COBRE CMADP News
May 2017: CMADP Research Project Investigator is co-recipient of NCI R33 grant
Congratulations to Yong Zeng (Assistant Professor of Chemistry at KU), who has been awarded a $1.2M R33 grant from the National Cancer Institute for proposed research on "Integrated Exosomes Profiling for Minimally Invasive Diagnosis and Monitoring of Cancer" along with Andrew Godwin (Director of Molecular Oncology at the KU Medical Center). This grant will allow Zeng and Godwin to continue their work toward developing new technologies to profile circulating exosomes, which are emerging as a new paradigm of "liquid biopsy" for non-invasive cancer diagnosis and monitoring, particularly for use in diagnosing Ewing Sarcoma (EWS). With this award, Zeng is now an official graduate of the COBRE CMADP!
April 2017: CMADP Graduate, one of ACS's 'Must See Presenters' at Spring 2017 National Meeting, speaks on latest "chemobrain" findings
Michael Johnson (Associate Professor of Chemistry) presented his latest research findings on a possible therapeutic intervention for "chemobrain" at the American Chemical Society's Spring 2017 National Meeting in San Francisco as one of ACS's 20 'Must See Presenters'. "Chemobrain" refers to the cognitive impairment plaguing up to a third of cancer patients following chemotherapy. Johnson's research in this area, initially supported through his his COBRE CMADP Research Project funding, is now supported through an ACS institutional grant to the KU Cancer Center.
For the full story on Johnson's latest findings, please see KU Today's featured article: "Research suggests potential therapy to prevent 'chemobrain' in cancer patients"
February 2017: CMADP Project Investigators co-author a Top Downloaded article in Lab on a Chip
The Royal Society of Chemistry's journal Lab on a Chip has highlighted a paper co-authored by Mei He (Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Kansas State) and Yong Zeng (Assistant Professor of Chemistry at KU) in a web collection featuring the journal's 25 most downloaded articles of 2016! Originally appearing as the journal cover story for the January 26, 2016 edition of Lab on a Chip, He's and Zeng's article is titled "A microfluidic ExoSearch chip for multiplexed exosome detection towards blood-based ovarian cancer diagnosis." The paper describes a continuous-flow ExoSearch chip which, when integrated with in situ, multiplexed exosomal marker detection, offers an essentially needed platform for utilization of exosomes in clinical cancer diagnosis.
Free access to the full text of the article in Lab on a Chip is available via PubMed Central, and the journal's entire collection of Top Downloaded articles for 2016 is available on their website.
February 2017: CMADP Co-I awarded new R01 grant from NIH's National Cancer Institute
Blake Peterson (KU Regents Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry) received an R01 grant from the NIH's National Cancer Institute for his project entitled "Synthetic Lethal Targeting of Growth Factor Receptors". This project proposes a new platform for targeted drug delivery directed at treatment of diverse metastatic cancers that are driven by pairs of the growth factor receptors EGFR, HER2, and/or HER3. This strategy is designed to enhance the selectivity of anticancer antibody-drug conjugates to allow eradication of all cancer cells in patients without harming normal cells. New strategies are needed because existing anticancer antibody-drug conjugates only modestly improve survival in many patients, and adverse toxic effects are common.
February 2017: CMADP Graduate's research featured on cover of Genetics and in other journals
Rob Unckless (Assistant Professor of Molecular Biosciences) recently published a paper in Genetics entitled "Evolution of resistance against CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Drive" that was highlighed on the cover of the journal (pictured left), in which Unckless and his colleagues from Cornell University discuss challenges to changing the DNA of entire populations of species. Unckless's research on this subject has also been featured in Nature, The Atlantic, Quanta Magazine and on NovaNext.
For more information about this research, please also see KU Today's featured article: "Research shows nature can beat back scientific tinkering with genes of entire species".
October 2016: CMADP Co-I receives Mathers Foundation grant for study of cell biology
The G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation has awarded Blake Peterson (KU Regents Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry) a three-year, $500,000 grant for his proposed studies in fundamental cell biology that could one day lead to important discoveries in translational research. Peterson's project seeks to create synthetic molecules designed to mimic receptors found on cell surfaces in an effort to allow reactivation of defective signaling pathways. The Mathers Foundation was established in 1975 to support fundamental basic research in the life sciences at academic and independent research institutions across the United States.
For more details on Peterson's research in this area, please see the full article in KU Today.
September 2016: CMADP Graduate receives NIGMS Pathway to Independence Award
Congratulations to Robert Unckless (Assistant Professor of Molecular Biosciences) on receiving a Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)! Unckless's project "Antimicrobial peptides as models for the evolution of gene duplication" seeks to understand the forces that lead to differences in the copy number of individual genes using the immune system as a model. The project will employ molecular evolutionary analysis, functional genetic manipulation, and theoretical model development to test hypotheses related to subfunctionalization and neofunctionalization in antimicrobial peptide genes across the genus Drosophila. The data collected will give specific insight into the evolution of innate immune systems and will be illustrative of gene family evolution in general.
August 2016: CMADP Research Project Investigator is co-investigator on new NIH, NSF grants
Josephine Chandler (Assistant Professor of Molecular Biosciences) has been named a co-investigator on two new NIH and NSF grants. Chandler will be working with Mario Rivera (PI, KU, Chemistry), Blake Peterson (KU, Medicinal Chemistry) and Richard Bunce (Oklahoma State, Chemistry) on an NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease research project grant entitled “Chemical tools for perturbing iron homeostasis in P. aeruginosa,” which proposes to validate iron homeostasis as a new target for future development of antibiotics.
Chandler and Rivera will also be working on “Protein interactions regulate iron storage and utilization in bacteria,” a Division of Molecular and Cellular Bioscience award from the NSF, which aims to fill a major gap in fundamental understanding of bacterial iron metabolism in the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Chandler's contribution to both projects will be to provide consultation on genetics and molecular biology approaches to evaluate some of the consequences of disrupting iron homeostasis in P. aeruginosa.
August 2016: CMADP Research Project Investigator awarded NIH R21 grant
Yong Zeng (Assistant Professor of Chemistry at KU) has received a two-year R21 grant from the NIH's National Cancer Institute for his project "Integrated Digital Microfluidic Platforms for Next-Generation Glycomics." Zeng's proposed work aims to develop a new biomedical microsystem that can catalyze breakthroughs in elucidating the pathological roles of protein glycosylation and in developing reliable biomarkers for early diagnosis and better treatment of disease. The microsystem will also be adaptable for potential use in point-of-care and clinical settings.
August 2016: CMADP Co-I receives NIH R56 bridging grant
Erik Lundquist (Professor of Molecular Biosciences) has been awarded an R56 bridging grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke entitled "Regulation of growth cone protrusion in Netrin-mediated axon repulsion”. Axon guidance is a fundamental mechanism of wiring the nervous system into circuits during development. Work supported by this award will delve into the basic mechanisms of axon guidance in the model organism nematode C. elegans, which will be relevant to human neurodevelopment disorders and nervous system recovery after stroke or physical trauma.
May 2016: CMADP Graduate's 'chemo brain' research featured in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, C&E News, other outlets
Research done in the laboratory of Michael Johnson (Associate Professor of Chemistry) on ‘chemobrain’, a neurological condition caused by the use of cancer chemotherapy agents, was recently featured in Chemical and Engineering News and was published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience, receiving an ACS Editors' Choice award and being featured on the journal's cover. Patients with 'chemobrain' often have deficits in long and short term memory as well as processing speed. Prof. Johnson’s team used sophisticated electrochemical measurements in rats treated with carboplatin, a commonly used chemotherapy agent, to determine that the release of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters involved in cognition, motor control, and addiction, are diminished even though overall levels within the brain are unchanged.
Free access to the full text of the article in ACS Chemical Neuroscience is available via PubMed Central.
May 2016: CMADP Graduate receives promotion and tenure
Prajna Dhar (KU Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering) has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Dr. Dhar is one of the CMADP's inaugural project investigators (2012-2015) and was also named a KU Women of Distinction honoree for the 2015-2016 academic year. Before coming to KU in 2010, she earned her PhD in Physical Chemistry from Florida State University and was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph Zasadzinski at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dhar's research at KU primarily focuses on understanding nature’s rules that govern biological self-assembled processes, in order to better mimic nature and design new treatments for various diseases.
May 2016: CMADP Graduate part of international team to discover new information about evolution of multicellular organisms
Bradley Olson (Assistant Professor of Biology at Kansas State University) is part of an international team of researchers featured in a recent K-State press release for their work in multicellular evolution and possible origin of cancer. Olson and his colleagues compared genomes found in algae and discovered one particular gene they believe responsible for the evolution of multicellular organisms. The significance of the discovery as it relates to cancer is that the gene also appears to be a tumor suppressor.
Additional details about the team's research can be found in their article in Nature Communications. Olson's portion of the project was funded in part by his former COBRE CMADP Pilot Project award for research on multicellular evolution by reprogramming cell cycle regulation.
March 2016: CMADP Research Project Investigator awarded NIH R21 grant
Congratulations to Jodi McGill (Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine) on receiving a two-year R21 grant from the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)! McGill's exploratory studies on "Efficacy of a Novel Nanoparticle Vaccine and Nutrition During RSV Infection" will use the natural host-pathogen model of bovine RSV infection in infant calves to test the efficacy of a novel biopolymer based vaccine, and to determine the role of vitamin A on the immune response to RSV infection.
December 2015: CMADP External Advisory Board member becomes KU Foundation Distinguished Professor
Steven Soper, professor in the departments of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC), has been named KU's 10th Foundation Distinguished Professor. Soper is a leading international researcher in developing new technologies that have important applications for disease detection, as well as a KU alumnus. He will return to KU’s Department of Chemistry on July 1, 2016, and hold an appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering as well.
For more information, please see the KU News Release.
December 2015: CMADP Co-I named 2015 AAAS Fellow
Erik Lundquist (Professor of Molecular Biosciences) has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS Fellows are elected in recognition of their contributions to innovation, education and scientific leadership. One of only 347 Fellows elected in 2015, Lundquist was recognized by AAAS for his for distinguished contributions to understanding molecular mechanisms of nervous system development, including axon guidance, using modern genetic and in vivo approaches.
Lundquist will be recognized in a Fellows Forum at the February 2016 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. For more information, please see KU's news release.
November 2015: CMADP Co-PI receives K-INBRE Bridging Grant
Erik Lundquist (Professor of Molecular Biosciences) is the recipient of a Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Bridging Grant for his project entitled “Identifying molecules that interact with the P2 domain of UNC-40/DCC.” This project is aimed at identifying molecules that physically interact with the cytoplasmic domain of the Netrin receptor molecule UNC-40 and that participate with UNC-40 in axon guidance.
September 2015: CMADP Research Project Investigator awarded NIH R01 grant
The NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has awarded Michael Veeman (Assistant Professor of Biology at Kansas State University) the first R01 grant of his career for his proposed research on "Morphogenetic Effector Networks in the Ciona Notochord". This research integrates state of the art methods for transcriptional profiling, targeted gene disruption, and quantitative multidimensional imaging into a systems biology approach to dissecting morphogenetic effector networks in a carefully chosen model organ, the Ciona notochord. Congratulations and best wishes to our latest COBRE CMADP graduate!
August 2015: CMADP Graduate receives KU Cancer Center pilot project grant
Mizuki Azuma (Associate Professor of Molecular Biosciences at KU and recent graduate of the CMADP) and Chad Slawson (KUMC) are the recipients of a pilot project grant from the Cancer Biology Program of the KU Cancer Center for their proposal entitled “Regulation of EWS-Aurora B pathway during mitosis and tumorigenesis.” This project will elucidate the pathogenesis of a childhood bone cancer, Ewing sarcoma, by analyzing the EWS-Aurora B dependent regulation of mitosis.
August 2015: CMADP Graduate named a KU Women of Distinction honoree
Prajna Dhar (Assistant Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering at KU and recent graduate of the CMADP) has been named a KU Women of Distinction honoree for the 2015-2016 academic year by the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity. Dhar is featured on Emily Taylor Center's annual Women of Distinction Calendar, which recognizes KU women students, staff, faculty and alumnae for their achievements. The calendar is available to view via Emily Taylor Center's website.
May 2015: CMADP Research Project Investigator receives promotion and tenure
Mizuki Azuma (KU Department of Molecular Biosciences) has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Dr. Azuma is one of the CMADP's inaugural project investigators (July 2012 - June 2015). She earned her PhD at The Osaka University (Japan), was a postdoctoral fellow at the NICHD/NIH, and was a staff scientist at the NCI/NIH. Her laboratory aims to elucidate the molecular pathogenesis of a childhood bone cancer, Ewing sarcoma.
August 2014: CMADP Pilot Project Investigator receives Army Research Office Young Investigator Award
Shenqiang Ren, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has earned an Army Research Office Young Investigator Award grant to conduct research on cutting-edge photovoltaic technology intended to give American forces tactical advantages in the field. His work focuses on materials chemistry, synthesis and self-assembly of low-dimensional nanomaterials.
April 2014: CMADP faculty researchers form consortium, launch lecture series on aggression and substance abuse
Erik Lundquist of Molecular Biosciences (CMADP Co-I) and Marco Bortolato of Pharmacology and Toxicology (CMADP Pilot Project Investigator), along with Merlin Butler and Ann Manzardo of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences (KUMC), and Paula Fite of Clinical Child Psychology, were awarded a three-year University of Kansas Level I Strategic Initiative Grant entitled “Developing a Research Consortium on Aggression and Drug Abuse.” The consortium (ConTRADA) will be the first multidisciplinary network in the country for studying how and why pathological impulsive aggression and substance abuse and addition disorders exist concurrently but independently in a subject. Using a unique combination of clinical and preclinical studies, the goal is to develop effective preventive and therapeutic interventions.
More information about the consortium can be found in this KU News Release.
January 2014: Members of CMADP Research Project Investigator's group honored for research posters, presentations at bioscience symposium
One graduate student and one undergraduate from the research group of Prof. Michael Johnson (Associate Professor of Chemistry) were among eighteen undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students honored for their scientific research presentations at the 12th annual Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) symposium Jan. 18-19, 2014.
The annual symposium is part of the K-INBRE initiative to identify and recruit promising college science students into careers in biomedical research in Kansas. Led by KU Medical Center, 10 campuses in Kansas and northern Oklahoma are a part of this collaborative network.
doctoral student in chemistry, Mike Johnson Group
“Measurements of serotonin release in Huntington’s disease model R6/2 mice,” poster presentation.
junior in chemistry, Mike Johnson Group
“Neurochemical analysis of Chemobrain,” poster presentation.
December 2013: CMADP Co-I named 2013 AAAS Fellow
Blake Peterson, KU Regents Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, has been named a 2013 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society. Fellows are nominated and selected by their peers for distinguished achievements that advance science or its application.
When announcing his selection, the AAAS said Peterson was being honored for distinguished contributions to the field of bioorganic chemistry, particularly the development of synthetic mimics of cell surface receptors and fluorescent probes of biological systems. Peterson’s research focuses on studies of biologically active small molecules. His laboratory works in the fields of organic chemistry and chemical biology to create compounds that can be used to probe cellular biology, understand mechanisms of disease pathways and discover new therapeutic agents.
School of Pharmacy Dean Ken Audus said, “Blake Peterson continues to distinguish himself as an important and influential leader in the chemical biology field. We’re fortunate to have him as a member of the School of Pharmacy faculty.”
The new AAAS Fellows will be honored at the AAAS Fellows Forum on February 15, 2014, during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago. Peterson is the only KU faculty member elected to this prestigious group this year.
Reprinted with permission from HBC Objectives
October 2013: CMADP PI Chosen One of 100 Top Analytical Scientists
Congratulations to Susan Lunte, Ralph N. Adams Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, for being named one of the 100 most influential analytical scientists in the world. Dr. Lunte is one of only six women named to the list. Read more about the other professionals named to the list by The Analytical Scientist, an international publication.
October 2013: CMADP Pilot Project Investigator pursuing new treatments for impulsive aggression
Marco Bortolato, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology, has been featured again in a KU Today article for his research examining the neurobiological basis of impulsive aggression. His goal is to unlock the condition’s underlying mechanisms and ultimately develop treatments for it. His studies on impulsive aggression are funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health, as well as a JR and Inez Jay grant from KU's Higuchi Biosciences Center and his COBRE CMADP Pilot Project award.
For more details on Bortolato's research in this area, please see the full article in KU Today.
October 2013: CMADP PI Contributes to "Tips for Publishing" Video
Susan Lunte is featured in the opening segment of a recently produced video from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). The video features top tips from world-leading scientists and Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) staff on how to write and publish a great scientific paper. Sue recently finished a 3-year term as Associate Editor for Analytical Methods, one of the newest of RSCs numerous scientific journals. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal.
July 2013: CMADP Pilot Project Investigator's research featured on cover of Advanced Materials issue
Shenqiang Ren, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and members of his research group are authors of a journal cover story for the July 5, 2013 edition of Advanced Materials. The research image chosen for the journal's cover illustrates work with carbon nanotubes as described in Ren's article: Xie, Y., Gong, M., Shastry, T. A., Lohrman, J., Hersam, M. C., Ren, S. Broad-Spectral-Response Nanocarbon Bulk-Heterojunction Excitonic Photodetectors. Adv. Mater., 2013, 25(25): 3433-7.
June 2013: CMADP Research Project Investigator receives School of Engineering award
Prajna Dhar, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, was selected by a School of Engineering faculty committee to receive the Miller Professional Development Award for Research. Dhar’s research focuses on furthering the understanding of respiratory diseases, including work on the effects of inhaled carbon nanoparticles on lung function. She also received a Leading Light Award from KU in March 2013 for earning more than $1 million in research funding during the previous fiscal year.
May 2013: CMADP Pilot Project Investigator researches new treatments for Tourette syndrome
Marco Bortolato, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology, was featured in a KU Today article for his research on new treatments with fewer side effects for people with Tourette syndrome, with the hope of unlocking the syndrome's underlying neurological mechanisms. In a previous study, Bortolato first identified the involvement of a particular neurological inhibitor in Tourette syndrome using animal models, and is continuing this research with funding from a COBRE CMADP Pilot Project award.
For more details on Bortolato's research in this area, please see the full article in KU Today.
March 2013: CMADP Research Project image featured on NIH Director's Blog and NIGMS Biomedical Beat
A striking image of the interaction between lung surfactant and carbon nanoparticles captured by Dr. Prajna Dhar has been featured on Dr. Francis Collins's NIH Director's Blog and in Biomedical Beat, a monthly digest of research news from NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
The microscopic image of lung surfactant illustrates research described in the January 4, 2012 issue of Biophysical Journal (Dhar. P., Eck, E., Israelachvili, J. N., Lee, D. W., Min, Y., Ramachandran, A., Waring, A. J., Zasadzinski, J. A. Lipid-Protein Interactions Alter Line Tensions and Domain Size Distributions in Lung Surfactant Monolayers. Biophys. J. 2012 Jan 4, 102(1): 56-65). Free access to the full text of the article is available via PubMed Central.
February 2013: CMADP Research Project image earns first place in Art of Science contest
A microscopic research image from the laboratory of Prajna Dhar, Assistant Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, has earned first place in the Biophysical Society's Art of Science Image Contest. Over 30 images were submitted for the contest, and the 10 top entries were voted upon by attendees of the Biophysical Society's February 2013 annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA.
For more information, see KU's News Release on the award.