WiSciFest Logo
Oct 25, 2016

Extracting DNA from wheat germ and talking about the science of sugar — just a few ways students in the Department of Biochemistry embody the Wisconsin Idea by participating in science outreach. Biochemistry undergraduates and graduate students from the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) took part in activities at the Wisconsin Science Festival on Oct. 20-23.

Photo of Svante Pääbo holding skull
Oct 18, 2016

UPDATE: To see the video of this talk click here. 

How much of your DNA comes from ancient humans? Where do you think humans originated and how did we spread across the globe? The Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison invites you to a campus-only talk on Thursday, Dec. 8 and a public talk Friday, Dec. 9 by esteemed researcher Svante Pääbo to explore his answers to these questions.

Pääbo, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, is known as one of the founders of paleogenetics, which is the study of ancient DNA and...

Photo of John Ralph
Oct 17, 2016

When scientists reported in 2014 that they had successfully engineered a poplar plant “designed for deconstruction,” the finding made international news. The highly degradable poplar, the first of its kind, could substantially reduce the energy use and cost of converting biomass to a number of products, including biofuels, pulp, and paper.

Now, more than two years later, some of those same researchers are reporting a surprising new revelation. As University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of biochemistry John Ralph puts it, “Nature was already doing what we thought we’d laboriously...

Photo of Pagliarini Lab member with test tube
Sep 27, 2016

Proteins are the hammers and tongs of life, with fundamental roles in most of what happens in biology. But biologists still don’t know what thousands of proteins do, and how their presence or absence affects the cell.

The intellectual black hole extends to mitochondria, the cells’ energy machines, which falter in more than 150 diseases, including cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s and numerous genetic disorders.

To fill in the blanks on mitochondria, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison deleted 174 genes, one by one, in yeast. They then subjected the yeast to high-...

Sep 15, 2016

Biochemistry undergraduates have a new and improved student organization to join this year, as the Undergraduate Biochemistry Student Organization (UBSO) has morphed into a student chapter of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

The organization’s first meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22 in Room 1116 of the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemistry Building (420 Henry Mall). The UW­–Madison Chapter of ASBMB will give students numerous resources, such as career path exploration and peer-to-peer networking. Sam Tesch, the president of the student...

IPiB student with their poster during retreat poster session
Sep 12, 2016

The 2016 Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) Retreat brought new students together with current students, faculty, post doctoral scientists, and researchers to connect with each other both personally and about the research taking place in the program. 

The event was held Friday, Sept. 9 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and is put together by the program's Student Faculty Liaison Committee, particularly the organizing chairs Brian Carrick and Dana Dahhan. IPiB is the joint graduate program of the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry...

Photo of HF DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Building
Sep 06, 2016

The Department of Biochemistry is excited to welcome back its students for the Fall 2016 semester. The department wants to wish its undergraduate and graduate students the best of luck in their classes this semester and hopes those who took classes or spent time in the lab this summer had a successful and inspiring time. 

Have questions as you start the semester? See the information below about how to make this semester your best yet.

How do I find out more information about the undergraduate program?

See this link for information about Biochemistry’s undergraduate...

Ron Raines
Aug 25, 2016

Collagen makes up the cartilage in our knee joints, the vessels that transport our blood, and is a crucial component in our bones. It is the most abundant protein found in the bodies of humans and many other animals. It is also an important biomaterial in modern medicine, used in wound healing, tissue repair, drug delivery and more.

Much of the clinical supply comes from animals like pigs and cows, but it can cause allergic reactions or illness in some people. Functional human collagen has been impossible to create in the lab. Now, in a study published this month in Nature Chemistry...

Dave Pagliarini
Aug 08, 2016

Mitochondria are the engines that drive cellular life, but these complex machines are vulnerable to a wide range of breakdowns, and hundreds of their component parts remain a functional mystery.

Dave Pagliarini, director of metabolism for the Morgridge Institute for Research and UW-Madison associate professor of biochemistry, is working to identify the more than 200 proteins associated with mitochondria that currently have no defined function. Completing this process will give science a complete map of mitochondrial function and help discover the origins of more than 150 poorly...

IPiB logo
Aug 07, 2016

Update: Registration for the 2016 IPiB Retreat has closed. Check out this page after the event to see photos and learn about the students' experience. 

All members of the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) community are invited to register for the 2016 IPiB Retreat. The retreat will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building. Registration for the event closes at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25.

Aseem Ansari
Jul 29, 2016

Scientists now have a tool to study kinases — cellular machines that function as “information relays” to transfer signals or messages from one molecule to another — thanks to research from the Ansari Lab in the Department of Biochemistry. Kinases also work as “spark plugs” to kick start other complex cellular machines, such as those that decipher the genome to transcribe RNA from DNA.

Since kinases play a large role in many cellular processes, when things go wrong in their inner workings, real health issues arise. Genetic mutations that cause kinases to malfunction can lead to...

A photo of the Save the Date
Jul 25, 2016

The Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry are pleased to invite you to save the date for the 38th Steenbock Symposium on June 22-June 25, 2017.

This symposium’s theme, “Protein Trafficking in the Secretory Pathway,” will bring together researchers from across campus and the United States, as well as from Europe and Canada, to discuss and explore this important biochemical process. The symposium will take place on campus in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Building. 

Photo of the atomic structure of the Rhinovirus C
Jul 14, 2016

The atomic structure of an elusive cold virus linked to severe asthma and respiratory infections in children has been solved by a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Purdue University.

The findings are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and provide the foundation for future antiviral drug and vaccine development against the virus, rhinovirus C.

Wisconsin Welcomes You sign
Jul 07, 2016

A car mechanic would have a hard time building a car if he or she didn’t know anything about the car’s parts. The same holds true for scientists who want to design or program proteins and microbes. They must first understand the structure, complexity, and interactions of the system they are interested in. For Philip Romero and Ophelia Venturelli — two new assistant professors joining the Department of Biochemistry on July 11 — this idea is what drives their research.

Romero comes to UW–Madison from an assistant professorship at the University of California, Los Angeles, and...

Pat Mings
Jun 28, 2016

After almost four decades with the Department of Biochemistry, senior contracts specialist Patricia Mings is set to retire June 30. Having worked closely with Hector DeLuca as his assistant, she departs with many memories of the department’s rich history.

“After working with Hector for almost 37 years and in every department building except the newest one, we’ve been through a lot together and have become close,” she says. “When I started here I was the same age as many of the lab members but as I leave I’m more like a grandma to them.”