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March 2012 Issue

Awards and Recognition

Christie Eissler (Hall lab) is this year’s Hickory Stick Award winner.  The award is given annually to recognize a student’s outstanding performance as a teaching assistant. Christie is recognized for her work in BCHM 322 during the Fall 2011 semester.  Not only did she do a superlative job in preparation, supervision of the labs, and grading lab reports, but she was instrumental in redesigning a significant part of the course for Dr. Broyles.   Christie came up with the idea of doing a Real-Time-PCR (RT-PCR) experiment.  Christie will also be recognized at the Celebration of Graduate Student Teachers banquet hosted by the Committee on the Education of Teaching Assistants (CETA) and the Office of the Provost on April 24.










A team led by Don Stocks, Anton Iliuk and Andy Tao in Biochemistry finished second in the Gold Division at the Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Compition in February. Tymora Analytical LLC claimed the $15,000 prize for its platform technology to address unmet needs in the analysis of protein phosphorylation, which relates to the onset of numerous diseases, most notably cancer. Its two lead products, PolyMAC and pIMAGO, equip researchers with tools and new directions to combat disease.

Graduate student Emma Ohaeri (Tao lab) was awarded a NIH supplement fellowship for a total of $95,389 from Jan 2012-Jan 2014.

Dr. Barb Golden was selected to serve as a member of the Macromolecular Structure and Function B Study Section, Center for Scientific Review with the National Institutes of Health for the term July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2018. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors. Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science. These functions are of great value to medical and allied research in this country 

Dr. Ann Kirchmaier and Co-PIs Joseph Irudayaraj (ABE), Sophie Lelievre (BMS) and Feng Zhou (IUPUI) were awarded a grant for $1,000,000 from the W. M. Keck Foundation for their project entitled, "Live Cell Epigenetic Profiling at Single Molecule Resolution." (3/1/12-2/28/15)



Lafayette Regional Science Fair
This  year’s Lafayette Regional Science Fair was held on March 2 in the Stewart Center.  Judges spent time talking to students in the 5th grade to 12th grade level about their scientific experiments.

This year, the biochemistry department had many representatives at the fair

Dr. Sandy Rossie

Harsimranjit Chahal

Graduate Students:
Nick Anderson (Chapple lab)
Ban Carter (Ogas lab)
Nina Serratore (rotation student)
Tiffany Young (Kirchmaier lab)
Luyen Nguyen (Briggs lab)

Undergraduate Students:
Pete Loftus
Betheny Moore
Peter Mercado-Reyes
Kayleigh Nyffeler
Gabe Rangel
Ashley Ochs
Alexandra Smith
Emily Erikson

Central Catholic Science Fair

Ben Carter (Ogas lab), Nina Serratore (rotation student), Emma Ohaeri (Tao lab) participated as judges in a science fair hosted by Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School on February 29.



Alumni Update
Rakesh Joshi (Ph.D. 2011, Gimble) will begin a postdoctoral position at the University of Western Ontario, Canada in April with Dr. Shawn Li.

Undergraduate News
Braden Wenndt and Hanna Pizzato traveled to Indianapolis to attend the Institute of Biological Engineering (IBE) conference on March 3.  They were among several students who represented a biotechnology laboratory (IT 226) class from last fall.  They presented a poster entitled, “Discovery of Novel Mycobacteriophages” explaining the results of soil samples collected from around Purdue's campus in an attempt to isolate new types of mycobacteriophage.   Five new phage were identified.








Going the Extra Mile
Dr. Clint Chapple
was part of the team that presented their progress within C3Bio to the DOE Technical Review panel in Baltimore, MD.

Dr. Barb Golden gave a seminar entitled, “The HDV ribozyme has a hybrid engine” in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago.  She also presented this seminar in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin.

Safety Corner
Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety

Compressed gases present both mechanical and physical hazards. If a cylinder valve is accidentally broken, a standard 330 cubic foot cylinder at approximately 2600 psi becomes a rocket attaining speeds of several miles per hour.

The contents of the cylinder may represent additional hazards due to flammability, reactivity, toxicity or asphyxiation. Exposure to corrosive gases such as chlorine, ammonia, and nitrogen dioxide can do irreparable damage to the lungs. Cryogenic gases such as liquid nitrogen can cause tissue damage from extreme cold.

1)      Make sure the cap is always on the cylinder when it is not connected to a regulator.

2)      Make sure the cylinder is secured at all times, even during non-use, with a chain or strap.

3)      It is recommended to close the valve when the cylinder is not in use to avoid having air go into the tank.

4)      A cylinder should also never be emptied below 25psi because the residual contents can be contaminated with air (see #3).

5)      Do not expose cylinders to an open flame or to temperature above 125oF.

Strictly Personal
The Biochemistry department fielded an intramural basketball team for the first time in recent memory. Michael Melesse (Hall lab) was the captain along with teammates Dr. Mark Hall, fellow graduate students, Liang Qin (Hall lab),Brett Bishop and Ben Carter (Ogas lab), Kit Ma (Tran lab), Zhen Yang (Clemens lab), and postdoc Zhiguo Li (Liu lab). They finished the season with a 2-2 record. They have started playing pick-up games on Saturday mornings at 9:00 for anyone else that is interested in playing.

Tommy Sors (former postdoc in the Chapple lab) and his wife Debbie (and their 18 month old daughter Lucy) welcomed a second child, Isaac Samuel Sors, on March 4.  Everyone is home and doing fine.


Aurelie Chuong (Kappock lab) appeared in the Journal & Courier on March 8 for an article promoting the local YMCA in downtown Lafayette.








Brandi Bass
Ji Chen
Ann Kirchmaier
Andy Miller
Jesse Murphy
Li Pan
Paul South
Beth Tran
Lee Weith

Upcoming Events


March 27

BCHM Seminar
Marisa Bartolomei
University of Pennsylvania
WSLR 116, 4-5pm



April 3

BCHM Seminar
Wilfred van der Donk
University of Illinois
(PFEN), Deans Auditorium, 4-5pm