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Department News

Department of Biochemistry Welcomes Summer Undergraduate Students

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Biochemistry department welcomed 9 undergraduate students into the department for summer research. The students come from either the SURIP program or the Intrepid Program. They will be working on projects both in the department and the Institute for Personalized Medicine.  For projects within the departments, the students have joined the labs of Drs. Broach, Flanagan, Gerhard, Grigoryev, Spratt and Yochum for the summer. For the projects within the Institute for Personalized Medicine, the students have joined the labs of Drs. Broach and Gerhard.

Pictured on the group photo (L-R): Elizabeth – DeSales University (S), Tomilola – University of Maryland (I), Janelle – Susquehanna University (S), Samantha – University of Scranton (S), Derek – Our Lady of the Lake University (I), Grace – Penn State University (S), Ramzy – Muhlenberg College  (S) and Son – Union College (S). Pictured individually is Patricia – Florida International University (S).

To view photos please follow this link.

Rosemarie Messinger Became a PSU Certified Research AdministratorIMG_0054

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rosemarie Messinger was certified as a PSU Research Administrator by the Administrative Committee on Research upon her completion of the ACOR Certification & Education Series. The program is designed to give Research Administrators at every level – department, college, and institute – necessary skills and expertise to support faculty in research. The training will provide essential tools for every step of the research support process – from proposal development to project management to compliance. For more information on the programs, follow the link above.

Jacob Hornick, Broach Lab Member, Passes His Comprehensive Exam


Friday, April 26, 2013

Jacob Hornick, 3rd Year Biochemistry Student, passed his comprehensive examination written on the effects of oxytocin receptor localization to the progression of prostate cancer. As a full time member of the Broach lab, Jacob will be studying human G protein-coupled receptor signaling using yeast as a biological platform.


Moldovan Lab Adds New BMS Student


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Katherine Choe, 2nd year graduate student in the Biomedical Science Graduate Program, joined the Moldovan Lab.  Kat graduated from University of Sciences in Philadelphia in 2011 with her B.S. in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Previously, she worked as a Laboratory Assistant at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia.

She will be investigating the mechanisms of genomic instability in human cancers.

New Study Out of Moldovan Lab

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A new study from the Moldovan laboratory offers preclinical proof-of-concept for a novel candidate therapeutic target to treat this deadly disease. The study, published in April 15 in the journal “Cancer Research” shows that an element of the homologous recombination pathway of DNA repair, the PARP-binding protein C12orf48/PARI (PARPBP), is overexpressed specifically in pancreatic cancer cells where it is an appealing candidate for targeted therapy. PARI upregulation in pancreatic cancer cells or avian DT40 cells conferred DNA repair deficiency and genomic instability. Significantly, PARI silencing compromised cancer cell proliferation in vitro, leading to cell-cycle alterations associated with S-phase delay, perturbed DNA replication, and activation of the DNA damage response pathway in the absence of DNA damage stimuli. Conversely, PARI overexpression produced tolerance to DNA damage by promoting replication of damaged DNA. In a mouse xenograft model of pancreatic cancer, PARI silencing was sufficient to reduce pancreatic tumor growth in vivo. Taken together, these findings offered a preclinical proof-of-concept for PARI as candidate therapeutic target to treat PDAC.

O’Connor KW, Dejsuphong D, Park E, Nicolae CM, Kimmelman AC, D’Andrea AD, Moldovan GL. PARI Overexpression Promotes Genomic Instability and Pancreatic Tumorigenesis. Cancer Res. 73(8):2529-39. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-3313.

Penn State Hershey launches Institute for Personalized Medicine

Friday, February 24, 2012

Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine have launched the Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine, which will bring together faculty, resources and programs devoted to advancing the relatively new field of personalized medicine, one of the most promising frontiers in medicine.

The new institute will work in close collaboration with departments and institutes across the Hershey campus, including the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute, to advance research in this field and to translate that research into clinical applications.

“Building on our understanding of the human genome and an increasing awareness of individual differences in disease processes and responses to treatment, personalized medicine aims to tailor health care to the individual, based on a number of factors – biological, environmental, and behavioral – that affect that individual’s health,” said Harold L. Paz, Medical Center CEO, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine.

James R. Broach, chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will serve as the institute’s inaugural director and lead the growth of personalized medicine at Penn State Hershey.

His previous leadership experience includes serving as associate chair of Princeton University’s Department of Molecular Biology from 2004 to 2011 (and interim chair in 2010), as well as associate director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics from 2001 to 2008, and co-founder and director of research for Cadus Pharmaceuticals from 1992 to 1999. In addition, Broach is an internationally respected figure in the field of genomics, one of the fundamental underpinnings of personalized medicine.

“This is an exceptionally exciting time in medical science,” Broach said. “We have reached a point at which we can begin to apply the remarkable recent advances in genomic studies, achieved through years of fundamental research in the basic sciences, to improving patient outcomes by tailoring treatment to the individual genomic characteristics of the patient. I am delighted to participate as director of this new Institute and to work with the talented group of physicians and investigators at Penn State to implement this goal and to expand our understanding of the relationship between genomic endowment and patient outcomes.”

Broach’s research, which focuses on understanding cell-environment interactions and cellular regulation at the molecular level, has been continuously funded by NIH for 35 years.

Penn State Hershey Health System Showcases Awards and Honors

Thursday, October 20, 2011

To recognize the achievements of faculty, staff, students, and volunteers at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, the following list of appointments, awards and honors that may be of public interest has been compiled for the quarter of July 1 to September 30, 2011. Photos may be available upon request.


Two new department chairs announced

Penn State College of Medicine recently announced the appointment of two faculty members who will take on leadership roles in 2012. James R. Broach, Ph.D., will join the College of Medicine as professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, assuming his new role on February 1, 2012, following the retirement of the current department chair, Judith Bond, Ph.D. Broach comes to the College of Medicine from Princeton University, where he is currently professor and associate chair of the Department of Molecular Biology, a department he helped found in 1984. Aron E. Lukacher, M.D., Ph.D., will join the College of Medicine as professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, succeeding Richard Courtney, Ph.D., who will retire at the end of the year. Lukacher will assume his role on January 1, 2012. Lukacher is currently professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, where he also holds clinical appointments in cardiac pathology and autopsy services.

Bond named president-elect of national science federation

Judith Bond, Ph.D., Evan Pugh Professor and chair, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, has been elected to the office of president-elect of the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Dr. Bond began a one-year term as President-Elect on July 1. She will serve a one-year term as President of FASEB beginning July 1, 2012. Founded in 1912, FASEB is the nation’s largest coalition of biomedical researchers, representing 23 scientific societies and over 100,000 researchers from around the world. FASEB promotes research and education in the biological and biomedical sciences, serving as the advocacy and policy voice for researchers and member societies.