Category: 2020 News

2020 News

Remembrance of Dr. Linda Kurz

Linda J. Kurz

Dr. Linda Kurz, emeritus research faculty member of our department, died on December 17, 2020, at home in rural Franklin County. She was 74.

Dr. Kurz worked with Drs. Carl Frieden and George Drysdale for many years, investigating enzyme mechanisms. She was true biochemist, as hard-core as they come. She retired a few years ago, and many of us overlapped with her for a substantial period of time. I believe she gets credit for the sign on the Frieden lab door saying “if we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be research.”

To read more, including remembrances from colleagues click here.

Congratulations to Matthew Cruz for being selected for the 2020 Elson Fellowship in honor of Dr. Elliot Elson

Matthew CruzMr. Matthew A. Cruz joined the lab of Dr. Gregory Bowman in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics where he studies the relationship between an ebolavirus protein’s structural dynamics and its function. Through computational and experimental techniques he is measuring how changes in protein dynamics affect RNA binding. Matthew is applying this research to find drugs that disrupt protein dynamics to combat ebolavirus infections. (more…)

The BMB Departments welcomes two new faculty members.

Dr. Natalie Niemi joined the Department on July 1, 2020, as an Assistant Professor on the Investigator Track. Her lab will investigates how mitochondria are built, regulated, and maintained across physiological contexts. We blend biochemistry, systems biology, and physiology to understand mechanisms of mitochondrial regulation and how they influence metabolism and organellar function. Using insights gained from our molecular studies, we aim to understand how mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to mammalian pathophysiology, with the long-term goal of translating our discoveries into new therapeutic options to restore mitochondrial function in human disease.

For more information on Dr. Natalie Niemi, click here.

Dr. Alex Holehouse joined the Department on January 1, 2020, as an Assistant Professor on the Investigator track. His lab will explore how intrinsically disordered protein regions confer biological function and how this goes wrong in disease. The lab integrates physics-based models (all-atom and coarse-grained simulations) with informatics and machine learning to develop sequence-specific predictions. They then test those predictions either within the lab or with collaborators around the world.

For more information on Dr. Alex Holehouse, click here.

Congratulations to Jhullian Alston for being selected for the 2020 MilliporeSigma Fellowship

Jhullian AlstonJhullian Alston (JJ) is a fourth-year graduate student in the Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology (BBSB) program. He is completing his Ph.D. thesis work jointly between the labs of Dr. Andrea Soranno and Dr. Alex Holehouse, where he combines computational biophysics with single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy to understand how intrinsically disordered regions within a protein can affect interactions with both proteins and nucleic acids.

Jhullian joined the BBSB program after receiving his B.A. in Biology from The University of Maryland, Baltimore County where he was a Meyerhoff and MARC Scholar. Prior to starting his Ph.D. work, Jhullian had a diverse research background, studying nerve injury after radical prostatectomy, developing mouse models of prostate cancer, using CRISPR to develop fusion proteins in P. falciparum and C. elegans, and investigating the effects of O-GlcNAcylation. (more…)

Congratulations to Jasmine Cubuk for being selected for the 2020 MilliporeSigma Fellowship

Jasmine CubukJasmine is a fourth-year graduate student in the Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology (BBSB) program. She is doing her PhD thesis work in the lab of Dr. Andrea Soranno, where she studies how sequence composition of intrinsically disordered regions within a protein can affect interactions with both proteins and nucleic acids using single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy.

Jasmine joined the BBSB program after receiving her B.S. from Stockton University in Galloway NJ with a major in biochemistry & molecular biology and a minor in holistic health. Prior to starting her Ph.D. work, Jasmine studied polymer synthesis and how polymer interactions contribute to optimized hydrogel formation. (more…)

Dr. Greg Bowman Featured in The Source

Folding@home’s fight against COVID-19 enlists big tech, gamers, pro soccer

When the crowdsourced supercomputing project Folding@home first announced a shift to coronavirus research and asked for new volunteers to run its software and expand its computing capacity, organizations and citizen scientists from all walks of life heeded the call. Now, about four months later, the number of volunteers has increased a hundredfold. To continue reading, click here.

Jonathan Lin selected as 2020 Ceil M. DeGutis Prize Fellow

Josh Rackers

Jonathan Lin completed his PhD thesis in the lab of Dr. Rajendra Apte in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. His research led to the discovery that NAD+ intermediate molecules can enhance the metabolism of the neurosensory retina and thus has therapeutic potential for preventing photoreceptor neurodegeneration. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis this past May with an MD/PhD as a student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). He will pursue postgraduate education in the Transitional Year Residency at MetroWest Medical Center followed by Ophthalmology Residency at Harvard Medical School/Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary.