Did you miss us? We hated to keep you waiting with the newsletter, but we were working hard to make sure that the second issue of our magazine, Vestigo, was top notch!
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We’re very excited to present the latest Vestigo in both PDF and web versions, both of which are accessible to screen readers. The new issue includes everything from trainee-led research on ubiquitin, fibroblasts, membrane proteins, and tuft cells, to a feature of the mitochondrial diseases program and efforts to combat SARS-CoV-2 in our labs. Also featured are highlights of the art presented at the Winter Showcase 2020 and the programs designed to combat inequity and promote diversity and inclusion within Basic Sciences.
We hope you enjoy Vestigo. And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the AR experience we’ve prepared for you on the cover of the magazine!
AWARDS & FUNDING
Bordenstein elected to AAM
Seth Bordenstein (Biological Sciences) was recently elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. Sixty-five fellows were elected in 2021.
Hasty recognized with Research Career Scientist Award
Alyssa Hasty (MPB) has recently been awarded a Veterans Affairs Research Career Scientist Award. This five-year grant is for established, non-clinician, independent investigators who are currently working on a VA/Health Services Research & Development project.
Roden honored with Oscar B. Hunter Career Award
Medicine’s Dan Roden has been presented with the Oscar B. Hunter Career Award in Therapeutics from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an award that recognizes multifaceted eminence exemplified through a “meritorious career in drug research, excellence or contributions in direct patient care, and a distinguished teaching career.”
Reyes Ruiz selected as HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow
Valeria Reyes Ruiz, a postdoc in the lab of Eric Skaar (PMI), has been named a Hanna Gray Fellow. These exceptional, early-career scientists are recognized as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s effort to support diversity in biomedical research.
Sloan Research Fellowship goes to Townsend
Steven Townsend (Chemistry) was selected as one of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation 2021 Sloan Research Fellows, an award that identifies him as one of the most promising early-career researchers working today.
Denison recognized during Spring Faculty Assembly
Chancellor Diermeier presented Mark Denison (Pediatrics) with the Joe B. Wyatt Distinguished University Professor Award at the Spring Faculty Assembly held last week.
Zanic recognized at Biophysical Society annual meeting
CDB faculty member Marija Zanic received the 2020 Early Career Award from the Motility & Cytoskeleton subgroup. She accepted the award and presented a talk at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society, which took place in February.
Neuropsychopharmacology recognizes Centanni/Winder and Calipari
The journal Neuropsychopharmacology recently awarded its Editors’ Award for a Transformative Original Report to a paper penned by postdoc and PI team Sam Centanni and Danny Winder (MPB) and their collaborators. The NEATOR is awarded to the top original article published in print in NPP during the previous year. Additionally the journal recognized Assistant Professor of Pharmacology Erin Calipari (Pharmacology) with the Neuropsychopharmacology Editor’s Early Career Award, intended to recognize the top paper from an early-career researcher, from their own independent lab, published in print in NPP during the previous year.
We would like to recognize the following graduate students who received grants from the NIH: Andrea Wojciechowski (CDB, Bill Tansey lab), Logan Richards (Biological Sciences, Jared Nordman lab), Hillary Layden (Biochemistry, Scott Hiebert lab), Payam Fathi (MPB, Julio Ayala lab), and Sara Ramirez (CDB, Sabine Fuhrmann lab). Wojciechowski also received a grant from the National Cancer Institute.
Students win NSF GRFP grants, honorable mentions
Congratulations to Kathleen McClanahan (MPI, Danyvid Olivares-Villagómez and Hendrik Weitkamp labs) and Ebony Hargrove-Wiley (Cancer Biology, Barbara Fingleton lab), who received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program grants. The following students received honorable mentions: Baltazar Zuniga (MPB, Jamey Young lab), Elizabeth Semler (MPB, Kasey Vickers lab), Jordyn Sanner (Biological Sciences, Julian Hillyer lab), Kyle Riedmann (CDB, Julie Bastarache and Matt Semler labs), Greg Konar (IGP), and Tomas Bermudez (MHI, Hadjifrangiskou & Byndloss labs).
Snider earns JCB Hall Award
Recent Ph.D. graduate Chloe Snider (CDB, Kathy Gould lab) was recognized by the Journal of Cell Biology with the Alan Hall Award, granted to outstanding graduate students and first-year postdocs whose work was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology.
Hutchison received Karpay Award
James Hutchison of the lab of Chuck Sanders (Biochemistry) was presented the Karpay Award, sponsored by the Center for Structural Biology, in January. He presented a seminar titled “We’re All in This Together: Choosing the Right RAFTing Partners.”
Kavlashvili wins 2nd place in 3MT competition
The Graduate Student Council hosts an annual 3-Minute Thesis competition in which graduate students must present their thesis research simply and concisely and in a way that is understandable to people outside their fields. This year, the second-place winner was Tata Kavlashvili (Biochemistry, James Dewar lab)! Congratulations as well to Kelsey McNew (MPI, Dan Moore lab), who was one of the finalists.
Starting in 2021, we’ll be letting you know which Ph.D. students have successfully defended their dissertation or completed a master’s degree (if we missed any, let us know and we’ll give the student a shout out in our next issue!). To kick it off, here are the students who completed their programs between December and March:
- Biochemistry: Vaughn Thada, Ph.D.
- Biological Sciences: Jessica Abner, Ph.D.; Zi Ye, Ph.D.
- Biomedical Informatics: Patrick Wu, Ph.D.
- Cancer Biology: Victoria Ng, Ph.D.
- Cell & Developmental Biology: Maria Fomicheva, Ph.D.; Alissa Guarnaccia, Ph.D.; Trevor Hann, M.S.; Chloe Snider, Ph.D.
- Chemical & Physical Biology: Corey Hayford, Ph.D.
- Epidemiology: Jaimie Zhi, Ph.D.
- Microbe-Host Interactions: Diana Contreras, Ph.D.; Clare Laut, Ph.D.; Lauren Williamson, Ph.D.
- Neuroscience: Rose Follis, Ph.D; Randall Golovin, Ph.D.; Darren Yeo, Ph.D.
- Pharmacology: Kayla Shumate, Ph.D.
Want to keep up with upcoming defenses? Bookmark this calendar.
To preprint or not to preprint?
With preprint servers growing in popularity within the biomedical sciences, should you or should you not post your manuscript before submitting it for peer review at a journal? Associate Dean for Faculty Chuck Sanders has some thoughts he’d like to share with you as you deliberate your decision.
Welcome new faculty!
In the last few months, the basic sciences departments at Vanderbilt have welcomed the following faculty:
- Pharmacology: Assistant Professor Rick Sando, Ph.D.
- CDB: Research Instructor Alaina Willet, Ph.D.
Faculty recognized for teaching during pandemic
Vanderbilt University recently recognized over 50 faculty members for their efforts in teaching during the pandemic. Among those lauded were Lars Plate (Chemistry) for teaching a course focused on timely and topical pandemic-related issues and Katherine Friedman (Biological Sciences) and John McLean (Chemistry) for developing innovative approaches to teaching science.
Carter named to CRF scientific advisory board
Bruce Carter (Biochemistry) has been appointed to the scientific advisory board of CMT Research Foundation. In this role, Carter will help guide CRF’s research strategy and funding to deliver treatments and cures for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
Blind named GSA Presidential Member
The Genetics Society of America launched a new initiative in 2020 to invite talented and creative individuals from diverse backgrounds into their community, and named Ray Blind (Medicine) as a member of its first cohort.
IBM Developer Podcast features Lopez
IBM’s high-performance computing and AI podcast recently aired an interview with Carlos Lopez (Biochemistry) in which he discussed his work using HPC simulations of biological systems to understand and treat cancer.
Calipari on the effects of the pandemic on addiction
The annual fundraising breakfast of Mending Hearts, a Nashville organization that seeks to help women who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, featured Erin Calipari (Pharmacology) as a speaker this year. Calipari spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people suffering from addiction. You can view the recording of the event here.
Immuknow+: SARS-CoV-2 variants
VI4 intern Taylor Engdahl (MHI, James Crowe lab) has published an editorial on the new variants of the virus that cause COVID-19 and what that means for vaccines and treatments.
Beyond the Lab podcast highlights BOV members
The ASPIRE program interviews Vanderbilt Ph.D. and postdoc alumni and publishes these conversations as part of the Beyond the Lab podcast. Season 4 includes two alumni who are part of the Basic Sciences Board of Visitors, an advisory board for the school, Renee Bailey Iacona and Colleen Piersen.
Microvillus cover stories
The lab of Matt Tyska (CDB) recently landed two of his lab’s images on the covers of two journals. The first was a Molecular Biology of the Cell cover related to a paper on the limits of epithelial microvillus length and the second was a Journal of Biological Chemistry cover related to a paper on a novel microvillar protrusion length-matching mechanism.
A recent paper from the Ege Kavalali (Pharmacology) lab, focusing on the newly discovered sharing of synaptobrevin between neurons, has been featured on the cover of the journal.
CRISPR screen helps understand cancer origins
A new CRISPR screening method developed by the lab of Ian Macara (CDB) allows researchers to find singular genes responsible for particular traits. The group used the screen to find genes that drive uncontrollable cell growth in cancer. The results of this paper were reported in the media.
Battling SARS-CoV-2 variants, chikungunya
A monoclonal antibody cocktail developed by James Crowe (Pediatrics) and collaborators at the Washington University in St. Louis has been shown to be effective against all known variants. At the same time, a second monoclonal antibody against the chikungunya virus isolated in the Crowe lab will be entering a phase 1 clinical trial.
A potential treatment for diabetes
According to the lab of Danielle Dean (Medicine), excess glucagon contributes to metabolic dysregulation in diabetes, so the targeted disruption of glucagon action could be a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes.
Pulmonary hypertension drug targets specific T cells
A team of researchers, led by Stokes Peebles (Medicine), recently found that prostaglandin I2, an FDA-approved medication, augments the function of T regulatory cells.
Preventing widespread scarring post heart attack
Recent research from the lab of David Merryman (Biomedical Engineering) has found that inhibiting the serotonin 2B receptor in the heart could prevent widespread scarring that occurs after heart attacks. A partnership with Craig Lindsley (Pharmacology) aims to develop a highly targeted molecule against the receptor.
In addition to the papers listed above, we believe you might be interested in these recent publications: