Spring 2013 Newsletter | Biology | Marquette University




Adam Lietzan SmartTeamMSOE's Center for BioMolecular Modeling pairs teams of high school students and their teachers with area researchers to learn about and model the structure of a protein the researcher studies. Doctoral student Adam Lietzan mentored a SMART (Students Modeling a Research Topic) Team from Shorewood High School. The high school students worked with Adam to understand and model how catalysis is coordinated in Pyruvate Carboxylase.

Cassie Nelson mentored a group of high school students from Nicolet High School on their science fair project. Cassie’s group made it to the Badger State Science Fair, held at Marquette in March.




The Marquette Graduate School participates in an innovative instructional program for graduate students interested in teaching careers. During their graduate career, students participating in the program attend seminars, and receive feedback on their teaching, to hone their abilities as future college instructors. Seminars led by university faculty and staff are offered regularly to provide insight into teaching methods, classroom technology, assessment methods, career development andfunding sources. The program culminates in the creation of a teaching portfolio that graduates can use in their future career development. Biological Sciences Ph.D. student Cassie Nelson, who has been active in this program, says she appreciates the opportunity to learn about and utilize the resources the university has to offer. This semester, Cassie has attended seminars on how to effectively have students peer review other students’ work (this seminar was led in part by the department’s own Dr. Thomas Eddinger), and how to develop effective curriculum vitae and resumes.



Qian Huang, Ph.D. graduationQian Huang, Ph.D. December, 2012

Advisor: Dr. Thomas Eddinger

Thesis: Myosin Isoforms and Regulation of Tonic and Phasic Contraction in Smooth Muscle

Keerthi Cherukuri, M.S. August, 2012

Advisor: Dr. James Maki

Evan Graf, Ph.D. December, 2012

Advisor: Dr. John Mantsch

Thesis: Corticosterone-Induced Potentiation Of Cocaine Seeking Through A Glucocorticoid Receptor-Independent Mechanism: A Potential Role For Organic Cation Transporter 3

Xiaoqian Liu, Ph.D. December, 2012

Advisor: Dr. Doug Lobner

Thesis: Regulation of Sysyrm XC- and its Contribution to Cell Death


Cassie Nelson Awarded Schmidt Fellowship:

Cassie Nelson has been awarded the Arthur J. Schmitt Fellowship for the 2013-14 school year. Arthur J. Schmitt was an industrial executive who expressed his commitment to education, and the development of responsible leadership through Christian principles and ideals. He founded the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation in 1941, dedicating its resources toward fashioning a better and more humane world. Recipients of the Arthur J. Schmitt Fellowships are top Marquette doctoral students who have demonstrated leadership ability and have a strong scholastic record.

2012-2013 Richard W. Jobling Award: Yi Lin, Cassie Nelson, Deepa Valsangkar

Up to four travel awards covering expenses up to $1,000 are awarded annually on a competitive basis to students doing research with faculty based in the Department of Biological Sciences, who present their work as first author at a scientific conference.

Dr. Catherine Groteluschen Summer Research Award: Cassie Nelson

The Dr. Catherine Grotelueschen Scholarship Fund for Biology provides an annual award to a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences to support the recipient’s summer research.


Andrew Karls: Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, 2012, New Orleans, LA.

Presented: GABAB receptors couple to Gαq and activate PKC ε to enhance L-type calcium current in neonatal hippocampal neurons.

Adam Lietzan: The 23rd Enzyme Mechanisms Conference, January 2013, San Diego, CA.

Presented: Molecular mechanisms contributing to coordinated catalysis in pyruvate carboxylase.

Yi Lin: The 23rd Enzyme Mechanisms Conference, January 2013, San Diego, CA.

Presented: Structural and functional studies of urea amidolyase.

Cassie Nelson: Experimental Biology, April 2013, Boston, MA.

Presented: Effects of hydrogen ion and inorganic phosphate on calcium sensitivity in rat slow muscle fibers.

Michael Mashock: Sustainable Nanotechnology Conference, 2012, Arlington, Va.

Presented: Effects of Nanoparticles on Symbiotic Relationship of Rhizobium etli and Phaseolus vulgaris.

and: Mechanisms of CuO nanoparticle toxicity to Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Prince Mathai: 113th General Meeting Annual Society for Microbiology, 2012, Denver, CO.

Presented: Quantitative Detection of Synthrophic Fatty-Acid Degrading Bacteria in anaerobic Environments

Chrissy Sansone: Drosophila Research Conference, April 2013, Washington, DC.

Presented: Expression of drop-dead (drd) in the tracheae is sufficient to prevent neurodegeneration, but not early lethality.

Deepa Valsangkar: Society for the Study of Reproduction Annual Meeting, 2012, State College, PA.

Presented: Fatty Acid Oxidation and Hormone-Induced Meiotic Resumption in Mouse Oocytes.



Yi Lin, Martin St. Maurice (2013) The Structure of Allophanate Hydrolase from Granulibacter bethesdensis Provides Insights into Substrate Specificity in the Amidase Signature Family. Biochemistry, Jan 29; 52(4):690-700

Ru Ya, Downs SM. Suppression of Chemically Induced and Spontaneous Mouse Oocyte Activation by AMP-Activated Protein Kinase. Biol Reprod. Feb 2013; doi:10.1095/biolreprod.112.106120






Biological Sciences Department

Marquette University, Wehr Life Sciences
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P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
(414) 288-7355