News and Events for the 2016-2017 Academic Year

2017 Annual Retreat

The speaker for the annual CPB retreat will be Dr. Benjamin Cravatt of the Scripps Institute.  Dr. Cravatt's laboratory specializes in global analysis of enzyme function with the stated purpose of identifying therapeutic targets in human disease.  The Cravatt Lab has been on the cutting edge of both technology development and basic science discovery of the enzymatic regulation of chemical signaling.  Please reserve Wednesday, May 24th, on your calendars for this event. This year we will be on the Vanderbilt Campus in the Student Life Center.

If you would like to be involved with the retreat planning please contact Kevin Jagessar at


Upcoming Thesis Defenses


Awards, Defenses, Honors, and Other Good Things

Joe Alvin defended his thesis "Structural and func5onal studies of large clostridial toxin
glucosyltransferase domains", June 22, 2017.  Congratulations Dr. Alvin!

Michela Fooska presented her MS thesis "Op8miza8on of BCL::Fold for Protein Folding de novo and
with Cryo-EM Restraints", June, 23, 2017.  Congratulations Michela!

Chrystal Starbird-defended her thesis "Structural insights into the role of assembly factors in the assembly, function and flavinylation of Complex II", July 17, 2017.   Congratulations Dr. Starbird!

Jennifer Watchmaker defended her thesis "Intracranial Hemodynamic Compensation Mechanisms in Patients with Cerebrovascular Disease", July 26, 2017.  Congratulations Dr. Watchmaker


2016 Annual Retreat

The CPB program's retreat will occur on June 8th this year.  The purposes of the retreat are to afford the program’s students and faculty the opportunity to appreciate the breadth of research that is being conducted in the CPB Program; for students to gain experience in presenting scientific work in a scientifically critical but personally supportive setting; and to foster a sense of community within the program. It is our major program-wide event, and attendance is required of all students. The academic program includes poster and oral presentations from each student and a keynote presentation whose research represents one of the four programmatic tracks. 

This year, the keynote presentation rotates to the Structural Biology track, and we are happy to announce that Professor Roger Craig of UMass Medical School in Worcester MA will be our keynote speaker.  

Dr. Craig has had a long and distinguished career investigating the structural biology and biophysics of muscle proteins, and we will surely enjoy both his scientific presentation and hearing his advice to students.

If you would like to assist in the planning of the retreat, please e-mail Sanjay Mishra. 

Look here for a summary of previous retreats.


Student Publications

Nicole Chumbler is a co-author of, "Identification of a crucial residue required for Staphylococcus aureus LukAB cytotoxicity and receptor recognition," published in Infection and Immunity.

Sam DeLuca co-authored a paper in the Journal of Structural Biology titled, "In silico analysis and experimental verification of OSR1 kinase – Peptide interaction."

Sam DeLuca was also a co-author of "Computational design of protein-small molecule interfaces," published in the Journal of Structural Biology.

Troy Hutchens co-authored, "Intrinsic islet heterogeneity and gap junction coupling determine spatiotemporal Ca2+ wave dynamics." The paper was published in the Biophysical Journal.

Stephanie DeLuca co-authored, "Integrating solid-state NMR and computational modeling to investigate the structure and dynamics of membrane-associated ghrelin." The paper was published in PLoS One.


Peter Frick was the first author and Bishal Paudel was a co-author of, "Quantifying heterogeneity and dynamics of clonal fitness in response to perturbation."  The paper was published in the Journal of Cell Physiology.

Pooja Gaur was the first author of, "Accelerated MRI thermometry by direct estimation of temperature from undersampled k-space data." Her work was published in Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Aliya Gifford was the first author of, "Human brown adipose tissue depots automatically segmented by positron emission tomography/computed tomography and registered magnetic resonance images," published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments.

Jennifer Watchmaker was a co-author of, "[18F]-FLT PET to predict early response to neoadjuvant therapy in KRAS wild-type rectal cancer: a pilot study." The study was recently accepted for publication in the Annals of Nuclear Medicine.