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Alumni News 2001

Angie Tebon, a long-time member of the lab: For those of you who have not read about it in the paper, she is one of the first people at the University of Wisconsin – Madison to exceed the yearly allotted amount of exposure to radiation. Why, you wonder? Well, it is a long and complicated story. Suffice it to say that Angie was trekking through Europe with Mike, her travelling companion, and some combination of events caused a disc in her back to snap. Three weeks and 100 Vicadin later, Angie began recovery from her surgery to remove 85% of the injured disc (by the way, she now thinks she is 1 full inch shorter than she was, a mere 5’ 7”). The injury to her back also affected several nerves running to the side of her left leg and bottom of her left foot, and unlike the man portrayed by Daniel Day Lewis in the Academy Award Winner of 1990, her foot basically hangs limp from her ankle. Speaking of ankles, Angie broke hers while chasing after a UW hockey player in a parking lot with slightly uneven ground. Despite a rather dire prognosis from the back surgeon (“You’ll never walk again”), Angie has adjusted well to the lack of feeling in her foot and leg. Recently, she acquired a peg-leg that she wears occasionally (but not with dress shoes) that lends stability to her otherwise messed-up gait. It is believed by all that this peg-leg will allow Angie to excel in her favorite sports, such as bowling and badminton, and perhaps she will even take up curling. In her free time, which is pretty sparse, Angie has taken up swimming, and it is her hope that soon she can graduate from the medium lane to the fast lane. Somehow, swimming regularly has increased Angie’s need for sodium, and she is thinking of installing a salt lick on the wall near her desk. Keep in mind that this in in addition to the Ramen Noodles (1 package is 1800 mg of sodium) she eats for lunch every day. Finally, Angie has been working, with the help of a few members of the lab and a Far Side calendar, to develop a sense of humor that allows her to occassionally find things funny.

Torey (a.k.a. Victoria Leslie Browning), has decided to join the ever popular and exponentially growing Attie Lab. In doing so, she has joined with Angie, to band against the male influence on the Cholesterol project. She has added to the lab quite a sense of humor and can always be counted on to embellish anyone’s story. In her other life, she masquerades as a professional clarinet player in the Edgewood College Community Band. She also enjoys going to concerts, as long as she does not have to sit directly below the balcony (an unfortunate incident, just leave it at that). We are very happy that she decided to join the lab, even if she does not want to play on our softball team, and we know that the lab will be a better place with her here.

Early in 2000, Jake Mulligan passed his prelims with flying colors (mushrooms anyone). Therefore, he has been officially initiated into the ranks and can now be seen transporting live chickens to and from the Poultry Research Lab; just look for the man in pants with the clucking box. Since he has been spending so much time with the chickens, we fear he may soon start pecking at his own feces. He keeps the lab entertained with his willingness to do a little jig whenever enticed with a heavily salted pretzel. Jake’s gentle and cuddly side comes out when he oohs and aahs over the adorable kittens in the Cat-a-day Calendar, a gift from his friend Whitey’s godmother.

Matthew Flowers (a.k.a. Mateo Flores), is frantically preparing for his prelims this spring, while tag teaming with Jake to TA Alan’s course. Because of Matt’s undying love for chickens, his background research for his prelims is quite extensive. And, if you can put up with chickens, you can tackle anything. His contribution to the lab includes a never-ending desire to do almost anything for a small monetary reward, even if physical harm is the result. In his not so frequent free time, he is training for 2 marathons this year (apparently the one he ran last year was not enough of a challenge for him). Just look for the guy with the ankle and knee icepacks.

Dawn Brasaemle is now thoroughly ensconced in her Assistant Professorship at Rutgers University. Her lab has grown over the past year and a half, and is now an international cast of 7 graduate students, postdocs, technicians, and undergraduate honors students. She continues to study proteins that are associated with lipid storage droplets, including structure/function studies of perilipins, investigations of structurally related proteins, and proteomic approaches to identify new droplet-associated proteins. She now spends entirely too much time in her office preparing papers and lectures, reviewing papers and grant proposals, organizing seminars and symposia, completing work for various committees, and balancing the lab budget; most of the time, she has to get her science thrills vicariously through the discoveries of the lab personnel. Nonetheless, she still lives for mountain biking and contra-dancing, and managed to get away in December/January for a 3 week trip to Ecuador for 15 days of intense biking through the Andes, an ice climb of the volcano Cotopaxi, and a 5 day cruise in the Galapagos. Amazingly, on the last evening of the trip, she bumped into her old pal from Madison days, Jeff Eckels, playing bass in a jazz bar in Quito!

Bill Checovich still has his phoney baloney job as Director of Manufacturing at PanVera, but it is just a front for his real jobs of home repair (proud owner of a new money pit) and fundraising director for the kids' Irish dance school ('What rust-belt city can we drive to this weekend for a dance competition?'). Despite the ongoing antics at PanVera, the company was acquired by pharmaceutical newcomer Aurora Biosciences. Unfortunately, Bill will not be able to retire any time soon. Bill did visit with Bob Aiello in November and talked smart about the old days, when the pigs were very afraid. Funny, Bob's staff knew all of the old stories by heart. Coco is eleven years old and still suffering from anxiety separation, buts does a heck of a job keeping the airspace above Bill's house bird & plane free up to 37,000 feet.

At the turn of the century, Lin Wang got a real sense of changes. She finished her post-doc at UCSD and co-founded "Allele", a biotech startup in San Diego, developing innnovative technology for drug discovery and beyond. Being the Vice President and CEO (please don't laugh out too loudly, my dear labmates!) of this infant-stage company, she not only had a great opportunity to exercise what she learned in her previous labs--writing grants, leading projects and maintaining a small lab from scratch--but also start to learn what she always wanted to do: raising funds, negotiating deals and running a business. It is very challenging, yet very rewarding (not moneywise though). She looks forward to collaborating with her former colleagues and turning to them for advice and consultation. Her husband Bin Xia has taken the Director's position of a brand new National NMR Lab to be setup at Peking University, their Alma Mater in Beijing, China. This will make life quite an experience for their two-year old daughter, Ca

Scott Lowe continues to run a cancer research laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor. Last June, he was promoted to Professor and, this January, to Deputy Director of the Cancer Center. His family is well, and keeps him nearly as busy as his work. James (now almost 4), has enormous energy and routinely runs both his parents into the ground. Kira (15 months), has become a world-class furniture climber and, in doing so, has gained a rather painful appreciation of Newton's Laws. Mila keeps the kids under control - a skill she attributes to her many years with Scott...

Trine Ranheim has returned to Norway after her second stay as a scientist in the Attie lab. Trine joined the lab again because she missed the lab, her friends, the weather, the lakes and all the social events. She was just in the middle of many exciting experiments when she had to leave, but hopefully she can go back for a couple of months this summer.

Darren Fast continues to work at Viventia Biotech and has recently been promoted to Manager, Product Planning and Development. Reporting to the President, Darren is responsible for the development and management of all product plans and timelines. Despite the full work load, Darren has found some time for his hobbies and has taken a renewed interest in woodwork. The projects so far include several picture frames and a coffee table. Darren's wife, Lin, has switched jobs once again and is back the pediatric intensive care unit at the Children's Hospital in Winnipeg. Noah (6) is currently in grade 1 and has learned to read exceptionally well during the past year. Noah has also started to play the guitar and has quickly moved beyond his father's musical ability. Katryna (5) is excited about starting kindergarten in the fall and is a real bundle of energy. Katryna is interested in taking up the drums, her reason, because they are loud!

Meei-Huey Jeng's family has been busy in 2000 due to the relocation to Indianapolis, Indiana. Meei-Huey is currently Associate Professor of Medicine and her husband Chinghai Kao is Associate Professor of Urology at Indiana University School of Medicine. She continues to work on hormonal control of breast cancer with the focus on steroid receptor coactivators. Chinghai focuses on mechanisms of reflectory prostate cancer and targeted gene therapy. Her two kids, 8 years old Lee-Wei and 7 years old Lee-Sien, missed their friends at Charlottesville, Virginia very much. Now they are closer to Madison, Wisconsin, and visiting friends at Madison has been an enjoyable experience to them.

The Grunwalds have had an eventful year. Alex is about to turn five (as hard as that is to believe) and he has plans to build a spaceship soon. He has agreed to take Dad along with him to the moon. He is a total sponge right now. He has memorized most of the Dinosuars from A to F and knows about the planets and gravity; Dad is so proud. Of course he also knows all about Digimon and the Power Rangers, much to his Mom's dismay. Andrea has just turned one, and is extremely opinionated. It is really quite interesting seeing all the developmental milestones a second time around. Sandy just got promoted to Associate Professor. Another exciting milestone. Kurt is applying for a student supplemental REU grant to do physics research this summer on quantum crystals. He is still working towards a degree in both Physics and Math with Sandy still wondering what he will do with such a lucrative field. She still is trying halfheartedly to get him to go into computers. The computer programing class he is taking hasn't convinced him yet.

Scott Cooper was granted tenure this year and his first Masters student graduated and was accepted to the genetics Ph.D. program at Madison. He will be working with Jeff Hardin. Scott’s wife, Amy, qualified for the international sled dog championships in Fairbanks Alaska (the dog sledding equivalent to the Olympics). The latest news is that Amy is officially the 10th fastest 4-dog dogsled racer in the world. Translated, she took 10th in the International Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska just recently. She was very excited and pleased with her finish, and the pups are all fine.