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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics
141 Chalmers Hall
1711 Claflin Rd.
Manhattan, KS 66506
785-532-6121
785-532-7278 fax
biochem@k-state.edu

Biotechnology Core Facility
206 Burt Hall
785-532-5956
785-532-6297 fax

Biomolecular NMR Facility
37 Chalmers Hall
785-532-2345

Recent Department Achievements

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

Matthew Brettmann, BS '16 Medical Biochemistry and Psychological Sciences

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

Alumni Note

Journal of Cell Science December cover photo.Nicole Green (Ph.D. 2018, E. Geisbrecht) had her publication, "A tissue communication network coordinating innate immune response during muscle stress," selected for the cover image on the Journal of Cell Science in December.

Faculty Achievements

  • Michal Zolkiewski received a 4-year $1.9 million award from the National Institutes of Health entitled "Discovery of Hsp100-selective inhibitors for targeting multiple microbial pathogens.”
  • Gregory Finnigan was featured in K-State University's Seek Magazine with "CRISPR Connections: how scientists use genetic technology to improve our world"
  • Brian Geisbrecht was featured in Johnson Cancer Center's Conquest Magazine with "Counter-attacking cancer - Biochemist investigates tumor growth trigger linked to immune system"
  • Timothy Durrett has earned tenure and a promotion to associate professor. K-State Today
  • Erika Geisbrecht has earned a promotion to professor. K-State Today
  • Phillip Klebba and his research team are featured in K-State news with discovery of universal fluorescent sensors to characterize infectious bacteria. Research team: Salete M. Newton (research professor), Ashish Kumar (grad), Taihao Yang (grad), Yan Shipelskiy (recent PhD), Aritri Majumdar (recent PhD), Somnath Chakravorty (former postdoc), Brittany Nairn (former research professor). K-State Today.
  • Anna Zolkiewska received an NCI grant to study “Role of ADAM12 in Regulatory T Cell Accumulation within T11 Claudin-Low Breast Tumors” (January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2020, $149,840).

Student Awards and Scholarships

Erianna Basgall
Goldwater Scholar from Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Erianna 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.

  • Samantha Goetting, senior in biochemistry, and Jeremiah Shipman, junior in medical biochemistry, were selected as members of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. K-State News
  • Marta Stetsiv (undergrad, E. Geisbrectht) received the Anita Cortez Award for intellectual excellence, work ethic, determination, innovative thinking, and a passion for social justice at the 19th Annual Developing Scholars Symposium on Arpil 14.
  • Kierra Halloman (undergrad, Kanost) and Diana Najera (undergrad, Gorman) received Promise Awards for new scholars who show great promise in the first year of research at the 19th Annual Developing Scholars Symposium on April 14.
  • Max Harman (BMB undergrad) was selected for Silver Key, a sophomore leadership honor society, for 2019-2020 academic year. K-State Today
  • Research honors awarded to undergraduates on presentations at the 17th annual K-INBRE Biosciences Symposium. K-State Today
    • Molly Bassette (BMB, Tamura - A&P) for her poster presentation "A novel PD-L1 inhibitory peptide enhances CD8+ T cell-dependent cell death against lung cancer cells."
    • Fawwaz Naeem (biology, E. Geisbrecht) for his oral presentation "Maintenance of muscle proteostasis."
    • Seth Peery (BMB, Schrick - biology) for his poster presentation "HD-Zip transcription factors: an evolutionary engine."
    • Emily Wessel (BMB, Tomich) for the poster presentation "Deg-radation of BAPCs by fungi."
  • Simranjot Bawa (grad, E. Geisbrecht) received an American Heart Association predoctoral fellowship for 2018-2019.
  • Miao Li (grad, Kanost) was awarded the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Charlie Hedgcoth, Jr. and Phillip Nordin Graduate Memorial Award for Excellence in Graduate Research.
  • Miao Li (grad, Kanost), Pavithra Natarajan (grad, Tomich) and Indhujah Thevarajan (grad, Zolkiewski) were awarded the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Charlie Hedgcoth, Jr. and Phillip Nordin Graduate Memorial Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching for 2017-2018.
Fall 2018 K-State Johnson Cancer Center Undergraduate Cancer Research Awards

K-State News. BMB undergraduate and mentor unless otherwise noted.

  • Baltazar Claro Martinez – Mentor: John Tomich - "Development of Timed-Release Peptide Nano-Capsules"
  • Michelle Coca - Mentor: Maureen Gorman - "Mechanisms of regulated iron uptake by cells"
  • Hawa Dembele – Mentor: Om Prakash - "NMR Studies of an Insect Cytokine: Towards Understanding the Structural Basis for Development of EGFR Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment"
  • Samantha Gameros – Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht - "TRIM32-mediated regulation of glycolysis a new model for the Warburg effect in cancer"
  • Megan Goeckel (Microbiology) – Mentor: Gregory Finnigan - "Development of a molecular screening tool for new CRISPR variants for use in gene therapies"
  • Madelyn Hilgers – Mentor: Chingakham Singh (Biology) - "Transitional reprogramming during adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) production through eIF5-mimic protein"
  • Isabel Lewis – Mentor: Gregory Finnigan - "Control of gene editing using novel anti-CRISPR proteins to the Cast12a nuclease"
  • Fawwaz Naeem (Biology) - Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht - "Identification of genes that function with Starvin/Bag3 to elucidate cancer-related functions"
  • Samuel Ockerhausen - Mentor: Jeroen Roelofs (Biology) - "Understanding the mislocalization of the proteasome, a cancer drug target, upon subunit truncation"
  • Seth Peery – Mentor: Kathrin Schrick (Biology) - "Origin of flavonoid anticancer compounds in charophycean green algae"
  • Robert Small – Mentor: John Tomich -"Interactions of Proteins with the outer leaflet of Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules"

Presentations

  • Brian Geisbrecht gave an invited talk "Exploring the functional consequences of conformational substates in C3b,” on June 14, 2019 at the 12th International Conference on Complement Therapeutics in Rhodes, Greece.
  • Ho Leung Ng gave an invited talk "Applications of Machine Learning to Structural Biology,” on June 13, 2019 at the IDeA Central Region Conference in Oklahoma City, OK.
  • Miao Li (grad, Kanost) gave an oral presentaion, "Investigation of an anti fungal peptide, diapausin, from Manduca sexta,” on April 8, 2019 at the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.
  • Miao Li (grad, Kanost) gave an invited seminar, "Investigation of an anti-fungal peptide, diapausin, from Manduca sexta," in the Department of Chemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver, CO on April 1.
  • Phillip Klebba gave an invited seminar, "Universal Fluorescence Assays of High Affinity Ligand Binding and Transport," in March at Universidade de Sao Paulo, Instituto Ciencias Biomedicas (USP ICB) in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Phillip Klebba gave an invited seminar, "Universal Fluorescence Assays of High-affinity Ligand Tarnsport," on January 8 at Harvard Medical School, Department of Microbiology & Immunology in Cambridge, MA.
  • Aritri Majumdar successfully defended her doctoral thesis, "TonB-dependent Transport of Ferric Enterobactin through FepA in Gram-negative Bacteria" on November 13. 2018. Major professor: Dr. Phillip Klebba.
  • Karanbir S. Aulakh successfully defended his doctoral thesis, "Transcriptomic and lipidomic profiling in developing seeds of two Brassicaceae species to identify key regulators associated with storage oil synthesis," on September 24, 2018. Major professor: Dr. Timothy Durrett.
  • Michael Kanost gave a feartured presentation,"Blue Blood Proteomics: Relative and accurate measurement of hemolymph protein abundance in Manduca sexta immune response using in vivo 15N metabolic labelling and mass spectrometry," at the 10th International Workshop on Molecular Biology and Genetics of Lepicoptera in Chania, Crete Greece on August 22, 2018.

Research and Exhibitions

  • Miao Li (grad, Kanost) presented a poster, “The Manduca sexta serpinome: analysis of serpin genes and proteins in the tobacco hornworm,” on June 14 at the 12th Annual Arthropod Genomics Symposium at Kansas State University.
  • Maureen Gorman presented a poster, "Phylogenetic Analysis of Insect Transferrins," on June 13-14 at the 12th Annual Arthropod Genomics Symposium at Kansas State University.
  • Sheila de Melo Barros (postdoc, Tomich) presented a poster, "Delivery of lethal dsRNAs in insect diets by branched amphiphilic peptide capsules," April 6-9, 2019 at the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.
  • Ashish Kumar (grad, Klebba) presented a poster, "Fluorescence spectroscopic analysis of TonB dependent transport in Klebsiella pneumoniae," April 6-9, 2019 at the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.
  • Miao Li (grad, Kanost) presented a poster, "Investigation of an anti fungal peptide, diapausin, from Manduca sexta,” April 6-9, 2019 at the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.
  • John Tomich presented a poster, "Gene Delivery And Immunomodulatory Effects Of Plasmid DNA Associated With Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules," April 6-9, 2019 at the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.
  • Jacob Weber (grad, Gorman) presented a poster, "Biochemical Characterization of Two Insect Serum Transferrins," April 6-9, 2019 at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Orlando, FL.
  • Pavithra Natarajan (grad, Tomich) presented a poster, "Peptide bilayer capsules to peptide bilayer coated metallic nanoparticles- BAPCs through the decade!”, on April 1-2, 2019 at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Orlando, FL.

Publications

"First Graduating Class of BMB Medical Biochemistry Majors Achieve 100% Acceptance to the University of Kansas School of Medicine"

Image of six students accepted to KU from left to right: Natalie Ost, Matthew Brettmann, Samuel Broll, Tate Gilchrist, Mackenzie Wahl, and Garrison Olds.

Photo by Maxwell Braasch

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics is pleased to report that all of its undergraduate majors who applied to the 2021 Class of the University of Kansas School of Medicine were accepted. The students are in order left to right: Natalie Ost, Matthew Brettmann, Samuel Broll, Tate Gilchrist, Mackenzie Wahl and Garrison Olds. All six of these seniors participated in the recently developed Medical Biochemistry track, which BMB created in 2013 for its undergraduate students. This curriculum allows biochemistry students who desire a career in medicine or other health-related fields to both prepare for entrance exams and focus their classroom study on subject matter that will comprise their first year of medical, veterinary or nursing school. In 2016, the overall acceptance rate for US applicants to in-state medical schools was 60.6%, so K-State BMB's 2017 acceptance rate of 100% was well above the norm. (Read full pdf article.)