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Alumni News 2006

This past year, Cupid entered our laboratory and went on a shooting spree, striking 6 members of our laboratory. Angie, Donnie, Matt, Jessica, Oliver, and Phil all got married.

Our diabetes work is progressing quite well. We got our diabetes genetics NIH grant renewed with a fantastic priority score. Our manuscript reporting our first positional cloning success, a new diabetes quantitative trait locus, was accepted in Nature Genetics. We also published an expression QTL study in PLoS Genetics, a syntergistic collaboration between our group and our wonderful statistician collaborators, Christina Kendziorski, Brian Yandell, and Christina’s student, Meng Chen.

Summer is in her third year of graduate study in the lab. Highlights from the past year include a visit to the Petersen Lab at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and passing her prelim exam in late April. She continues to be an active member of the department, sitting on the student faculty liaison committee and playing on departmental kickball and dodgeball leagues. Summer looks forward to an upcoming vacation to Disney World and the biochemistry lecture/laboratory courses for the nursing students in the spring. “I will also be participating in an interdisciplinary learning community this fall that will link students in astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, and political science. Our theme will be sustainability.”

Oliver and Summer are working closely together on angiogenesis in relation to pancreatic islets. This is an exciting and challenging new area for our lab. Oliver has done some of the work in zebrafish in collaboration with Mary Halloran’s lab, and we’re correlating some of the phenotypes of our congenic mouse strains with those we see in the zebrafish.    

Matt graduated and is now a post-doc in James Ntambi’s lab. Jessica will graduate this summer and then do a Nutrition clinical internship. Hong left us to take a job at Schering-Plough working on drug targets in pancreatic islets.

In news from lab alumni, Scott Lowe, who is now a Howard Hughes Investigator, won the very prestigious Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research.

Jonathan Stoehr has another year in his residency program at Yale and will be Chief Resident next year. His daughter, Maddy (3), has memorized a half-dozen bedtime stories and likes to “read” books to her little brother. Jackson (18 mo) is getting into all kinds of trouble -- in a good way. Jonathan and Dani miss Madison and WI very much. They’ll be in Alaska this summer for 2 months where Jonathan will be working in one of the big hospitals serving the Native American population – “I've always wanted to see a larger population of folks enriched for the “thrifty genes” we’ve always talked about.”

Dan Gretch is now an Associate Professor at Montana State University-Billings with tenure. “A year ago, I changed research focus from things that clog your arteries to things that put holes in your brain. I transitioned into the world of prion research and received 5 years of funding through the NIH INBRE program. My research has allowed me to cut my teaching back to 50% (mostly biochemistry for science majors and nursing students). Darla is doing well and is still working in the investment world. Brice is now in high school (which he loves), is driving a car (yikes) and won the Montana state high school wrestling championship as a freshman. Brad is now in seventh grade and is doing great in school and in basketball and football as well.”

Scott Cooper and his wife Amy continue to enjoy life in western Wisconsin. The highlight of last year was attending a research symposium in Cairns, Australia. They worked in a stop in New Zealand to sea kayak, and some diving on the great barrier reef. Scott’s 5th and 6th graduate students finished in June, and his first graduate student, Tim Walston, finished his Ph.D. and got a teaching job at Truman State University in Missouri.

Don Gillian-Daniel is keeping busy as the Assistant Director of the Delta Program in Research, Teaching and Learning where he coordinates their teaching internship program for graduate students and post-docs. Each spring he teaches metabolism in the Vet School, something he began doing many years ago while a post-doc with Alan. On the home front, Ben (5 this April) and the Hannah and Noah (2 in June) keep Don and Anne Lynn, well, very busy!

Kim Dirlam-Schatz was promoted to Associate Professor at the end of the 2003-2004 academic
year, but then took the next year off to be home with her second child, born at the end of September 2004. She returned again last fall and has been teaching part-time (50%) since then. She currently teaches a laboratory course for nonmajors in the fall.