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  • NSF Awards $1.2 million to determine the function of plasmodesmata as redox signaling hubs

    Joe Aung, genetics, development and cell biology assistant professor, is the recipient of an $830,000 amended grant, bringing the total funded by the National Science Foundation to $1.2 million for his research in determining the function of plasmodesmata as redox signaling hubs.

    The award is part of the NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program.

  • Springing into undergraduate research

    Several undergraduate biology and genetics students mentored by Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology faculty are among 26 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students completing undergraduate work this spring as recipients of the LAS Dean's High Impact Award for Undergraduate Research.

    GDCB faculty mentoring the LAS recipients include Morrill Professor Don Sakaguchi, GDCB Associate Professor Mohan Gupta, GDCB Professor Jeff Essner, and GDCB Adjunct Assistant Professor Ping Kang. Students Sakaguchi mentors include Liya Mooradian, genetics; Eric Kremer, biology; Michael Kumar, biology; and Bridget McGovern, biology. Students Gupta mentors include Truong, biology; and Seo Young Kim, biology. Kang mentors Elizabeth Larkin, genetics. Essner mentors Amanda Zumbrock, genetics. 

  • Espin Palazon receives early research award

    Raquel Espin Palazon, assistant professor in genetics, development and cell biology, is the recipient of the faculty 2024 Early Achievement in Research Award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.

    Discover more about Espin Palazon's research by reading the complete College of Agriculture and Life Sciences article, "Espin Palazon receives early research award." 

  • Ashwini Rangaraj, genetics, development and cell biology graduate student, won the Iowa State University (ISU) Graduate College’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition held in November 2023 with her presentation, “Characterizing a novel DNA element in the placenta.” 

    Rangaraj is a graduate student in the lab of GDCB Associate Professor Geetu Tuteja, and her major is in molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

  • Kelley, Kraft chosen for 2024 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows program

    Two genetics, development and cell biology (GDCB) faculty members have been chosen to participate in the Iowa State University (ISU) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) 2024 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows program. 

    Dior Kelley, GDCB assistant professor, and Jelena Kraft, GDCB associate teaching professor, are among 11 faculty chosen to participate from eight CALS departments. Each faculty member will receive funding to support their proposed projects. 

    A common theme among projects is the effort to engage students in more interdisciplinary collaboration and engagement. The faculty also will seek to engage students with external stakeholders, including commodity groups, industry and non-governmental organizations, and K-12 students.

  • Essner, chemistry professor receive 2024 PIRS grant

    The Iowa State University Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) awarded $100,000 in 2024 Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grant program (PIRS) funding to support university scholars exploring novel approaches to genomics studies and metabolic dysfunction.

    Established in 2017, the PIRS program is administered by the OVPR and supported with funds from the Office of the President and an endowment from the Mary G. Miller estate. The annual award is given to support university faculty members pursuing initiatives that are innovative, high-risk, and high reward, with an interdisciplinary focus and strong potential for external funding.

  • The research discoveries of two Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) faculty appeared in the Des Moines media recently. 

    GDCB Assistant Professor Raquel Espin Palazon and her lab are featured in WHO Des Moines Channel 13's news report, "Iowa State researchers make groundbreaking discovery for creating blood stem cells in the lab."  

    GDCB Professor Eric Henderson’s research is featured in a "We Are Iowa" Local 5 News story, "A genetic cure": Iowa State scientists make first-of-its-kind DNA discovery."  

  • Vaishali Todi, genetics, development and cell biology graduate student, GDCB Associate Professor Mohan Gupta's lab, discusses the internship she participated in during summer 2023 at Elanco in the Indianapolis area. 

    Q. Tell us briefly about the company you worked for and your role in your internship.

    A. Elanco is an animal pharma company; they develop and manufacture therapeutics for both farm animals as well as pets. They used to be a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, but they are now starting out on their own. I was a R&D intern with the Cell Line Development group where my role was to genetically engineer cells to produce recombinant proteins of interest. 

    Q. What drew you to apply for this internship?

  • The future by degrees

    One of Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology Teaching Professor Karri Haen Whitmer's bionics students was featured in the fall 2023 issue of Forward Magazine in "The Future by Degrees" article. Learn more about Kaylee Herrig in "The bionics making woman." Herrig is also featured in the article's accompanying video.

     

     

  • Building a DNA nanoparticle to be both carrier and medicine

    AMES, Iowa — Scientists have been making nanoparticles out of DNA strands for two decades, manipulating the bonds that maintain DNA’s double-helical shape to sculpt self-assembling structures that could someday have jaw-dropping medical applications.

    Study of DNA nanoparticles, however, has focused mostly on their architecture, turning the genetic code of life into components for fabricating miniscule robots. A pair of Iowa State University researchers in the genetics, development and cell biology department – professor Eric Henderson and recent doctoral graduate Chang-Yong Oh – hope to change that by showing nanoscale materials made of DNA can convey their built-in genetic instructions. 

    Visit ISU News Service's article, "Building a DNA nanoparticle to be both carrier and medicine," to read the complete article.

  • ISU researchers discover crucial step in creating blood stem cells

    A microbial sensor that helps identify and fight bacterial infections also plays a key role in the development of blood stem cells, valuable new insight in the effort to create patient-derived blood stem cells that could eliminate the need for bone marrow transplants.

    The discovery by a research team led by Raquel Espin Palazon, an assistant professor of genetics, development and cell biology at Iowa State University, was published last month in Nature Communications. It builds on prior work by Espin Palazon showing that the inflammatory signals that prompt a body’s immune response have an entirely different role in the earliest stages of life, as vascular systems and blood are forming in embryos.

  • Shannon Harris, '95 zoology, of St. Paul, Minn., received an Outstanding Alumni Award from the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) in late 2023. Harris was recognized for the award at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Honors and Awards Ceremony on Nov. 2. 

    As an undergraduate at Iowa State, Shannon Harris, MD, began her studies in chemical engineering but quickly realized that she was more drawn to the life sciences. Scientific research did not seem to be a good fit, which then pushed her to explore a career in applied science. Harris has a medical degree from the University of Iowa (a hard adjustment from Cyclone Country!) and completed her residency training at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

  • The Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) recognized several faculty, students and postdocs with awards in spring 2023. 

    Faculty receiving awards include Raquel Espin Palazon, Dior Kelley, Karri Haen Whitmer, Carly Manz and Erica Unger-Wallace. Postdoctoral research associates receiving awards included Radwa Barakat and Stephanie Klein, while GDCB graduate student Xiaoyi (Chelsea) Cheng also received an award.

    Faculty awards

    Raquel Espin Palazon, assistant professor, received a GDCB Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching for her “outstanding contributions to the educational mission of GDCB and to the success of our students.”

  • Article features Espin lab

    The Conversation article, "Zebrafish are a scientist's favorite for early-stage research — especially to study human blood disorders," features Raquel Espin Palazon, genetics, development and cell biology assistant professor, and her lab. 

  • Several graduate students affiliated with the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) received Research Excellence and Teaching Excellence awards from the Graduate College in fall 2022 and spring 2023. 

    In fall 2022, Abesh Bera and Sahiba Siddiqui received Teaching Excellence Awards and Ching-Yi Liao and Chang-Yong Oh received Research Excellence Awards. Trevor Burh, Jodi Callwood and Zakayo Kazibwe received TEX Awards and Linkan Dash and Ha Vu received REX Awards in spring 2023.

    Research Excellence Award recipients

  • Tuteja, Wu to serve in new collaboration, mentorship role

    The Office of the Vice President for Research has appointed two faculty members to part-time Research Faculty Fellow positions. Supported through Iowa State’s Strategic Plan success funding initiatives, these positions are intended to:

  • Several Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) graduate students received travel awards in spring 2023 and fall 2022 to partially offset the cost of attending conferences in Washington, D.C.; Evanston, Ill.; Woods Hole, Mass.; St. Louis; Savannah, Ga.; Chicago; Istanbul, Turkey; Iowa City; and Ames.

    Spring 2023

    Sui Tong Chan Fung Fund Award recipients include Ankur Kumar, Sahiba Siddiqui and Ha Vu.

  • The Maize Genetics Cooperation recently honored two Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB)  faculty, Carolyn Lawrence-Dill and Marna Yandeau-Nelson.

    Lawrence-Dill, GDCB and agronomy professor and CALS associate dean for research and discovery, received the 2023 Maize Genetics Cooperator Award.

    According to the Maize Genetics Cooperation, “The Maize Genetics Cooperator Award recognizes maize cooperators who have dedicated their careers to service by supporting community resources, organizing collaborative efforts, or enabling maize research.” Eligible cooperators “must have shown dedication to service that has led to broad impact or advanced the spirit of cooperation within the community; and has been an active member of the maize genetics community for at least 10 years.”

  • GDCB faculty mentor LAS Dean's High Impact Award for Undergraduate Research recipients

    Several Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology faculty mentored 2023 recipients of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) Dean's High Impact Award for Undergraduate Research. Learn more about these students and the research projects in the LAS News article, "A summer of discovery." 

    GDCB faculty mentoring the students in 2023 include GDCB Professor Jeffrey Essner, Morrill Professor Don Sakaguchi, GDCB Associate Professor Mohan Gupta, GDCB Assistant Professor Hongqing (Michelle) Guo, GDCB Associate Professor Geetu Tuteja and GDCB Associate Professor Hua Bai.

     

  • After serving over 127 years combined at Iowa State University (ISU), four Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) faculty retired in the 2022-23 academic year. 

    Faculty retiring include Professor Emeritus Eve Wurtele (retirement date: July 31, 2022); and Professor Emeritus Thomas Peterson, Professor Emeritus Steve Rodermel and retired faculty Michael McCloskey (retirement date: Dec. 31, 2022).

    Eve Wurtele
    Wurtele joined ISU in 1988. She organized the first Plant Science Institute symposia series at ISU in 1999. She received the Pioneer DuPont Award for Iowa Women of Research Innovation and Leadership in 2012.

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