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BMB Weekly #26: July 5, 2024

Vol. 57, No.26Horizontal banner with MSU helmet displaying College of Natural Science Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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Noteworthy News

"Meet James, 2024 Homecoming Court Member"

Featuring James Suggitt.
Read the full article here.

BMB Students Win 1st Place Awards at 2024 UURAF

Grace Best
"Assessing the Effectiveness of DIY 2-Liter black light Moth Traps for Educational Use"
Mentor: Dr. Brian Keas

Caroline Downes
"Conserved somatic mutation in ckit oncogene in mouse model of breast cancer associated with loss of expression"
Mentor: Dr. Eran Andrecheck

Caroline Erpelding
"Inhibitory proteins push membrane reentrant loop of intramembrane protease outside the membrane"
Mentor: Dr. Lee Kroos

Dana Nzerem
"Participant Characteristics associated with the vaginal microbiome based on Household Income in Pregnant Women"
Mentor: Dr. Sarah Comstock

Justin Strong
"'She's going to write her own story': A mixed-methods study exploring caregivers' experiences with their children with medical complexities"
Mentor: Dr. Emily Jensen

Megha Suresh
"Chloropicrin and Cell Death: in Vitro Study"
Mentors: Dr Neera Tewari-Singh and Dr. Ebenezar Okoyeocha 

Ethan Wolfe
"Leveraging machine learning to predict antimicrobial resistance in ESKAPE pathogens"
Mentor: Dr Janani Ravi

Caleb York
"Pathway Discovery - A deep dive into the S. pennellii root acylsugar biosynthesis pathway"
Mentors: Dr. Robert Last and Dr. Jaynee Hart




Upcoming Seminars

Coming Soon: Fall Colloquium Series
The speaker list for the Fall 2024 BMB Colloquium Series will be available soon.


Mark Your Calendar

Inclusivity in the Classroom: Challenges and Opportunities
July 9, 2024 — 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Audience: Current Graduate Students, Postdocs

In this session, we will discuss the challenges of Inclusive Teaching and how we can design flexible learning environments that accommodate individual learner differences. We will also touch on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and how it provides a more effective strategy, ensuring all students have equal learning opportunities. Learn more and register here.

Pizza Talk Series
July 9, 2024 — 12:00 p.m.
BCH Garden
Audience: Current Graduate Students

Nick Moreno and Diego Granados Villanueva will talk about their research, plans for future research, and/or journal article of interest, with plenty of time for questions and answers. Please join us for pizza and drinks, and a chance to hear what your peers are up to. We will meet outside at the picnic tables in the garden, or BCH 208 if inclement weather.

PILOT Speaker Series
July 9, 2024 — 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Attention: Current Graduate Students

Held weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m. on Zoom, this program provides graduate students with insights and practical strategies for transitioning from academia to non-academic careers. Each Tuesday, guest speakers from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) will offer their expertise, while Thursdays will feature interactive workshops to further explore the topics discussed. Learn more and register here.

ETD Formatting Webinar
July 11, 2024 — 9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Audience: Current Graduate Students

This webinar is designed for Plan A Master’s students and all Doctoral students who intend to graduate this semester. During this workshop students will receive information regarding the following:

  • How to format their thesis or dissertation correctly.
  • How to successfully submit their thesis or dissertation via ProQuest.
  • How to successfully submit required paperwork, complete their Graduate School degree requirements, and receive their diploma.

Students are encouraged to review the Graduate School's Electronic Thesis and Dissertation website where current information about formatting and requirements are listed prior to attending the workshop. Learn more and register here.

Surviving & Thriving Your First 2 Weeks as an International Student at MSU
July 12, 2024 — 9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Audience: Current Graduate Students

In this session we will provide new international graduate students with information of how to best navigate your first two weeks at MSU. We will share tips based on experiences of current international graduate students to help you best get through your first two weeks and help you plan to make your transition as smooth as possible. We will share resources, a “Survival Guide,”  and give you opportunities to ask questions and make new connections. Learn more and register here.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Orientation and Preparation Program
August 16, 2024 — August 22, 2024
Registration Deadline: July 30, 2024
Attention: Graduate Teaching Assistants

Whether you are a new, international, or a returning Graduate Teaching Assistant, the Graduate Teaching Assistant Preparation Program offers sessions that provide policy training required of everyone and sessions to make you more effective in your teaching, including resources and professional development opportunities. Learn more and register here.


Awards, Grants and Fellowships

Stay tuned for exciting opportunities!



UHW launches free, anonymous, peer-to-peer mental health support community!

Whether students are feeling overwhelmed due to academic, social, or personal pressures or just need to connect, Togetherall is available 24/7 to remind them they are not alone. This free, anonymous, waitlist free, peer-to-peer mental health support community is monitored and moderated 24/7 by licensed clinicians and empowers students to give and receive support for a full range of concerns. Many students do not seek out campus in-person/virtual mental health treatment. Togetherall provides an alternative option for students seeking mental health support, offering an additional resource for students who are looking for an outlet to share and process their emotions. Learn more here.

Online Active Violence Incident Training
Attention: Students, Faculty, Staff

The MSU Department of Police and Public Safety has released an online Active Violence Incident Awareness Training program that is available for students, faculty, and staff. This training includes a presentation explaining how to respond during an active violence situation. Throughout the training, knowledge checkpoint questions will appear on screen to evaluate participants’ understanding of the content. In addition, a video is in development, which will be included in the training at a later time. Learn more here.

MSU Food Bank

Eligible to undergraduates, graduates, and professional students enrolled in Fall/Spring semester and without a dining plan. Fruits, soups, pasta, rice, protein, cereal, bread, and fresh produce available year-round! To learn more about visiting the MSU Foodbank, or to donate, visit here.


Job Postings

Plant Unit Research Leader — U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center in Arizona   New!
Applications Close: July 28, 2024

This position is located with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Pacific West Area, US Arid Land Agricultural Center in Maricopa, AZ. In this position, you will serve as a Research Leader and provide leadership in developing strategies to produce new germplasm with higher yield and better tolerance to abiotic/biotic stresses in arid climates and associated with global climate change, and for use as new sources of biofuels and bioproducts.


  • Serve as leader of a research team using multidisciplinary approaches to improve sustainability, productivity, and profitability of U.S. agriculture in arid agroecosystems.
  • Develop novel methods of high-throughput phenotyping that enable non-destructive measure of plant traits important for understanding heat and drought responses.
  • Conduct research to predict likely impacts of climate change and develop adaptations for cropping systems through experimental approaches.
  • Strengthen physiological and genetic components of eco-physiological and economic models that provide present-day solutions through improved crop growth models.
  • Conduct field-based studies of crops such as cotton, oilseeds, cereal grains, industrial and other crops to characterize plant responses to heat and drought and elucidate genes and stress response pathways that inform crop management and improvement.

Learn more and apply here.

Research Associate, Fixed Term — Skirycz Lab
Application Review Begins: July 1, 2024

The small-molecule regulation group led by Dr. Aleksandra Skirycz seeks a postdoctoral researcher associate with expertise in plant molecular biology and biochemistry. Experience with untargeted metabolomics and compound identification is a plus. The research associate will lead or contribute to projects focused on the identification and functional characterization of novel small-molecule compounds involved in plant growth and stress tolerance and, more generally, organismal health. The starting point of our research is protein-metabolite interaction networks mapped in the group using an array of biochemical approaches and primarily co-fractionation mass-spectrometry. The available interactomes, spanning microbes, animals, and plants, are a treasure trove for discovery. The research associate will query the available interactomes for novel regulatory metabolite-protein pairings, followed by biochemical and functional characterization. The lab is working closely with the MSU metabolomics and proteomics cores. It is fully equipped for molecular and biochemical work, including state-of-the-art technologies to characterize protein-ligand binding. The lab has a strong collaboration network, and the research associate will be encouraged to tap into this network and forge their own collaborations. Learn more about this MSU Careers posting and apply at this link.

Professional Aide — College of Natural Science
Applications Close: July 12, 2024 — 11:55 p.m.

We are seeking a responsible and enthusiastic individual to assist in investigating molecular mechanisms of gene expression and stress response in model plant Arabidopsis. The candidate will perform and document project-specific experiments (e.g. generate and characterize transgenic plants in Arabidopsis, DNA/RNA/protein-extraction, PCR, qRT-PCR, protoplast isolation, luciferase assays, western blot, and basic imaging analysis such as operating dissection microscope and light microscope), prepare lab reagents, and assist in lab organization. Learn more about this MSU Careers posting and apply at this link.

Research Associate, Fixed Term — Rhee Lab
Application Review Begins: June 24, 2024

We seek to recruit a highly motivated and skilled postdoctoral researcher with training in molecular biology, plant genetics, or cell biology. The project will leverage recent advances in microscopy, genetics, and physiology to understand molecular mechanisms of dehydration and desiccation tolerance in Arabidopsis. This project is part of a recently funded NSF Biology Integration Institute called Water and Life Interface Institute (WALII, pronounced “Wally”). WALII studies how life interacts with water, from the molecular to the organismal level, across plants, fungi, and animals. WALII is a virtual institute, with scientists located at nine research facilities across the United States. Working together, WALII team members aim to uncover the rules by which organisms interact with water. The candidate selected for this position will be working primarily on Theme 2Learn more about this MSU Careers posting and apply at this link.


Recent Publications

Chu, Y. H., Lee, Y. S., Gomez-Cano, F., Gomez-Cano, L., Zhou, P., Doseff, A. I., Springer, N., & Grotewold, E. (2024). Molecular mechanisms underlying gene regulatory variation of maize metabolic traits. The Plant cell, koae180. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/plcell/koae180

O'Malley, A., Sankaran, S., Carriuolo, A., Khatri, K., Kowal, K., & Chruszcz, M. (2024). Structural homology of mite profilins to plant profilins is not indicative of allergic cross-reactivity. Biological chemistry, 405(6), 367–381. https://doi.org/10.1515/hsz-2023-0366

Zhao, G., Richaud, A. D., Williamson, R. T., Feig, M., & Roche, S. P. (2024). De Novo Synthesis and Structural Elucidation of CDR-H3 Loop Mimics. ACS chemical biology, 10.1021/acschembio.4c00236. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1021/acschembio.4c00236


To provide feedback or submit content, please email bmb.web@msu.edu.

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College of Natural Science | BMB Weekly | Vol. 57, No.26