WELCOME new employees:
Martha S. Johnson
Martha S. Johnson, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Jean Cook’s lab
Congratulations on BCBP Appointments and Promotions:
Thesis Defenses and Graduations
3/6 Hanna Trzeciakiewicz (Todd Cohen lab)
Title: “The Regulation of Tau Pathogenesis in Neurodegeneration”
3/13 Julia DiFiore, GMB graduate student (Brian Strahl lab)
Title: “Examining the Role of Histone H3 Lysine 36 Methylation in Preventing Aberrant Transcription”
3/27 Edhirz Siraliev-Perez, Biophysics graduate student (John Sondek lab)
Title: “Dynamics of Allosteric Activation of PLC-gamma Isozymes” (Zoom)
3/30 Aspen Gutgsell, Biochemistry and Biophyscis gradaute student (Saskia Neher lab)
Title: “Novel Strategies to Enhance LPL Activity In Vivo” (Zoom)
4/9 Jared Baisden, Biochemistry and Biophyscis gradaute student (Qi Zhang lab)
Title: “Probing Excited Conformational States Involved in microRNA Biogenesis.” (Zoom)
4/10 Hashem Meriesh, Biochemistry and Biophyscis gradaute student (Brian Strahl lab)
Title: “Elucidating the Function of the Histone H4 Basic Patch in SAGA-mediated Hiistone H2B Deubiquitination and Histone Acetylation” (Zoom)
5/6 Courtney Vaughn, GMB graduate student (Aziz Sancar Lab)
Title, “Exploring the role of DNA damage, nucleotide excision repair, and circadian rhythm on cellular response to platinums” (Zoom)
8 students presented research talks on April 28 to a large Zoom audience from 11 am – 1 pm.
Abigail Ballard, Bergmeier lab, Biochemistry
“4-D Imaging of Hemostatic Plug Formation”
Matt Begley, Baker lab, Biochemistry
“Analysis of Microtubule Binding Proteins via Cryo-EM”
Brandy Curtis, Gladfelter lab, Biochemistry
“An investigation of plastic degradation by coral-associated marine fungi”
Dalia Fleifel, Cook lab, Biochemistry
“An in vitro system mimicking Osteoarthritis”
Sarah Harris, Dominguez lab, Biophysics
“Determination of RNA binding motifs in the histone mRNA stem-loop with SLBP”
Christopher Shelby, Kuhlman lab, Biophysics
Aubrie Weyhmiller, Kuhlman lab, Biophysics
“Modeling Protein-DNA Interactions In MATLAB”
Anna Wheless, Neher lab, Biochemistry
“Nanobodies for Enhancing LPL Activity”
Bagel Breakfast on March 4th
Our graduate students hosted a Bagel Breakfast on March 4th before the social distancing begun. We had a large turn out!
BCBP Synergy groups met in mid-March
BCBP Synergy groups met up again for networking in mid-March. We hope to start these back up in the Fall.
4/02 All Department Town Hall
On April 2, our department met to discuss Q & A regarding guidance and resources for these COVID-19 times.
4/03 Admin Meeting
Lynn Ray, Associate Chair for Administration, hosts first virtual administrative staff meeting in our history over Zoom to discuss projects in the areas of grants, human resources, accounting, events, and communications.
4/03 Student Town Hall
Our BCBP graduate students and administrators met for our Spring town hall meeting to discuss the courses all going virtual and for Q & A.
4/14 BCBP Research in Progress Seminar
BCBP Research in Progress Seminar: Aleksandra Skrajna, PhD (Postdoctoral Researcher, McGinty Lab) “Deciphering the Nucleosome Interactome” (Zoom).
April Student Seminars
Our Student Seminars resumed on April 16 with presenters: Adil Muneer (Chen lab) and Rodney Park (Kuhlman lab)
This series was abruptly paused last month because of Covid19. Special thanks to Odessa, Amelia, and Rodney who worked out the new schedule through May.
4/17 Admin Business Meeting
Our business staff met virtually this Spring. Lynn said they will celebrate Administrative Professionals Day when they all return to their offices in the future. Thank you staff for all you do!
4/21 BCBP Seminar: Neil King, PhD (UW)
On April 21, our seminar speaker presented over Zoom to a large audience. Talk title, “Computational Design of Protein-based Nanomaterials for Medical Applications”
Speaker: Neil King, PhD Assistant Professor, Institute for Protein Design University of Washington, Host: Brian Kuhlman
Neil is at the Protein Design Institute at the University of Washington and has done some beautiful work designing proteins that self-assemble into multi-subunit protein cages. They are using these for a variety of applications including scaffolding proteins from SARS-CoV-2 for use as vaccines.
Our seminar went virtual special thanks to Jamie DeSoto.
4/22 Student Town Hall
Our BCBP graduate students and administrators met on April 22 to discuss COVID-19 updates and to address questions for the close of the Spring semester.
4/24 Admin Happy Hour with games
Lynn Ray lead the admin staff in a happy hour. They competed in on-line games while discussing business projects.
4/30 Genome Stability Group Meeting
April Genome Stability Group Meeting hosted by Dale Ramsden. Our speakers were: Andrea Kaminski, “Polymerase μ: A rigid scaffold for dynamic DNA substrates,” and
Jessica Williams, “DNA Ligase 1 regulates the fidelity of DNA replication.”
5/09 Doctoral Hooding was postponed.
Message from Wolfgang Bergmeier, PhD, Director of Graduate Studies
UNC 2020 Hooding ceremony for our department’s newly minted PhDs: We are all very sorry that this fun and important event to celebrate our new PhDs cannot happen as planned! We are proud of you, CONGRATULATIONS again! Hi everybody. Please see the message below by Jean Cook concerning the postponed 2020 Hooding Ceremony! We are all very sorry that this fun and important event to celebrate our new PhDs cannot happen as planned! We are proud of you, CONGRATULATIONS again!
Message from Jean Cook, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Education, School of Medicine
Among the many disappointments of our current situation is the fact that the doctoral hooding ceremony that would have been this weekend has been postponed. I know that many of our recent graduates, their friends, and their families had been looking forward to walking across the stage in the Smith Center in full regalia to mark this career milestone. We are so incredibly impressed with these graduates’ accomplishments and discoveries, and we are enormously proud to have contributed to their development as scientific leaders and professionals. They join the ranks of UNC PhD alumni who are pushing the boundaries of research, teaching the next generation of science students, developing new tools, leading policy, communicating the importance of science, and filling many other important roles in scientific society.
There may be additional ways to celebrate as a campus community in the future, but in the meantime please receive these heartfelt congratulations from the School of Medicine leaders. This link is a 30 second “Virtual Applause” from the Deans, Chairs, and Center Directors.
5/10 2020 UNC Commencement – Virtual watch party
Youtube video. Graduates can celebrate their achievements with a video watch party on Sunday May 10th; plans in the works to host graduation ceremony at a later date. Read more here, “Marking a milestone.”
5/11 Postdoc Town Hall
At our virtual postdoc town hall, administrators addressed important Q & A from research scholars and postdoctoral fellows during these changing times in our research labs.
All of our university meetings occurred virtually instead of in-person these over these last two months, such as, Weekly Monday meetings for Researchers with the VCR COVID-19 Q&A, Weekly Graduate Student Circles hosted by the Graduate School, university Communications meetings, Human Resources meetings, Grant Administration, Accounting, & Business Administrative meetings all shifted to online. Our department has been very busy and productive even through the challenges that faces us all. Thank you all for your quick learning of these new technologies and for your flexibility and resilience. Please see the end of this blog for more research resources, health and wellness resources for COVID-19 and other useful inks.
On May 13, we will be gathering to toast and share stories over the past 13.5 years.
May Student Seminars
5/14 Student Seminars for students only – Nicholas Martinez (Campbell lab), Shu Zhang (Dohlman lab), and Gage Leighton (Williams lab) Please contact Rodney Park for Zoom details for the May 14 meeting at 12 noon.
Please save-the-date for Stephan’s Defense. Tentatively scheduled for 3:30 pm.
Announcing our BCBP Fall 2020 Seminar Series. Stay tuned, in person or virtual Zoom meetings will be announced as we approach event dates.
Congratulations to our excellent graduate students!
Hanna Trzeciakiewicz was selected to receive the 2020 Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award in the area of Biological and Life Sciences.
Faculty Awards and Honors
Robert H. Lee
Congrats Robert H Lee, Brinkhous Early Career Investigator Award winner at American Heart Association’s Vascular Discovery 2020!
Jack Griffith Wins Photographic Society of America’s Progress Award!
Past winners of the award include Walt Disney, Ansel Adams and Nick Woodman.
Griffith’s lab at UNC focuses on DNA-protein interactions combining electron microscope, biochemistry, genetics, and modern molecular approaches. Here he answers a few questions about his work.
Guochun Jiang received a Traditional CFAR Developmental Award for the project “HIV reservoirs in the central nervous system.”
Jonathan Fay, Patricia Maness, Brian Strahl, and Qi Zhang
Congratulations to 4 faculty who received grants: Jonathan Fay, Patricia Maness, Brian Strahl, and Qi Zhang! Read more at the link above.
Saskia Neher and Qi Zhang
Congrats to Dale Ramsden (in advance) who has a large grant announcement coming soon.
(Please click blue links to read the full news posts.)
Kathryn Gunn, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, and Ben Roberts, graduate student
Sharon Campbell and Wolfgang Bergmeier
Megan Justice, graduate student in Dowen lab
Gaorav Gupta, MD, PhD.
Wolfgang Bergmeier, Ph.D., in Collaboration With A Multi-Institutional Team, Publish In Science Advances
Our Alumnus Michael Johnson in the news: Identifying prevention or treatment strategies for COVID-19: Could Copper Disable the Virus Behind COVID-19?
Disseminating Coronavirus Research
Working remotely from their home offices, the University’s librarians are helping the world’s virologists fight coronavirus by making faculty research more accessible online through the Carolina Digital Repository.
Work from home #WFH Fun and activities:
Some department members shared WFH photos, virtual meetings, online socials, and other activities they did unrelated to the coronavirus.
If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, please contact the UNC Health COVID-19 Helpline: 1-888-850-2684 for assistance.
The stress and anxiety of uncertainty and the isolation that can come with social distancing measures can impact your mental and physical health.
UNC Student Resources: CV19 Student Care Hub
UNC Teaching Resources: Keep Teaching
Global & National COVID-19 tracker with maps – – Most up-to-date data with live updates throughout the day, interactive maps including by U.S. county with hospital bed capacity and other data tracked and analyzed by the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Click on the United States at the top of the list on the left to get live US totals. The US Map page provides US County data. Update May 4: Lists on World Map page now include cumulative death and recovered counts for US States.
The Active Cases tab below the world map, shows totals for confirmed cases, deaths, recovered and active cases for US States and other countries. When you click on an orange circle on the map, a data window opens up.
COVID-19 in the US
Information about COVID-19 in the United States – on the CDC website
Symptoms & testing – on the CDC website
Other Live Updates on Covid-19 in NC
NC Coronavirus Live Updates on Raleigh News & Observer – includes live updates on coronavirus cases in NC, including a map by county, and other data
Live updates on NC and US Covid-19 counts and has Announcements by the Governor on Raleigh News & Observer – usually on the front page
NCDHHS NC Case Count, updated daily at 11 am.
There are over 30 new NEWS posts on the website since my last blog.