Complement Factor H-Binding Motif and Its Contribution to Immune Evasion.J Immunol. 2022 Mar 1;208(5):1232-1247. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2101078. Epub 2022 Feb 2. PMID: 35110419; PMCID: PMC8881398.
*Xin Xu (grad, BV Geisbrecht)

Two BMB student researchers presented in Kansas Undergraduate Research Days virtual event March 1-3, 2022. K-State News

  • Carson Gido (Brian Geisbrecht) - "Inhibition of Neutrophil Serine Proteases by Staphylococcus aureus Extracellular Adherence Protein Domains."
  • Dewey Leierer (Brenda Oppert, USDA) - "Shotgun Metagenomic Case Study of a Yellow Mealworm (Tenebrio Molitor) Colony Collapse"

Hannah Miller (undergrad, Prakash)Hannah Miller presented “NMR Structural and Dynamics Studies of an Insect Cytokine-like Stress Responsive Peptide” at the 20th Annual K-INBRE, January 13th-14th, 2022. Authors: Hannah Miller, Nitin Mishra, Haobo Jiang and Om Prakash.

BMB undergrad Cole Hayden (Welti, biology) received a Spring Undergraduate Research Award from the College of Arts and Sciences.