March 2020 News

Tony Fehr (assistant professor) is quoted in the following Washington Post articles discussing the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.  He also acted as a panelist for a Coronavirus Fact vs Fiction Forum sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and Office of International Affairs at Marvin Hall on February 14, 2020.


50 KU students received Undergraduate Research Awards for spring 2020.  Six of these students are doing research in Molecular Biosciences labs:

Maya Bluitt, a senior from Lawrence: “Elucidating how Flamingo Selectively Regulates Anteroposterior Axonal Outgrowth of VD Motor Neurons Using MSRB-1 as a Model Protein,” mentored by Brian Ackley.
Vaughn Craddock, a senior from Wichita: “Screening of Aspergillus Nidulans Secondary Metabolites that Block Quorum Sensing in the Bacterium Pseudomonas Aeruginosa,” mentored by Josie Chandler.
Kelsey Hillyer, a senior from Shawnee: “In-vitro Study of FTDP-17 Tau Mutations,” mentored by T. Chris Gamblin.
Payton Markley, a junior from Hays: “Identification and Characterization of the ELAVL1 Promoter Region,” mentored by Dan Dixon.
Dania Shoaib, a senior from Elizabethtown, Kentucky: “Investigating the Role of Septate Junction Proteins in Border Cell Migration in Drosophila,” mentored by Robert Ward.
Hunter Woosley, a junior from Leawood: “Investigation of Cellular Protein Targeted by ICP0 for Degradation,” mentored by David Davido.


Jessie Perlmutter joined the Unckless lab as a postdoctoral researcher. Jessie is from Colorado and recently completed her PhD at Vanderbilt University. She will work on host/microbe interactions in Drosophila.



Yousef Alhammad joined the Fehr lab as a postdoctoral researcher. Yousef is from Saudi Arabia but got his PhD in Australia at Monash University. He will work on coronavirus macrodomain functions and its role in replication.



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March 2020 Presentations

Dan Dixon presented a talk entitled “Reaching Outside the Tumor Cell: Control of Exosome Secretion by HuR” at the Stephenson Cancer Center, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, February 28.

Audrey Lamb (professor) gave an invited talk entitled “Two vignettes: Opine metallophore and riboflavin biosynthesis by bacterial pathogens” at the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, February 13.

Berl Oakley (professor) gave an invited talk entitled “How McrA regulates secondary metabolism” at the European Congress on Fungal Genetics 15, Rome, Italy, February 19.

Berl Oakley (professor) presented a poster “How McrA regulates secondary metabolism” at the 17th International Aspergillus Conference, Rome, Italy, February 16.


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March 2020 Publications

Joanne R. Chapman, Maureen A. Dowell, Rosanna Chan, and Robert L. Unckless. The genetic basis of natural variation in Drosophila melanogaster immune defense against Enterococcus faecalis. Genes 2020; 11 (2): 234.

Taybor W Parker and Kristi L Neufeld. APC controls Wnt-induced β-catenin destruction complex recruitment in human colonocytes. Science Reports. 2020 Feb 19; 10(1):2957 PMID: 32076059

Frawley, D., C. Greco, B. Oakley, M. M. Alhussain, A. B. Fleming, N. P. Keller, and Ö. Bayram. The tetrameric pheromone module SteC-MkkB-MpkB-SteD regulates asexual sporulation, sclerotia formation and aflatoxin production in Aspergillus flavus. Cellular Microbiology 2020 Feb 18; (accepted and now available on line)

A.R. Fehr, S.A. Singh, C.M. Kerr, S. Mukai, H. Higashi, and M. Aikawa. 2020. The impact of PARPs and ADP-ribosylation on inflammation and host-pathogen interactions. Genes Dev. 2020 Feb 6. doi: 10.1101/gad.334425.119.


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Molecular Biosciences

We are an interdisciplinary group of faculty who perform cutting edge research in a wide range of areas including biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, bioinformatics, cancer biology, genetics, genomics, immunology, microbiology, virology, neurobiology, molecular, cellular and developmental biology.  We work closely with postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates to investigate fundamental biological problems on all levels from molecules to cells to organisms.  The Department of Molecular Biosciences, located on the Lawrence campus of the University of Kansas system, is an excellent environment for research and education.

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RT @ResearchAtKU : Thanks to all of the @UnivOfKansas researchers who contributed to this effort! #RockChalk ❤️💙