What's Your Story?

Each month, we feature a short bio from one of our trainees.  The full interview, along with archived stories (once accrued) appear here.

 


Supraja Ranganathan

(July 2021)

supraja-ranganathan-1.jpg

What drew you to science?

Growing up I always loved biology. Since middle school biology was everything and, during high school, I learned I hated computers. So, I knew I didn’t want to go into engineering no matter what. I did study biology as my major and then I aimed to become a doctor, but then with all the reservation systems in India I did not get the cutoff to get into medical school. Based on that, I decided to try other things and that’s when I stumbled onto biotechnology as a major. I just googled what biotechnology university options there were and joined the school that Google told me was the best in Biotechnology. During my undergrad, I got an Indian Academy of Sciences Fellowship which was my first ever research experience and that’s where I decided research was for me.

 

See more stories for the full story.

 

 


 

Recent Accomplishments

Celine Awarded a Fulbright
RECOGNITION
May 12, 2021

Celine Awarded a Fulbright

Congratulations to undergraduate Celine Slam (Sigala Lab) who was awarded a 2021 U.S. Fulbright Scholarship to study malaria transmission at the Centre Pasteur in Cameroon!... Read More

Megan's 3i Art of Science Win
RECOGNITION
Apr 30, 2021

Megan's 3i Art of Science Win

Congratulations to Megan Okada (Sigala Lab), who won first place in the Immunology, Inflammation, & Infectious Disease (3i) Initiative's Annual Symposium Art Contest. Her 'Braided Helix' won both the popular vote and 1st place in the Art of Science category! Click the 'Read More' link to see the impressive competition, including Shraddha Nayak's 'Vaccinate - A New Year Wish' animation.... Read More

Biochemistry's Well-Being Program
EDUCATION
Apr 01, 2021

Biochemistry's Well-Being Program

Some of our trainees have started a well-being program with a mission is to promote mental health and wellness awareness. They have planned various events and activities, information for which will be posted soon. Pictured left to right: Helen Donelick (Bass Lab) Chair of the committee, Shraddha Nayak (Iwasa Lab) Post-doc representative, Laura McCullough (Formosa Lab) Staff representative, Supraja Ranganathan (Bass Lab) Graduate student representative, Ben Schmitz (Sundquist Lab) Graduate student representative, Deirdre Mack (Shen Lab) Graduate student representative, and Tim Formosa, Faculty representative (not pictured). ... Read More

Raushan Singh published in eLife
RESEARCH
Mar 22, 2021

Raushan Singh published in eLife

Raushan Singh's paper, "Transient kinetic studies of the antiviral Drosophila Dicer-2 reveal roles of ATP in self•nonself discrimination", has been accepted for publication in eLife. Raushan is the first author and co-corresponding author with Brenda on this paper. ... Read More

Lara Rheinemann receives the von Schwedler Prize for Retrovirology
RECOGNITION
Mar 15, 2021

Lara Rheinemann receives the von Schwedler Prize for Retrovirology

Congratulations to Lara Rheinemann, who was just selected to receive the von Schwedler Prize for Retrovirology, which is awarded “with the purpose of honoring the accomplishments of a distinguished graduate student as he or she completes a dissertation in retrovirology….and is awarded directly to the student based on their scientific accomplishments and promise”... Read More

Shraddha Nayak Helping Educate Kids
EDUCATION
Mar 03, 2021

Shraddha Nayak Helping Educate Kids

Shraddha Nayak in Janet Iwasa's lab was featured in the Spring Imaging issue of Pathways magazine. Pathways is a joint venture between NIGMS and Scholastic, Inc. to provide free educational resources to grades 6-12 about basic biomedical science and research careers.... Read More

Joe Carrier, Michael Stewart, and Matt Miller publish paper in eLife
RESEARCH
Feb 08, 2021

Joe Carrier, Michael Stewart, and Matt Miller paper in eLife

Joe Carrier, Michael Stewart, and Matt Miller recently published a paper in eLife, entitled “Structural Basis of Stu2 Recruitment to Yeast Kinetochores”. Their work was done in collaboration with Steve Harrison’s lab at Harvard Medical School and demonstrated with structural and biochemical methods how the kinetochore's Ndc80 complex binds to the tension sensing molecule, Stu2, in order to recruit Stu2 to the budding yeast kinetochore. Their work further showed that kinetochore-recruitment of this tension sensor was required for accurate chromosome segregation during cell division, and that the identified binding interface is very likely to be conserved from yeast to man. ... Read More

Casey Hughes' represents Univ of Utah in the annual STATMadness
RECOGNITION
Feb 08, 2021

Casey Hughes' represents Univ of Utah in the annual STATMadness

Congratulations to Casey Hughes in the Adam Hughes Lab who are in the STAT Madness bracket competing against 63 other research discoveries for “best innovation in biomedicine”! STAT is a highly regarded online science and medicine publication and each year they host a March Madness-style competition for research where anyone can vote for their favorite.... Read More

Corey Cunningham Awarded F32 fellowship from NIH
RESEARCH
Jan 04, 2021

Corey Cunningham Awarded F32 fellowship from NIH

Mitochondria are organelles which play essential roles in cellular metabolism, biosynthesis, apoptosis, and innate immunity and their dysfunction is often associated with diseases like diabetes, cancer, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. While most depictions of mitochondrial biology assume all mitochondria within a given cell function equivalently, my fellowship aims to fully uncover intracellular mitochondrial heterogeneity (specialized populations of mitochondria) and how this specialization is important for cell homeostasis. Understanding the mechanisms of how these specialized mitochondrial populations arise and how they are maintained will illuminate a new field of mitochondrial biology and cellular metabolism.... Read More

Trainee Accomplishments Archive

 


Training in the Department

The relatively small size of our department provides an atmosphere of collegiality and accessibility. At the same time, close contacts and collaborations with other very strong departments on campus provide a breadth of expertise and experience of which we take full advantage.

In addition to their research, our faculty teach both graduate and medical students.  As of March 2021, we had 58 graduate students and 29 postdocs distributed amongst our departmental research laboratories.  Our research trainees receive a solid grounding in the fundamentals of chemistry, biology and biochemistry, and experience with contemporary approaches to problems of significant current interest. Graduates of our program have had good success in finding outstanding opportunities for additional training and/or professional development.

 

 

Undergraduate

Undergraduates interested in research opportunities in the department should contact individual faculty and explore research support through the UROP, NARI, GSRM, and other programs.

The Biochemistry Department does not offer an undergraduate program. Students interested in bachelor’s or master’s degrees should contact:

 

Graduate

We recruit doctoral graduate students through two interdisciplinary programs, one in molecular biology and one in biological chemistry. Information about these two programs, and how to apply, can be found at the Biosciences Graduate Studies website. Apply directly to one of these programs. After you have been accepted, they will assist with admission to the University of Utah Graduate School.

 

Biochemistry Research in Progress

Two of our trainees present their current research to the whole department each week.  Held every Thursday at 1 PM in the Emma Eccles Jones Medical Research Building, Kjeldsberg Conference Room (room 1200), these meetings give researchers a chance to receive valuable feedback from faculty, postdocs, and graduate students in the department.

The latest RIP schedule can be found on the Biochem Calendar in Pulse.

University of Utah Graduate Programs in Bioscience

Biochemistry's Graduate Students

Enlarge to view our current graduate students.

Enlarge to view our current postdoctoral fellows.

Departmental Awards

Sherman R. and Deborah Ann Dickman Graduate Student Travel Fellowship

Sherman R. Dickman was a biochemist at the University of Utah School of Medicine who studied mechanisms of translation. This travel fellowship was established to honor his contributions to education at the University of Utah. This $500 travel award will be given to a current graduate student who has excelled academically and will support their attendance at a conference of their choice during the next year. Priority will be given to under-represented PhD candidates pursuing an education in the School of Medicine in a subject related to Biochemistry.

 qian_xue_4x6.jpgjesse-velasco.jpg

2020 Awardees:  Qian Xue and Jesse Velasco


Marjorie Riches Gunn Award for Graduate Student Excellence

This award has been made possible by generous financial support from Marge Riches Gunn, a longtime supporter of our Department. The award is given out annually to a Biochemistry pre-doctoral graduate student who most exemplifies our Department values of scientific excellence.  

lara_rheinemann.jpg

2020 Awardee: Lara Rheinemann


Eveline Bruenger Award for Postdoctoral Excellence

Eveline Bruenger, who passed away in April 2018, was a member of the U of U Health community as a scientist and advocate, and she generously donated to many U Health entities, including the Department of Biochemistry. We are looking for Postdoctoral Fellows who embody her passion for scientific excellence and commitment to the community.

sara-nowinski.jpg

2020 Awardee:  Sara Nowinski, Ph.D.

Departmental Awards