SPRING 2023

Friday Seminars take place at 3:10 pm in the Byker Auditorium

Friday, January 20

Ms. Jessica Lusty Beech will present a graduate student seminar in Biochemistry titled "Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Reduce: Understanding and Addressing the Limitations of a Plastic-Converting Iron Oxidoreductase."

Friday, January 27-open

Friday, February 3

Asst. Prof. Christopher Lemon (Dept. of Chemistry, MSU) will present a seminar titled "Multielectron Photochemistry with Antimony Corroles."

Friday, February 10

Mr. Garrett Moraski, research scientist in the Department of Chemistry (MSU) will present "Lessons in Chemistry:  An Academic and Industry Perspective Featuring Imidazopyridine Anti-TB Agents."

Host: Christopher Lemon

Friday, February 17

LaNell Williams (PhD candidate, Harvard University) will present a seminar titled "What Goes "Right" and "Wrong" During Virus Self-Assembly?" 

Abstract: Self-assembly is a vital part of the RNA virus life cycle. The assembly of viral coat proteins around viral RNA occurs both in vivo and in vitro, suggesting that viral capsid assembly may be driven by minimization of free energy. To better understand this process, we modify the interactions between coat proteins and between the coat proteins and RNA of MS2 bacteriophage in vitro by varying the ionic strength and pH, and we study the assembly using dynamic and static light scattering. From dynamic light scattering we determine the assembly yield and the size distribution of assembled products. From static light scattering, we measure the kinetics of assembly in bulk. By comparing the results from these two different techniques to each other and to results from gel electrophoresis, we infer features of the assembly pathway.

Hosts: Martin Lawrence and Brian Bothner

Friday, February 24- Graduate Recruiting

Friday, March 3

Prof. Lu Hu (Dept. of Chemistry, University of Montana) will present "Tracking Atmospheric Organic Pollutants in the Western US."

Abstract: Increasing evidence has suggested that volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including previously little-characterized VOCs, play an important role in urban ozone photochemistry when affected by biomass burning (BB) smoke. However, the emissions and chemistry of BB VOCs are highly uncertain with many species not currently incorporated in operational air quality models. In this presentation, I’ll summarize recent and ongoing projects at the University of Montana to measure and model the chemical impacts of BB VOCs in the western U.S. Leveraging measurements of 160 VOCs made during the WE-CAN aircraft campaign, we rank BB VOCs by their emission amounts and reactivity in terms of generating secondary pollutants like ground-level ozone and also what the most important species are for health impacts. By comparing observations with a chemical transport model (CTM), we reveal a significant amount of missing organic carbon fluxes and reactivity in current global BB emission inventories and CTMs. Furan-containing species are an important example of these missing BB VOCs. Consequently, one ongoing effort is to develop a simplified chemical mechanism for furans that will be suitable to implement into CTMs and allow for evaluation of their regional and global impact on ozone and oxygenated VOCs. We will also highlight five years of ongoing long-term wildfire smoke monitoring in Missoula, MT, and demonstrate its value in constraining regional BB emissions and smoke exposure.

Prof. Brian Bothner is the host.

Wednesday, March 8

4 pm Byker Auditorium

Mr. Batu Balci, a 4th year graduate student in the lab of Professor Joan Broderick will present a seminar titled "Defined Lysate-Free Maturation of [FeFe]-Hydrogenases."

Abstract: Hydrogen (H2) is an energy carrier molecule and an alternative to traditional renewable energy technologies when produced in an environmentally-safe system. Hydrogen biosynthesis is achieved by hydrogenases in nature and [FeFe]-hydrogenases are the most efficient class that catalyze hydrogen gas production from protons and electrons. The active site H-cluster of [FeFe]-hydrogenases (HydA) is composed of a [4Fe-4S] cluster covalently linked to an organometallic dinuclear 2Fe subcluster ([2Fe]H) through a cysteine thiolate ligand. The [4Fe-4S] cluster is assembled by organism specific iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis proteins. However, the assembly and transfer of the [2Fe]H subcluster requires three dedicated maturases: the radical S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) enzymes HydG and HydE, and the GTPase HydF. Previous methods developed for the in vitro maturation of HydA emphasized the requirement of  E. coli lysate in the maturation reaction, presumably to provide components involved in the assembly of the dithiomethylamine (DTMA) bridge of the H-cluster. Fractionation of the lysate followed by shotgun proteomics analysis and hydrogen production assays indicated that aminomethyl-lipoyl-H-protein (Hmet) of the glycine cleavage system (GCS) supports the maturation of HydA in the absence of cell lysate. Further, including in situ Hmet regeneration components, serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT), and the T-protein enabled us to achieve mature HydA with hydrogen production activities as high as 390 μmol H2 min-1mg-1 HydA. Maturation reactions containing 13C3-15N-serine and 15NH4 demonstrated that the nitrogen and carbons of the dithiomethylamine (DTMA) moiety are derived from ammonia and serine, respectively. Developing a lysate-free maturation system provides a more definitive understanding of the biological H-cluster assembly and better control over future bio-hydrogen production technologies.

Advisor: Joan Broderick

Friday, March 17 - Spring Break

Friday, March 24

Dr. Tim Hamerly, Investigator at GSK (PA) will present a research seminar titled "Dissecting Plasmodium Transmission: Novel Tools and Therapeutics."

Abstract: Malaria is a devastating vector-borne disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium, and results in roughly 600,000 deaths a year, predominantly children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria parasites have a complex life cycle requiring development in Anopheles mosquitoes and human host. Despite progress over the past two decades to reduce the global burden cause by malaria, progress has stalled in recent years, and new tools are needed to meet the goal of eradicating this disease by 2030. A key strategy in the fight against malaria is to target the transmissible stages of the parasite. While these stages do not contribute to disease burden, as they are asymptomatic, there is a natural bottleneck in parasite numbers that can be exploited with novel interventions and therapeutics to halt further transmission. Development of novel cell models that enable studies of the transmissible stages both in vitro and in vivo, and investigating alternative treatment strategies that target these asymptomatic, transmissible stages will be crucial. Further, development of novel diagnostic tools that can be deployed in surveillance and screening programs will be needed to enable targeted and localized mass drug administration programs. Together, these new tools and therapeutics will help in the fight against malaria, bringing an end to this devasting disease.

Tim received his PhD from MSU in 2016 under the direction of Prof. Brian Bothner. 

Tuesday, March 28 

4 pm Byker Auditorium

Dr. Kelly Smalling (USGS) will present a seminar titled  "Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in U.S. Tapwater: Comparison of Public-Supply and Underserved Private-Well Exposures and Associated Health Implications" as part of Montana's EPSCoR grant. 

Host: Rob Walker 

Thursday, April 6 

Mr. Connor Welty, a 4th year graduate student in Chemistry will present a seminar on his research.

Advisor: Nick Stadie  

Friday, April 7- No Classes

Friday, April 14

Cathryn Haigh (Rocky Mountain Laboratories) 

Host: Jen DuBois

Friday, April 21

Ophelia Venturelli (University of Wisconsin)

Host: Roland Hatzenpichler

Monday, April 24 - PhD Defense

Ms. Jenna Mattice will defend her PhD in Biochemistry beginning with a seminar (TBD).

3 pm in Plant Science Bldg room 108

Advisor: Prof. Brian Bothner

Tuesday, April 25 - PhD Defense

Ms. Alexandra Townsend will defend her PhD in Biohemistry beginning with a seminar (title to follow). 

Advisors: Profs. Valerie Copie and Frances Lefcourt

Wednesday April 26-PhD Defense

Mr. Hunter Fausset will defend his PhD in Biohemistry beginning with a seminar (title to follow). 

Advisor:  Prof. Brian Bothner  

1 pm Byker Auditorium

Thursday, April 27 - PhD Defense

Mr. Galip Yiyen will defend his PhD in Chemistry beginning with a seminar (title to follow). 

Advisor: Prof. Rob Walker 

11 am in the Byker Auditorium

Friday, April 28

Graduate Student Seminar from James Larson

Advisor: Brian Bothner

Thursday, May 4

3:30 pm in the Byker Auditorium

Graduate Student Seminar from Will Christian

Advisor: Roland Hatzenpichler

Friday, May 5

David Leitch (University of Victoria)

Host: Sharon Neufeldt

Friday, May 12 

Juan Perilla (University of Delaware)

Host: Martin Mosquera

Graduate Student Summer Series - 2023

All presentations take place on Thursdays in the Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm

Thursday, May 18

Graduate Student Caleb Sindic

Advisor: Patrik Callis

Thursday, May 25

Graduate Student Heidi Koenig

Advisor: Tom Livinghouse

Thursday, June 1 

Graduate Student Dalton Compton

Advisor: Nick Stadie

Thursday, June 8

Graduate Student Steven Montoya

Advisor: Rob Walker

Thursday, June 15

Graduate Student Jonah Theisen

Advisor: Erik Grumstrup

Thursday, June 22

Graduate Student Alex King (Materials Science) 

Advisor: Erik Grumstrup