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SMB News

  • Matthew A. Powell, MD named director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine

    Matthew A. Powell, MD, a noted gynecologic oncologist and researcher and a WSU alum, has been named director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine. Powell earned a B.S. degree in biochemistry and biophysics from Washington State University in 1990. Congratulations Dr. Powell!
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  • 1st Biennial Chromatin-DNA Repair Lecture Honored the Distinguished Careers of Drs. Raymond Reeves and Michael Smerdon

    To honor Drs. Smerdon and Reeves and their long careers and innovative research on how DNA in chromatin influences basic cell functions, the School of Molecular Biosciences hosted the “Smerdon/Reeves Symposium on DNA Repair in Chromatin: The First 40 years (and Beyond)” May 21-23, 2015.

    Raymond Reeves and Michael Smerdon

    The event, which brought prominent speakers from the United States, Canada, and Australia, coincided with the 40th anniversary of the first studies reported on nucleotide excision repair in chromatin. The Smerdon/Reeves Chromatin-DNA Repair Lecture Fund at WSU’s School of Molecular Biosciences was created to fund a biennial lectureship and to honor their legacies. For more information on how you can support this lectureship, visit

    DNA Repair in Chromatin: The First 40 years (and Beyond), WSU Lewis Alumni Centre, May 21-23, 2015

    Raymond Reeves is a pioneer in the fields of cell biology and chromatin structure/ function. His contributions include the first demonstration that gap junctions are membrane channels used for cell-to-cell communication of small molecules, that the nuclei of adult differentiated skin cells contain all of the genetic information to produce new individuals, and the original isolation and characterization of the genes coding for the High Mobility Group A (HMGA) family of non-histone chromatin proteins that regulate gene transcription in both normal and cancerous cells. He has served on numerous National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation grant panels, and on the editorial boards of a number of international scientific journals. For many years, he served as the director of the NIH Biotechnology Training Program at WSU. He has received numerous honors for his academic and research achievements. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and his work was recognized as contributing to the 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded to Professor John Gurdon. More recently, he was chosen to present the WSU Distinguished Faculty Ad-dress in 2014. Dr. Reeves retired in July 2015.

    Over the course of his career at WSU,Michael Smerdon, Regents Professor of biochemistry and biophysics, made impressive contributions to the understanding of DNA damage and repair in chromatin. A recognized leader in the field, he was one of the first investigators to focus on the role of chromatin structure in DNA repair. Dr. Smerdon has extensive experience on the effects of chromatin structure, chromatin modifications, and transcription factor binding on excision repair in both yeast and mammalian cells. He was continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for 36 years. He also received a Research Career Development Award (RCDA) and MERIT award (Method to Extend Research in Time) from the National Institutes of Health. He served on several scientific advisory panels. He received several honors for his academic achievements, most recently being elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences. And this fall, a special issue DNA Repair titled “DNA Excision Repair in Chromatin” will honor his career in the field of DNA repair.

    For more information visit

  • Dr. Pat Hunt elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences, joining Dr. Smerdon in this elite group. Congratulations!

    SMB's Dr. Pat Hunt has been elected into the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2015. Click here for the WSU News story: Four elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences.

  • Research Spotlight: A recent publication from the lab of Dr. Mike Konkel entitled "Intestinal Microbiota Modulate Campylobacter jejuni Colonization of Mice,"

    Research Spotlight: A recent publication from the lab of Dr. Mike Konkel entitled "Intestinal Microbiota Modulate Campylobacter jejuni Colonization of Mice," published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology was included in Editor Spotlights
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  • Congratulations to Dr. Steven Roberts as his Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) Breakthrough Award was recommended for funding!

    The Department of Defense (DoD) office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) has informed Steve Roberts that the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) Breakthrough Award - Funding Level 1 application he submitted is recommended for funding. The application was entitled “Synthetic Lethality between APOBEC-Induced DNA Damage and Base Excision Repair Inhibition as a Treatment Strategy for Breast Cancer”
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  • Congratulations Raven Symone Conyers

    Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Raven Symone Conyers who was one of 15 national students who secured travel funding from the Genetics Society of America (GSA) to attend the 20th annual international C. elegans meeting at UCLA in June 2015. Raven works in the lab of Dr. Jenny Watts studying fat metabolism and aging.

  • Grant Funding News!

    Good news on the funding front, as four significant new research grants have been awarded to SMB faculty in the last few weeks. Drs. Susan Wang and Eric Shelden will be receiving funding from the NSF. Dr. Pat Hunt will receive a new RO1 grant from the NIH and Dr. Jon Oatley’s NIH renewal RO1 application has also been funded. To learn more about these research projects, visit
  • Congratulation to Drs. Cynthia Cooper and Susan Wang!

    Congratulation to Drs. Cynthia Cooper and Susan Wang in being promoted to associate professor with tenure. Dr. Cooper is based in Vancouver and is researching melanocyte functions using the zebrafish model organism. Dr. Wang is on the Pullman campus and studies enzymes required by some organisms for antibiotic biosynthesis.
  • 2015 Albert M. Kligman Travel Fellowship

    Dr. Sho Hiroyasu, a post-doctoral researcher in the lab of Jonathan Jones, has been awarded a 2015 Albert M. Kligman Travel Fellowship to attend the annual meeting of the Society of Investigative Dermatology in May in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to the fellowship, Dr. Hiroyasu has been invited to give a minisymposium talk at the meeting. His presentation will be entitled ‘Collagen XVII regulates actin dynamics and traction forces in motile keratinocytes’.

    More information on the 2015 SID Annual Meeting may be found here
  • Natalie Peer wins 2nd place in the 2015 Wiley Exposition

    We are very pleased to announce that Natalie Peer has been selected as the 2nd place winner in the Medical and Life Sciences category for her outstanding oral presentation. She will be receiving a $500 scholarship for her efforts.

    This year’s event was the most competitive event that was hosted, with over three hundred applications in the initial round of submissions, and over a hundred and fifty presentations taking place the day of the event. There was an overwhelming amount of cutting-edge research and scholarship on display, and all are to be commended for their efforts.

    More information on Dr. Wiley and the other winners may be found here