Trainees Involved in COVID-19 Research
RESEARCH
May 13, 2020

Trainees Involved in COVID-19 Research

The Kay lab has been successful in targeting the viral entry mechanism of HIV using D-peptide inhibitors. SARS-CoV-2 enters cells in a similar fashion, motivating us to use an analogous approach to develop a D-peptide drug against this virus. We have chemically synthesized portions of the entry protein for use in a mirror-image phage display screen and are currently working to identify D-peptide hits that can prevent SARS-CoV-2 entry. Interestingly, this region of SARS-CoV-2 is very similar in other SARS-like coronaviruses, which we hope will lead to a drug that would be effective against SARS, SARS-CoV-2, and similar viruses that are likely to arise in the future. This project is a group effort in the Kay lab between graduate students Sarah Apple, Zachary Cruz and Patrick Erickson and Research Associate Professor, Debra Eckert.... Read More

Trainees Involved in COVID-19 Research
RESEARCH
May 13, 2020

Trainees Involved in COVID-19 Research

The extent of interactions between SARS-CoV-2 macromolecules and human metabolites is unknown. To this end, we are preparing viral proteins and structured RNA elements to reveal the SARS-CoV-2-metabolite interactome using MIDAS. Additionally, we are targeting host proteins critical for SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis. These efforts will provide deeper understanding of virus-host interactions and potential drug targets. This project is a collaboration between Kevin Hicks, Jeff Morgan, and Esther Nuebel, postdocs from Jared Rutter’s lab, and Heidi Schubert, Research Associate Professor from Chris Hill’s lab, and Crystal Davey, Director of the MGD core. Please contact Kevin Hicks with collaborative inquiries.... Read More

Qinzhe Wang's Fellowships
RECOGNITION
May 07, 2020

Qinzhe Wang's Fellowships

Dr. Qinzhe Wang in Erhu Cao's lab was awarded a Research Fellowship from American Society of Nephrology. He was also selected as a recipient for the fellowship from the Polycystic Kidney Foundation, but had to decline this one.... Read More

Our Dickman award winners
RECOGNITION
May 07, 2020

Our Dickman award winners

Congratulations to Qian Xue and Jesse Velasco for winning the Sherman R. and Deborah Ann Dickman Graduate Student Travel Fellowship! Qian will attend the Directed Cell Migration Gordon Research Conference in Galveston, Texas, in January 2021.  Jesse will use his award to attend the March 2021 Metabolic Decisions in Development and Disease Keystone Symposium.... Read More

Casey Hughes Receives the UGRF
RESEARCH
Apr 24, 2020

Casey Hughes Receives the UGRF

Casey Hughes in Adam Hughes' lab (no relation) just received notice that he was selected for the 2020-2021 University of Utah Graduate Research Fellowship (UGRF). Casey has been on a two year Research Training in Hematology grant since July of 2018.... Read More

Faith Bowman Receives NSF GRFP Grant
RESEARCH
Apr 22, 2020

Faith Bowman Receives NSF GRFP Grant

We are thrilled to announce that Faith Bowman, Biochemistry graduate student in Amnon Schlegel’s Lab, has been awarded the prestigious and highly competitive National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program grant. Her proposal, “The Role of FOXN3 in Kidney Glucose Utilization and Metabolism During Fasting,” aims to investigate how FOXN3 influences renal glucose physiology. “I am very proud and excited to serve as Faith’s PhD thesis mentor,” said Amnon Schlegel after receiving news of the NSF fellowship. “This is a well-deserved award to a diligent, hard-working, bright, and promising scientist. I am confident Faith will make fundamental contributions to our understanding of glucose metabolism.” Read the full article to learn more about Faith and the award.... Read More

Molecular dysregulation of ciliary polycystin-2 channels
RESEARCH
Apr 02, 2020

Molecular dysregulation of ciliary polycystin-2 channels

Dr. Jinliang Wang is a co-first author on a collaborative paper with the Decaen group at the Northwestern University. The paper entitled “Molecular dysregulation of ciliary polycystin-2 channels caused by variants in the TOP domain” was accepted for publication at PNAS.... Read More

Human cation chloride cotransporter
RESEARCH
Mar 12, 2020

Human cation chloride cotransporter

A Cao Lab paper by Xiaoyong Yang (Research Associate) and Qinzhe Wang (postdoc) describing the structure of a human cation chloride cotransporter was published in Nature Communications.... Read More

Outstanding Undergraduate Award
RECOGNITION
Mar 12, 2020

Outstanding Undergraduate Award

James Carrington, an undergrad in the Roh-Johnson lab, was accepted into the MD/PhD program at the University of Utah. James is also the recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award for the School of Medicine.... Read More

Sarah Apple's Thesis Defense
RECOGNITION
Mar 02, 2020

Sarah Apple's Thesis Defense

Sarah Apple from the Kay Lab successfully defended her thesis, "Peptides, She Wrote: Case Studies in Challenging Peptide Synthesis."... Read More

F30 Fellowship
RECOGNITION
Feb 08, 2020

F30 Fellowship

Jake Winter in the Rutter Lab was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Predoctoral NRSA for MD/PhD candidates.... Read More

CROI Conference
RECOGNITION
Feb 08, 2020

CROI Conference

Devin Christensen (Sundquist lab postdoc) was just selected as a speaker for the Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), an international event held virtually this year March 8-11, 2020.... Read More

Alyssa English's Thesis Defense
RECOGNITION
Feb 03, 2020

Alyssa English's Thesis Defense

Alyssa English (formerly Litwiller) from the Hughes Lab successfully defended her thesis, "Investigating the Mitochindrial-Derived Compartment Pathway."... Read More

The Polycystin-2 Channel
RESEARCH
Jan 31, 2020

The Polycystin-2 Channel

Qinzhe Wang, a postdoc in the Cao lab, wrote a chapter entitled “Structural Determination of the Polycystin-2 Channel by Electron Cryo-microscopy” accepted for publication in Polycystic Kidney Disease. ... Read More

Ribosome Profiling
RESEARCH
Jan 31, 2020

Ribosome Profiling

The Rutter Lab published a paper that presents a streamlined and comprehensive computational pipeline and toolkit for processing and analyzing ribosome profiling data, as well as introduces important tools previously missing from the open-source toolkit for ribosome profiling analysis. Jordan Berg (graduate student) was first author on the paper. Other authors include Jeff Morgan (postdoc), Yeyun Ouyang (graduate student), and Alex Bott (postdoc).... Read More

Cysteine and iron-dependent toxicity
RESEARCH
Jan 23, 2020

Cysteine and iron-dependent toxicity

The Hughes Lab just published an amazing story on how the amino acid cysteine induces iron-dependent toxicity. Casey Hughes was first author, and TK Coody was second author. Other Biochem authors on the paper include Jordan Berg, Mi-Young Jeong, and Dennis Winge. The paper demonstrates that changes in the spatial location of amino acids within cells, particularly cysteine, functions as a major driver of age-related mitochondrial decline, by perturbing iron homeostasis. The study also shows that the vacuole/lysosome acts as a primary cellular defense center for buffering against amino acid toxicity by sequestering amino acids within the cell.... Read More

Lauren Williams' Thesis Defense
RECOGNITION
Jan 16, 2020

Lauren Williams' Thesis Defense

Lauren Williams from the Sundquist Lab successfully defended her thesis, "Cytokinesis machinery is sequestered from the abscission site to control cell division."... Read More

Kay Lab Graduate Successes
RESEARCH
Dec 11, 2019

Kay Lab Graduate Successes

Recent Kay lab graduate Amanda Smith is the 1st author on a paper in Retrovirology. She just accepted a prestigious CDC two-year postdoctoral fellowship (Epidemic Intelligence Service). James Fulcher, another recent graduate, is first author on a recently published article in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. Timo Xu just accepted a Senior Scientist position at SRI international, a non-profit research institute (he will be leaving at the end of the year). ... Read More

AHA Fellowship
RESEARCH
Dec 11, 2019

AHA Fellowship

Zach Wilson, a postdoc in the Hughes lab, was awarded an American Heart Association Postdoc Fellowship.... Read More

PITCH Chemical Biology Fellowship
RECOGNITION
Sep 01, 2019

Jaime Sepulveda

Jaime Sepulveda in Danny Chou's lab received a PITCH Chemical Biology T32 fellowship.... Read More

RECOGNITION
Jul 12, 2019

Awards before May of 2019

This page was created on July 12, 2019. Currently, we are featuring honors and awards from May of 2019 to the present. ... Read More

Accelerator Award
RECOGNITION
Jul 01, 2019

Accelerator Award

Zach Wilson, a postdoc in Adam Hughes Lab, was awarded a $50,000 Accelerator Award from the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Details of the competition and a video of his seminar can be found at the link below. He was one of three winners and presented his research at the Mitochondrial Medicine Meeting. ... Read More

Jenna Goodrum's Thesis Defense and Paper
RECOGNITION
Jun 13, 2019

Jenna Goodrum's Thesis Defense and Paper

Jenna Goodrum successfully defended her thesis in June, "Exploring Pathways of Quality Control at the Mitochondrial Surface," and published a paper in Molecular Biology of the Cell in September, "Rsp5 and Mdm30 reshape the mitochondrial network in response to age-induced vacuole stress."... Read More

American Society of University Women Fellowship
RECOGNITION
May 01, 2019

American Society of University Women Fellowship

Paula Flórez received an International Doctorate Fellowship from the American Society of University Women. This is an especially notable achievement because it is one of the very few fellowships for which international students are eligible. ... Read More

James Fulcher's Thesis Defense
RECOGNITION
Mar 05, 2019

James Fulcher's Thesis Defense

James Fulcher from the Kay Lab successfully defended his thesis, "From Therapeutic Discovery to Structural Biology: Applications of Chemical Protein and Peptide Synthesis."... Read More

Stephanie Pearson's Thesis Defense
RECOGNITION
Feb 01, 2019

Stephanie Pearson's Thesis Defense

Stephanie Pearson from the Villanueva Lab successfully defended her thesis, "Transcriptional Programming of Thermogenic Adipocytes by TLE3 and the Role of MPC1 in Thermogenesis."... Read More

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 2016, we had 38 graduate students and 33 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

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.

Biosciences Graduate Studies

Department of Biochemistry Graduate Program Guidelines

Biochemistry Electives & Teaching Assistantship Requirements

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

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.

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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.  

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2019 Awardees: Alyssa English and Max Schuler


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.

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2019 Awardee:  Han Han, Ph.D.

Departmental Awards