Former biochemistry postdoc Squire Booker
Mar 07, 2019

For Pennsylvania State University professor Squire Booker, scientific inspiration comes from elucidating the “new chemical language” behind novel biochemical reactions. It’s inspiration he picked up during this time as a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Biochemistry working with now-Emeritus Professor Perry Frey in the 1990s.

Booker, a Texas native, attended Austin College and went on to graduate studies at MIT and an NSF/NATO fellowship to study in Paris before writing a letter to Frey to request to join his lab as a postdoc.

Biochemistry professor Mike Cox
Feb 26, 2019

Scientists in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry are watching evolution happen in real time.

In a study published online this month in the Journal of Bacteriology, biochemistry professor Michael Cox and his team describe blasting E. coli bacteria with ionizing radiation once a week, causing the bacteria to become radiation resistant. In doing so, they have uncovered genetic mutations and mechanisms underlying this resistance.

The findings reveal ways to possibly engineer radiation-resistant bacteria to use for various applications in the future,...

Photo of biochemistry assistant professor Ophelia Venturelli
Feb 18, 2019

Assistant professor of biochemistry Ophelia Venturelli was recently named to a list of 34 young researchers featured in the journal Biochemistry’s “Future of Biochemistry: The International Issue” special issue.

“I am excited to be included in this list of outstanding new investigators,” says Venturelli, who is also an affiliate of the Department of Bacteriology, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. “The research areas are quite diverse and illustrate the breadth of cutting-edge research in Biochemistry.”

Photo of Huda Zoghbi
Feb 13, 2019

Huda Zoghbi of the Baylor College of Medicine will give the 2019 UW–Madison Department of Biochemistry Steenbock Lectures in early March. All members of the campus community are invited to attend these lectures and learn from this pioneer in understanding the molecular basis of human neurological disorders.

Biochemistry Ph.D. alumni Danielle Lohman
Feb 07, 2019

For Danielle Lohman, her passion for science policy began when she heard a Ph.D. chemist speak at a career conference about the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellowship at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

Lohman, recently a postdoctoral fellow in Dave Pagliarini’s Department of Biochemistry lab at the Morgridge Institute for Research, was in her second year of graduate school as part of the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison at the time. IPiB is the joint graduate program of the Department of...

UW–Madison assistant professor of biochemistry Judith Simcox
Feb 01, 2019

In high school, Judith Simcox pored over scientific literature to try to understand the link between her sister’s Down Syndrome and type 1 diabetes. It was the first time she asked a question that didn’t have an answer yet — and it led her down the path of answering unknown questions as a metabolism researcher and advocate for diversity in science.

Simcox, whose work specifically focuses on how organs communicate through lipid signaling to respond to the energy demands of cold exposure, has joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry as its newest assistant...

Biochemistry postdoc Kate Henderson
Jan 25, 2019

Biochemistry postdoctoral scholar Kate Henderson has received the 2019 Paul Boyer Award for Postdoctoral Excellence in Biochemistry. The award recognizes a postdoc in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry for his or her excellence in research. The postdoc also gives a lecture as part of the Boyer Lecture Series. The lecture is at 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25 in Room 1211 of the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Building.

In the laboratory of biochemistry professor Tom Record, she combines superior research with a dedication to mentoring undergraduate...

Photo of biochemistry assistant professor Vatsan Raman
Jan 18, 2019

A major goal of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center is to harness the power of microbes to create biofuels. But often, it’s an expensive challenge for scientists to identify the most useful individual variants among thousands of similar microbe strains. A new study led by Vatsan Raman, an assistant professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, unveils a biosensor that may light the way to the best microbial candidates for biofuel production.

In search of the best biofuel-producing microbes, scientists may need to make millions of variants via genetic...

Photo of NMRFAM spectrometer
Jan 14, 2019

The National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison (NMRFAM) housed in the UW–Madison Department of Biochemistry is home to state-of-the-art technology for biomolecular nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and related techniques. The facility’s equipment requires helium, and with worldwide supplies dwindling, has recently installed a helium recovery system to increase sustainability and cut costs.    

Photo of biochemistry professor Rick Amasino
Jan 08, 2019

If you’ve ever grown carrots in your garden and puzzled over never once seeing them flower, don’t blame a missing green thumb.

Carrots, beets and many other plants won’t flower until they’ve gone through winter. The extended cold gives them the signal to flower quickly once spring arrives, providing the plants an edge in the race to produce seeds.

But cold isn’t always required. In the 1930s, two English scientists discovered that some crops in the grass family, like rye or wheat, can use short days instead of cold to tell them when winter has come.

“But nothing was...

Photo of biochemistry professor Robert Landick
Jan 08, 2019

New research on transcriptional pausing, which helps control gene expression in cells, will aid in the understanding of the enzyme RNA polymerase — a key player in the process and an important drug target.

Researchers have provided this new insight on the mechanism underlying the control of gene expression in all living organisms in a study published today (Jan. 8) in eLife.

The findings could ultimately improve the understanding of how certain antibacterial drugs work against the enzyme RNA polymerase (RNAP) in treating conditions such as Clostridium difficile infections and...

Photo of biochemistry associate professor Katherine Henzler-Wildman
Dec 11, 2018

Nutrients in. Waste out. Everyone and almost every living thing does it, even at the cellular level. It seems like a simple enough concept: to survive, cells have to have a way to move different types of molecules in and out of themselves. It’s how they take in food, get rid of waste, send signals to each other, sense their environment, and more. But the reality is much more complex. Transmembrane proteins — those embedded in the cell membrane and of which some are responsible for this transmission of molecules — are notoriously hard to study and understand.

Biochemistry Ph.D. alumna Lynne Maquat
Dec 07, 2018

Lynne Maquat says she was shy when she first started as a graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry, but since graduating with her Ph.D. in 1979, she’s become a force in the field of RNA research. The first person in her family to attend college, she’s earned numerous awards for groundbreaking research and mentoring prowess in her current post as a professor at the University of Rochester.

Maquat studied with now-Emeritus Professor William Reznikoff. After her Ph.D. she also performed postdoctoral work at the UW–Madison McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research. Her lab...

Photo of Laurens Anderson
Nov 29, 2018

University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Ph.D. alumnus Laurens “Andy” Anderson died on Nov. 6, 2018 at the age of 98. He was a faculty member in the department for 35 years, known as a world-renowned expert on carbohydrate chemistry and nomenclature.

Anderson was born in South Dakota on May 19, 1920, and he earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wyoming in 1942. After college, he joined the Air Force and served as a bomber pilot in missions over southern Europe. In 1946, Anderson and his wife Doris moved to Madison and he began his...

Graphic saying "Sam I am"
Nov 07, 2018

Shouting “Sam” in the lab of University of Wisconsin–Madison biochemistry professor Alessandro Senes won’t get you far. Three talented young scientists will turn their heads: Samantha Anderson, Samson Condon, and Samuel Craven.

All three graduate students in the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) ended up in the same lab, which studies membrane proteins. IPiB is the joint graduate program of the Department of Biochemistry and Department of Biomolecular Chemistry. Although from slightly different backgrounds, they are linked by their research interests and, of course, their...