Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Archived News

Bioinformatics Workshop, Fall Semester, 2017

The goal of the Bioinformatics Workshop is to provide participants with state-of-the-art training on data analysis concepts, methods, and bioinformatic approach as well as to give an overview of relevant bioinformatic tools and resources. Each lecture will focus on a specific topic that could help participants to gain an in-depth understanding of bioinformatics software tools and methods in that arena. Real-world examples are illustrated to highlight critical applications of bioinformatics databases and techniques for elucidating molecular mechanisms, and improving diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

Each week’s two lectures on the same topic are identical, and attendance of either one is appropriate. All faculty, staff, students, and postdoctoral fellows in the Tulane University School of Medicine are welcome.

Schedule of Lectures

Lecture 1: Biostatistical Analysis of Big Data in Biology and Medicine
Time: September 26, 2017 (Tuesday) 3:30 - 4:30pm; September 28, 2017 (Thursday) 3:30 - 4:30pm
Location: Tulane SOM Room 4150

Lecture 2: Large-Scale Genetic Association Tests of Human Complex Traits for Common and Rare Variants
Time:  October 10, 2017 (Tuesday) 3:30 - 4:30pm; October 12, 2017 (Thursday) 3:30 - 4:30pm
Location: Tulane SOM Room 4150

Lecture 3: Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) Technologies, Clinical Applications, and Data Analysis
Time: October 24, 2017 (Tuesday) 3:30 - 4:30pm; October 26, 2017 (Thursday) 3:30 - 4:30pm
Location: Tulane SOM Room 4150

Lecture 4: Molecular Biological Databases and Gene Pathway and Network Analysis
Time:  November 7, 2017 (Tuesday) 3:30 - 4:30pm; November 9, 2017 (Thursday) 3:30 - 4:30pm
Location: Tulane SOM Room 4150

For More Information, Contact:  Tianhua “Tim” Niu, PhD, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,


2017 Lasker Award Winners

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation today named three scientists and Planned Parenthood as winners of its annual awards for work that has advanced the potential translation of basic science into addressing unmet medical needs, as well as for public service.

For 72 years, the Lasker Awards have honored scientists, clinicians, and public citizens worldwide who have made major advancements in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of human disease. Each award category includes an honorarium of $250,000. Read More

The awards were presented in New York City. Michael N. Hall, Ph.D., an investigator at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, won the 2017 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his discovery of the nutrient-activated target of rapamycin (TOR) proteins and their central role in the metabolic control of cell growth and size through activation and inactivation of different signaling pathways.

Disruption of the TOR network has been linked to the development of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases and has been implicated in a wide range of age-related disorders. Dr. Hall has demonstrated that TOR is found in two distinct protein complexes, explaining the different effects of TOR signaling in the cell.

“I am extraordinarily pleased and deeply grateful that the Lasker Foundation has honored our fundamental research with this award,” Dr. Hall said in a statement published by the University of Basel. “I hope that our work will pave the way for new scientific discoveries and allow the development of effective cancer therapies.”

The work of Dr. Hall “has led to a fundamental change in how one thinks of cell growth and has provided critical information for the development of anticancer drugs,” the University added in its statement. Dr. Hall, 64, was born in Puerto Rico. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the University of California, San Francisco. Hall joined the Biozentrum of the University of Basel as an assistant professor in 1987 and has been conducting research and teaching as a full professor of biochemistry since 1992.

Enabling HPV Vaccine Development

Two researchers based at the NIH’s National Cancer Institute—Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., and John T. Schiller, Ph.D.—have won the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for technological advances that enabled development of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer and other tumors caused by HPVs.Read More

Dr. Lowy is the NCI’s acting director and chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, and served as deputy director of the NCI from 2010 to 2015. Dr. Schiller is deputy chief for NCI’s Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, an NIH Distinguished Investigator, and head of the lab’s Neoplastic Disease Section.

Research by Drs. Lowy and Schiller on animal and human papillomaviruses enabled the development of a vaccine against the high-risk HPV16 type, which accounts for a large percentage of HPV malignancies. They showed that the vaccine is effective in animals and conducted the first clinical trial of an HPV16 vaccine in humans, demonstrating its safety and ability to trigger a strong immune response.

Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) applied Lowy and Schiller's findings to develop vaccines that combat HPV16 as well as additional HPV types. Merck’s Gardisil™ and GSK’s Cervarix™ vaccines won FDA approvals in 2006 and 2009, respectively, for prevention of cervical precancer and cancer in women.

As of 2015, 59 million women worldwide and 20 million in North America had received an HPV vaccine. Drs. Lowy and Schiller were honored for taking what the Lasker Foundation termed “a bold but calculated approach toward a major public health problem whose solution required them to vault formidable hurdles." 

“They devised a blueprint for several safe and effective vaccines that promise to slash the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality, the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide, as well as other malignancies and disorders that arise from human papillomaviruses,” the Foundation observed.

Dr. Lowy, 75, received his M.D. from New York University School of Medicine in 1968 and trained in internal medicine at Stanford University and dermatology at Yale. He has directed a research laboratory at NCI since 1975, after receiving training as a research associate in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Schiller, 64, received his Ph.D. in 1982 from the Department of Microbiology of the University of Washington in Seattle, then joined the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology as a National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellow in 1983. Dr. Schiller became a senior staff fellow in the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology in 1986 and a senior investigator in 1992. He became chief of the Neoplastic Disease Section of the lab in 1998, deputy lab chief in 2000, and designated as an NIH Distinguished Investigator in 2016.

Planned Parenthood was awarded the 2017 Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award, according to the Lasker Foundation, “for providing essential health services and reproductive care to millions of women for more than a century.”Read More

Planned Parenthood's services include prevention, testing, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HPV vaccinations, in addition to family planning. But its family planning services, and especially its status as the nation’s largest abortion provider, have drawn fierce opposition from opponents of abortion rights, with the Republican-majority House of Representatives voting to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood in May as part of a healthcare bill that also called for repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. While the repeal effort died in the U.S. Senate, ACA repeal and replacement may resurface as Congress reconvenes this fall.

Zhang COBRE Pilot Fund Recipient
Congratulations to Dr. Yiwei Zhang in the Lu Lab, who is the recipient of a COBRE Pilot fund.

Wimley NSF Grant Funding Recipient 
Congratulations to Dr. William Wimley for his new 3-year  grant, “Collaborative Research:  Lipid Bilayers and Membrane Active Peptides” from the National Science Foundation, Division of Materials Research. This award supports biophysical studies of synthetically evolved membrane-permeabilizing peptides.

New Wimley Journal Article - August 2017
Congratulations to Dr. William Wimley for his new journal article, “Ebola Virus Delta Peptide Is a Viroporin,” published in the Journal of Virology, August 2017.

A special welcome to our 2014-2015 Masters Students

Masters Orientation Session 2014On Thursday, August 21st, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology welcomed new Master's program students.  A full-day's orientation was held, followed by a luncheon with faculty and the new students, many of whom come from across the U.S. and internationally.  Shown in photo is Dr. Hua Lu, chair of the department, addressing some of the new students during orientation.


Congratulations to BMS graduate student Taylor Fuselier in the Wimley lab, who has been awarded a three year NATIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE AWARD fellowship from NIH (NCI) for his proposal entitled:  “Enhanced Drug Design Strategies using Spontaneous Membrane Translocating Peptides”.

Congratulations to Tysheena Charles, PhD who presented her thesis dissertation on Friday, May 30, 2014, entitled “Identification of B and T cell epitopes Using recombinant proteins”.  Dr. Charles has accepted a post-doc position with LSUMC working with Judd E. Shellito, MD.

Congratulations to Hussain Badani, PhD who presented his thesis dissertation on Thursday, July 17, 2014, entitled “Understanding the mechanism of action of Flufirvitide-3, a peptide based inhibitor of influenza virus”.  Dr. Badani has been accepted to John Marshall law school in Chicago and will attend in 2015.

Congratulations to Hongnam Nguyen, PhD who presented his thesis dissertation on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, entitled “Modulation of disulfide-stabilized structure affects the helper T-cell response to HIV gp120”. Dr. Nguyen has accepted a post-doc position within the department working with Hee-Won Park, PhD.

Several of the department’s one-year Master's program graduates are moving forward on their career paths. Congratulations go out to…&

Laura Faiver (graduated May 2013) has been accepted to both Wayne State University – School of Medical and U Penn Law School. With the career focus of medical law, we are confident Laura will be successful at either school.

Anne Yang (graduated December 2013) has been accepted to the University of Queensland – Ochsner Program beginning January 2015.

Rohan Kulkarni (graduated May 2014) has been accepted to both Albany Medical College and University of Illinois – College of Medicine. He will be matriculating to UIC fall 2014.

Elizabeth "Beth" Terry (graduated May 2014) has been accepted to the University of Southern Alabama – College of Medicine beginning fall 2014.

Available through SIF - iLab

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is pleased to introduce iLab web-based management services to the Shared Instrumentation Facility (SIF).  Going forward, SIF is excited to partner with  this  online  system  to  streamline  the  process of reserving time on the equipment calendars. All SIF facility users are required to use the system. The iLab website is:

The website enables users to reserve time on equipment and monitor and manage reservations.  We welcome your comments and value your input on this service.    For any questions regarding this new service, or any of our other services and/or equipment, call Miriam Ruiz at 988-7165 or email her at

Time to Celebrate!
Nine Masters Students Graduate from Department

A celebration was held in the department on Tuesday, May 13th, for nine Master's students who will receive their diplomas at a Master's and PhD Recognition and Hooding  Ceremony,  held at McAlister Auditorium on the Uptown Campus on Friday, May 16th. The Department's event, held ahead of the Uptown ceremony, recognized and celebrated the efforts and achievements of the students during their time in the program.  Well-wishers and course instructors were in attendance at the department's reception, and course director Dr. David Franklin presented each student with a Tulane themed commemorative gift. 

Our nine Master's Program graduates were Nicele Catherine Arana, Tyler Crossley, Tyler Gilmore, Raven Johnson, Rohan Kulkani, Christopher Marler, Elizabeth Terry, Stephanie Wagstaff and Madushani Wijetunge.

Special congratulations go to Elizabeth Terry, winner of the Master's Adrouny Award for Excellence in Medical Biochemistry, and Rohan Kulkarni for admission to medical school. Rohan will be matriculating to the University of Illinois, College of Medicine this fall 2014.

Our graduates were part of a one-year Master's Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, a two-semester post-baccalaureate program designed to enrich and improve credentials of graduates to apply for admission to medical, dental or other healthcare-related profession programs.  More information on this program, and others, may be found at our webpage,

David Franklin Received Owl Club Award

Congratulations to Dr. David Franklin who along with Dr. Chad Miller, was presented the Tulane University Owl Club award for HEAL-X 2016 Module of the Year award for Gastrointentinal System

Congratulations to...

Graduate student Yue Sun, who won an award during the 2014 Health Sciences Research Days.  Yue Received the Award for Research in Sustainable and Healthy Communities, sponsored by the Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, for her poster, "Recombinant Antibodies that Recognize Alkylated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHS)".

Dr. Qi Zhang--The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)/Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program announced Dr. Zhang's selection to participate in the 2014 Postdoctoral Preparation Institute Workshop from June 5-6, 2014, in Bethesda, Maryland.

Congratulations to graduate student Grace Jairo, who was just awarded a travel grant from the ASCB to attend a 2-233k, all expenses paid course for Managing Science in the Biotech Industry.  She was one of only 40 individuals chosen from a pool of national and international applicants, which included both graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Axel Horn, on winning a scholarship for up to $1,200 for reimbursement of costs associated with travel to the Keystone Symposia meeting Mobile Genetic Elements and Genome Evolution, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 9-14, 2014.

Dr. William Wimley--NIH awards contract of up to $10.8 million to Autoimmune Technologies to continue developing its new influenza drug, and Dr. William Wimley is leading the mechanism of action studies funded by this contract.

New course offering

NEW COURSE OFFERING – GBCH-6110/SCEN-4110 BASIC MEDICAL BIOCHEMISTRY The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is offering a new course entitled Basic Medical Biochemistry for spring 2014. Offered and taught at the School of Medicine the course is available to pre-med undergraduate students wanting to better prepare themselves for a successful first-year in medical school, and to graduate students seeking an understanding of medical biochemistry. (11/06/13)

New publication from Hua Lu

Congratulations to Dr. Hua Lu and members of his lab, who authored their new paper, "Methylselenol prodrug enhances MDV3100 efficacy for treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer", E-published in May and in print in the November 2013 issue of Int. J Cancer 133(9), 2225-33.

A special welcome to our 2013-2014 Masters Students

Masters 2013-14On Wednesday, August 21st, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology welcomed nine new and two returning Master's program students.  An orientation was held, followed by a luncheon and other activities of interest to the students, many of whom come from across the U.S.  

In the photo (L-R, top row):   Brent Williams, Rohan Kulkarni, Tyler Gilmore, Stephanie Wagstaff, Anne Yang, Christopher Marler, Tyler Crossley and Raven Johnson.  (L-R, bottom row) Nicele Catherine Arana, Madushani Wijetunge  and Elizabeth Terry.

New publication from David Franklin

Congratulations to Dr. David Franklin, one of the authors of the new article, “Teaching Biochemistry to Students of Medicine, Pharmacy & Dentistry”, published in Med Sci Educ 2013; 23(3): 245-250.

New publication from Arthur Lustig

Congratulations to Dr. Arthur Lustig, co-author with Antonella Sgura, regarding their paper entitled “A new era of allele-specific diagnostics?”, published in Frontiers in Genetics, July 2013.

NIH award to Heather Machado

Congratulations to Dr. Heather Machado, who received an NIH award for her application,  “C/EBPb Modulates Macrophages and Tumor-Initiating Cells During Preneoplastic Progression”.

Oliver Fund Scholar awarded to William Wimley

Congratulations to Dr. William Wimley, who has been named the 2012-2013 Oliver Fund Scholar to develop novel treatment alternatives using peptides for the global epidemic of drug-resistant bacterial infections.

Pilot Program awarded to two Faculty Members

Congratulations to Drs. Arthur Lustig and Zachary Pursell, who were selected to received funds from the Medical Research Pilot Program.  Their Application was among 41 submissions, most of which were judged to e very high quality.

Former Biochemistry Chair part of Women's History Month Celebration

In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day the Smithsonian Institution Archives is highlighting women in science photographs. Included in the display is Tulane's pioneering biochemist Willey Glover Denis (1879-1929). Dr. Denis studied at Sophie Newcomb College (Tulane University), and received a Ph.D. from University of Chicago in 1907; after research which included a productive scientific collaboration with Ann Stone Minot (1894-1980), Denis returned to her hometown as a professor at Tulane University in 1920. She was named the first chair of the Tulane Department of Biochemistry (now the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology).  To see more, click here.

Bridge Funding award to Diane Blake

Congratulations to Dr. Diane Blake for receiving a Bridge Funding Award during the Office of Research Bridge Funding Competition.

Board of Regents Funding awarded to William Wimley

Congratulations to Dr. William Wimley for being awarded a pilot grant fund from the Louisiana Board of Regents entitled “Identification of pore-forming peptides by high-throughput screening in living cells”, January-December 2013.

Heather Machado to join Faculty in April 2013

Congratulations to Dr. Heather L. Machado, currently with Baylor College of Medicine, who will join our Department as an Assistant Professor in April 2013.