Talented biochemistry students earn campus awards to pursue research

Twenty-five undergraduate students in the Department of Biochemistry have received 2018 campus awards for research and scholarly excellence.

“The Department of Biochemistry is quite fortunate that many of the most outstanding undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have chosen to major in biochemistry and to participate in research in our labs and in labs of our colleagues in other departments,” says Professor Richard Amasino, who serves on the department’s undergraduate committee.

The students are a mix of talented biochemistry majors and students who perform research in laboratories run by biochemistry faculty. A list of these campus awards and the student winners is below. The department also gives out awards that were announced here.

Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowships

Generous grants from the Hilldale Foundation and the Wisconsin State Legislature provide for awards of $3,000 each to undergraduate students and $1,000 to their faculty/staff advisors to work in collaboration on research projects. One Hilldale Fellowship is provided by the McPherson Eye Research Institute.

  • Thomas Anderson, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Hazel Holden
    • Project title: Investigation of the Enzymes Required for L-Serine Biosynthesis in Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
  • Cory Call, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Hazel Holden
    • Project title: Analyses of Enzymes Required for GDP-Fucose Biosynthesis in Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
  • Sarah Dyke, Biochemistry and French
    • Faculty advisor: Tom Record
    • Project title: Roles of the Initial Transcribed Sequence on Productive and Non-Productive Initiation
  • Stephen Early, Biochemistry and Biomedical Engineering
    • Faculty advisor: Helen Blackwell, Chemistry
    • Project title: Characterizing Activity Profiles of Non-Native Quorum Sensing ligands in Escherichia Coli and Probing Key Stabilizing Features of Quorum Sensing Receptors
  • Grant Hussey, Biochemistry and Japanese
    • Faculty Advisor: Katherine Henzler-Wildman
    • Project title: A Stochastic Simulation of EmrE, a Multidrug Resistance Transporter
  • Ryan Kempen, Biochemistry
    • Faculty Advisor: Aseem Ansari
    • Project title: Regulation of Transcription through Phosphorylated Tyrosine-1 on the RNA Polymerase II CTD
  • Xiaoxuan Lin, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Briana Burton, Bacteriology
    • Project title: Roles of Conserved Amino Acid Residues in ComFA: Transformation & DNA-Protein Interactions
  • Maggie Liu, Biochemistry and Chinese
    • Faculty advisor: Robert Landick
    • Project title: Investigating the Roles of Various Regulatory Factors and RNAP Structures in Intrinsic Termination in Escherichia Coli Using Fluorescent Reporters
  • Gina Luu, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Katherine Henzler-Wildman
    • Project title: Relationship between NaK Ion Channel Function and Structure through Quantification of Ion Flux
  • Jack McCann, Chemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Aaron Hoskins
    • Project title: Is the Oxidation of Sub2 at the Site of the Conserved Cysteine Responsible for Lower Viability?
  • Collin McFadden, Computer Sciences
    • Faculty advisor: Alessandro Senes
    • Project title: Computational Approaches to Understanding the Energetics of GASright Heterodimers
  • Brandon Nikolai, Genetics
    • Faculty advisor: Aaron Hoskins
    • Project title: In Vivo Characterization of the Spliceosome Protein ECM2 in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
  • Michael Palo, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Robert Landick
    • Project title: Investigating Mechanisms of Transcriptional Pausing by Yeast RNA Polymerase II
  • Stephen Pan, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Baron Chanda, Biomolecular Chemistry
    • Project title: Protein Dynamics in Micelle vs. in Bilayer: Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Voltage-Gated Potassium Channel Voltage-Sensor Domain
  • Steve Sacotte, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Dawn Davis, Medicine
    • Project title: Role of Cholecystokinin under Hypoxic Conditions within Pancreatic Tissue
  • Cerise Siamof, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Weibo Cai, Radiology
    • Project title: The Correlation between Fluorescence and Positron-Emission Tomography (PET) imaging of H2S-Activable Nanoparticle Photosensitizer
  • Andrew Suscha, Biochemistry (provided by the McPherson Eye Research Institute)
    • Faculty advisor: Nader Sheibani, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
    • Project title: Diabetes Mediated Temporal Changes in Retinal Vasculature
  • Johanna Virta, Biochemistry and Statistics
    • Faculty advisor: Samuel Butcher
    • Project title: Biochemical and Structural Analysis of RNA Binding by Lsm Proteins
  • TongZhen Xie, Biochemistry and Pharmacology & Toxicology
    • Faculty advisor: Caitlin Pepperell, Microbiology and Immunology
    • Project title: Investigating the Genetic Basis of M. Tuberculosis Biofilms Using a Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Ke Xu, Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering
    • Faculty advisor: Brian Pfleger, Chemical and Biological Engineering
    • Project title: Engineering Escherichia Coli for Production of C8 Polyhydroxyalkanoate from Glucose

Holstrom Environmental Scholarships

A generous grant from Carleton and Mary Beth Holstrom of Pipersville, Pennsylvania, provides for awards of $3,000 each to undergraduate students and $1,000 to their faculty/staff advisors to work in collaboration on research projects relating to environmental issues.

  • Emma Groblewski, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Ophelia Venturelli
    • Project title: Defining Pairwise Interactions of a Synthetic Gut Microbiome Community as a Means to Predict Community Behavior
  • Evan Routhier, Biochemistry and Environmental Sciences
    • Faculty advisor: William Karasov, Forest and Wildlife Ecology
    • Project title: Action of 2,4-D on Fathead Minnow Cortisol Levels During a Stress Response

Sophomore Research Fellowships

Funded by generous grants from the Brittingham Fund and the Kemper K. Knapp Bequest, the Sophomore Research Fellowships provide $2,500 each to undergraduate students and $500 to their faculty/staff advisors to work in collaboration on research projects.

  • Thanh Phuong Nguyen, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: James Keck, Biomolecular Chemistry
    • Project title: Investigation of the Structure-Function Relationship of B. Subtilis SSB Monomer Interfaces
  • Rachel Schneider, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: Chris Hittinger, Genetics
    • Project title: Quantifying Lipid Production of Oleaginous Yeasts

University Book Store Awards for Academic Excellence

A generous grant from the University Book Store allows for Academic Excellence Awards of $1,000 each to undergraduate students who best demonstrated excellence by completing a project through independent study.

  • Jorgo Lika, Biochemistry
    • Faculty advisor: David Wassarman, Genetics
    • Project title: A Drosophila Model to Investigate the Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Blunt Trauma Early in Development

For a full list of awardees see here: https://news.wisc.edu/chancellors-awards-honor-undergraduates-for-outstanding-research-public-service-scholarship/