Dr. Wesley Brown in the MD/PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine successfully passed his oral defense on July 20th and completed his Ph.D. degree. The title of his dissertation project is, “Conditional Control of Protein Function in Aquatic Embryos” under the supervision of Prof. Alexander Deiters. His work details the generation of conditional control over the activity of proteins and microRNA knockdown in zebrafish and Xenopus embryos. His talk focused on the development of optical control of a RASopathy disease-associated mutant of NRAS and optical control of microRNA-430 knockdown, both used to study their respective roles in zebrafish heart development. Wes will finish up his medical training over the next two years before applying for residency programs in internal medicine.

Congratulations, Wes!





Dr. Stephen White successfully passed his oral defense on June 13th, and completed his Ph.D. degree. The title of his dissertation project is, “The H. polygyrus TGF-β mimic TGM6: A Competitive Inhibitor of TGF-β Signaling” under supervision of Prof. Andrew Hinck. This work provides one of first known examples of a parasite-expressed protein that mimics the structure of a cytokine to function as an inhibitor of a mammalian signaling pathway. In August, Stephen will be joining the Formulation and Drug Development group at Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals in Bothell, WA.

Congratulations, Stephen!






Congratulations, Angela!


Prof. Angela Gronenborn, Department of Structural Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was elected as Biophysical Society Fellow by her pioneering work in the use of NMR to probe the structure and function of macromolecules in biology and her outstanding commitment and impact on the biophysics community as a whole.  Currently, Mr. Darian Yang in MBSB is working in her group.


Angela Gronenborn






Congratulations to Darian and Jacob!

Mr. Darian Yang and Jacob Wolfe, 3rd year PhD students in the MBSB graduate program, both received the Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Darian, who is co-mentored by Prof. Lillian Chong and Prof. Angela Gronenborn, will carry out a research project entitled “Integrating Physics-based Computer Simulations and NMR Experiments to Determine the Mechanism of Early HIV-1 Capsid Assembly”.  Jacob Wolfe is carrying out dissertation research in the laboratory of Prof. Seth Horne in a research project entitled “Rational Design of Enzymes Using Backbone Modification”. Good job, Darian and Jacob!!!  


Darian Yang and Jacob Wolfe







Mr. Manish Aryal successfully passed his oral defense on December 15th, and completed his Ph.D. degree. The title of his dissertation project is, “Molecular Mechanism of Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Activation by the HIV-1 Nef Virulence Factor”. His supervisor Dr. Smithgall told that Manish had brilliant ideas that made a breakthrough of his project. Over 30 people attended his thesis presentation remotely and enjoyed his presentation. 

Congratulations, Manish!