On October 27th, the medical students held a ceremony to honor the faculty that exhibited exemplary teaching skills from the 2014-2015 school year. Dr. Linda Pike is the course master for the first year students’ Molecular Foundations of Medicine course. Congratulations Dr. Pike!
Brittany is a first-year graduate student in the Computational and Molecular Biophysics program. She is currently doing a rotation in the lab of Dr. Greg Bowman. The Ackers Fellowship award provides funds for educational expenses.
The Acker fellowship was funded by Dr. Paul Darling III, who studied in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences and graduated in 1999. Dr. Ackers served as the thesis advisor for Dr. Darling.
About Dr. Gary Ackers:
Dr. Ackers, who passed away in 2011, joined Washington University School of Medicine in 1989 as the Raymond H. Wittcoff Professor and Head of the Department of Biochemistry. He served in this capacity unNl 1996, when he stepped down to devote more time to research and teaching. While head of the department, Dr. Ackers established a world-renowned group of biophysics-oriented faculty, created a Molecular Biophysics graduate program focusing on quantitative measurements of biological processes and computational modeling of complex behaviors, and expanded the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. He became professor emeritus in 2007.
Dr. Ackers was a pioneer in the development of methods and application of principles of equilibrium thermodynamics to the study of linkage in complex macromolecular assemblies. His more than 200 articles and chapters changed our view of the molecular mechanisms that govern complex biochemical reactions. He was known equally for the rigor of his experimental methods and his sense of humor, and was deeply gratified by the success of the graduate and postdoctoral students who trained in his laboratory. You may learn much more about his illustrious career at biochem.wustl.edu/archives/gary-k-ackers.
Congratulations to Nicole Fazio for being selected for the 2015 MilliporeSigma Fellowship in memory of Dr. Gerty Cori. Nicole is a graduate student in the Computational and Molecular Biophysics program. She is doing her PhD thesis work in the lab of Dr. Timothy Lohman. The MilliporeSigma award provides funds for educational expenses.
MilliporeSigma Chemical Company created the fellowship in 1958 as a gift to the Department of Biological Chemistry (now Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics) in memory of Dr. Gerty Cori. Dr. Cori and her husband, Dr. Carl Cori, performed research in the Department of Biological Chemistry. They won a Nobel Prize in 1947 for their discoveries of how glycogen is broken down and re-synthesized within the body. More.
Congratulations to Brittany Smith who has been named the 2015 Gary K. Ackers Fellow. Brittany is a first-year graduate student in the Computational and Molecular Biophysics program. She is currently doing a rotation in the lab of Dr. Greg Bowman. The Ackers Fellowship award provides funds for educational expenses.
The Ackers fellowship was funded by Dr. Paul Darling III, who studied in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences and graduated in 1999. Dr. Ackers served as the thesis advisor for Dr. Darling. More.
The Department welcomes Dr. Michael Greenberg, who started as an Assistant Professor on August 1. The Greenberg lab focuses on the generation and transduction of forces by molecular motors, with an emphasis on human disease. The lab uses an array of biochemical, biophysical, and cell biological techniques to probe the function and regulation of these motors over a range of scales that extends from single molecules to tissues. Currently, the lab is studying the molecular basis of heart failure.
This summer two medical students were awarded the David F. Silbert Summer Fellowship. Congratulations to Brooke Liang and Angus Toland!
Brooke Liang worked in Dr. Russell Pachynski’s laboratory on a project entitled “Evaluation of the Leukocyte Chemoattractant Receptor CMKLR1 on T Cells”. (more…)
Angus Toland worked in Dr. Doug Chalker’s laboratory on a project entitled “A Conserved Amino Acid Motif in Lia3 is Required for Binding to G Quadruplex DNA”. (more…)
On June 9, 2015, Robin Shields-Cutler was awarded the 2015 Ceil M. DeGutis Prize in Chemical Biology/Medicinal Chemistry. Robin presented his research at the DeGutis Presentation on June 9th entitled: How the human urinary metabolome supercharges antimicrobial defenses. Robin graduated this Spring from the Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis graduate program. He has accepted a 1-year position as Assistant Professor of Biology at Grinnell College, in Grinnell, IA, that begins this fall. After that, he’ll complete his postdoctoral research.
Robin was nominated by his Thesis Mentor, Dr. Jeff Henderson, for his work on protein-metabolite interactions which established the basis for a new pharmacologic approach to urinary tract infections that may be combined with other antivirulence approaches in this area.
Robin’s work has focused on a soluble innate immune protein called siderocalin (also known as lipocalin-2/Lcn2, neutrophil gelatinase-associated protein/NGAL, or 24p3) that is released from white blood cell granules or synthesized de novo in epithelial cells following pro-inflammatory stimuli. For the past decade, siderocalin (SCN) has been known to inhibit E.coli growth by binding ferric ion complexes of the siderophore enterobactin, a bacterial iron acquisition molecule. Robin identified discrepancies in the literature suggesting a different mode of action in human urine, an environment relevant to urinary tract infections (UTIs). He pursued this line of study and found that in urine, SCN instead inhibits E.coli growth by binding ferric ion complexes of distinctive urinary metabolites. He developed a biophysical screen capable of identifying these SCN-binding metabolites in human urine and has used mass spectrometry-based metabolomics approaches to determine their structures.
In this distinctive urinary context, Robin found that the E.coli siderophore enterobactin becomes critical for resisting SCN –the opposite of its previously understood role. He then showed that a previously known lead compound under development as an M. tuberculosis antivirulence agent potentiates SCN’s antibacterial activity by inhibiting enterobactin biosynthesis. This repurposed compound now serves as a distinctive lead for a new pharmacologic strategy to potentiate an innate antibacterial response.