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Alumni Features

Biological Sciences alumni have had terrific success both professionally and personally, and one goal of the newsletter is to share that success with our alumni and current students by featuring alumni achievements in each issue. This issue, we are featuring Dr. Shannon Colton and Micaela Robb-McGrath.

While we are aware of the accomplishments of many alumni, there are many we have not heard from. Please tell us your story with an email to the department chair (


Alumnus receives NSF Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Award

Corey NemecCorey Nemec (Biochemistry, 2010) has just been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. In 2010, Corey was the recipient of the Biological Sciences’ Department Research Award in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Nemec is currently a second year graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry at UW-Madison.  He works in the lab of Dr. Aseem Ansari where they aim to understand regulatory mechanisms of RNA polymerase II and to design artificial transcription factors capable of targeting specific genes for activation or repression.  Ansari’s lab not only designs protein-based transcription factors, but also small-molecule regulators with the goal of reprogramming cell-fate and potentially developing transcription-based therapeutics.  Currently, Corey is studying the unstructured carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) of the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II.  This domain consists of repeating heptapeptide units that can be reversibly phosphorylated.  Such phosphorylations recruit factors involved in the 5’ capping of mRNA, pre-mRNA splicing, and termination.  Corey is determining the biological role two previously uncharacterized CTD modifications through chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing (ChIP-Seq), immunofluorescence, and chemical-genetic approaches.

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Biological Sciences Department

Marquette University, Wehr Life Sciences
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P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
(414) 288-7355