Tristin, a sixth-year student in the Prof. Hinck’s laboratory, orally presented some of his latest research results at the 13th International Bone Morphogenetic Protein Conference, in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Tristin was selected to present orally by the conference organizing committee based on his abstract, which was focused on the underlying structural basis for synthesis of BMP9 and BMP10 as monomers. BMP9 and BMP10 are secreted proteins essential for regulating the proper development of vascular networks, thus understanding how they are synthesized and why is important for the developing therapies for vascular diseases, such as Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, which are caused by mutations in the receptors that mediate BMP9/10 signaling.  Oral presentations such as these at topic-focused professional conferences represent an invaluable opportunity for graduate students to present and exchange their ideas with international scientists in their field. Although many conferences were held remotely last two years, in-person meetings are coming back!



You can find the Hinck’s lab web site and Tristin’s research interest site below.






Molecular Biophysics I course.

Molecular Biophysics I course was just started. This is one of core courses in the MBSB graduate program. In this course, the physical properties of biological macromolecules and the methods used to analyze their structures and functions are discussed. Topics covered include: protein architecture and folding; nucleic acid structures and energetics; structure determination by X-ray crystallography, NMR & Electron Microscopy; biological spectroscopy with emphasis on absorption, fluorescence, electron spin resonance; and other methods to characterize proteins and protein-ligand interactions. Most importantly, Welcome new MBSB students!  

Check out http://www.mbsb.pitt.edu/index.php/training/curriculum





Congratulations to Ananya!

Ms. Ananya Mukundan, 4th-year MBSB student in the Medical Scientist Training Program, mentored by Prof. Andrew Hinck in University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, recently published a paper, “Convergent evolution of a parasite-encoded complement control protein-scaffold to mimic binding of mammalian TGF-β to its receptors, TβRI and TβRII”, in Journal of Biological Chemistry. She is working on this TGF-β research as a PhD student in the MBSB program while she is immersed in clinical clerkships, aiming to obtain MD/PhD dual degree.

Check out her paper! https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbc.2022.101994







The best of luck to you, Jeremy! We will miss you.  

Each summer, the MBSB graduate program hires several undergraduate students from throughout the US through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) of School of Medicine.  Mr. Jeremy Gonzalez was one of such SURP students who worked in the laboratory of Prof. Angela Gronenborn in MBSB in 2019 summer. Jeremy was a smart and dedicated student and a fast learner. Thus, he made a significant contribution to the research program on eye lens crystallins, which earned him co-authorship on a paper entitled “Assessing the Structures and Interactions of γD-Crystallin Deamidation Variants” that was published in the journal Structure in 2021. Luckily for us, his story at Pitt did not end with this publication. Upon finishing his undergraduate studies and graduation from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus,  Jeremy returned to the Gronenborn lab in September 2021 to continue his research as a post-baccalaureate fellow.  He continued to work on crystallins, this time focusing on assessing the structure and properties of protein variants that are thought to be associated with catatact . Prof. Gronenrbon commented, “after he returned to he laboratory, Jeremy became an active driver of his project. He pursued his experiments with passion and absolute commitment. And, last weekend (Memorial Day weekend), Jeremy’s last weekend in Pittsburgh, he was in the lab on Saturday, still growing cells to make more protein.  This is real dedication!” In the fall, Jeremy will start his medical studies at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. Jeremey, thank you for all your hard work and we wish you well for your future.

Check out https://somgrad.pitt.edu/prospective-students/summer-undergraduate-research-program-surp






Mr. Erich Hellemann, a 5th year Ph.D. student in the MBSB graduate program mentored by Dr. Jacob Durrant (Department of Biological Science, University of Pittsburgh) recently published his first-author paper, “Novel mutation in hexokinase 2 confers resistance to 2-deoxyglucose by altering protein dynamics,” in PLOS Computational Biology. Erich’s Ph.D. project studies how protein dynamics impact function and pharmacology. To characterize the molecular mechanism of a recently identified resistance mutation, he performed molecular dynamics simulations of hexokinase 2 from yeast, an enzyme critical for glucose metabolism. This work occupies the major component of his Ph.D. work. His Ph.D. defense is within his reach!!

Check out his paper!