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Biochemistry & Molecular Biology - News & Events

Publications, January 1st – March 31st, 2019

The below list represents publications by faculty for the first quarter of 2019. 

David Franklin

Martel, J.L. and Franklin, D.S.  (2019) Vitamin B1 (Thiamine). StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing, 2019 Jan 26.

James Jackson

Shahbandi, A. and Jackson, J.G. (2019) Analysis across multiple tumor types provides no evidence that mutant p53 exerts dominant negative activity.  NPJ Precis Oncol. 2019 Jan 7;3:1. doi: 10.1038/s41698-018-0074-x. eCollection 2019.

Samuel Landry

Moss, D.L., Park, H.W., Mettu, R.R., and Landry, S.J. (2019) Deimmunizing substitutions in pseudomonas exotoxin domain III perturb antigen processing without eliminating T-cell epitopes.  J Biol Chem. 2019 Jan 25. pii: jbc.RA118.006704. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.006704. [Epub ahead of print]

Hong Liu

Hu, L., Huang, H., Hei, M., Yang, Y., Li, S., Liu, Y., Dou, Z., Wu, M., Li, J., Wang, G.Z., Yao, X., Liu, H., He, X., and Tian, W. (2019) Structural analysis of fungal CENP-H/I/K homologs reveals a conserved assembly mechanism underlying proper chromosome alignment.  Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Jan 10;47(1):468-479. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky1108.

Hua Lu

Wang, H., Liao, P., Zeng, SX., and Lu, H.  It Takes a Team: A Gain-of-function Story of p53-R249S.  J Mol Cell Biol. 2019 Jan 4. doi: 10.1093/jmcb/mjy086. [Epub ahead of print]

Arthur Lustig

Lustig, A.J. (2019)  Towards the Mechanism of Yeast Telomere Dynamics.  Trends Cell Biol. 2019 Feb 11. pii: S0962-8924(19)30006-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2019.01.005. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

Tianhua “Tim” Niu

Qin, H., Niu, T., and Zhao, J. (2019) Identifying Multi-Omics Causers and Causal Pathways for Complex Traits.  Front Genet. 2019 Feb 21;10:110. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00110. eCollection 2019.

Hee-Won Park

Moss, D.L., Park, H.W., Mettu, R.R., and Landry, S.J. (2019)  Deimmunizing substitutions in pseudomonas exotoxin domain III perturb antigen processing without eliminating T-cell epitopes.  J Biol Chem. 2019 Jan 25. pii: jbc.RA118.006704. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.006704. [Epub ahead of print]

Zachary Pursell

Park, V.S. and Pursell, Z.F. (2019) POLE proofreading defects: Contributions to mutagenesis and cancer.  DNA Repair (Amst). 2019 Apr;76:50-59. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2019.02.007. Epub 2019 Feb 16. Review.

William Wimley

Chen, C.H., Starr, C.G., Troendle, E., Wiedman, G., Wimley, W.C., Ulmschneider, J.P., and Ulmschneider, M.B.  (2019)  Simulation-Guided Rational de Novo Design of a Small Pore-Forming Antimicrobial Peptide.  J Am Chem Soc. 2019 Mar 13. doi: 10.1021/jacs.8b11939. [Epub ahead of print]

Gerlach, S.L., Chandra, P.K., Roy, U., Gunasekera, S., Göransson, U., Wimley, W.C., Braun, S.E., and Mondal, D.  (2019) The Membrane-Active Phytopeptide Cycloviolacin O2 Simultaneously Targets HIV-1-infected Cells and Infectious Viral Particles to Potentiate the Efficacy of Antiretroviral Drugs.  Medicines (Basel). 2019 Feb 28;6(1). pii: E33. doi: 10.3390/medicines6010033.

Guha, S., Ghimire, J., Wu, E., and Wimley, W.C.  (2019) Mechanistic Landscape of Membrane-Permeabilizing Peptides.  Chem Rev. 2019 Jan 9. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.8b00520. [Epub ahead of print]

Kim, S.Y., Pittman, A.E., Zapata-Mercado, E., King, G.M., Wimley, W.C., Hristova, K. (2019) Mechanism of action of peptides that cause pH-triggered macromolecular poration of lipid bilayers.  J Am Chem Soc. 2019 Mar, in press.

(03/21/19)
 


18th Annual George Adrouny Lecture takes place May 10th

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is proud to present the 18th Annual George Adrouny Memorial Lectureship on Friday, May 10th, 2019, at 9:30am in the 1st Floor Auditorium of the Tulane University School of Medicine, 1430 Tulane Avenue.

Fred Alt, PhDThe 2019 featured speaker is Frederick W. Alt, PhD.  Frederick Alt received his Ph.D. in Biology from Stanford University in 1977 where he worked with Robert Schimke and discovered gene amplification and genomic instability in mammalian cancer cells. Alt moved to MIT for postdoctoral work with David Baltimore, where he helped elucidate basic principles of recombination in the immune system. His work with David Baltimore included the discovery that production of membrane versus secreted immunoglobulin is achieved via differential RNA processing and the discovery that allelic exclusion of Immunoglobulin (Ig) gene rearrangements is controlled by feedback from protein products. With Baltimore, Alt also elucidated major aspects of the V(D)J recombination mechanism, including involvement of site-specific DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) that are end joined, as well as the discovery of ”N” regions added by terminal deoxynucleotydl transferase (TdT) that provide a major source of antigen receptor diversity.Read More

Dr. Alt moved to Columbia University in 1982 as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. He became Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in 1985 and HHMI Investigator in 1987. At Columbia, his lab established the role of Ig chains in regulating sequential stages of B cell development and discovered that all antigen receptor genes are assembled by a common V(D)J recombinase. They then elucidated a role for non-coding gene transcription in mediating "chromatin accessibility" as means to target the lineage, stage, and allele specific activity of the V(D)J recombinase. His group extended that work to show that, in B cells, IgH class switch recombination (CSR) to particular IgH classes is directed by activation of non-coding transcription units that contain the CSR target sequences. At Columbia, the Alt lab also co-discovered the N-myc cellular oncogene, based on its amplification in human neuroblastomas and he went on to characterize the Myc cellular oncogene family.

In 1991, Dr. Alt moved to Boston Children' Hospital (BCH) and Harvard Medical School as a Professor of Genetics and HHMI Investigator. He also became a Senior Investigator at the Immune Disease Institute (IDI). He was appointed Charles A. Janeway Professor of Pediatrics in 1993, Scientific Director of IDI in 2005, and Director of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine (PCMM) at BCH in 2008. He also became President of IDI in 2010 and continues to serve as director since the merger of IDI with BCH, where it remains the PCMM. At BCH and IDI, Dr. Alt's group confirmed the proposal of Alt and Baltimore that N regions are added by terminal dexoynucleotidyl transferase, demonstrating that TdT is a V(D)J recombinase component. They also discovered that the joining activity of the V(D)J recombinase is carried out by a novel multi-component general cellular non-homologous DNA end joining now known as the major C-NHEJ DSB repair pathway. Subsequently, the Alt lab was involved in the discovery of a number of the first characterized NHEJ component factors and then went on to discover the key role of NHEJ proteins in maintenance of genomic stability.

The Alt lab continues to elucidate many new aspects of the mechanism and control of V(D)J recombination including discovering that this reaction is regulating by a process that allows the initiating RAG endonuclease V(D)J recombination factors to explore directionally within chromosomal loop domains for target substrates. His lab also continues to discover new aspects of the mechanism and regulation IgH CSR and the related process of Ig variable region exon somatic hypermutation. The lab's recent work, based on their development of high through-put methods to study DSBs and chromosomal translocations, have provided major new insights into the mechanisms that contribute to chromosomal rearrangements within the 3D genome of developing lymphocytes and cancer cells or their progenitors. The lab also has used their new approaches to identify a set of genes that recurrently break in neuronal stem and progenitor cells and, thereby, which may contribute to brain diversification and neuropsychiatric diseases and cancer. Most recently, the lab has built on their more basic molecular immunology discoveries on antibody gene assembly to generate innovative new mouse models for testing immunization strategies for eliciting HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies.

Frederick Alt has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the European Molecular Biology Organization. His cancer biology awards include the American Association of Cancer Research Clowes Award, the Pasarow Foundation Prize for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research, the National Cancer Institute Alfred K. Knudson Award for "Pioneering Contributions that Revolutionized the Field of Cancer Genetics", the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society de Villiers Award, The Katharine Berkan Judd Award from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research from the National Foundation for Cancer Research, and the American-Italian Cancer Foundation Prize for Excellence in Medicine. His immunology awards include the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Huang Meritorious Career Award, the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Coley Award, and the Novartis Prize for Basic Immunology. More generally, he has also received the Arthur Kornberg & Paul Berg Lifetime Achievement Award in Biomedical Science and the Lewis S. Rosensteil Prize for Distinguished work in Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Alt serves on numerous editorial boards and is Editor in Chief of Advances in Immunology. He also serves on many national and international advisory boards and is currently Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Dr. Alt has mentored over 100 students and research fellows, many of whom have become leaders in immunology, genetics, or cancer biology and he received the American Association of Immunologists Excellence in Mentoring Award and the Willam A. Silen Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring from Harvard Medical School. The Cancer Research Institute of New York annually presents the Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology.

(03/10/19)

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David Franklin

(03/08/19)


Exchange Students visiting Tulane

(03/08/19)


UPDATE:  One Year Masters Students

By David Franklin, PhD

Here is an update of the One-Year MS stats, and where our Graduates stand with respect to reaching their ultimate goals.
 
We have a 100% graduation rate of 75 students since 2012. This obviously does not include our 28 present MS students.
 
88% of our graduates got accepted into at least 1 professional school of their choice (allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, dental, veterinary, law, nursing). Many had multiple offers of acceptance. Corey Carney has the record, with over 11 interviews and at least 5 acceptances. I think we should highlight Corey sometime soon, but after he picks which school he will attend in the Fall. I believe Tulane is still in the running.
 
7% of our graduates used their degree to get into the workforce and are gainfully employed. These were generally students who didn’t perform academically in the MS program to a level that would allow me to mentor them for medical school admissions. I instead advised them to use the degree in another fashion, which they did.
 
5% of our graduates are applying, and have been in at least 1 full admissions cycle. I am hopeful that each can get acceptance soon.
 
Not included in these numbers are graduates who have not yet had at least one full admissions cycle. They also don’t include our 28 present MS students.
 
Our MS graduates have been accepted to: Tulane School of Medicine (including one in the PSP program), LSUHSC (New Orleans and Shreveport), LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, LSU School of Dentistry, LSU School of Nursing, University of Queensland / Ochsner Program, Meharry School of Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine, University of South Carolina Medicine, University of Southern Alabama, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, University of South Florida Morsani School of Medicine, University of South Alabama Medical School, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Texas A&M College of Medicine, Texas Tech University School of Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical School, University of Mississippi Medical Center, University of New England School of Osteopathic Medicine, and Touro University Nevada School of Osteopathic Medicine.
 
(02/22/19)
 


SYNERGY 2018 EVENT A MEMORABLE OCCASION

A quack, a queen and a trip around the moon were part of the highlights of this year’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (DBMB) Departmental 7th Annual Academic Synergy (AAS) Retreat, held December 12th in Room 111A of the J. Bennett Johnston Building. 

This event was somewhat of a homecoming for former department professor Dr. William Baricos, who retired in 2002.  Dr. Baricos presented a lecture entitled “A quack, a queen and a trip around the moon”, featuring some of our more interesting and colorful chairs from the past.

Following retirement Dr. Baricos researched and wrote Biochemistry at Tulane Medical School: 1834-2010.  This informative history spans the early years of the university, then know as the Medical College of Louisiana.

In addition to the lecture, department chair Dr. Hua Lu provided a review of 2018, giving statistics for the year and many of the highlights, such as the annual retreat and accomplishments in the department.

Over 100 guests attended this year’s annual event and partook of luncheon fare from Cottage Catering, including a “TU” shaped King cake in Tulane colors.

(12/24/18)


 

Special Lifetime Recognition

Congratulations to Dr. Hua Lu, Professor and Chair in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, AAAS Honors Accomplished Scientist as a 2018 Elected Fellow.  The American Association for the Advancement in Science has bestowed upon 416 of its members the lifetime honor of being elected a Fellow in recognition of their extraordinary achievements in advancing science.

On November 27th the Fellows announced that honorees will be recognized at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, during a Fellows Forum on February 16th.  At that time they will be presented with an official certificate and the AAAS Fellows’ gold and blue rosette pin, the colors which represent their respective fields of science or engineering.

(12/24/18)


 

Jill Barbay receives President’s Staff Excellence Award

Congratulations to Senior Department Administrator Jill Barbay, winner of the Tulane President’s Staff Excellence Award for 2018.  The award was presented by Tulane President Michael Fitts in Jill’s office at the School of Medicine.

The President’s Staff Excellence Awards are bestowed every year to top University staff employees who best represent high achievement in their contributions to the University.  Those nominated will have achieved outstanding success in one or more of the following areas: Increased Productivity, Cost Savings, Enhanced Objectives, and Humanitarianism.

(12/24/18)


 

Publications, September 1st, 2018 - December 31st, 2018

The below list represents publications by faculty for the period September 1st-December 31st, 2018. 

Blake, Diane, PhD

Quesada-González, D., Jairo, G.A., Blake, R.C. 2nd, Blake, D.A., and Merkoçi, A. (2018) Uranium (VI) detection in groundwater using a gold nanoparticle/paper-based lateral flow device.  Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 1;8(1):16157. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-34610-5

Sahiner, N., Sagbas, S., Sahiner, M., Blake, D,A., and Reed, W.F.  (2018) Polydopamine particles as nontoxic, blood compatible, antioxidant and drug delivery materials.  Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces.  2018 Sep 11;172:618-626. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2018.09.019. [Epub ahead of print]

Sahiner, M., Sahiner, N., Sagbas. S., Fullerton, M.L., and Blake, D.A. (2018) Fabrication of biodegradable poly(naringin) particles with antioxidant activity and low toxicity. ACS Omega, in press.

 

Jackson, James, PhD; Niu, Tianhua, PhD

Ungerleider, N.A., Rao, S.G., Shahbandi, A., Yee, D., Niu, T., Frey,  W.D., Jackson, J.G. (2018)  Breast cancer survival predicted by TP53 mutation status differs markedly depending on treatment.  Breast Cancer Res. 2018 Oct 1;20(1):115. doi: 10.1186/s13058-018-1044-5.

Shahbandi, A. and Jackson, J.G. (2018) Analysis across multiple tumor types provides no evidence that mutant p53 exerts dominant negative activity.   NPJ Precision Oncology, in press.

 

Liu, Hong, PhD

Hu, L., Huang, H., Hei, M., Yang, Y., Li, S., Liu, Y., Dou, Z., Wu, M., Li, J., Wang, G.Z., Yao, X., Liu, H., He, X., and Tian W. (2018) Structural analysis of fungal CENP-H/I/K homologs reveals a conserved assembly mechanism underlying proper chromosome alignment. Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Nov 8. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky1108. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Lu, Hua, MB, PhD

Lu, H. (2018) New players critical for breast cancer.  J Mol Cell Biol. 2018 Aug 1;10(4):271-272. doi: 10.1093/jmcb/mjy046.

Wang, H., Liao, P., Zeng, S.X., and Lu, H. (2018). It takes a team: Gain- of-function Story of p53-R249S. JMCB, in press.

 

Machado, Heather, PhD

Nelson, A.C., Machado, H.L., and Schwertfeger, K.L. (2018) Breaking through to the Other Side: Microenvironment Contributions to DCIS Initiation and Progression. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2018 Aug 31. doi: 10.1007/s10911-018-9409-z. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

Behbod, F., Gomes, A.M., and Machado, H.L.(2018) Modeling Human Ductal Carcinoma In Situ in the Mouse.  J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2018 Aug 25. doi: 10.1007/s10911-018-9408-0. [Epub ahead of print].

(12/24/18)


 

Newsworthy

Congratulations to Dr. Hong Liu, recipient of an Outstanding Achievement in Receiving a First R01 Award, at the SOM Faculty Retreat, Audubon Tea Room, October 30th, 2018.

Congratulations to Shantanu Guha, who won Best Overall Presentation at the Annual BMS Retreat, held at the Audubon Tea Room, October 26th, 2018.

Congratulations to Zane Gray, Research Tech in the Machado Lab, accepted to Tulane School of Medicine.

(12/24/18)


 

Milestones

Congratulations to the following members of the department who are celebrating milestone anniversaries at Tulane.

Diane Blake, PhD
25 Years

Gilbert Estrada
25 Years

Samuel Landry, PhD
25 Years

William Wimley, PhD
20 Years

(12/24/18)