Research and Professional News

Kurt Andresen published two papers, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and Biophysical Journal, on his research at Gettysburg on the electrostatic properties of DNA and RNA. He also published a paper in Applied Physical Letters on the research he performed during a recent sabbatical in Cambridge, England. Dr. Andresen presented a poster at the 2020 Biophysical Society meeting that included as co-authors Dr. Buettner, Dr. Frey, and Gettysburg students Olivia Peduzzi (’20 Chem), Claire Woodward (’20 BMB), and Katie Madore (’20 Bio).  

Kate Buettner and her students Alexander Paredes (’20 BMB), Olivia Peduzzi (’20 Chem), and Brittany Loh (’22 Chem) presented their research on hydrolytic mini-metalloenzymes at the American Chemical society and published papers in Inorganic Chemistry and the Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry. Dr. Buettner was an invited speaker at a regional American Chemical Society meeting and at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She is the co-PI with Dr. Frey on a grant from Proctor & Gamble to increase experiential learning and interdisciplinary thinking in Biochemistry and a grant from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation to support student research and fund a seminar speaker.  

Veronique Delesalle and her lab have continued their studies on the evolutionary dynamics between bacteriophage viruses and their bacterial hosts. Funded by a grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Delesalle lab is addressing questions related to how bacteriophages adapt to different hosts, including: Do specialist and generalist phages differ in their ability to adapt to their hosts?  Does it matter whether the host is broadly susceptible to phages or resistant?   Do lab-adapted phages differ in their ability to adapt compared to “wild” phages? 

Shelli Frey was awarded multiple grants. In addition to the two she co-authored with Dr. Buettner from Proctor & Gamble and the Dreyfus Foundation, she also received funding from the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh to acquire two UV-vis spectrometers to be used in general chemistry and biochemistry labs. Dr. Frey was a session chair and presenter at the Biomembrane Days Meeting in Berlin, presented a poster at the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, and gave two invited seminars, at Bucknell University and Gettysburg College. Jordyn Markle (’22 BMB) won a national student award from the ACS, presented a talk and two posters on her research in the Frey lab, and won a poster award.  

Tim Funk received a grant from the National Science Foundation to fund his research developing iron catalysts for sustainable selective oxidations and reductions. He presented this work at the ACS Green Chemistry Engineering conference and as an invited speaker at Colgate University. Dr. Funk published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry with student co-authors Tracy Tang (’19 Chem/CS), Rowan Meador (’16 Chem), Casina Malinchak (’13 Chem), Emily Harrison (’18 Chem), Kim McCaskey (’20 Chem/Music), and Melanie Hempel (’20 BMB). He also received a PittCon Memorial National College grant to purchase a new ATR FT-IR spectrometer. 

Ryan Kerney is collaborating with Bigelow Marine labs and the University of North Carolina Wilmington on a natural products screen derived from symbiotic microbes; this project is funded by a recent grant from the William Proctor Foundation. The Kerney lab is testing the symbiotic microbes’ effects on innate immune responses and tail regeneration in a salamander model. Dr. Kerney has published two papers recently, one in Frontiers in Microbiology and another with student co-authors Jasper Leavitt (’15 Bio), Elizabeth Hill (’17 Bio), and Huanjia Zhang (’17 Bio) in Symbiosis. 

Jennifer Powell spent a sabbatical semester at the University of Freiburg in Germany studying intergenerational effects of acute cold stress in C. elegans, and presented a poster at the European C. elegans meeting with Leah Gulyas (’19 Bio). The Powell lab also is funded by the National Science Foundation to investigate the interplay between immunity and oxidative stress, including a semester-long immersion in this research by student taking Bio 211 Genetics. This work was presented at the International C. elegans meeting by student San Luc (’20 Bio).