Biochemistry's Second Annual Award Symposium

Featured speakers: Dr. Daniel Harris, Jr. and William Arnold

The Department of Biochemistry held its second annual graduate student award symposium on Friday, April 6th.

The symposium featured two speakers who received awards: Dr. Harris, the recipient of the 2017 Biochemistry Trust of Urbana Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies, and William Arnold, who received the 2017 Colin A. Wraight Memorial Award in Biochemsitry for an Outstanding Paper.

Dr. Daniel Harris, Jr. (Kranz lab) shared the work he did on engineering and characterizing human T cell receptors for cancer immunotherapies. His work consisted of using deep sequencing techniques for engineering high-affinity T cell receptors against cancer antigens. The engineered high affinity receptors were then transduced into T cells and tested for activity against cancer antigens.

William Arnold (Das lab) shared his work studying the biochemical mechanisms by which drugs can modify the biosynthesis of cardioprotective compounds through CYP2J2. William’s recent work found that doxorubicin inhibits the biosynthesis of cardioprotective compounds through CYP2J2, and a metabolite of doxorubicin modulates the site of metabolism. They also found that cannabinoids are substrates of CYP2J2 and essentially shut down endocannabinoid metabolism through CYP2J2.

William Arnold's award-winning paper can be viewed here.

The symposium honored several other awards, external fellowships, and recent graduates.

Dr. Kiruthika Selvadurai (Huang lab) received the Anne A. Johnson Work Award for Excellence in Biochemistry.

Julian Reed (Lu lab) received the 2017 School of MCB Outstanding Teaching Assistant.

Xingchen Dong (Chen lab), Matthew Starr (Fratti lab), and Xinyu Kong (Jin Lab) received the 2017 Robert L. Switzer Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Paola Estrada (Nair lab) received the Herbert L Carter Graduate Fellowship.

Andrea Hernandez Garcia received the First-Year Westcott Bioscience Fellow in Biochemistry.

John Khamo received the Westcott Bioscience Fellowship.

Department travel grant awards went to William Arnold, Sushant Bangru, Lu Chen, Paola Estrada, Quan Lam, Mara Liveszey, Gregory Miner, Payel Mondal, Melanie Muller, Amy Carruthers, Xingchen Dong, Jennifer Hou, Iti Kapoor Donald Sheppard, and Liqun Yu.

External fellowships included Joseph Seimetz (Kalsotra lab), American Heart Association; Maxwell Baymiller (Martinis lab), Page Daniels (van der Donk lab), and Imran Rahman (van der Donk lab), Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Grant; Melanie Muller (Tajkhorshid lab), National Institutes of Health; Josephine Watson (Das lab), National Institutes of Health Diversity Supplement; Waqar Arif (Kalsotra lab) and Daniel Harris, Jr. (Kranz lab), National Research Service Award; Mara Livezey (Shapiro lab), National Science Foundation.

Doctor of Philosophy Degrees were conferred for May and December 2017 graduation dates to Dr. Alexander Cioffi (Burke lab), Dr. Shannon Walsh (Silverman lab), Dr. Gus Lawrence (Fratti lab), Dr. Zehua Bao (Zhao lab), Dr. Amruta Bhate (Kalsotra lab) Dr. Ruchia Duggal (Sligar lab), Dr. Seung J. Oh (Blanke lab), and Dr. Julian Reed (Lu lab).

The Department of Biochemistry is grateful for the unwavering support of our alumni and friends that allows us to continue in discovery and public service through teaching, research, and community engagement.

Photos of the symposium can be viewed here.

April 26, 2018 All News