Students and experiments

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES GRADUATE PROGRAM

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Since entering the Biological Sciences Graduate Program, our students have conducted significant research, attended and presented at national conferences, and have received awards to honor their accomplishments. Below is a summery of our current students' activities and successes during their time at here Marquette University.


 

ANDERSON LAB

Alexis Onderak

RESEARCH INTEREST

My research focuses on the role of the mammalian TRAMP complex in RNA surveillance. Specifically, I am working to characterize RNAs that are processed by the TRAMP complex to promote their degradation in mouse cells. 

Alexis Onderak
Enrolled Fall 2012
Biological Sciences 

B.S. Marquette University

 

 

 

ABBOTT LAB

Carmela Rios

RESEARCH INTEREST

I am working on the role of microRNAs in ovulation.  We are identifying what events of ovulation require microRNAs, and what specific microRNAs function to regulate ovulation.  

 

Carmela Rios
Enrolled Fall 2012
Biological Sciences 

B.S. Purdue University

 

Katherine Maniates

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

MicroRNAs are ~22 nucleotide non-coding RNAs that function as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression and are necessary for the normal execution of two calcium dependent rhythms, ovulation and defecation. My research involves determining the role of individual microRNAs to regulate ovulation in C. elegans.

Katie Maniates
Enrolled Fall 2014
Biological Sciences 

B.A., St. Catherine University

 

 

BLUMENTHAL LAB

Sean Conway

RESEARCH INTEREST

One of the phenotypes of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster drop dead (drd) gene mutants is irregular gut function and the inability to form a peritrophic matrix (PM) inside the midgut. My research focuses on characterizing the biochemical pathway drd is involved in for forming the PM as well as investigating the effects of not having a PM in the fruit fly.

 

CONFERENCES

 

2015 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, Chicago, IL

Sean Conway
Enrolled Fall 2013
Biological Sciences

B.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

 

 

 

FITTS LAB

 
Xinrui Wang

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

I'm interested in the role of sarcolemma ATP-sensitive potassium channel on exercise-induced cardioprotection. To study the mechanistic function of voluntary exercise, our lab has developed a rat model using the isolated heart (Langendoff preparation). I'm currently recording the single cell action potentials and simultaneously measuring the Calcium transient elicited by 1 to 8 Hz stimulation, and evaluating these differences between trained/sedentary and male/female rats.

Xinrui Wang
Enrolled Fall 2013
Biological Sciences

B.A., China Pharmacutical University

 

 

HRISTOVA LAB

Michael Mashock

RESEARCH INTEREST

Nanomaterials are becoming ever more common place in today’s consumer market and as such the potential for exposure during use or manufacture is increasing steadily.  My work focuses on discerning the potential mechanisms of toxicity to Baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) caused by copper oxide nanoparticles.  My research will provide useful data for further defining the relationship of nanoparticle physicochemical characteristics and the mechanisms of toxicity to S. cerevisiae which will assist in designing greener nanotechnology for the future.

CONFERENCES

2012  Sustainable Nanotechnology Conference, Arlington, VA

2013  Environmental Nanotechnology Gordon Conference, Stowe, VT

AWARDS

 

2013 Richard W. Jobling Travel Award, Marquette University

 

Michael Mashock
Enrolled Fall 2010
Biological Sciences

B.S., Winona State University

 

Michael Walsh

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in the modern world as bacteria are able to transfer resistance genes to one another through several mechanisms leading to multi-drug resistant bacteria. I study the prevalence of both bacteria containing multiple resistances and the genes which code for resistance. My sample sites include urban water ways around Milwaukee and the water treatment facilities located in and around the Milwaukee harbor." 

Mike Walsh
Enrolled Fall 2014
Biological Sciences

B.S., Purdue University-West Lafayette

 

 

MAKI LAB

Prince Mathai

RESEARCH INTEREST

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as propionate and butyrate are crucial intermediates formed during the breakdown of complex organic matter to methane and carbon dioxide. The objective of my study is to characterize the abundance and population dynamics of syntrophic acetogens involved in the breakdown of SCFA into acetate during anaerobic digestion.

CONFERENCES

2013 General Meeting-Annual Society for Microbiology, Denver, CO

HONORS AND AWARDS

2013 Marquette University Fellowship

2013 Richard W. Jobling Travel Award, Marquette University

2013 Charles O'Hara Scholarship, Marquette University

Prince Mathai
Enrolled Fall 2009
Biological Sciences
B.Tech Biotechnology, Allahabad Agricultural Institute

 

 

MANOGARAN LAB

Douglas Lyke

RESEARCH INTEREST 

Misfolded and aggregated proteins are the underlying cause of many neurodegenerative diseases, including prion disease.  My work focuses on using yeast as a model to understand the relationship between misfolded proteins, actin cables, and the homeostasis of other organelles in the cell.

 

CONCERENCES

 

Gordon Research Conference. Barga, Italy. 2015

Doug Lyke
 
Biological Sciences 

B.S., University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

 

Derek Yeh

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

Protein misfolding and aggregation has long been implicated in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Prion disease. It's suggested that prion-like mechanisms, the misfolding and perpetuation of these misfolded proteins, may underlie these pathologies. Using yeast prion [PSI+], our lab investigates the cellular mechanisms involved in [PSI+] formation.  I am interested in factors that direct aggregate transmission from mother to daughter.

 

Derek Yeh
Enrolled Fall 2014
Biological Sciences 
B.S., Drake University

 

 

PETRELLA LAB

Meghan Fealey

RESEARCH INTEREST

I am determining how temperature affects chromatin state and therefore gene regulation using C. elegans as a model. I utilize synMuv B mutants, a system unable to regulate gene expression at high temperatures, to study these processes.  

Meghan Costello
Enrolled Fall 2012
Biological Sciences 

B.S., Purdue University

 

Jerrin Cherian

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

 

I am trying to decipher how the DRM complex promotes proper gene expression in somatic cells of C. elegans at high temperature. To answer this question, I am studying the localization of DRM complex target genes in the nuclear space of DRM complex mutants under thermal stress.

Jerrin Cherian
Enrolled Fall 2014
Biological Sciences

M. Tech, Padmashree Dr. D. Y. Patil University

 

 

ST. MAURICE LAB

Brittney Wyatt

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

Pyruvate carboxylase is a crucial regulatory anaplerotic enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of pyruvate to oxaloacetate in tricarboxylic acid cycle. However, there are limited specific small molecule modulators that are available to study the enzyme in its cellular context. My research proposes to find, develop, and characterize novel modulators of pyruvate carboxylase activity that will  aid in understanding the structure, mechanism, and regulation of this enzyme and will ultimately lead to new investigative tools to study pyruvate carboxylase in its cellular context.

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

Nagar M, Wyatt BN, St Maurice M, Bearne SL. Inactivation of mandelate racemase by 3-hydroxypyruvate reveals a potential mechanistic link between enzyme superfamilies. Biochemistry. 2015;54(17):2747-2757.

 

Pulford B, Spraker TR, Wyckoff AC, et al. Detection of PrPCWD in feces from naturally exposed rocky mountain elk (cervus elaphus nelsoni) using protein misfolding cyclic amplification. J Wildl Dis. 2012;48(2):425-434.

 

CONFERENCES

 

Midwest Enzyme Chemistry Conference (MECC) 2014

American Society for Microbiology General Meeting 2015 (asm2015)

 

HONORS AND AWARDS

 

2014-2015 University Assessment Committee Graduate Student Representative 

2015-2016 University Assessment Committee Graduate Student Representative                                         

 

 

 

Britt Wyatt
Enrolled Fall 2013
Biological Sciences

B.S., Colorado State University -Fort Collins

 

Yumeng Liu

RESEARCH INTEREST

My research is about how the biotin-dependent enzyme pyruvate carboxylase can be allostericly regulated by binding with small molecules. These small molecules don’t participate in the reaction, they regulate the enzyme activity just by changing its conformation. I am trying to elucidate this allosteric regulation mechanism through different approaches, like crystallography and enzyme kinetics.

 

CONFERENCES

 

2014 36th Steenbock Symposium, Madison, WI

Yumeng Liu
Enrolled Fall 2013
Biological Sciences 

M.S., Agricultural University-Hebei

 

Josh Hakala RESEARCH INTEREST

 

My research involves investigating the dynamics of the swinging arm-like BCCP domain of the biotin-dependent enzyme pyruvate carboxylase. How often does it move between domains and what, if anything, can alter this dynamic? This multifunctional enzyme serves as an anaplerotic input to the TCA cycle in many organisms.

 

CONFERENCES

 

2014 36th Steenbock Symposium, Madison, WI

Josh Hakala
Enrolled Fall 2013
Biological Sciences 

B.S., University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

B.A., Lakeland College

 

 

SCHLAPPI LAB

Yao Shi

RESEARCH INTEREST

Our aim is to better understand the biochemical and genetic mechanism of cold tolerance in Rice. My research will be identifying putative candidate genes near to some novel cold tolerance QTLs that are involved in cold temperature response.

Yao Shi
Enrolled Fall 2012
Biological Sciences 

B.S., M.S., Xi'an Northwest University

 

Naoki Shimoyama  
Naoki Shimoyama
Enrolled Fall 2014
Biological Sciences 
B.S. Valparaiso University M.S. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

 

 

STUART LAB

Josh Garlich

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

I’m interested in the molecular regulation of cellular metabolism. My current work is focused on understanding how cells regulate energy production to meet metabolic demand, and the how the cellular microenvironment influences this process.

HONORS AND AWARDS

2015 Arthur J. Schmitt Fellowship

2014 Catherine Grotelueschen Scholarship, Marquette University

2013 Charles O'Hara Scholarship, Marquette University


PUBLICATIONS


Strogolova V., Furness A., Robb-McGrath M., Garlich J., and Stuart R.A. (2012) Rcf1 and Rcf2, members of the hypoxia induced gene 1 protein family, are critical components of the mitochondrial cytochrome bc1-cytochrome c oxidase supercomplex. Mol Cell Biol. Feb 6

 

Josh Garlich
Enrolled Fall 2010
Biological Sciences
B.A., Bethany College
Vera Strogolova

RESEARCH INTEREST

I am interested in molecular mechanisms regulating cellular metabolism. My current work focuses on the regulation of mitochondrial respiration and how this reflects the metabolic needs of the cell.

PUBLICATIONS

Strogolova V., Furness A., Robb-McGrath M., Garlich J., and Stuart R.A. (2012) Rcf1 and Rcf2, members of the hypoxia induced gene 1 protein family, are critical components of the mitochondrial cytochrome bc1-cytochrome c oxidase supercomplex. Mol Cell Biol. Feb 6

CONFERENCES

2014 Midwest Yeast Meeting

2011 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference, Steamboat Springs, CO


Vera Strogolova
Enrolled Spring 2012
Biological Sciences
B.S., M.S., UW-Milwaukee

 

 

YANG LAB

Yi Liu

RESEARCH INTEREST

Protein phosphorylation is one of the most fundamental and important post-translational modifications. Yet the precise roles of phosphorylation in eukaryotic flagella remain largely unknown. My research investigates investigates phosphorylation in the radial spoke complex that regulates dynein-driven flagellar beating.

Yi Liu
Enrolled Fall 2011 
Biological Sciences

B.S., Wuhan University

 

Xiaoyan Zhu

RESEARCH INTEREST

The 9+2 axoneme is the microtubule-based scaffold in eukaryotic cilia and flagella. I use green alga Chlamydomonas as a model organism to elucidate the key steps in the assembly of the radial spoke complex in the axoneme.

PUBLICATIONS

Zhu, X., Liu, Y., Sivadas, P., Gupta, A., and Yang, P. 2013. Molecular tools for studying the radial spoke. Methods Enzymol. 524: 19-36.

CONFERENCES

2014, Philadelphia, Annual Meeting of American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)

HONORS AND AWARDS

2015, MU fellowship, Marquette University
2014, MU fellowship, Marquette University
2014, Richard W. Jobling Travel Award, Marquette University
2014, Graduate Travel Award, American Society for Cell Biology

Xiaoyan Zhu
Enrolled Fall 2011
Biological Sciences 

B.S., Shandong Normal University

 

 

First Year Graduate Students

 

To help in determining the best fit of student and mentor, first-year students do three laboratory rotations. During the rotations, students are temporary members of the laboratories whose research appears to be of greatest interest to them. Before the end of the student's second semester, an advisor who guides both research and selection of coursework is chosen by mutual agreement between faculty and student.

 

Jessica Anderson

 

Elliot Corless

Brendan Pinto Nilisha Pokhrel

 



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