Biochemistry professor Chad Rienstra
Apr 15, 2020

Chad Rienstra’s scientific career was jumpstarted by four years of undergraduate research, where he developed a broad interest in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering. It’s this commitment to interdisciplinary research and education that he brings to bear years later as he joins the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry as a professor. 

After his undergraduate experience at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., he attended MIT for graduate school, followed by a postdoc at Columbia University. In 2000 he started at the University of Illinois...

Photo of Goldwater Scholars 2020
Apr 09, 2020

Elizabeth Sumiec and Stella Ma have both been named 2020 Goldwater Scholars.

Goldwater Scholarships support undergraduates in the last two years of their bachelor’s degree programs. A sophomore who is a Goldwater Scholar receives up to $7,500 in each of the next two academic years. A junior who is a Goldwater Scholar receives up to $7,500 for the senior year of study.

Biochemistry Professor Samuel Butcher
Feb 26, 2020

University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry Professor Samuel Butcher is a recipient of a 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award, an honor given out since 1953 to recognize the university’s finest educators.

Butcher, who earned the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, has taught Biochemistry 501: Introduction to Biochemistry for 19 years. During that time, the course has grown from enrolling 200 students per semester to more than 600 and is now also available during summer session.

“I think teaching is a privilege and the highest impact thing I do,” Butcher...

Nature walk picture
Feb 26, 2020

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry has long fostered an inclusive, supportive, healthy, and environmentally conscious community. Two recent staff awards in cultivating wellness and a green office showcase that commitment.

In late 2019, wellness efforts led by payroll and benefits specialist Bre Sinotte, with assistance from program assistant Megan Pierce, resulted in a Light of Well-being Recognition for the department from the UW–Madison Office of Human Resources. Grants and procurement specialist Morgan Wendt, along with Pierce, spearheaded efforts to...

Professor Michael Cox
Feb 21, 2020

The Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) — the joint graduate program of the Department of Biochemistry and Department of Biomolecular Chemistry — is full of collaborative faculty. One partnership in particular between the labs of biochemistry professor Michael Cox and biomolecular chemistry professor James Keck goes back nearly two decades. And a new National Institutes of Health grant to study the creation and repair of DNA gaps is further pushing forward their research and opportunities for their students.

The groups — along with Cox’s longtime collaborators at the...

Biochemistry undergraduate researcher
Feb 06, 2020

The University of Wisconsin–Madison student chapter of the American Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) invites undergraduate researchers to participate in the Molecules in the Midwest conference on Saturday, March 7.

The conference, which will be held at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on the UW–Madison campus, will feature a poster competition, guest speakers from leading graduate programs in the biological and chemical sciences, and networking opportunities with graduate students and faculty members.

Biochemistry students in the lab
Jan 20, 2020

To continue to improve the student experience, the Departments of Biochemistry and Bacteriology are combining their undergraduate advising services to form the Biochemistry and Microbiology Advising Hub. With support from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), the hub will have a team of four advisors in a new space.

The hub will provide biochemistry and microbiology majors with expanded advising support, including shorter wait times, more flexible drop-in hours, and overall increased access to an academic advisor. It will also build a professional community among the...

Wright Lab member Joseph Kim
Jan 13, 2020

Graduate students attend multiple conferences during their educational careers. But after his first successful trip to the Microscopy Society of America (MSA) conference, Joseph Kim decided to get more involved and was recently named Communications Chair for MSA’s Student Council.

Kim, a physical chemistry graduate student in the lab of biochemistry professor Elizabeth Wright, is focused on using cryo-electron microscopy technology to get detailed images of neurons. By perturbing them to a neurodegenerative state, he will be able to gain insights into what changes occur during...

Professor Patrick Cramer
Jan 07, 2020

Update: See the videos of these seminars here. 

Patrick Cramer of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry will give the prestigious UW–Madison 2020 Hilldale Lecture in Biological Sciences in late January. All members of the campus community and public are invited to attend the lecture on eukaryotic gene expression and transcription at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23 in the Ebling Symposium Center, Microbial Sciences Building (1550 Linden Drive).

Biochemistry senior Claire Evensen
Dec 11, 2019

Claire Evensen, the daughter of a physician and an engineering physics professor, says she sometimes feels like her college major was predestined.

“From a young age, my parents instilled in me this attitude that science is cool,” she says.

As an undergraduate at UW–Madison, Evensen has excelled in biochemistry and mathematics, winning numerous honors for her academic work and original research. Her latest award is the most prestigious yet: a Marshall Scholarship.

Photo of biochem undergrad alum Kevin Sokolowski
Dec 04, 2019

Biochemistry is the foundation of what Kevin Sokolowski does every day in his career. Armed with an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, as well as an M.D., he has embarked on a unique alternative career as a Senior Medical Science Liaison for Solid Tumor Oncology Development at AbbVie.

Sokolowski came to UW–Madison in 2000, after a year at UW–La Crosse, and graduated in 2003 before heading to medical school. He says he was drawn to Madison because of the university’s history and strength in biochemistry.

Energy for Life logo
Nov 26, 2019

For people that suffer from rare mitochondrial diseases, there aren’t many places to turn. The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) is one organization providing resources that allow them to find community — and also connect with scientists, such as those who study proteins and cellular processes that relate to their disease in the lab of biochemistry professor and Morgridge Institute for Research investigator Dave Pagliarini.

Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Nutritional Sciences and Ph.D. alumnus William G. “Bill” Hoekstra
Nov 18, 2019

University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Nutritional Sciences and Ph.D. alumnus William G. “Bill” Hoekstra died on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 at 91. For nearly four decades, he was a faculty member with expertise in the role of trace minerals in human and animal nutrition. He made seminal contributions to both departments and helped found the Department of Nutritional Sciences during his time in the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Hoekstra was born in Colorado and obtained a bachelor’s degree at Colorado State University. He then headed...

Photo of Holly Ingraham
Nov 12, 2019

Update: See the videos of these seminars here. 

Holly Ingraham of the University of California, San Francisco will give the 2019 UW–Madison Department of Biochemistry Steenbock Lectures in early December. All members of the campus community are invited to attend these lectures and learn from this pioneer in understanding multiple areas of endocrine signaling.

Ingraham is known for both her research and being a leader of diversity in STEM initiatives. She investigates how multiple organs communicate energy demand and energy expenditure by regulating hunger, nutrient absorption...

Biochemistry assistant professor and Morgridge investigator Jason Cantor
Nov 06, 2019

Cell culture media, the cocktail of chemicals and nutrients that keep cells alive and thriving in a dish, have been an essential tool of biology for more than 70 years. Remarkably, the composition of these potions hasn’t fundamentally changed much over that time, primarily because they deliver what scientists need: Cells that stay viable and rapidly divide.

But Jason Cantor is thinking about cell culture media from another angle: Can we make it more human?