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photo of garden volunteers with Leslie Parise

Stay safe in 2020!
Live with LP is back on the air. This edition will cover events from November 2019 through February 2020. As you all know, COVID-19 has taken over our lives. However, so many wonderful things have happened in the department over the past few months. Since we anticipate significant changes in our operations for the foreseeable future, please follow university coronavirus updates closely and stay safe! Many thanks to Carolyn Clabo for helping me assemble this edition.


Lisa PhillipieLisa Phillippie in student services departed after 31 years on Feb 28.

It was only 27 years ago that Lisa started working with Barry Lentz to create the very successful Biophysics training program and more recently oversaw all of student services for the department along with overseeing the accounting staff. Lisa’s dedication to our students, to the department and to UNC will be missed. Because Lisa so enjoys working with students, she plans to help at-risk students transition successfully into college. A search for her replacement is ongoing.

Best wishes to our former HR Consultant, Susan Sarvis.

Susan Sarvis 2019 HR consultant

Susan Sarvis spent over 17 years in the department. She recently traded places with Steven Torchio to become the HR Consultant for M/I and the BRIC. Susan’s last day with us was Thursday, February 6th. Many thanks, Susan for all her dedicated and caring work with us over the years in skillfully guiding us though many HR issues.


WELCOME new BCBP employees:


Audrey Allen


Audrey Allen, temp Research Technician joined the Baker lab in February 2020.



Rick Baker PhD coming soon 2020


Rick Baker, Assistant Professor, an expert in the technique of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) joined our department in December 2019.



Venkat Chirasani


Venkat Chirasani started as a postdoc in the Campbell and Meissner labs as of February 2020.



James Emerson


James Emerson, Temp Research Technician joined the Button lab in February 2020.



Huani leng



Huani Leng, Temp Research Technician joined the Cook lab in January 2020.


Steve Torchio HR ConsultantWELCOME to our new HR Consultant, Steven Torchio.

Steven Torchio was an HR Consultant with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology (M/I) and the Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC) for the past 5 years. He received his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from UNC-CH. Afterwards, he spent many years in the restaurant industry, where he gained a passion for supporting people and building relationships. Steven is originally from Boston, joined the Navy after High School, where he appreciated the experience and lessons learned. In his free time, Steven loves love to play ice hockey and soccer, watch the Patriots, Bruins and Hurricanes, see live music and watch movies, and spend time with his son.

Hailey Wallace res tech in Kuhlman lab


Hailey Wallace, Temp Research Technician joined the Kuhlman lab in January 2020.



Rob Whitaker


Robert Whitaker, Postdoctoral fellow joined the Cook lab in January 2020.



Congratulations on BCBP Appointments and Promotions:


wolfgang bergmeier


Wolfgang Bergmeier is our new Director of Graduate Studies beginning in January 2020.



Joshua Boyer PhD


Joshua Boyer was promoted to Research Associate in Zhang lab on November 5, 2019.



Carolyn Clabo Director of Communications and Development 2020


Carolyn Clabo was promoted to Director of Communications and Development on February 3, 2020.



Guochun Jiang PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics Joint appointment in UNC HIV Cure Center (photo credit: Paul Braly of Tarheel Images)


Guochun Jiang, specializing in HIV research, was promoted to Assistant Professor in December 2019.



Yanyan Yang PhD Sancar lab


YanYan Yang was promoted to Research Associate in Sancar lab in January 2020.




We have hosted many professional and social events.

Thesis Defenses and Graduations

photo of Frank Teets, graduate student (Kuhlman lab)

Frank Teets, under the direction of Klaus Hahn and Brian Kuhlman, successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD on November 1, 2019. The title of his dissertation was “Function-Driven Approaches to the Design of Optogenetic Tools”.



photo of Jack Maguire, graduate student (Kuhlman lab)

Jack Maguire, under the direction of Brian Kuhlman, successfully defended his dissertation and received his Ph.D. on January 24, 2020.  The title of his dissertation was “Improving Computational Methods for Designing Polar Protein-Protein Interfaces.”


Our graduate students presented their research at our 2-day Annual Student Symposium.

Student Symposium Day 1 held on 11/7.

Jessica Hobson


“Urzyme Characterization” Jessica Hobson, Carter Lab



Gabrielle Budziszewski


“Elucidating a role for VRK1 recognition of the nucleosome acidic patch in genome-templated processes” Gabrielle (Gabby) Budziszewski, McGinty Lab


Jimmy Fay


“The Application of Nano-formulated, Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor to a Cellular Model of Parkinson’s disease” Jimmy Fay, Kabanov Lab


Student Symposium Day 2 and happy hour held on 11/14.

Justin Rectenwald“Design and Application of Focused DNA-Encoded Libraries for Multivalent

Chromatin Reader Proteins” Justin Rectenwald, Pearce and Frye Lab



Graduate student Cathy Anderson McGinty Lab
Graduate student Cathy Anderson (McGinty Lab)


“Structural Basis for Recognition of Ubiquitylated Nucleosome by Dot1L Methyltransferase”

Cathy Anderson, McGinty Lab





Jibo Dylan Zhang 11 2019 talk
Graduate student Dylan Zhang (Strahl lab)




“Recognition of Histone Crotonylation by Taf14 links Metabolic State to Gene Expression” Jibo (Dylan) Zhang, Strahl Lab




bagel breakfast students sitting
11/4 Bagel Breakfast


November Bagel Breakfast

Our department faculty, postdocs, research scholars, staff, and students munched and mingled at our monthly Bagel breakfast on November 4th, organized by our graduate student leaders and Lisa Phillippie.



CryoEM Open House

open house of cryoEM core

The CryoEM Open House on November 8 was a featured event during Research Week. It was a success! See more photos on Facebook for the open house.

lined up for thanksgiving potluck 2019

Thanksgiving Potluck Feast

On November 15, we had a very tasty Thanksgiving Potluck Feast. See the complete Thanksgiving Potluck photo album on Facebook.


bagel breakfast in December 2019 Sancar lab
12/4 Bagel Breakfast

December Bagel Breakfast on 12/4

Other events of interest for our department were:

3rd Annual Chromatin and Epigenetics Symposium on 12/5

Jointly sponsored by the Carolina Chromatin Consortium, Cancer Epigenetics Training Program, IBGS, NIEHS, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The keynote talk “Epigenetic Inheritance: Beyond DNA and Back” was presented by Danesh Moazed of Harvard. Brian Strahl was involved in the planning of this symposium.

2019 World Aids Day Symposium on 12/6

The UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases (IGHID) and the UNC Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) will host an event Friday December 6 to commemorate World AIDS Day. Ron Swanstrom gave the welcome and introduction to the World AIDS Day Symposium.

2019 Triangle Area Cryo-EM Symposium on 12/16 and 17

Cryo group symposium 2019Structural Biologists, from across the Piedmont, attended the first-ever 2019 Triangle Area Cryo-EM Symposium in Durham, NC. The event, funded in part by an Interdisciplinary Colloquium Grant from the Duke School of Medicine, allowed researchers from Duke, UNC at Chapel Hill and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to share scientific data and discoveries in the field of Cryo-EM technology. Many of our department members presented talks. Read the complete program for participants: CryoEM_Symposium_Program

2019 BCBP Holiday Party

holiday party 2019

Many thanks to the organizers of the BCBP holiday party, which was held on December 17 at the Carolina Club. We had so much fun with staff awards and a gingerbread house competition (see below for more photos)!

2019 Staff Awards go to Lisa and Jeff!

A big congratulations to Lisa Phillippie who received the Administrative Staff award and Jeff Jones who received the Research Staff Award at our BCBP holiday party.

Lisa Phillipie
Lisa Phillipie

Lisa Phillippie has provided many years of dedication and service to our department.  Her contributions span working with the Department’s Graduate Education Committee, Biophysics training grant, Biophysics Summer program, and Accounting staff. She has stepped up recently to take on the additional duty of overseeing common equipment in the department. Lisa has incredible knowledge of department precedents and policies, which has made her to go-to-person for advice on various situations that graduate students encounter during their graduate training. She has dedicated herself to working with young people, not only our biophysics and biochemistry track students, but also the young minority students who participate in our biophysics summer program. Lisa has taken initiative to energetically set up team building activities for the staff that have brought them closer together and has helped our department maintain a sense of cohesiveness.

Jeff Jones
Jeff Jones

Jeff Jones best lab manager ever 3 labs BCBP 2020

Jeff Jones is the lab manager for the Cook, Kuhlman and Strahl labs. His nominating letters highlighted many attributes that meet the criteria for receiving this award and emphasized how he is an indispensable team member of all three labs. Jeff possesses a seamless ability to maintain a professional and technical environment that is conducive to productivity for everyone in all three labs. He consistently identified and trained talented undergrads to perform a multitude of vital lab support tasks. Jeff created a website that is an all in one resource for information on “How Lab Workers Accomplish Lab Management Tasks in the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.” He is a warm and caring champion for everyone in the department regardless of seniority or stature.

2019 Gingerbread House Competition

Our gingerbread house competition was very interactive and fun. Teams of all ages unleashed their creativity and teamwork.Here are some gingerbread house photos of the very creative house-building efforts, with more on Facebook.

gingerbread housefor sale house

Frosted tips
Frosted tips
There's snow place like lab
There’s snow place like lab

Congratulations to the creators of Frosted Tips for being voted Overall Favorite and Most Creative and  There’s snow place like lab for the holidays for Most festive.


Lab Clean-up Day on 1/8

Not to be missed was Lisa Phillippie’s suggested Lab Clean-up Day on January 8th, in advance of the arrival of graduate student recruits. Pizza spurred us on. Special Thanks Lisa!

Lisa and Lesliecrowded gmb at lisa's retirement partylisa with baloonscake for lisa party

Lisa Phillippie’s retirement on 2/26

On the evening of February 26, we all gathered to celebrate Lisa Phillippie’s retirement with Moe’s catering, a photo booth, and lots of reminiscing. Special thanks to Jamie DeSoto for planning this event.



BCBP Synergy – February 2020

Group of people at BCBP Synergy February 2020
BCBP Synergy – February 2020

BCBP SYNERGY has returned and are going on now! If you are not on the email list for this, please let Adam Luthman know.


Greg Wang – The Hettleman Prize and Yang Scholar Award

Special congratulations to Greg Wang for winning two major UNC awards, first, The Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement. Greg presented his work Understanding Chromatin for Cancer Therapy, along with 3 other investigators on November 4, 2019. We also congratulate Greg Wang for receiving the Yang Family Biomedical Scholars Award. Greg presented his work on February 14, 2020.

2019 Hettleman Prizes awarded to promising early-career faculty


Aziz Sancar – Hyman L. Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award

Aziz Sancar and Leslie Parise and S. Earp at Battle Award 2019
Aziz Sancar was presented with the Hyman L. Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award on Friday, Feb. 7, in the Lineberger building atrium.

A well-deserved congratulation goes to Aziz Sancar for receiving the Hyman L. Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award. We heard many wonderful speeches about Aziz’s time and accomplishments at UNC at the celebration on February 7, 2020.




Bobby Lee – ASH Scholar Award

Bobby H. Lee 2019 Bergmeier labRobert (Bobby) H. Lee (Bergmeier lab) received the ASH Scholar Award.



Jean Marie Mwiza – AHA predoc fellowship

Jean Marie MwizaGraduate student Jean Marie Mwiza (Bergmeier lab), who works between the Bergmeier lab in BCBP and the Wolberg lab in Pathology, secured an AHA predoc fellowship for his project entitled, “Determining the Platelet Signaling Pathway(s) Critical in Venous Thrombosis Pathogenesis.”

Hanna Trzeciakiewicz- receives 2 UNC awards!

Hanna Trzeciakiewicz

Graduate student Hanna Trzeciakiewicz (Cohen lab) has been selected to receive the 2020 Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award in Biological & Life Sciences (awards ceremony and reception in April) in addition to the 2020 Horizon Award for her research on “The Regulation of Tau Pathogenesis in Neurodegeneration.”

Recent Honors

Wolfgang Bergmeier, PhD


Wolfgang Bergmeier is a new member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Science Translational Medicine


adam luthmanOdessa Goudy

Our new student leaders on the GECO committee are Adam Luthman and Odessa Goudy


Jonathan Schisler and Todd Cohen study proteins

Todd Cohen featured in The Scientist as a Rising star in Neuroscience

and UNC news : The head and the heart


  1. Dr. Sharon Campbell’s proposal entitled “Structure and Mechanism of G-proteins and cell adhesion proteins in regulation of cell growth and motility” was funded by NIGMS.
  2. Dr. Todd Cohen’s proposal “Dual CHIP Functions Control Tau Triage in Alzheimer’s Disease” was funded by National Institute on Aging.
  3. Dr. Guochun Jiang’s proposal entitled “Protein crotonylation, ubiquitination signaling, and HIV transcription” was funded by Qura Therapeutics.
  4. Dr. Pengda Liu’s proposal entitled “Targeting the deubiquitinase OTUD6B in Basal-Like Breast Cancer” has been awarded a 2020 Breast Cancer Alliance Young Investigator Grant.
  5. Dr. Yuyang Tang from Jiang Lab was also funded by Qura Therapeutics. The title of her proposal is “Identifying long-lived HIV-1 cellular reservoirs in the central nervous system.”

Noteworthy Research

photo of Charlie Carter PhD Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNCCharlie Carter’s research on Tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase recently produced an innovative account of how NTP-dependent enzymes transform the free energy of ATP hydrolysis into useful forms of work and/or information. And His work caught the attention of biophysicists working on molecular pumps. The authors, including Nobel Prize winner Fraser Stoddard, acknowledge in their discussion that Charlie’s work sheds new light on how internal protein dynamics capture, store, and convert free energy released by ATP hydrolysis.

JBC December 2019 Cancer issue


Congratulations to the Sancar lab, for having their research featured in the December 2019 publication in JBC selected for a new virtual issue on cancer research. (Link to the publication: Long-term, genome-wide kinetic analysis of the effect of the circadian clock and transcription on the repair of cisplatin-DNA adducts in the mouse liver.)




From the Campbell lab:

1. Identification of lysine methylation in the core GTPase domain by GoMADScan.
Yoshino H, Yin G, Kawaguchi R, Popov KI, Temple B, Sasaki M, Kofuji S, Wolfe K, Kofuji K, Okumura K, Randhawa J, Malhotra A, Majd N, Ikeda Y, Shimada H, Kahoud ER, Haviv S, Iwase S, Asara JM, Campbell SL, Sasaki AT. PLoS One. 2019 Oct 22;14(10):e0224443. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224443. eCollection 2019. PMID:31639175

2. Yoshino H, Yin G, Kawaguchi R, Popov KI, Temple B, Sasaki M, Kofuji S, Wolfe K, Kofuji K, Okumura K, Randhawa J, Malhotra A, Majd N, Ikeda Y, Shimada H, Kahoud ER, Haviv S, Iwase S, Asara JM, Campbell SL, Sasaki AT. PLoS One. 2019 Oct 22;14(10):e0224443. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224443. eCollection 2019. PMID:31639175

3. Subcellular localization of Rap1 GTPase activator CalDAG-GEFI is orchestrated by interaction of its atypical C1 domain with membrane phosphoinositides. Sarker M, Goliaei A, Golesi F, Poggi M, Cook AA, Khan MAI, Temple BR, Stefanini L, Canault M, Bergmeier W, Campbell SL. J Thromb Haemost. 2019 Nov 23. doi: 10.1111/jth.14687. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:31758832

4. Atypical KRASG12R Mutant Is Impaired in PI3K Signaling and Macropinocytosis in Pancreatic Cancer. Hobbs GA, Baker NM, Miermont AM, Thurman RD, Pierobon M, Tran TH, Anderson AO, Waters AM, Diehl JN, Papke B, Hodge RG, Klomp JE, Goodwin CM, DeLiberty JM, Wang J, Ng RWS, Gautam P, Bryant KL, Esposito D, Campbell SL, Petricoin EF 3rd, Simanshu DK, Aguirre AJ, Wolpin BM, Wennerberg K, Rudloff U, Cox AD, Der CJ. Cancer Discov. 2020 Jan;10(1):104-123. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-19-1006. Epub 2019 Oct 24. PMID:31649109

5. Regulation of large and small G proteins by ubiquitination. Dohlman HG, Campbell SL. J Biol Chem. 2019 Dec 6;294(49):18613-18623. doi: 10.1074/jbc.REV119.011068. Epub 2019 Oct 23. Review. PMID:31645437

6. Vinculin and metavinculin exhibit distinct effects on focal adhesion properties, cell migration, and mechanotransduction. Lee HT, Sharek L, O’Brien ET, Urbina FL, Gupton SL, Superfine R, Burridge K, Campbell SL. PLoS One. 2019 Sep 4;14(9):e0221962. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0221962. eCollection 2019. PMID:31483833

7. Distinct Binding Modes of Vinculin Isoforms Underlie Their Functional Differences. Krokhotin A, Sarker M, Sevilla EA, Costantini LM, Griffith JD, Campbell SL, Dokholyan NV. Structure. 2019 Oct 1;27(10):1527-1536.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2019.07.013. Epub 2019 Aug 15. PMID:31422909

8. Identification of lysine methylation in the core GTPase domain by GoMADScan. Yoshino H, Yin G, Kawaguchi R, Popov KI, Temple B, Sasaki M, Kofuji S, Wolfe K, Kofuji K, Okumura K, Randhawa J, Malhotra A, Majd N, Ikeda Y, Shimada H, Kahoud ER, Haviv S, Iwase S, Asara JM, Campbell SL, Sasaki AT. PLoS One. 2019 Aug 7;14(8):e0219436. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219436. eCollection 2019. Erratum in: PLoS One. 2019 Oct 22;14(10):e0224443. PMID:31390367

9. Dominant activating RAC2 mutation with lymphopenia, immunodeficiency, and cytoskeletal defects. Hsu AP, Donkó A, Arrington ME, Swamydas M, Fink D, Das A, Escobedo O, Bonagura V, Szabolcs P, Steinberg HN, Bergerson J, Skoskiewicz A, Makhija M, Davis J, Foruraghi L, Palmer C, Fuleihan RL, Church JA, Bhandoola A, Lionakis MS, Campbell S, Leto TL, Kuhns DB, Holland SM. Blood. 2019 May 2;133(18):1977-1988. doi: 10.1182/blood-2018-11-886028. Epub 2019 Feb 5. PMID:30723080

From the Marzluff lab:

drs. liang zbig and Marzluff
This picture of Bill Marzluff, Liang Tong, and Zbig Dominski was taken in Krakow at the RNA Society Meeting right after they discovered the structure.


Science – Key Molecular Machine in Cells Pictured in Detail for the First Time



Postdoc news:

Kanishk Jain postdoctoral fellow Strahl lab 2020

Kanishk Jain, PhD, postdoctoral fellow (Strahl lab) “Characterization of the plant homeodomain (PHD) reader family for their histone tail interactions” 


Alumni updates

photo of Megan Arrington, gradaute student (Campbell lab)

Megan Arrington (2019)

“I have accepted a position at KBI in February 2020. I am currently a scientist in KBI’s Analytical and Formulation Sciences team.”


Brian Callahan

Brian Callahan (2005)

“Currently I’m Associate Professor of Chemistry at Binghamton University in New York.  My research centers on the biochemistry of “hedgehog” signaling proteins, and is funded by the NCI/NIH.  I have many fond memories of the B-B department, the University, my classmates, and Chapel Hill in general.  Certainly grateful for the training I received as a PhD student from my mentors, Dick Wolfenden and Mike Caplow.”

Monica Frazier

Monica Frazier PhD, RAC (2012)

“I am currently a Research Scientist II at Rho, Inc.”


Andrew Monteith

Andrew Monteith (2016)

“I am currently a postdoctoral fellow studying the immune response to bacterial pathogens at Vanderbilt University in the lab of Dr. Eric Skaar.“

“In the summer of 2017, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Eric Skaar at Vanderbilt University as a postdoctoral researcher. My research in the Skaar lab has primarily focused on the role of nutrient metals and calprotectin in modulating neutrophil and macrophage function during Staphylococcus aureus infection. My future research interests are in assessing the immunological niche during bacterial infection with the goal of modulating the immune response to provide better patient outcomes during bacterial infections.” ~ updated 4/6/2020


Bryant Moore

Bryant M. Moore (1980)

Bryant M. Moore, Ph.D., Director, Strategic Partnerships, Office of Technology Commercialization, UNC-CH – “Dr. Barry Lentz was my thesis advisor. I was Barry’s first graduate student; tenacity, thinking through problems with rigor and passion were some of the key life lessons I learned from him. I also spent a lot of time in Dr. Gerhard Meissner’s lab and valued his sage advice.”