MIP Newsletter

Volume 7, Issue 3, March 2010


Av Liav

Dr. Avraham Liav, an outstanding organic chemist and special appointment Associate Professor in MIP since 2003, announced his retirement earlier this year. Av received his BS and MS degrees from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a PhD from the Weizmann Institute, and postdoctoral training at the Ohio State University. Over the years, Av held a variety of positions in industry and academia. Before coming to CSU in 1999, Av worked for 10 years at the National Jewish Medical Center in Denver where he developed a new way to synthesize two complex carbohydrate components of the mycobacterial cell wall - trehalose dimycoloate and dicornynomycolate. This work was among the most highly cited of his career which included 48 papers and a whopping 6 US patents. Av was a key contributor to the medicinal chemistry efforts of our Mycobacterial Research Labs and over his time in our department synthesized numerous potential inhibitors of mycobacterial cell wall biosynthesis and other potential novel TB drugs. There’s undoubtedly a lot of mycobacteria out there that are breathing a sigh of relief now that Av has decided to put down his round bottom flasks and condensors! The MIP department collectively wishes to thank Av for his many years of service and wishes him well in his retirement.

Erin Breland

Congratulations to Junior Microbiology Major, Erin Breland, for being selected as this year's CVMBS recipient for the Phi Kappa Phi Award.

Phi Kappa Phi was established with a stated intent of recognizing students as juniors in college who have demonstrated outstanding acheivement to date and who show excellent promise to distinguish themselves as they move beyond CSU.

Erin will be publicly recognized on May 6 in a ceremony in the Cherokee Park Ballroom of the Lory Student Center.

CMB Annual Symposium

The annual CMB/MCIN/BMB/MIP Poster Symposium was held on Feb 26th in the Lory Student Center. Congratulations to all the students and postdocs who assembled and presented posters! Listed below are the MIP Students who received special recognition for their work:

Highest Honors
Kevin Sokoloski

Candace Mathiason

Honorable mention
Davis Seelig
Michel Brady
Crystal Meyerett
Emily Chaskey
Drew Rholl

MIP Celebrate Service Milestones

25 Years Service

Jon Carlson

20 Years Service

Tach Costello
Julie Inamine
Lisa McCann
Ken Olson

15 Years Service

Anne Avery
Paul Avery
Christine Olver
Richard Titus

10 Years Service

Randy Basaraba
Doreene Hyatt
Victoria Jones
Jes Kuruvilla
Av Liav
Charmaine Matheson
Robin Morris
Erin Napier
Laurel Respicio
Andrea Torres

Art and Science Expo

Congratulations to Megan and Alexa on having their submissions selected among some rather fierce competition for inclusion in the 2010 CSU Art and Science Exhibition. If you haven’t checked them out yet, they’ll be up in the Lory Student Center through April 7th.

The Heart of TB

Megan Caraway

Alexa Dickson

Alexa Dickson



Krystle Reagan presented her final seminar entitled, "Mosquito salivary protein vaccine enhances West Nile virus infection" on Tuesday, March 9. Her advisor is Dr. Carol Blair.

Cristina Weiner presented her final seminar entitled, "Acute infection of PBMCs with ncp-2 BVDV causes IFN-I response and CXCR4 expression" on Tuesday, March 2. Her advisors are Dr. Thomas Hansen and Dr. Sue VandeWoude

pub highlight

Synthesis of CDP-ME2P and Kinetic Studies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis IspF

Prabagaran Narayanasamy, Hyungjin Eoh, Pat Brennan and Dean Crick

Chemistry and Biology 17, 117-122

In basic research, all of our brilliant ideas are oftentimes only as good as the reagents and assays available to test them in the laboratory.   With over 23,000 isoprenoids characterized in biological systems (e.g. cholesterol, bile acids, etc), isoprenoid biosynthesis is vital for the growth of all living cells.  Interestingly, while you and I make our isoprenoids via the mevalonate pathway, eubacteria like Mycobacteria tuberculosis make theirs via an alternative MEP pathway that’s not found in human cells.  Therefore the enzymes of this MEP pathway are very attractive targets for the development of new anti-mycobacterial drugs.  The only problem is that the enzymes and their chemical substrates for many steps of this MEP pathway are very hard to come by, slowing down our understanding of the basic biochemistry of the pathway and the development of new anti-TB drugs.  With 1/3rd of the world infected with M. tb and drug-resistant strains on the rise, we can leave no stone unturned in the hunt for new drugs against this human scourge.

In this month’s MIPublication highlight, Praba, Hyungjiin, Pat and Dean continue their work on pounding out aspects of the MEP pathway by reporting a truly major advance in the reagents and assays available to investigate a key aspect of it.  First, the group discovered an effective way to synthesize CDP-ME2P, the substrate for the IspF enzyme in the pathway.  The synthesis they uncovered also allows radiolabeling of the substrate if desired as well as long term storage of a precursor to allow for rapid CDP-ME2P production by a simple deprotection step.  Not satisfied to stop there, the group identified the M. tb IspF enzyme and generated an active, His-tagged recombinant protein that they used for obtaining some fundamental enzymatic parameters on IspF.  Finally, by adapting a way to measure the CMP released during IspF catalysis of CDP-ME2P, the authors have also developed a nice assay that can be used for high throughput screening for new anti-microbial compounds that specifically target this enzyme.

Aside from its obvious scientific impact, we picked this paper as our coveted MIPublication of the month® for two reasons.  First and foremost, it illustrates the value and impact our local organic/medicinal chemists can have on our basic and translational research programs.   Finally, , Dean has been so preoccupied with the success of his native Canada’s curling team and it’s gold medal at the Olympics, we thought maybe he didn’t realize that his work had been published :)

MIP Publications Late February 2010 - Early March 2010


Reader Survey

Forget to do something last month? We need your help to see how we're doing! Can you please take a few minutes and complete our MIPnews Online Reader's Survey?

MIP March Madness March Madness Photos

The first annual MIP March Madness Party to kick off Spring Break took place on March 12th in the Canyon West room of the Lincoln Center. In addition to the usual libations, attendees enjoyed a delicious pot-luck dinner, a live band and the first annual MIP basketball shooting tournament. The night's big award winners were:

MIP March Madness Basketball Team Champions:
the RNAces
Best exhibition of basketball shooting:
John Anderson
Trivia Contest Winner:
RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer
Correct Guesses of the winning team:
Andrea Bohn / Randy Basaraba

A special thanks to Todd Harding for providing professional sportscasting during the event!

Check out the Photo Gallery

MIP Annual Roadtrip

When: Sunday June 20th at 1PM
Event: Rox versus Milwaukee Brewers
Seats: Section 117 (same section as last year)
Cost per ticket: $15

Interested? Contact Jeff Wilusz for more details and ticket reservations.


Rocky Mtn ASM Spring Meeting

The Spring meeting of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Society for Microbiology (RMB) will be held at Colorado State on Friday evening and Saturday, April 23 and 24th in the Pathology Building. RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer is hosting the festivities. The event will be held in room 103 with poster session in room 101. Oral and poster presentations by undergraduates and graduates at the meeting are highly encouraged, and will be entered in a monetary award competition.

If you are interested in attending and/or presenting at the meeting, please contact either Branch President Nancy Sasaki at Nancy.Sasaki@du.edu or Branch President-Elect Randall Cohrs at Randall.Cohrs@UCHSC.edu.

The RMB will be host to two lectureship speakers: Dr. Christopher Woolverton (Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness at Kent State University) and Dr. Jeff Wilusz (Professor of Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology at Colorado State University). An official announcement about the meeting will be posted shortly on the RMB webpage.

RIC ribbon cutting ceremony

(for the ‘signage-challenged’ among us, this means that the ribbon cutting for the new RIC building at the Foothills Campus is slated for May 11th)

Infectious Disease Supercluster

Call for Proposals

Infectious Diseases Research Proposals
Capacity Building and Activities

The CSU Infectious Disease Supercluster (IDSC) has released two requests for proposals to fund projects to develop and enhance Infectious Disease (ID) research, capacity and activities at CSU. For entire RFAs please visit the Funding Opportunities webpage. Anticipated start date for successful proposals is July 1, 2010.

Information on the IDSC, its mission and goals are available on the IDSC Website.

Proposals due by March 26, 2010, 5:00 p.m.

CSEF LogoCSEF Judges Wanted

Judges are needed for the 2010 Colorado Science and Engineering Fair to be held at CSU on April 8th. Students are from grades 7-12 and regional winners from sceince fairs from all over Colorado.

Facutly, postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates can participate as judges. SIGN-UP ON-LINE at the Colorado State Science Fair Inc. Website, the sponsor of CSEF.

Construction Zone

Microbiology Room B124 Face-Lift

In case you didn’t notice, Microbiology Room B124 was unavailable during the week of Spring Break for re-carpeting and painting. If you haven’t checked out this snazzy new conference room, stop by and have a look!

Celebrate Undergraduate Reseach and Creativity

Deadline for Abstract Submission is March 29 .

Setup posters: Mon, April 19, 5-10pm
Judging: Tues, April 20, 10am-2pm
Awards Ceremony: Thurs, April 22, TBD

For more information, see the CURC Webpage

Journal of Undergraduate Research

Colorado State University has created the "JUR: Journal of Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Excellence" which combines undergraduate and faculty involvement to create a cooperative approach to the peer review process. It provides an exciting opportunity for undergraduates from all disciplines, and from any accredited institution, to showcase their original work.

See the attached flyer for more information.

ASM Fellowships

The ASM Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship (UTF) is aimed at highly motivated and competitive students who are interested in a career as an elementary or secondary school science teacher. Students will have the opportunity to develop a project to provide instruction in a scientific discipline in a local school or community setting in partnership with a mentor at their home institution and a teacher or site coordinator from the host site.

Application Deadline is April 1, 2010
See the ASM Website for more information

ASM Graduate Fellowship

Call for Applications

Application Deadline is May 1, 2010

For more information regarding applicant requirements and application go to the ASM Graduate Fellowship webpage

ASM Graduate and Postdoc Opportunities

2010 ASM Kadner Institute in Preparation for Careers in Microbiology

Michigan State University
July 24-28, 2010

Application Deadline: May 15, 2010

For more information on applicant requirements and how to apply go to the ASM Graduate and Postdoctoral Opportunities webpage

Baby Congrats

Congratulations to Ralph Smith on the birth of his 6th Grandchild in February!


MIP Bits

Quote of the Month

‘Finding the question is often more important than finding the answer’

 ~ John W. Tukey, Statistician


Mystery Signature

Which MIP faculty member’s signature do you think this is?

Alternative ‘Rorschach-esque’ interpretations of this picture:

  • Sad hunchbacked guy wearing a cap and facing left
  • Dueling paperclips
  • Shamu viewed from below and slightly to his left
  • Anopheles mosquito following a bloodmeal
  • Submit your own / guess the signature

Questions for MIPuzzle #52
MIPuzzle #52 Answers MIPuzzle 52

New Grant Awards

Torsten Eckstein, "Mycobacterium paratuberculosis Host Interactions", Oregon State University

Richard Slayden, "Chemotherapeutics Against Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis", State University of New York at Stonybrook

NIH Happenings
  • Protecting your Intellectual Property as an NIH researcher

    As translational research creeps more and more into the mainstream of MIP research, protecting your intellectual property becomes a very important aspect. Check out the informative NIAID write up on the topic in the March 3rd edition of their newsletter.

  • NIH wants your opinion on how it should invest in training and career development

    The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, an NIH institute with a large portfolio of training awards, is actively seeking input from students, postdocs and faculty on the development of a new strategic plan for their research training and career development activities. Let them know what you think (by April 21st).

Holiday Schedule

Monday, July 5, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010 *
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Friday, Novvember 26, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Friday, December 31, 2010
Monday, January 17, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011

* = special MIP holiday (you still have to come to work but it's our favorite Dept Head's birthday)


MARCH 2010
Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
1 2
Graduate Seminar
Microscopy Seminar
Faculty Seminar, 12pm
8 9
Graduate Seminar
Microscopy Seminar
Faculty Seminar
March Madness Party 6pm Lincoln Center
Happy St Patrick's Day
22 23
Graduate Seminar
Microscopy Seminar
25 26
Faculty Seminar
29 30
Faculty Mtg 103 Path
Graduate Seminar
Microscopy Seminar


APRIL 2010
Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
Faculty Seminar, 12pm
5 6
Graduate Seminar
Microscopy Seminar
Faculty Seminar
March Madness Party 6pm Lincoln Center
12 13 14 15 16
19 20
Graduate Seminar
Microscopy Seminar
22 23
Faculty Seminar
26 27
Faculty Mtg 103 Path
Graduate Seminar
Microscopy Seminar
29 30

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MIP Newsletter Volume 7, Issue 3, March 2010