News from the Bridges Program

  • April



    • Xzaviar Solone (MSIB '19) won a nationally competitive 2018 Graduate Student Travel Award to attend the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Meeting in sunny San Diego, CA! He will present his work “c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNKα1) binds and inhibits eNOS via phosphorylation at S116, differentiating it from p38 and ERK-mediated inhibition." Congratulations and bon voyage, Xzaviar!
  • October

    • Mareena Whisby-Pitts presented her research at the 2017 STEM Research and Career Symposium held at Emory University, Altlanta GA.  Mareena also recieved a travel award to support her attendance.
    • Shaquanna Young presented her work at the Georgia Bio Innovation Summit.


    • Wendy Aquino-Nunez and Shaquanna Young attended the GABio Emerging Leaders Network event, "Careers in Life Sciences Series: Careers in Industry (at the Bench AND Beyond)," held at the Canadian Consulate.


    • Welcome Bridges Class of 2019! We are joined this fall by Victoria Mendiola (KSU), Tequila Porter (Winston-Salem State University) and Xzaviar Solone (Bethune-Cookman University). See Participants page for more information.
    • New funding! Michael Van Dyke was awarded a $118,840 NSF grant for "RUI: Refractory Cleavage Sites to Elucidate Type IIS Restriction Endonuclease Mechanisms."


    • Bridging successes! Congratulations to the Class of 2017, all of whom have successfully bridged to Ph.D. programs! Crystal Smith will enroll in the Medical University of South Carolina Neuroscience InstituteTyler Hill is off to Brandeis Unviersity's Neurocience Program, and Aaron Ledet has accepted the Dean's Strategic Scholarship to UT-Austin's Cellular & Molecular Biology Biochemistry Ph.D. Program. Well done, everyone!
    • Wendy Aquino-Nunez ('18) was awarded an NIGMS Scholarship to attend the Cold Spring Harbor Single Cell Analysis Course this summer.
    • Hot off the virtual presses! Verra Ngwa's ('16) first author paper was just published at PLoS One: Ngwa, V.M., Axford, D.S., Healey, A.N., Nowak, S.J., Chrestensen, C.A. and McMurry, J.L. (2017) “A versatile cell-penetrating peptide-adaptor system for efficient delivery of molecular cargos to subcellular destinations." Read it here!


    • Congratulations to Aaron Ledet ('17), who won the KSU 3 Minute Thesis competition on Apr. 21!
    • Bridging Success! All of the graduating members of the Class of 2017 have been accepted to top-tier doctoral programs! Details to follow!
    • A new mentor is arriving! Dr. Tom Leeper will be joining the Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty this fall. He is an NMR spectroscopist who studies studies structures of protein-protein, protein-nucleic acid, protein-metal ion, and peptide-metal ion complexes. Tom is excited about mentoring Bridges students. 


    • New stars are born! Tyler Hill ('17) and Wendy Aquino-Nunez ('18) were featured on a CBS 46 news story about research at KSU. View it here.
    • Hot off the virtual presses is Juan Rodriguez's ('16) first-author paper! Rodriguez, J.D., Haq, S., Bachvaroff, T., Nowak, K.F., Nowak, S.J., Morgan, D., Cherny, V.V., Sapp, M.M. Bernstein, S., Bolt, A., DeCoursey, T.E., Place, A.R. and Smith, S.M. (2017) "Identification of a vacuolar proton channel that triggers the bioluminescent flash in dinoflagellates." PLoS One, 8;12(2):e0171594. Available by open access here.
    • Abstract accepted! Mareena Whisby ('18) will present a poster entitled "Kinetic characterization of interactions between bacteriophage Sf6 and host OmpA" at the upcoming American Society for Microbiology meeting in New Orleans.
    • New funding! Marcus Davis was awarded $358,803 from the National Science Foundation for "Evolutionary origins of the vertebrate paired appendage gene regulatory network." Read about Dr. Davis' grant and research here.
  • December

    • New funding! Mentors Martin Hudson and Jonathan McMurry have been awarded NIH R15 grants. They join Anton Bryantsev, Carol Chrestensen, Scott Nowak and Michael Van Dyke as currently NIH-funded Bridges Mentors.

    Photo of Tyler Hill at Emory-Laney Graduate School STEM Research and Career SymposiumSeptember

    • Tyler Hill ('17) wowed the crowd with his talk at the Emory-Laney Graduate School STEM Research and Career Symposium. Crystal Smith ('17) also impressed with her poster presentation. Our Bridges students were joined by fellow MSIB student Zach Mielko.
    • New funding! Daniela Tapu received a $219,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for "Anionic Multitopic N-Heterocyclic Carbenes: Building Blocks for Molecular and Supramolecular Architectures."


    • Crystal Smith spent part of the summer in Miami learning CRISPR/Cas. Aaron Ledet also recently pursued a collaborative project at Rush University in Chicago.





    Verra Ngwa on GPB


    • Peach State B2D 2, Big Bad World 0! Both of our second year participants have been admitted to competitive doctoral programs! Congratulations Verra & Juan! Details (and additional admissions, knock on wood!) forthcoming!


    • Just accepted! Salerno, J.C., Ngwa, V.M., Nowak, S.N., Chrestensen, C.A., Healey, A.N. and McMurry, J.L. (2016) "Novel cell penetrating peptide-adaptors effect intracellular delivery and endosomal escape of protein cargos." Journal of Cell Science! epub ahead of print here! 2/8/16 Update! This paper was just selected as an "In this issue" spotlight article!
    • And the hits just keep on coming! Verra Ngwa's abstract, "Novel Cell-Penetrating Peptides Overcome Endosomal Escape and Deliver Protein Cargos into the Cell," has been accepted for a talk at ASBMB! Look out, San Diego!!!
    • Verra Ngwa ('16) won a travel award to attend the ASBMB Meeting in San Diego in April! Congratulations, Verra!
  • December

    • Juan Rodriguez ('16) presented a poster entitled "The HV1 proton channel localizes to scintillons, the bioluminescent organlelles of dinoflagellates" at the American Society for Cell Biology Meeting in San Diego.


    • Juan Rodriguez ('16) won a graduate student poster award at the Southeastern Branch of the American Society for Microbiology.
    • Verra Ngwa, (’16) presented at the Annual Biomedical Research ConfereVerra Ngwa with NIH Bridges Program Direstor, Dr. Michelle Hamletnce for Minority Students in Seattle, WA. Ms. Ngwa presented a poster on her work entitled “Novel cell-penetrating peptides deliver and release protein cargo into cells.”
      (RIGHT) Photo of Verra Ngwa with NIH Bridges Program Director, Dr. Michelle Hamlet, at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) 2015.


    •  Photo of students in lab; Photo courtesy of Kennesaw State UniversityNational Institutes of Health awards Kennesaw State University $1 million grant View Article »
       Photo of students in the lab; Photo courtesy of Kennesaw State University