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.


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

 

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

 

 

ANTONY LAB

Elliot Corless

RESEARCH INTEREST

Photosynthetic bacteria growing in the dark require the hetero-octameric complex dark operative protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase complex (DPOR) to reduce the chlorophyll precursor protochlorophyllide (PChlide) to chlorophyllide (Chlide.) DPOR consists of 3 parts (Bch-L, Bch-N, and Bch-B) which catalyze a specific double bond reduction requiring 4 ATP, multiple binding and dissociation events, as well as inter- and intra-complex communication. My research focuses on communication between halves of the complex, pre-steady state kinetics, and structure determinations. 

 

CONFERENCES

 

4th Midwest Single Molecule Workshop, Iowa

 

 

Elliot Corless
Enrolled Fall 2015
Biological Sciences 

B.S. Utah State University

 

Nilisha Pohkrel

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

Transcription termination is an important step in synthesis of proper length of RNA. Senataxin (Setx) is a helicase which interacts with two other proteins Nrd1 and Nab3 to form Nrd1-Nab3-Setx (NNS) complex for effective transcription termination. Mutations in Setx generates small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) and small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) which are associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 4 (ALS4) and Ataxia with Oculomotor Apraxia (AOA2). I am interested in biochemical characterization of interaction between NNS complex and transcription bubble including its role in transcription termination.

 

PUBLICATIONS

Yang, Z.Y., Ledbetter, R., Shaw, S., Pence, N.K., Tokmina-Lukaszewska, M., Eilers, B.J., Guo, Q., Pokhrel, N., Cash, V.L., Dean, D.R. and Antony, E., 2016. Evidence that the Pi Release Event is the Rate Limiting Step in the Nitrogenase Catalytic Cycle. Biochemistry.

 

CONFERENCES

 

2016       Genetic Code Expansion Conference, Oregon

2016       4th Midwest Single Molecule Workshop, Iowa

 

HONORS AND AWARDS

 

2016       Charles O'Hara Scholarship, Marquette University

 

Nilisha Pohkrel
Enrolled Fall 2015
Biological Sciences 

B.T. Sharda University

 

BLUMENTHAL LAB

Sean Conway

RESEARCH INTEREST

The animal gut is an incredible dynamic environment as an organism must balance digestion, nutrient absorption, microbiome maintenance and immunity functions. Many animals secrete an extracellular barrier in their gut to maintain homeostasis. My project focuses on the synthesis and function of the Drosophila gut barrier: the peritrophic matrix. The goal of my project is to understand how the PM is synthesized and to better define its physiological role.

 

 

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

 

 

GAMBLE LAB

 
Brendan Pinto

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

I am working to characterize the properties of "what makes a species a species?" by studying the fine line between population genetics and species level genetics. More specifically, I'm working to identify the ecological and molecular processes behind hybridization, when these speciation barriers "break-down", using a clade of neotropical lizards as a model system (Gekkonidae: Sphaerodactylus).

 

CONFERENCES

Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH) 2016

 

HONORS AND AWARDS

Graduate Student Travel Award – SSAR (2016)

Graduate Student Travel Award – ASIH (2016)

 

Brendan Pinto
Enrolled Fall 2015
Biological Sciences

B.S., Morningside University

 

 

HRISTOVA LAB

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

 

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.

 

CONFERENCES

 

Gordon Research Conference. Barga, Italy. 2015

Midwest Yeast Meeting.  Chicago, Illinois 2015

Allied Genetics Conference. Orlando, Florida 2016

 

 

HONORS

 

Graduate Student Research Travel Award, 2016

Richard W. Jobling Travel Award, 2016

 

Doug Lyke
 
Biological Sciences 

B.S., University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

 

 

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

 

It is important for organisms to buffer gene expression when they face an environmental challenge. In C.elegans, the DREAM complex helps in maintaining proper gene expression in somatic cells by repressing germline gene expression. I am trying to decipher how the DREAM complex promotes proper gene expression in somatic cells of C. elegans at high temperature.

 

CONFERENCES

 

20th International C. elegans Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, 2015 

Midwest Chromatin and Epigenetics Meeting, Grand Rapids, MI, 2016

 

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. There are currently 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

Midwest Enzyme Chemistry Conference (MECC) 2015

Midwest Enzyme Chemistry Conference (MECC) 2016

American Society for Microbiology General Meeting 2015 (asm2015)

American Society for Microbiology Microbe Meeting 2016 (asm microbe 2016)

30th Anniversary Symposium of The Protein Society 2016

 

HONORS AND AWARDS

 

2014-2015 University Assessment Committee Graduate Student Representative 

2015-2016 University Assessment Committee Graduate Student Representative 

2016-2017 University Assessment Committee Graduate Student Representative

2016 Graduate Student Teacher of the Year Award 

2016 Protein Science Young Investigator Travel Award

2016 Richard W. Jobbing Travel Award

2016 ASM Student and Postdoctoral Travel Award 

 

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

RESEARCH INTEREST

 

All respiring organisms must deal with oxidative stress both from within its cells and from the surrounding environment. Better understanding of how organisms react to and deal with changes in oxidative stress may help to develop new rice cultivars that can mitigate the effects of environmental stressors.​ My current research is focused on studying the role of oxidative stress in the mechanisms that confer cold tolerance in rice.

 

Naoki Shimoyama
Enrolled Fall 2014
Biological Sciences 
B.S. Valparaiso University

 

SCHNITZER LAB

Sergio Estrada Villegas

RESEARCH INTEREST

My overall research goal is to understand the mechanisms that structure tropical communities. To do so, I study how ecological interactions and anthropogenic disturbances affect biological communities. For my dissertation I am studying the effects of liana-tree competition on tropical forest succession, with a particular emphasis on how competition may preclude biomass accumulation (wood) in regenerating forests. My research will provide management tools to maximize biomass accumulation, and will contribute to understand the factors that structure tropical secondary forests. ​

 

 
Enrolled Fall 2015
Biological Sciences 

 

B.S. Universidad de los Andes
M.S. McGill University

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

STUART LAB

Jessica Anderson  
Jessica Anderson
Enrolled Fall 2015
Biological Sciences

B.S. Utah State University

 

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.

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

  • Harris, J. A., Liu, Y., Yang, P., Kner, P., & Lechtreck, K. F. (2016). Single-particle imaging reveals intraflagellar transport-independent transport and accumulation of EB1 in Chlamydomonas flagella. Mol Biol Cell, 27(2), 295-307
  • Zhu, X., Liu, Y., Sivadas, P., Gupta, A., & Yang, P. (2013). Molecular tools for studying the radial spoke. Methods Enzymol, 524, 19-36.

CONFERENCES

2014 ASCB/IFCB meeting in Philadephia

 

HONORS AND AWARDS

2016 Oliver H. Smith Academic Achievement Award

2016 MU fellowship, Marquette University

2015 Charles O’Hara Scholarship

2015 Dr. Catherine Grotelueschen Scholarship

2014 Richard W. Jobling Travel Award

2014 Graduate Travel Award, American Society for Cell Biology

 

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.

 

 

 

 

   

 



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Biological Sciences Department

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