Fall 2013 Newsletter | Biology | Marquette University

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Judd hultquist, Ph.D.

Marquette University, B.S. 2008

 

Judd Hultquist
Judd Hultquist, Ph.D.

Dr. Judd Hultquist is a native to southeastern Wisconsin, and when he was young, his parents bought a small mudjacking business, Honeyager's Mudjacking Service, which was originally founded by his great-grandfather Floyd Honeyager. Growing up watching his parents foster and build this business from the ground up taught Judd the great value in hard work, perseverance, and integrity.


While not an overtly religious family, Judd’s parents always taught him and his siblings to live a life of love, of empathy, and of understanding. They taught them that the world is a collage of different perspectives, traditions, emotions, and ideas and that all people deserve respect and understanding. Ethics are not black and white, but by giving them the opportunity to live, grow, and explore, by allowing them to question their beliefs and test their assumptions, Judd’s parents provided his family with the ethical maturity to experience the world fully and live with integrity.


Judd is the first in his family to go to college. He was looking for an environment that could provide an excellent, well-rounded education that emphasized not only scholarship and leadership, but service and the development of a strong faith rooted in the principles of ethical maturity. Given these considerations, Marquette seemed, and proved to be, the perfect choice.


An innate drive to question the unknown and a love of the intricate beauty of life led Judd to the biological sciences. He decided to try research and joined the Summer Research Program at Marquette. There he met Dr. Jane Dorweiler, and was introduced to her fascinating work on molecular floral pathways and he was hooked! He not only got a chance to question experts directly to aid his understanding of various biological processes, but he got to attend lab meetings as an equal partner in research, ask his own questions in the lab, write a scientific paper, apply for scientific scholarships, attend and present at research conferences, and serve as a TA for molecular biology courses. Judd largely attributes his success in graduate school to the wonderful training and experiences he had as an undergrad in the Department of Biological Sciences and in Dr. Dorweiler lab.
Judd graduated in 2008 with a double major in Biochemistry and Biological Sciences. His undergraduate academic achievements were well recognized with the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Gold Medal Award for highest GPA (4.0), the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship (a prestigious national award granted to only 300 students annually), the Marquette University Ignatius Scholarship for Academic Excellence, as well as departmental awards for research and academic success.


Judd Hultquist
Photo Credit:  http://www.cbs.umn.edu/cbs-highlights/driven-discover/inauguration-week-cbs

Following his strong drive to use his talents to make a difference in the world, Judd went on to earn his Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Ruben Harris at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. Judd’s doctoral work focused on the relationship between the HIV virus and the human immune system. HIV is a tiny virus (containing genetic information for only 18 proteins), but has the ability to defeat the human immune system and antiviral drugs, by continuously mutating its genome. Judd and his collaborators have discovered a relationship between the human immune protein APOBEC3G, and an HIV protein, Vif.
In ideal circumstances, the human body uses APOBEC3s to increase the mutation rates of invading viruses -scrambling their genetic material until the virus is nonfunctional. Judd’s research has revealed how HIV uses its own protein, Vif, to search out and destroy APOBEC3s using the human cell’s own degradation machinery. The HIV virus makes this interaction even more diabolical, as Vif only destroys some of the APOBEC3s. The APOBEC3s allowed to survive, mutate the HIV just enough to keep it ahead of the human immune system.


The result of Judd’s work could now be used to provide new drugs that target the interaction between APOBEC3s and Vif. Therapeutics could be designed to inhibit Vif, which would allow the body’s APOBEC3s to do their job, causing lethal levels of mutations in HIV. Another possibility would be to inhibit the APOBEC3s, which would limit the levels of genetic diversity in HIV, preventing the virus from outrunning the immune system’s defenses.
Judd graduated with his doctorate in Molecular Biology in December 2012. He continued his record of academic excellence, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He received numerous awards recognizing his talents, including the University of Minnesota Best Dissertation Award in Biological and Life Sciences, the Beatrice Z. Milne and Theodore Brandenburg Award for Exceptional Thesis Research, and the Uta von Schwedler Prize for Outstanding Thesis Research in Retrovirology. Judd has recently accepted a post-doctoral research position at the University of California - San Francisco in the lab of Dr. Nevan Krogan, a world renowned expert on systems biology and proteomics. He plans to continue his work on HIV, as well as taking on a new effort to map the protein-protein interaction network of influenza during human infection.


Want to learn more about Judd’s ground breaking research? Check out his TEDx talk, “Winning the Arms Race with HIV”, recorded in September 2012, at the University of Minnesota.


 

 


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