Logo for Steenbock 41 meeting
Apr 12, 2021

The Department of Biochemistry is hosting its first virtual Steenbock Symposium April 22 – 23, 2021.

This year’s international symposium, entitled “SpliceCon 2021,” brings together 17 invited speakers and over 200 scientists from across the globe to explore the field of pre-RNA splicing. The symposium kicks off with a keynote lecture delivered by Holger Stark (Max Planck Institute), and includes invited and selected talks, as well as interactive poster sessions and networking opportunities.

Aaron Hoskins and Sam Butcher, professors of Biochemistry, and David Brow, professor...

Meet our faculty logo
Mar 29, 2021
Please tell us a little about yourself:
Where did you grow up, go to school, your influences?

In 2016 my professional autobiography “The Language of Life” was published in Annual Review of Virology. It covers all of the above and many more stories. A copy is available on my website.

What is the focus of your research?

I take apart RNA viruses and put them back together again to see how they work.

Photo of Prof Tim Grant
Mar 24, 2021

Biochemistry Assistant Professor Tim Grant, also an investigator at Morgridge Institute for Research, has teamed up again with a former colleague to update their software program cisTEM. The software program helps turn the literally millions of images generated by Cryo-EM microscopes into 3D maps of structures that scientists can understand.

NIH logo
Mar 16, 2021

Biochemistry Assistant Professor Ophelia Venturelli has been awarded an Exploratory/ Developmental Research Grant (R21) by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award is in support of the development of new methods to uncover associations between antibiotic resistance genes and microbial hosts in the human gut microbiome.

The rise and spread of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics is a growing global health crisis. Antibiotic resistant strains can harbor multiple antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), which in turn can confer resistance to multiple antibiotics. This...

Meet our faculty logo
Mar 15, 2021
Please tell us a little about yourself.
Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I grew up outside a small town in New Hampshire called Peterborough. I went to Peterborough High then to the University of Rhode Island for undergrad and Washington University Medical School in St. Louis for grad school.

Where did you carry out your postdoctoral research?

I did two postdocs. The first at St. Louis University in virology (adenoviruses) and the second at UC San Francisco in molecular biology, where I had the exciting opportunity to learn the very new (at the time)...

Logo for the Wolf Foundation
Mar 11, 2021

Biochemistry alum Lynne Maquat has been awarded the 2021 Wolf Prize in Medicine. The international award is given to outstanding scientists from around the world for achievements that benefit mankind.

Maquat was a graduate student in the lab of now emeritus professor William Reznikoff, and conducted a postoc in the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer under now emeritus professor Jeffrey Ross. She is the founding director of the Center for RNA Biology at the University of Rochester.

Illustration of a Phage
Mar 10, 2021

Researchers have developed a new method that reveals the molecular code governing bacteriophage-bacteria interactions. Bacteriophages (phages) – viruses that infect and kill bacteria – have emerged as a promising new frontier due to potential use in antibacterial therapeutics.

In a paper released March 9 in eLife, Biochemistry Assistant Professor Vatsan Raman and microbiology graduate student Phil Huss present their new method, dubbed ORACLE (Optimized Recombination, Accumulation and Library Expression), for systematically mapping how sequence changes affects the interaction of a...

Cantor graphical abstract section from Cell Metabolism paper
Mar 05, 2021

Biochemists have utilized a new cell culture medium to ask how critical genes are to the survival and reproduction of human cells under different growth conditions. The technique could have important ramifications for the treatment of human diseases.

Cell culture media are designed to provide a sheltered and nutritive environment to support cell survival and rapid growth, but until now, these media have not closely resembled the biochemical conditions encountered by cells in the human body. Researchers previously designed a new medium that more closely reflects the nutrient...

Photo of Talos Arctica
Mar 02, 2021

The Department of Biochemistry is home to two new facilities conducting groundbreaking work in Cryo-EM and Cryo-ET. The UW–Madison Cryo-EM Research Center (CEMRC) is set to open in spring 2021, and the opening of the Midwest Center for Cryo Electron Tomography (MCCET), a national hub, is anticipated in early 2022. Both centers are housed in the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Complex, and directed by biochemistry professor Elizabeth Wright.

Read more about Biochemistry’s deep involvement in this revolutionary technology in the Spring 2021 issue of Grow:

Meet our faculty logo
Mar 02, 2021
Please tell us a little about yourself.
Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I grew up in and around London in the UK, in Wimbledon (I’m still a big tennis fan) until I was about ten, then a place called Kingston. I went to Hampton school, which was famous for rowing: I was small so they tried to convince me to cox, but you had to get up too early in the morning.

Where did you carry out your postdoctoral research?

I did my first postdoc in the UK at the National Institute for Medical Research, I then did a second postdoc in the US, at Janelia Research Campus...

Feb 25, 2021

Professors Katie Henzler-Wildman and Chad Rienstra, co-directors of the National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison (NMRFAM), have been awarded a P41 grant to pioneer new methods for solid-state NMR. The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and provides $6.5 million over 5 years.

The project builds on existing NMR technology to extend its reach to the broader scientific community. It includes collaborations between NMRFAM and leading experts in the study of Parkinson's disease, antifungal drug development, blood coagulation, and the function of ion channels...

Meet our faculty logo
Feb 15, 2021
Please tell us a little about yourself.
Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I grew up in Clinton, MA, a small mill town near Worcester. I went to public school in Clinton and to MIT for undergraduate studies in chemistry. I got my Ph.D. in Chemistry under the guidance of Dr. Michelle Chang at the University of California, Berkeley. (go Bears!)

Where did you carry out your postdoctoral research?

I did a postdoc with Dr. Jim Wells at the University of California, San Francisco.

Molecule illustration for article
Feb 04, 2021

In a paper published in Nature Chemical Biology, Assistant Professor Vatsan Raman describes a new computation-guided method to optimize the design of split protein systems that can be used to monitor and regulate biological activity.

Split protein systems are biochemical tools that can be used to monitor and regulate biological activity. A protein of interest is broken into two inactive pieces that, under user-defined conditions, can rejoin to form a functional protein. However, it can be difficult to engineer a split such that the protein will reconstitute effectively only under...

NMR Structure image from figure 5B
Feb 03, 2021

Biochemistry Professor Katie Henzler-Wildman and her team of researchers have published findings on the structure and dynamics of EmrE, utilizing a new method to determine the protein’s structure in greater detail than had been previously available. EmrE is a membrane protein that may provide key insight into antibiotic resistance, a rising public health concern.

Congrats over UW shield logo
Feb 02, 2021

The Department of Biochemistry is pleased to announce Benjamin Minkoff as the winner of the 2020 Boyer Award for Postdoctoral Excellence in Biochemistry. The award recognizes and rewards excellence in research accomplishments in the Department of Biochemistry.

Minkoff was part of a team of researchers who invented a new technique to perform protein 'footprinting,' or ‘protein painting.’ The technique, called Plasma-Induced Modification of Biomolecules (PLIMB), uses a machine invented by the team that allows researchers to gather data on protein structure, assembly, and interactions...