Rebecca Smith, a scientist in the lab of Professor John Ralph
Sep 13, 2018

Rebecca Smith has loved plants for a long time. In fact, her interest stems from an AP biology class in high school. 

“Something about the enormous variation and complexity in the plant kingdom sparked my interest,” says the assistant scientist at the Wisconsin Energy Institute and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), “and I knew I wanted to study plants as a career.”

During her undergraduate at the University of Manitoba, Smith took a course called ‘Medicinal and Hallucinogenic Plants’ which, she says, served as her introduction to the fascinating world of plant...

Students presenting at the life sciences consultancy competition
Sep 06, 2018

Badger Business Solutions — a team of graduate students and a postdoctoral researcher representing the departments and programs of Biochemistry, Chemistry, Food Science, and Biophysics — won third place at the Tufts New England Case Competition (TUNECC) on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018.

TUNECC is a life sciences consultancy competition where students and researchers are given an actual business case scenario: the company Seres Therapeutics specializes in microbiome therapies and is running out of cash but possesses great assets in their research pipeline that could make a profit. The...

Photo of biochemistry major Andy Delaitsch making the W sign on top of Jungfrau during a break from EMBL.
Aug 30, 2018

Not every student will go skydiving while doing research abroad like biochemistry undergraduate Meng Lou. However, they can take a plunge by making the decision to travel to a country they’ve never been to and perform research there in a scientific laboratory.

New Biochemistry professor Morgridge Institute investigator Jason Cantor
Aug 16, 2018

Jason Cantor could describe himself as an engineer, biologist and biochemist, but don’t try to put his expertise into one box.

Cantor, a scientist exploring the environmental influences on cancer cell metabolism, is launching a new lab in the Metabolism Theme at the Morgridge Institute for Research and joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison departments of biochemistry and biomedical engineering this August 2018.

“I have this half engineering, half fundamental biology background, and it’s a bit difficult to fit cookie-cutter style into one traditional department or one...

Photo of Elmer and the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Building
Aug 09, 2018

The University of Wisconsin–Madison campus is saying goodbye to a beloved natural landmark. An elm tree that has stood for more than 100 years fell victim to Dutch elm disease and is in the process of being removed from the Hector F. DeLuca (HFD) Biochemical Sciences Complex by UW–Madison grounds staff.

The tree – often known informally as Elmer – has a rich past with the Department of Biochemistry and surrounding departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), such as the Department of Horticulture. Thousands of students who have taken biochemistry courses or...

Logo for Frontiers in Metabolism meeting
Aug 02, 2018

Metabolism is referred to as the “chemistry of life” and any dysfunction in its various pathways can greatly affect human health. A new scientific meeting hosted by the Morgridge Institute for Research will focus on the underlying mechanisms of metabolic diseases and innovations in the tools used to study them.

Biochemistry undergraduate Jon Doenier
Jul 24, 2018

Jon Doenier’s undergraduate career came to a close in May with not just bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and computer science and three years of research experience — but also with a prestigious 2018 Dean’s Prize from the College of Letters and Science. He was one of three students from the college to earn the award.

“I was really surprised to be one of the three graduating students to earn the Dean’s Prize,” he says. “I came to UW–Madison to be part of a large research university and got involved in research my sophomore year. I think research is extremely valuable for society in...

Professor of biochemistry and Morgridge Fellow Dave Pagliarini
Jul 17, 2018

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and high triglyceride levels in the blood are cited as just one of several risk factors. Millions of lipid panels, blood tests that look at cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides, are performed in clinics each year.

Two new Morgridge Institute for Research studies suggest the current tests, which measure the abundance of lipid classes, are insufficient. Rather, lipids identified and studied at the individual species level—instead of grouped in classes—may be better signatures of metabolic health.

The results...

Audrey Gasch, Biochemistry alumna and UW–Madison professor of genetics
Jul 13, 2018

Audrey Gasch just couldn’t stay away from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Wisconsin native earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry here in ’94 and a decade later became a faculty member back at UW–Madison in the Department of Genetics.

“My undergraduate years in Biochemistry are really what got me started in research,” she says. “I was advised by now-Emeritus Professor George Reed, who introduced me to the possibility of doing laboratory research as an undergraduate, which was rarer then than it is now. He connected me with now-Emeritus Professor Bill Reznikoff and I...

Biochemistry professor Michael Sussman
Jul 10, 2018

Biochemistry professor Mike Sussman, longtime director of the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center, has announced that he is stepping down from that position to serve as director of the Genome Center of Wisconsin, located within the Biotechnology Center.

"With DNA analysis now permeating all aspects of research, our economy and our lives, aggressive attention to changes in the technology and its applications on campus is needed to ensure that we stay at the forefront of genomic sciences," Sussman says. "Moving forward, together with the excellent faculty already present in the center and...

Photo of biochemistry undergraduate Leah Johnson
Jun 26, 2018

University of Wisconsin–Madison biochemistry undergraduate students claimed three national awards and scholarships this spring. Clare Cimperman won a Fulbright Scholarship, Leah Johnson brought home a Udall Scholarship, and Nathan Wang earned a Goldwater Scholarship.

Cimperman, who graduated from UW–Madison in 2017, studied both biochemistry and Chinese. Her Fulbright will take her to Taiwan to teach English. She will be teaching in the city of Kaohsiung.

“I was so surprised and honored to win,” she says. “I thought my plans to be a science researcher put me behind students...

Photo of biochemistry professor Ophelia Venturelli
Jun 21, 2018

The human gut is teeming with microbes, each interacting with one another in a mind-boggling network of positive and negative exchanges. Some produce substances that serve as food for other microbes, while others produce toxins – antibiotics – that kill their neighbors.

Scientists have been challenged trying to understand how this collection of gut microbes – known as the microbiome – is formed, how it changes over time and how it is affected by disturbances like antibiotics used to treat illnesses. A new study from Ophelia Venturelli, a biochemistry professor at the University of...

Photo of UW–Madison Chancellor Becky Blank
Jun 18, 2018

Twenty-five undergraduate students in the Department of Biochemistry have received 2018 campus awards for research and scholarly excellence.

“The Department of Biochemistry is quite fortunate that many of the most outstanding undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have chosen to major in biochemistry and to participate in research in our labs and in labs of our colleagues in other departments,” says Professor Richard Amasino, who serves on the department’s undergraduate committee.

The students are a mix of talented biochemistry majors and students who perform...

Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) logo
Jun 13, 2018

The Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) — the joint graduate program of the Department of Biochemistry and Department of Biomolecular Chemistry — is excited to announce its 2018 awards that celebrate teaching and mentoring. The awards were given out at the IPiB Summer Reception on Friday, June 8.

"We had a large number of nominations for both of our awards, a testament to our talented students," says biochemistry professor Ivan Rayment, who heads the IPiB Steering Committee. "Congratulations to all of the award winners and their mentors, and many thanks to all of the faculty...

Distinguished alumnus and Nobel Laureate Paul Boyer
Jun 12, 2018

University of Wisconsin–Madison biochemistry Ph.D. alumnus and UCLA Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry Paul Boyer died on June 2 at the age of 99. Boyer carried out groundbreaking research in the department as a young scientist and earned a Nobel Prize in chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1997.

“Paul Boyer was clearly one of the best products of our department at UW–Madison not only because of his awesome achievements in science but also because of his modesty and his willingness to be of assistance to anyone requesting it,” says Biochemistry Professor...

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