BMB News and Events

Recent News

Anna Damato selected as 2022 Ceil M. DeGutis Prize Fellow

Anna Damato

Anna Damato is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Neuroscience in the Department of Biology. Anna was nominated for this award by her thesis mentor, Dr. Erik Herzog, in whose lab she is connecting the bench to the bedside by investigating mechanisms of glioblastoma brain tumor circadian rhythms and how they impact the efficacy of chemotherapy. Anna uses real-time bioluminescence reporters of circadian gene expression to analyze the effects of timed treatment, with the goal of maximizing anti-tumor effects and minimizing side effects of chemotherapy in treating an otherwise dismal disease. In addition to cellular and molecular studies, Anna collaborates with physicians at the Siteman Cancer Center to assess benefits of timed chemotherapy in patients with brain cancer. (more…)

Congratulations Dr. Jim Janetka

Dr. Jim Janetka

Congratulations to Dr. Jim Janetka who was named a Senior member of the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Janetka was named among six researchers from Washington University in St. Louis.

Richard Axelbaum, PhD; David T. Curiel, MD, PhD; James W. Janetka, PhD; Gregory M. Lanza, MD, PhD; Robi D. Mitra, PhD; and Jennifer N. Silva, MD — are being recognized for their success in patents, licensing and commercialization, and for producing technologies that have the potential to have a significant impact on the welfare of society. (more…)

Congratulations to Jennette Codjoe for being selected for the 2021 John E. Majors Fellowship Award

Jennette CodjoeJennette received her bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. In 2016 she joined the Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University. She is completing her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Haswell, where she works to elucidate mechanical signal transduction pathways in plants. Using a combination of proteomic and genetic screens in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, Jennette uncovered a novel connection between a plasma membrane mechanosensitive ion channel, MSL10, and proteins that tether the ER and the plasma membrane together. She has shown that MSL10 influences the morphology of ER-plasma membrane contact sites. (more…)

Congratulations to Ryan Emenecker for being selected for the 2021 John E. Majors Fellowship Award

Ryan EmeneckerRyan went to the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities for undergrad where he completed a double major in Plant Biology and Genetics, Cell Biology, & Development. Ryan joined the Plant and Microbial Biosciences program in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis in 2017. Ryan joined the lab of Dr. Lucia Strader for his thesis work. Upon the Strader Lab moving to Duke in 2020, Ryan became co-advised by Dr. Alex Holehouse. Ryan’s thesis work covered a wide-range of areas including plant hormone crosstalk, biomolecular condensates in plants, and the role of protein disorder in condensate formation. Ryan finished his Ph.D. in December 2021. (more…)

Congratulations Dr. Jim Janetka

Dr. Jim Janetka

Drs. Jim Janetka and Makedonka Mitreva received two grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling more than $5.5 million to develop new treatments for two types of devastating parasitic infections common in sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America: river blindness and intestinal worm infections.

You can read the press release by clicking here (

Congratulations to Melanie Ernst for being selected for the 2021 MilliporeSigma Fellowship

Melanie ErnstMelanie Ernst is a fourth-year graduate student in the Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology (BBSB) program. She is completing her Ph.D. thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Janice Robertson, Associate Professor in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics department, where she uses single-molecule techniques to study the folding of ion channels in membranes.

Melanie joined the BBSB program after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biological Chemistry from Mannheim University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim, Germany. During her undergraduate studies, Melanie studied red blood cell physiology and the biocompatibility of artificial red blood cells. (more…)

Congratulations to Matthew Cruz for being selected for the 2021 MilliporeSigma Fellowship

Matthew CruzMr. Matthew A. Cruz joined the lab of Dr. Gregory Bowman, Associate Professor, 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…)

Congratulations Dr. Natalie Niemi

Dr. Natalie Niemi

Dr. Natalie Niemi’s publication in the Journal of Biological Chemistry about mitochondrial phosphorylation function has been chosen by the journal as one of the best of 2021!

You can view it be clicking here (

Congratulations to Jasmine Cubuk for being selected for the 2021 Elson Fellowship in honor of Dr. Elliot Elson

Jasmine_CubukJasmine is a fifth-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, New Jersey 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…)

Congratulations to Dr. Hall

Dr. Kathleen HallDr. Kathleen Hall was promoted to serve as a senior member of the Washington University School of Medicine Committee on Admissions in recognition of her contributions and dedication to the WUSM Admissions process.

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Recent Events

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.

Career Panel Discussion – 2021

On January 22nd, 2021, the department hosted a Career Panel Discussion on how to apply for jobs in academia and industry. Panelist included: Dr. Erin Heckler, Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs; Dr. Alex Holehouse, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics; Dr. Ron Dolle, Chemistry Director, Center for Drug Discovery; Dr. Michael Kinch, Director, Center for Drug Discovery.

If you would like to view this panel discussion, please click here.

Tom Rapoport 2020 Cori Lecture

Tom Rapoport, PhD

Tom Rapoport, PhD, from Harvard Medical School, presented the 2020 Carl and Gerty Cori Lecture on November 12, 2020, via Zoom.
Dr. Rapoport’s seminar was entitled “Mechanism of ER-Associated Protein Degradation (“ERAD”)”.

For more information on Dr. Tom Rapoport, please click here.

To see a recording of Dr. Rapoport’s lecture, please click here.

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