Chemistry professor and biochemistry affiliate Andrew Buller
Oct 25, 2019

Andrew Buller, professor of chemistry at UW-Madison and affiliate of the Department of Biochemistry, is working to develop methods to create new protein building blocks in living systems. This chemical research, recently recognized with a $2.2 million grant from NIH, could make these processes more affordable for and accessible to scientists with expertise in other backgrounds.

Buller will receive a 2019 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award from the High-Risk, High-Reward program for his project, titled Engineering In Vivo Biomolecular Synthesis with...

Biochemistry professor Dave Pagliarini and Senator Tammy Baldwin
Oct 10, 2019

Forward-thinking science and childhood memories came full circle on Wednesday for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who visited a lab at the Morgridge Institute for Research that is carrying on the inspired legacy of her grandfather, David E. Green.

Baldwin, who was raised by her grandparents in Madison, spent many days visiting her grandfather’s lab just a few blocks away from the Morgridge Institute, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Enzyme Institute. Green was recruited from Columbia University in 1948 to be the original director of the Enzyme Institute and he led the program through...

Assistant scientists in the DeLuca Lab Amy Irving
Oct 03, 2019

It’s been a long and winding road in the lab of Emeritus Professor Hector F. DeLuca when it comes to the effects of vitamin D and ultraviolet (UV) light on the disease multiple sclerosis (MS), a debilitating neurological disease with no known cure. Years of research in mice have led them to the understanding that it’s not vitamin D that offers protection from the disease but rather a slice of the ultraviolet spectrum helping in some mysterious way.

One place to begin the story is with a finding from a scientist named D. Goldberg. In the 1970s he observed that there was an inverse...

Woonghee Lee in the lab of biochemistry professor John Markley
Sep 25, 2019

Woonghee Lee in the lab of biochemistry professor John Markley plans to improve data analysis for the burgeoning technique of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.

NMR studies require sophisticated instrumentation, such as that located in the National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison (NMRFAM) housed in the UW–Madison Department of Biochemistry. But gathering data on the instruments is only half the challenge. Data must be analyzed to transform the data read out to something researchers can interpret...

Biochemistry professor Brian Fox
Sep 19, 2019

Researchers in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) will utilize a $2.1 million grant from the United States Department of Energy to elucidate the properties of a potentially useful and understudied class of genes and enzymes in important bioenergy crops, such as poplar, sorghum, and switchgrass. The project is led by professors Brian Fox and John Ralph. 

The two kinds of enzymes — called acyl-CoA ligases and BAHD acyltransferases — together create a large variety of potentially useful molecules. In a...

Photo of biochemistry assistant professor Amy Weeks
Sep 05, 2019

Although cells may seem endlessly complicated, at the end of the day they are machines that aren’t so different from those in daily life — like a Roomba used to vacuum a house. They are just millions of times smaller, made from different components such as proteins, and powered by chemistry rather than electricity.

It’s understanding these cells and the even smaller molecular machines inside them that drive the research of Scott Coyle and Amy Weeks, the two newest assistant professors to join the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry in September 2019.


Biochemistry professor Aaron Hoskins
Aug 29, 2019

With a grant from the Edward P. Evans Foundation, biochemistry associate professor Aaron Hoskins is searching for new treatments for myelodysplastic syndromes — a type of blood cancer — by being able to screen for RNA splicing inhibitors using “humanized” yeast.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) arise when bone marrow has defects in producing red blood cells, which can cause anemia or even blood cancers like acute myeloid leukemia. Treatments for the disorder are limited.

Biochemistry professor and Morgridge Institute for Research investigator Tim Grant
Aug 20, 2019

The University of Wisconsin-Madison effort to launch a shared cryo-electron microscopy facility for the bioscience community is gathering momentum, with two new faculty hires and key technology investments this summer.

Tim Grant, a research specialist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Janelia Farm Research Campus, is the latest addition to the core team. Grant will be a virology investigator for the Morgridge Institute for Research and an assistant professor of biochemistry at UW-Madison when he comes to Madison in early 2020.

Peter Favreau, Biochemistry Optical Core manager
Aug 08, 2019

Peter Favreau joined the Department of Biochemistry in July as the new manager of the Biochemistry Optical Core (BOC). The research core is housed in Biochemistry but serves as a resource for all campus researchers using or interested in using microscopy in their research.

Favreau joins the BOC from the Morgridge Institute for Research, where he was a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of biomedical engineering professor Melissa Skala. The project he worked on investigated cancer drug screening. In the Skala Lab he utilized multiple microscopy techniques to help physicians find the...

Biochemistry assistant professor Robert Kirchdeorfer
Jul 24, 2019

When Robert Kirchdoerfer was offered a faculty position in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry, it was a bit of a homecoming. The 2006 undergraduate alumnus and Oregon, Wisc. native will be arriving back on campus in mid-August — this time as an assistant professor in Biochemistry and the Institute for Molecular Virology.

Following his Bachelor of Science with majors in biochemistry and genetics, Kirchdoerfer earned his Ph.D. in biophysics at Scripps Research Institute in Southern California and continued there as a postdoctoral scholar before coming back...

Biochemistry Ph.D. alumni Daniel Blasiole
Jul 18, 2019

Dan Blasiole’s career is a synthesis of his two intellectual passions: the sciences and the humanities. After honing his science knowledge with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the lab of professor Alan Attie, he found the perfect combination of these two interests as a patent agent.

Originally from Pennsylvania, he attended Franklin and Marshall College intending to get a degree in a science field. Instead, he left with a degree in philosophy and headed to the University of California, San Diego for a master’s degree in the philosophy of science. After spending several years...

Biochemistry professor Michael Sussman
Jul 11, 2019

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have identified blood-based fingerprints – human protein markers – associated with the pre-cancerous forms of colon cancer that are most likely to develop into disease. They say their findings are a promising start to what could ultimately lead to a new blood test for the cancer.

Photo of biochemistry professor John Ralph
Jul 02, 2019

With a new method to synthesize a popular pain-relieving medication from plants rather than fossil fuels, researchers at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center have found a way to relieve two headaches at once.

A team led by John Ralph, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has been awarded a patent for a method to synthesize acetaminophen — the active ingredient in Tylenol — from a natural compound derived from plant material. The approach offers a renewable alternative to the current manufacturing process, which uses chemicals derived from coal tar...

Photo of meeting attendees
Jun 27, 2019

This fall, the Morgridge Institute for Research will convene international leaders in metabolic research at the third Frontiers in Metabolism—Mechanisms of Metabolic Diseases meeting. Biochemistry professor Dave Pagliarini, director of the Metabolism Theme at the Morgridge Institute, is the meeting's organizer. 

Disrupted metabolic processes underlie a broad swath of rare inborn errors of metabolism and prominent human diseases. Frontiers in Metabolism brings together a diverse group of renowned scientists working to improve human health by investigating the basic underpinnings of...

Biochemistry professor Ophelia Venturelli
Jun 13, 2019

With a Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists Ophelia Venturelli and Brian Pfleger are working to further research on how to use human-associated intestinal microbes to combat malnutrition in developing countries.