News 2014

Xiong lab publishes back to back articles in Molecular Cell
Two studies from the Xiong lab (Li et al., 2014 and Yan et al., 2014) in Molecular Cell show that CUL7, OBSL1, and CCDC8, all mutated in 3M short stature syndrome, form a centrosomal complex that regulates CUL9 and its substrate Survivin to link mitosis to cell survival.
Wolfgang Bergmeier earns American Heart Association award!
Congratulations to Wolfgang Bergmeier who received an AHA award to study the role of blood platelets in inflammation and injury.
Wolfgang Bergmeier becomes associate professor with tenure.
Congratulations to Wolfgang Bergmeier, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics who received tenure as a UNC faculty effective March 1, 2014.
Welcome reception for our 2014 entering class
The Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics holds a reception on August 11th to welcome in our new graduate students.
Viva la futbol!
Dr. Aziz Sancar enjoying the games last week with several others.
Vaziri and Janzen receive NIH grant to make chemotherapy drugs more effective
A team led by Cyrus Vaziri and William Janzen at UNC have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for research that could help make chemotherapy drugs more effective.
UNC scientists reveal how cells destroy RNA, a key to understanding disease
Findings from the lab of William Marzluff, Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics provides insight into how genetic diseases, such as various cancers, develop in the body.
UNC researchers pinpoint new role for enzyme in DNA repair, kidney cancer
The discovery, from the lab of Brian Strahl, PhD, offers insights for the creation of better, more targeted therapies for various forms of cancer.
UNC researchers link gene to increased dendritic spines – a signpost of autism
By deleting the NrCAM gene, scientists have found a potential way to cut back on the neural connections implicated in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
UNC researchers develop insights into protein linked to cell movement
Campbell Lab published an article in Structure that proposes a new model for understanding how these proteins bind together to facilitate cell movement.
UNC Center for Structural Biology Names New Co-Directors
Michael Miley, PhD and Ashutosh Tripathy, PhD announced as the new co-directors for the UNC Center for Structural Biology (CSB). CSB has also launched a brand new website.
The Ras Tracker
For more than 20 years, Sharon Campbell, PhD, has been studying Ras, a protein implicated in 30 percent of all cancers. Now she’s on the hunt for alternative ways to shut the protein down.
Swanstrom named Charles J. Postelle Distinguished Professor
Congratulations to Ron Swanstrom, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics who was named the Charles J. Postelle Distinguished Professor effective March 1, 2014.
Swanstrom elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology
Congratulations to Dr. Ron Swanstrom, Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics for his selection as a 2014 American Academy of Microbiology Fellow.
Strahl Lab publishes in Genes and Development
Congratulations to the Strahl Lab for their recent article "Catalysis-dependent stabilization of Bre1 fine-tunes Histone H2B ubiquitylation to regulation gene transcription" that was published in the August 1, 2014 issue of Genes and Development.
Silvia Ramos joins the Department
We welcome Dr. Silvia Ramos who has just joined the lab of Dr. Bill Marzluff as a new research faculty member in the Department.
Sharon Campbell receives Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award
Congratulations to Dr. Sharon Campbell, Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics, who is the recipient of the 2014 Hyman L. Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award.
Sharon Campbell organizes the ASBMB Special Symposia Series to be held July 2014
Learn more about the event "Translating the Biophysics of Molecular Switches: Signaling Mechanisms and Inhibition of Ras and Rho GTPases"
Scott Rothbart receives a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award
Congratulations to Dr. Scott Rothbart, postdoctoral fellow in the Strahl lab who received a K99 award from NCI effective February 1, 2014.
Saskia Neher receives a grant from the American Heart Association
Congratulations to Dr. Saskia Neher, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics for receiving a beginning grant in aid from the American Heart Association.
Sancar lab manuscript selected as "Paper of the Week" by JBC
The paper titled "Mechanism of Photosignaling by Drosophila Cryptochrome: Role of the Redox Status of the Flavin Chromophore" appears in the February 21, 2014 print edition of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Sancar lab finds final pieces to the circadian clock puzzle
Sixteen years after scientists found the genes that control the circadian clock in all cells, the lab of UNC’s Aziz Sancar, MD, PhD, discovered the mechanisms responsible for keeping the clock in sync.
Rui Lu receives a Lymphoma Research Foundation Award
Congratulations to Rui Lu, postdoctoral fellow in the Greg Wang lab who is a recipient of a Lymphoma Research Foundation Award.
Research Associate Sook-Kyung Lee awarded R21 grant from NIAID
Congratulations to Research Associate Sook-Kyung Lee from the Swanstrom Lab who received a R21 grant from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Postdoc Yacine Boulaftali receives UNC Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence
Congratulations to Dr. Yacine Boulaftali in the Bergmeier lab who received a 2014 UNC Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence.
Postdoc Thomas Freeman now a lecturer in UNC Chemistry
Congratulations to Thomas Freeman on his new position as a lecturer with the UNC Chemistry Department
Postdoc Shobhan Gaddameedhi accepts faculty position at Washington State
Congratulatons to Dr. Shobhan Gaddameedhi on his new Assistant Professor position with the Department of Experimental and Systems Pharmacology at Washington State University.
Postdoc Erin Shanle authors a review in Nature Methods.
Congratulations to Erin Shanle, a postdoc in the Strahl Lab, on her review in Nature Methods.
Postdoc Dileep Varma accepts faculty position at Northwestern
Congratulations to Dr. Dileep Varma on his new tenure-track faculty position with the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Our rank as 4th nationally in NIH funding holds in 2013!
In keeping with last year's ranking, the Department continues to rank fourth among all Biochemistry departments in the US.
Meet the new student representatives for 2014-2015
Amy Howard (biophysics student) has joined Cassandra Hayne (biochemistry student) as the new student representative for the department.
Meet our 2014 entering students!
Learn more about our new entering class of students and help us welcome them to the department.
Mary Sue Coleman named to Board of Directors of Kavli Foundation
Congratulations to department alum, Mary Sue Coleman who was named as a new board of director for the Kavli Foundation
Marsha "Lynn" Ray receives "Staff of the Year Award".
The Staff Recognition Program was established in 2013 to annually recognize a staff member for their outstanding achievement and service in the department. Nominations are made with the following criteria in mind: teamwork, creativity and innovation, positive attitude, enthusiasm, productivity, flexibility and leadership. Congratulations to Lynn Ray as the inaugural honoree!
Lentz and Majumder podcast about FRET
Lentz Lab members create a podcast for the Biochemical Journal to discuss their recent paper "Phosphatidylserine and FVa regulate FXa structure"
Joseph Pearson from the Crews lab publishes in Developmental Biology
Congrats to Joseph Pearson for publishing a first author paper in Developmental Biology. His article "Enhancer diversity and the control of a simple pattern of Drosophila CNS midline cell expression" was available online ahead of print on May 20, 2014.
Increased mucins pinned to worsening cystic fibrosis symptoms
The discovery from UNC School of Medicine researchers overturns a controversial research study and offers a path for creating and testing CF treatments
Hermans & Lentz author new book "Equilibria and Kinetics of Biological Macromolecules"
Drs. Jan Hermans and Barry Lentz have published a new textbook that progressively builds a deep understanding of macromolecular behavior.
Greg Wang selected as a Kimmel Scholar in cancer research.
Congratulations to Greg Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics for his selection as a 2014 Sidney Kimmel Foundation Scholar in cancer research.
Greg Wang receives grant from Gabrielle's Angels
Greg Wang receives a grant from Gabrielle's Angels to study "Novel Approaches to Target PRC2 Enzymatic Complexes for the Treatment of Hematopoietic Malignancies"
Greg Wang receives an ASH Scholar Award
Congratulations to Greg Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics who is the recipient of an American Society of Hematology Scholar Award.
Grants manager Rhonda receives a promotion
After 16 years of dedicated service to the Department, Rhonda is leaving for a promotion with OSR.
Grad Student Yunus Annayev receives his PhD!
Yunus successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD on April 17th, 2014
Grad Student Stephani Page receives Diane Harris award
Congratulations to Stephani Page who received the 2014 Diane Harris Leadership Award for her exemplary public service as doctoral student in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
Grad student Karen Plevock secures funds from ASCB and NCBC
Congratulations to Karen Plevock, graduate student from Biochemistry and Biophysics, who partnered with Rebecca Adikes, Vincent Boudreau, and Carlos Patiño-Descovich (Biology Department UNC), and Kaelyn Sumigray (post-doctoral fellow in Cell Biology at Duke) for securing funding for the organization of The Triangle Cytoskeleton meeting.
Grad Student Justin Black named as a Graduate School Leadership Development Scholar
Congratulations to Justin Black who was named as a Graduate School Leadership Development Scholar by the UNC Graduate School.
Grad Student Jon Leano receives his PhD
Jon successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD on July 1, 2014.
Grad Student Jamie Campbell receives her PhD!
Jamie successfully defended her dissertation and received her PhD on March 27, 2014.
Grad Student Ivan Sabath receives his PhD
Ivan successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD on June 23, 2014.
Grad Student Gauri Dixit receives her PhD!
Gauri successfully defended her dissertation and received her PhD on March 5, 2014.
Grad Student Cassandra Hayne receives a Merchant Scholarship Award
Congratulations to Cassandra Hayne who received a Merchant Scholarship Award from her alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa.
Grad Student Adam Roberts receives his PhD!
Adam successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD on March 31, 2014.
EpiCypher co-founded by Brian Strahl is moving to Chapel Hill
Drs. Brian Strahl, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNC-Chapel Hill along with Or Gozani, Associate Professor at Stanford, and Mark Bedford, Professor of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the University of Texas are the scientific founders of EpiCypher, a company that develops and manufactures novel products and tools for epigenetics and chromatin biology research. As of earlier this month, the operations have been moved from Texas to UNC-Chapel Hill campus.
Dokholyan named Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor
Congratulations to Nikolay Dokholyan, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics who was named a Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor effective March 1, 2014.
Dohlman lab publishes in Molecular Cell
In the June 19, 2014 edition of Molecular Cell, the Dohlman lab publishes a paper "Cellular Noise Suppression by the Regulator of G Protein Signaling Sst2."
David Allison awarded a fellowship from Debbie's Dream Foundation
Congratulations to David Allison, postdoctoral fellow in the Greg Wang lab who is the recipient of a fellowship from Debbie's Dream Foundation.
Daniel Isom receives a 2014 UNC Pagano Award for a best first-author postdoctoral pape
Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Isom a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Henrick Dohlman's lab who is one of the recipients this year of a Joseph S. Pagano award
Brian Strahl receives NIH and NSF grants to study gene expression.
Congratulations to Dr. Brian Strahl, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics for receiving grants from the NIH and NSF
Brian Strahl Promoted to Full Professor
Congratulations to Dr. Brian Strahl who was promoted to full professor effective April 25, 2014.
Brian Strahl featured in a video about the history of epigenetics.
Brian Strahl, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics is featured in a video about the history of epigenetics in GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News). The video titled, Epigenetics: A Timeline, spans 130 years of research.
Barry Lentz inducted as an honorary member of the Frank Porter Graham Honor Society
Congratulations to Barry Lentz who was inducted into the Frank Porter Honor Society.
Aravind Asokan receives a CNIHR award from the NIH
Congratulations to Aravind Asokan, Assistant Professor in Genetics and Joint in Biochemistry & Biophysics for receiving a Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research award from the NIH.
Alumni Jan Sumerel dicusses MakerBot and future of 3D printing
Chapelboro.com features an article on MakerBot, a company that wants to develop “3D Printing that everyone can use.”
Alum News
Updates from our department alum
Alum David Puett has published a new book on "Cancer Bioinformatics"
Dr. David Puett along with Drs. Ying Xu and Juan Cui have published a new book that provides a framework for computational researchers studying the basics of cancer through comparative analyses of online data.
A powerful technique to further understanding of RNA
In a paper published by JACS, Qi Zhang, an assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and his team have revealed his newest weapon – a powerful technique to visualize the shape and motion of RNA at the atomic level using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR).
A fitness bottleneck in HIV-1 transmission
Congratulations to the Swanstrom lab that published an article titled "A fitness bottleneck in HIV-1 transmission" in the July 11, 2014 issue of Science.