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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

 
Faculty Achievements | Student Awards | Publications | Presentations | Research and Exhibitions

David Manning presented with a celebratory pin in recognition of his 40 years of service for the State of Kansas

Dave Manning is presented his 40 year pin by Michal Zolkiewski.Hired into a Research Assistant position for the Biochemistry Department at Kansas State University in Sept. 1979, Dave’s initial work involved the collection of data from ultracentrifugation of self-associating molecules. These analytical studies used computer simulations, which required connection to an IBM mainframe via phone modem and at times punch cards. As the first monochrome Zenith computers started their appearance in the department, there was a notable pivot in focus for his duties. Dave’s role continued to evolve into a support person for multiple professors, specialized equipment, various operating systems, network connectivity, and eventually for the main office itself. Stretching the lifetime of our computers and other scientific equipment, has helped free up funds for use in research. Participation in the inventory and accounting duties, and assisting in safety concerns have also played a part in recent years. There have been seven department heads during the years of Dave Manning’s employment and he has found himself located within five different buildings on campus. Awarding his pin is Dr. Michal Zolkiewski, head of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics.

Faculty Achievements

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 courtesy of K-State News.

 

  • Mike Kanost received a National Institutes of Health, MIRA grant entiltled "Function of hemolymph plasma proteins in insect immune responses."
  • Anna Zolkiewska received the Flossie West Breast Cancer Research Award from the K-State Johnson Cancer Research Center for "Imunotherapies for Breast Cancer"
  • Erika Geisbrecht received a 5 year renewal on her NIH grant 2 RO1 AR60788 entitled ‘Mechanisms Underlying Muscle Development and Maintenance in Drosophila'.
  • Michal Zolkiewski received a 4-year $1.9 million award from the National Institutes of Health to develop new antibiotics entitled "Discovery of Hsp100-selective inhibitors for targeting multiple microbial pathogens.” 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." K-State Today

Student Awards and Scholarships

2019 Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Charlie Hedgcoth, Jr. and Phillip Nordin Graduate Memorial Awards for Excellence

Ashish Kumar and Taihao Yang (grads, Klebba) were awarded the Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

Simranjot Bawa (grad, E. Geisbrecht) and Ashish Kumar (grad, Klebba) were awarded the Excellence in Graduate Research.

Other Student Awards
  • 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
  • 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
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.

Fall 2020 K-State Johnson Cancer Center Undergraduate Cancer Research Awards

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

  • 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"

Publications

Presentations

  • Nicholas Neumann (graduate, 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. Co-authors: Nicholas Neumann, Tara Nazarenus, Jose Aznar-Moreano, Sergio Rodriquez-Aponte, Balerie Mejias Veintidos, Luca comai, Timothy Durett, and Edgar Cahoon.
  • Hawa 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.
  • Chathurange Ranaweera successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled "Bacterial AAA+ Disaggregase ClpB: Mechanism and inhibition" on April 6, 2021. He was menotored by Dr. Michal Zolkiewski. 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.
  • Anthony DiProperzio successfully defended his master's dissertation, "Use of Computational Methods to Identify New Binders of ROR𝜸", on April 6, 2021. Anthony did his research with mentor Dr. Ho Leung Ng.
  • Simranjot Bawa successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled "Differential mechanisms for TRIM32-mediated muscle tissue growth and homeostasis " on October 29, 2020. Her thesis studies spanned multiple disciplines, including genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, metabolism, and structural biology. Simran was mentored by Dr. Erika R Geisbrecht.
  • Yeni Romero successfully defended her masters dissertation entitled "Regulators of the breast tumor immune microenvironment: PD-L1 and regulatory T cells" on October 1, 2020. The research presentation and final examination were performed virtually. Romero's faculty advisor was Dr. Anna Zolkiewska.
  • Indhujah Thevarajan successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled "Effects of missense mutations on protein function in human disease: tumor suppressor p53 and the AAA+ ATPase CLPB" on October 1, 2020. The research presentation and final examination were performed virtually. Thevarajan's faculty advisors are Drs. Michal Zolkiewski and Anna Zolkiewska (Co-Major Professors).
  • Pavithra 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
  • Lynn 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, 2020. 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).
  • Samson Souza successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Protein-Ligand Interactions of Druggable Protein Targets" on March 17, 2020. 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. Major professor: Dr. Ho Leung Ng.

Research and Exhibitions

Covid-19 has limited the opportunities for this research outlet.