Welcome to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics.

Precise understanding of the molecular interactions that underlie both normal physiology and disease states is the foundation for rational approaches to genetic therapies, drug design and personalized medicine. Our goal in this endeavor is to obtain a molecular understanding of mechanism (i.e., how biological molecules carry out their functions). We seek to advance our understanding of biology using the disciplines of chemistry, physics and mathematics.

Our department provides a rich environment for both faculty and student growth, and we welcome inquiries.

Recent News

Congratulations to Daniel Ramirez for receiving the 2024 ORISE Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship!

Daniel Dr. Ramirez was awarded the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for his project entitled “Mass spectrometry profiling of biomolecular condensate proteins and their regulation by glucose metabolism and posttranslational O-GlcNAc modification”. This is a 2-year fellowship funded primarily by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the U.S. Department of Energy that provides a stipend, health insurance supplement, travel allowance, and a lab supply budget.

Congratulations to Jasmine Cubuk and Keri-Lyn Kozul for receiving the 2024 W.M. Keck Postdoctoral Fellowship award!

Cubuk&Kozul This fellowship provides one year of funding to postdoctoral appointees in the early phase of their postdoctoral training who demonstrate exceptional potential for becoming leading experts in biomedical research.

Dr. Jasmine Cubuk is doing her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Andrea Soranno. Dr. Keri-Lyn Kozul is doing her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Natalie Niemi.

Congratulations to Jinping Yang for receiving the 2023 Ceil M. DeGutis Prize Fellows Award

Jinping Yang Jinping Yang is a 5th year PhD student from the Department of Chemistry. She grew up in a small town in China, where she discovered her passion for chemistry during high school. Intrigued by the profound interconnection between chemistry and the fundamental aspects of life, Jinping decided to pursue her undergraduate degree in chemistry and was supported by the Top-Notch Student Cultivation in Math and Sciences Scholarship at Xiamen University. (more…)

Congratulations to Jasmine Cubuk for receiving the 2023 Ceil M. DeGutis Prize Fellows Award

Jasmine Cubuk Jasmine Cubuk is a recent graduate in the Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology (BBSB) program. She defended on April 21st, 2023. She did her PhD thesis work in the lab of Dr. Andrea Soranno, where she studied how sequence composition of intrinsically disordered regions within a protein can affect interactions with both proteins and nucleic acids using single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy. (more…)

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Select Publications

Jiyeon Lee, Julie M Dimitry, Jong Hee Song, Minsoo Son, Patrick W Sheehan, Melvin W King, G Travis Tabor, Young Ah Goo, Mitchell A Lazar, Leonard Petrucelli, Erik S Musiek (2023). “Microglial REV-ERBα regulates inflammation and lipid droplet formation to drive tauopathy in male mice” Nat Commun. 2023 Aug 25;14(1):5197. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-40927-1. (Abstract)

Abhay K Singh, Calvin D Lewis, Cristian A W V Boas, Philipp Diebolder, Prashant N Jethva, Aaron Rhee, Jong Hee Song, Young Ah Goo, Shunqian Li, Michael L Nickels, Yongjian Liu, Buck E Rogers, Vaishali Kapoor & Dennis E Hallahan (2024). “Development of a [89Zr]Zr-labeled Human Antibody using a Novel Phage-displayed Human scFv Library” Clin Cancer Res. 2024 Apr 1;30(7):1293-1306. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-23-3647. (Abstract)

Tusar Giri, Susan E Maloney, Saswat Giri, Young Ah Goo, Jong Hee Song, Minsoo Son, Eric Tycksen, Sara B Conyers, Annie Bice, Xia Ge, Joel R Garbow, James D Quirk, Adam Q Bauer & Arvind Palanisamy (2024). “Oxytocin-induced birth causes sex-specific behavioral and brain connectivity changes in developing rat offspring” iScience. 2024 Jan 22;27(2):108960. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2024.108960. eCollection 2024 Feb 16. (Abstract)

Meaghan S Jankowski, Daniel Griffith, Divya G Shastry, Jacqueline F Pelham, Garrett M Ginell, Joshua Thomas, Pankaj Karande, Alex S Holehouse & Jennifer M Hurley (2024). “Disordered clock protein interactions and charge blocks turn an hourglass into a persistent circadian oscillator” Nat Communn. 2024 Apr 25;15(1):3523. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-47761-z. (Abstract)

Zongru Li, Qionghua Shen, Emery T Usher, Andrew P Anderson, Manuel Iburg, Richard Lin, Brandon Zimmer, Matthew D Meyer, Alex S Holehouse, Lingchong You, Ashutosh Chilkoti, Yifan Dai & George J Lu (2024). “Phase transition of GvpU regulates gas vesicle clustering in bacteria” Nat Microbiol. 2024 Apr;9(4):1021-1035. doi: 10.1038/s41564-024-01648-3. Epub 2024 Mar 29. (Abstract)

S Sanchez-Martinez, K Nguyen, S Biswas, V Nicholson, A V Romanyuk, J Ramirez, S Kc, A Akter, C Childs, E K Meese, E T Usher, G M Ginell, F Yu, E Gollub, M Malferrari, F Francia, G Venturoli, E W Martin, F Caporaletti, G Giubertoni, S Woutersen, S Sukenik, D N Woolfson, A S Holehouse & T C Boothby (2024). “Labile assembly of a tardigrade protein induces biostasis” Protein Sci.2024 Apr;33(4):e4941. doi: 10.1002/pro.4941. (Abstract)

Jeffrey M Lotthammer, Garrett M Ginell, Daniel Griffith, Ryan J Emenecker & Alex S Holehouse (2024). “Direct prediction of intrinsically disordered protein conformational properties from sequence” Nat Methods. 2024 Mar;21(3):465-476. doi: 10.1038/s41592-023-02159-5. Epub 2024 Jan 31. (Abstract)

Sourav Biswas, Edith Gollub, Feng Yu, Garrett Ginell, Alex Holehouse, Shahar Sukenik & Thomas C Boothby 1 (2024). “Helicity of a tardigrade disordered protein contributes to its protective function during desiccation” Protein Sci. 2024 Feb;33(2):e4872. doi: 10.1002/pro.4872. (Abstract)

Past Events

2024 BMB Department Retreat

On May 20th, 2024, the BMB Department held its retreat at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Several members of the department gave presentations on what they are working on in their lab.

You can click here to view photos from the event.

2022 BMB and CB&P Softball Game

August 31st, 2022 – The departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Cell Biology & Physiology had lunch and played a softball game together.

The final score was BMB 17, CB&P 14!

You can click here to view photos from the event.

Wellness Session – Krista Jarvis

On April 28th, 2021, the Department hosted a special session entitled “Evidence-based Practices that Support Mental and Emotional Well-being”. Mrs. Krista Jarvis, Clinical Case Manager and Program Manager in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University, walks the group through five different evidence-based practices for our mental and emotional well-being. These practices are designed to help each individual feel empowered to utilize a variety of simple techniques for stress-reduction in these challenging times.

If you would like to view this, just click here.

Working Smarter – Strategic Planning & Time Management Basics

On March 5th, 2021, Dr. Thi Nguyen presented on “Working Smarter – Strategic Planning & Time Management Basics”. To watch this presentation, please click here.

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Research Awards

September 11th, 2023 – James Janetka, PhD, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics along with Makedonka Mitreva, PhD, Medicine of Medicine and Genetics, received a new four-year grant award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, for their research entitled “Innovative therapeutic strategies to support elimination of river blindness”.

August 11th, 2023 – Natalie M. Niemi, PhD, Assistant Professor in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, received a new four-year grant award from Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Core Programs of the National Science Federation for her research entitled “The role of protein phosphorylation in the mitochondrial matrix in determining mitophagic selectivity”.

August 11th, 2023 – Natalie M. Niemi, PhD, Assistant Professor in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, received a new five-year MIRA grant award from National Institute of General Medical Sciences for her research entitled “Delineating phosphorylation-mediated regulation of mitochondrial function”.

August 11th, 2023 – Natalie M. Niemi, PhD, Assistant Professor in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, received a one-year grant award from the Washington University Digestive Disease Research Core Center (DDRCC), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for her research entitled “Investigating mitochondrial protein phosphorylation in NAFLD and NASH”.

Oct 1st 2022 – Alex Holehouse, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular has received $380,000 in funding from the Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) to lead a three-year project titled “Molecular determinants of evolutionary conservation in disordered protein regions”. This project will integrate computational and experimental approaches to uncover who intrinsically disordered protein regions evolve. The proposal involves co-investigators Dr. Hyun Kate Lee (University of Toronto, CA) and Dr. Dolf Weijers (Wageningen University, NL).

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