June 2016
Vol. 13 | No. 6

Richard Bessen 1962-2016

Richard Bessen, an Associate Professor in MIP since 2012, passed away on May 31st after 54 years of laughter, hard work, amazing conversations, and prion research that was among the best in his field.  Richard received his BA in Biology from Wash U and his MS and PhD from the University of Wisconsin.  After postdoc stints at Rocky Mountain Labs and EMBO in Edinburgh Scotland, Richard rose through the ranks as a faculty member at Creighton University School of Medicine and Montana State before becoming a member of the MIP family.  Richard’s impact on this planet can be seen in so many ways, one of which is the immense respect his colleagues have for his prion research.  Over a quarter of Richard’s published papers have more than 100 citations – quite an impressive record in any field not to mention the relatively focused area of prion biology.  We are pleased to announce that the Rocky Mountain Virology meeting this September will include a special ‘Richard Bessen Prion Lecture’ in honor of our colleague.  He will be missed.

Jon Carlson 1946-2016

Retired MIP Professor Jon Carlson passed away on June 16th.  Jon approached life with a kind, gentle demeanor and a radiant smile that literally lit up the fourth floor of the Microbiology Building. Perched behind the perpetual mountain of papers that garnished his office desk, Jon had an amazing career in MIP.  He was a born teacher and guided numerous undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs on the road to great careers.  Jon got his BS with high distinction in Chemistry from CSU and his PhD from UC-Berkeley. After a postdoctoral stint at the CU Health Science Center, he worked briefly in industry before being hired as an Assistant Professor in our Department in 1984.  His research focused on vector biology and virology, with particular emphasis on insect densoviruses and sheep retroviruses.  A Memorial Service is planned on July 7th at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church on Lemay Ave.  He will be missed.

Recognizing MIP Vet Residents

The annual reception to recognize graduating members of MIP’s veterinary residency programs took place on June 21st.

Honored at the reception were:

Suhrim Fisher – Comparative Medicine
Greta Krafsur – Anatomic Pathology
Jenn Malmberg –Anatomic Pathology
Lauren Radakovich –Clinical Pathology

Check out the photos here.

Cathy was "Spotted"

Congratulations to Cathy Griffin for receiving a SPOT award based on a nomination from Dr. Ed Hoover.  Cathy recently led a team of MIP and CVMBS staff in the assembling and submitting Ed’s 436 page T32 NIH training grant competitive renewal application. 

Vienna Brown, PhD Program, “Environmental Maintenance and Transmission of Francisella tularensis in Cottontail Rabbits, Prairie Voles, and Amoebae” on April 27th. Her advisor is Dr. Richard Bowen.

Aimee Ortega, MS Program, “The Role of Plants as an Environmental Reservoir of Chronic Wasting Disease Prions” on April 28th. Her advisor is Dr. Mark Zabel.

Danielle Adney, PhD Program, "Transmission and Shedding of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus from Dromedary Camels, Alpacas, and Domestic Livestock” on May 2nd. Her advisor is Dr. Richard Bowen.

Ben Krajacich, PhD Program, “Tools and Techniques for the Study and Evaluation of Malaria Control Measures in West Africa” on June 8th. His advisor is Dr. Brian Foy.

Clare Hoover, PhD Program, “Biologic and Biochemical Features of Prion Pathogenesis” on June 9th. Her advisors are Dr. Ed Hoover & Dr. Mark Zabel.

Suhrim Fisher, MS Program, “Modeling Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) Infection in Male Reproductive Tract (MRT) using Humanized Mice” on June 20th. Her advisor is Ramesh Akkina.

Natalie Lakey, MS Program, "Host Directed Therapy Targeting M. tuberculosis Infected Macrophages" on June 23rd. Her advisor is Dr. Randy Basaraba.

Suwatchareeporn (Pao) Rotcheewaphan, PhD Program, “Characterization of Mycobacterium leprae Diguanylate Cyclases” on June 27th. Her advisor is Dr. John Belisle.

Greg Wilkerson, PhD Program, "Development and Utilization of a Macaque-based Mammosphere Culture Technique toward Breast Cancer Research” on June 29th. His advisors are Dr. EJ Ehrhart & Dr. Robert Ullrich.

Dietary Magnesium and Copper Affect Survivial Time and Neuroinflammation in Chronic Wasting Disease

Tracy Nichols, Terry Spraker, Thomas Gidlewski, Bruce Cummings, Dana Hill, Qingzhong Kong, Aru Blachandran, Kurt YerCauteren, and Mark Zabel



(Epublished May 24, 2016)


Did you hear the latest?  Oxygen and Magnesium have been spending a lot of time together in the Pathology Building.  It’s like OMg…..

Metal-heads listen up!  Magnesium (Mg) is the fourth most abundant ion in the body (a free year’s subscription to the MIPnews to the first person who can name the top three….) and is a cofactor for over 300 enzymatic reactions.  Not surprisingly, Mg plays a major role in numerous aspects of brain function.  In fact, a study published by Slutsky et al in Neuron in 2010 associated increased levels of Mg in rat brains with higher synaptic plasticity and cognitive function.  Other metal ions, like copper and manganese, are also important for health (just check the recommended daily intake numbers on your favorite daily multivitamin/mineral supplement).  Prp, the brain protein that gets misfolded in prion maladies like chronic wasting disease, loves to bind metals, particularly copper. Some studies even suggest that copper can influence Prp conversion to the disease-associated misfolded form PrpSC.  Now you understand why prion biologists are interested in metal – and perhaps why you hear Metallica, Motorhead and Sabbath music constantly playing on the 2nd floor of Pathology…..

Work done by Terry Spraker and colleagues in Rocky Mountain elk in 2010 indicated 'that elk' with chronic wasting disease (CWD) had lower levels of magnesium in their brains than animals that did not show symptoms.  This indicated that altered mineral intake might play a role in CWD disease progression.  To follow up on this observation, the group first tested water sources from various locations with or without a local association with CWD-affected deer.  While the results painted a far from definitive picture, the ratio of magnesium (Mg) to copper (Cu) in the water source appeared to be most relevant to disease association.  To assess this possible relationship a bit more definitively using a controlled environment, Tracy et al, fed Tg12 mice (animals that contain the cervid Prp in their brains) controlled diets with various Mg and Cu ratios and followed CWD disease progression.  In some groups, mice fed high magnesium, low Cu diets survived a bit longer than mice fed lower magnesium diets (136 vs 125/128 days).  In addition, the higher the copper levels in the diet, the higher amounts of interferon gamma and IL-1B cytokines were produced by the mice.  Since these cytokines are associated with neuroinflammation - which is associated with CWD disease progression, this indicates that the relative Mg and Cu amounts in the diet could be a way to influence the rate of progression of prion diseases.

So why did we chose this article as our coveted MIPublication of the Month®?  First, modulating neurologic disease manifestations in captive deer through dietary management sounds like a rather attractive proposition – and this publication definitely lays some groundwork along those lines.  Of course one has to be a little careful with just how much magnesium intake can be increased in the diet – as it is a very effective hydrating agent in the intestines (a laxative-inducing effect which is VERY well known by anyone who ever had to prep for a colonoscopy…..).  Next, this study is a great demonstration of synergy among not only units within the MIP Department, but also with local, national and international collaborators.  If it truly ‘takes a village’ as they say, this study definitely has all of the villagers on board.  Finally, we here at the MIPnews desk are extremely concerned by the recent observation this April of CWD emerging in Norwegian reindeer.  Therefore all eyes are on the CSU Prion Research Center to come up with some treatments/cures and SAVE CHRISTMAS!!!!

MIP Publications June 2016

Comazzi S, Avery PR, Garden OA, Riondato F, Rütgen B, Vernau W; European Canine Lymphoma Network.  European canine lymphoma network consensus recommendations for reporting flow cytometry in canine hematopoietic neoplasms.  Cytometry B Clin Cytom. 2016 May 12. doi: 10.1002/cyto.b.21382. [Epub ahead of print]

Calvert AE, Dixon KL, Piper J, Bennett SL, Thibodeaux BA, Barrett AD, Roehrig JT, Blair CD.  A humanized monoclonal antibody neutralizes yellow fever virus strain 17D-204 in vitro but does not protect a mouse model from disease.  Antiviral Res. 2016 Jul;131:92-9. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2016.04.013.

Kochen MA, Chambers MC, Holman JD, Nesvizhskii AI, Weintraub ST, Belisle JT, Islam MN, Griss J, Tabb DL.  Greazy: Open-Source Software for Automated Phospholipid Tandem Mass Spectrometry Identification.  Anal Chem. 2016 Jun 7;88(11):5733-41. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b00021.

Afonso CL, Amarasinghe GK, Bányai K, Bào Y, Basler CF, Bavari S, Bejerman N, Blasdell KR, Briand FX, Briese T, Bukreyev A, Calisher CH, Chandran K, Chéng J, Clawson AN, Collins PL, Dietzgen RG, Dolnik O, Domier LL, Dürrwald R, Dye JM, Easton AJ, Ebihara H, Farkas SL, Freitas-Astúa J, Formenty P, Fouchier RA, Fù Y, Ghedin E, Goodin MM, Hewson R, Horie M, Hyndman TH, Jiāng D, Kitajima EW, Kobinger GP, Kondo H, Kurath G, Lamb RA, Lenardon S, Leroy EM, Li CX, Lin XD, Liú L, Longdon B, Marton S, Maisner A, Mühlberger E, Netesov SV, Nowotny N, Patterson JL, Payne SL, Paweska JT, Randall RE, Rima BK, Rota P, Rubbenstroth D, Schwemmle M, Shi M, Smither SJ, Stenglein MD, Stone DM, Takada A, Terregino C, Tesh RB, Tian JH, Tomonaga K, Tordo N, Towner JS, Vasilakis N, Verbeek M, Volchkov VE, Wahl-Jensen V, Walsh JA, Walker PJ, Wang D, Wang LF, Wetzel T, Whitfield AE, Xiè JT, Yuen KY, Zhang YZ, Kuhn JH.  Taxonomy of the order Mononegavirales: update 2016.  Arch Virol. 2016 May 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Nandakumar S, Kannanganat S, Dobos KM, Lucas M, Spencer JS, Amara RR, Plikaytis BB, Posey JE, Sable SB.  Boosting BCG-primed responses with a subunit Apa vaccine during the waning phase improves immunity and imparts protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  Sci Rep. 2016 May 13;6:25837. doi: 10.1038/srep25837.

Denkers ND, Henderson DM, Mathiason CK, Hoover EA.  Enhanced prion detection in biological samples by magnetic particle extraction and real-time quaking-induced conversion.  J Gen Virol. 2016 May 27. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000515. [Epub ahead of print]

Thanna S, Knudson SE, Grzegorzewicz A, Kapil S, Goins CM, Ronning DR, Jackson M, Slayden RA, Sucheck SJ.  Synthesis and evaluation of new 2-aminothiophenes against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  Org Biomol Chem. 2016 Jun 2. [Epub ahead of print]

McDermott EG, Mayo CE, Gerry AC, Mullens BA.  Trap placement and attractant choice affect capture and create sex and parity biases in collections of the biting midge, Culicoides sonorensis.  Med Vet Entomol. 2016 Jun 2. doi: 10.1111/mve.12177. [Epub ahead of print]

Santangelo KS, Radakovich LB, Fouts J, Foster MT.  Pathophysiology of obesity on knee joint homeostasis: contributions of the infrapatellar fat pad.  Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2016 May 1;26(2):97-108. doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2015-0067.

Bommineni GR, Kapilashrami K, Cummings JE, Lu Y, Knudson SE, Gu C, Walker SG, Slayden RA, Tonge PJ.  Thiolactomycin-Based Inhibitors of Bacterial β-Ketoacyl-ACP Synthases with in Vivo Activity.  J Med Chem. 2016 Jun 9;59(11):5377-90. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00236.

Nichols TA, Spraker TR, Gidlewski T, Cummings B, Hill D, Kong Q, Balchandran A, VerCauteren KC, Zabel MD.  Dietary Magnesium and Copper Affect Survival Time and Neuroinflammation in Chronic Wasting Disease.  Prion. 2016 May 24:0. [Epub ahead of print.


Dobos Lab Brightens up Harmony House

The Dobos Lab once again went to the Harmony House last month and did their biannual service project.  The lab planted a large flat of beautiful pansies donated from Fort Collins Nursery as well as organic soil/perennials donated from Gully Greenhouse.  This was also the final group service project for a number of Dobos Lab trainees who have moved on to the Peace Corps, medical school, and graduate school.  A tip of the hat is definitely in order for the Dobos Gang - what a great way to give back to our local community!

See the rest of the photos here.

A Real World Perspective of Leprosy

John Spencer and his colleagues recently published a perspective piece in Lancet regarding the need to fully understand the incidence and transmission of leprosy in the world before rationale control/eradication strategies can be realized.  Check it out here.

The Rockies ain't the only club worth following this summer

The AIDL Softball Team has been resurrected and is one of the coolest teams in the Fort Collins City Softball League!  The ‘Head Squashers’, managed by Kaitlyn Miedema,  started the summer league season 5-0 but have dropped their last two games.  Rumors that the losing streak was caused by AIDL outfielders being distracted by the hordes of revenge-seeking mosquitos that have emerged this month at Lee Martinez Park could not be confirmed at press time.

The season runs through July and playoffs begin 8/2. 

We are proud of our recent Microbiology BS Program graduates!  Here is a sampling of what the class of 2016 are up to!

Donn Calkins: Will begin work on a doctorate in Biomedical Sciences this Fall at The Ohio State University, focusing on cancer biology.   

Adriana Collings: Will begin graduate school at the Yale University School of Public Health this Fall. 

Jasmine Donkoh: The recipient of an American Society of Microbiology Fellowship and winner of the MURAS award,will be travelling to Washington, D.C., where she will serve as an intern at the National Institutes of Health, focusing on vaccines for malaria. 

Dakota Hawthorne: Will begin vet school at CSU this Fall.

Rachel Herndon: Has accepted a position as a Quality Analyst at New Belgium Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina.

Solange Majewski: Will begin PhD study in the Fall at the University of Hawaii, and will focus on the connections between gut microbiota and disease.

Ron Mills: Is working as an Environmental Specialist at the University of Northern Colorado.

Ricky Ross: Is about to begin an internship in Environmental Health at Tri-County Health in Denver.

Heidi Roche: Will begin medical school this Fall at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Sarah Stonedahl: Will begin her PhD program this Fall in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Colorado-Denver.

Mark your Calendars!The 16th Annual Rocky Mountain Virology Meeting is less than 90 days away

The 16th Annual Rocky Mountain Virology Meeting will take place on September 23-25 at the CSU Mountain Campus in Pingree Park.

Due to the generosity of friends and family, the Rocky Mountain Virology Meeting is also pleased to announce the inaugural ‘Richard Bessen Prion Lecture’ will take place at this. See the full updated meeting announcement here.

Bronze Boots Ain’t for Just CSU-WYO Football Games

Dr. Deanna Dailey's proudly accepts a bronzed necropsy boot to commemorate her last week of autopsy duty for the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab.  Congrats Deanna!!!

Please let us know if you would like to borrow our cardboard cutout of Dr. Mason to make your next event/photo op special……

MIP alumnus opens new restaurant

Sai Palusa, an ex postdoc of the Wilusz lab, has taken a leave of absence from his position as a special appointment assistant professor in biology to open up a new restaurant – Bawarchi Biryani Point - at the former site of El Monte Grille.  The restaurant features southern Indian cuisine and will have its grand opening on June 30th.

Mycobacteria 5K Race/Fun Run

Think you’re ‘acid fast’????  Check out these photos from the 5K run held in conjunction with the June 2106 CO Mycobacteria Conference.

See photos here.

Happy Hokies

The 35th meeting of the American Society for Virology on the Virginia Tech Campus (held June 18-22) led to a reunion of sorts.  Carmen Ledesma-Feliciano (on the left) is an LAR resident and PhD student in Sue Vandewoude’s lab.  XJ Meng  (center) is a University Distinguished Professor at Va Tech and recently elected National Academy of Sciences member.  XJ served as Carmen's research mentor while she attended vet school at Va Tech).  Sue Vandewoude (right) is a graduate of the Va Tech veterinary school (from back in the days when the ‘school’ consisted of a trailer and a small building).

Spence Taxi Service came in handy to help some CO Mycobacteria 2016 attendees to get around Old Town.  Just wish he woulda slowed down a little so we could get a good picture…….

John Spencer and Bruno Sobral visit Belem

      John Spencer, who is currently in the Belem area of Brazil working on his leprosy project, recently hosted a visit from Bruno Sobral.  In addition to a plethora of scientific discussions, they visited the original Fort, Ver-o-Peso (a huge marketplace on the river) and the the old jail which has been converted to jewelry and artisan shops.  They had lunch at the famous Manjar das Garcas restaurant, a haircut and shave at Rockefeller barber shop, and relaxed to samba music at Bar do Gilson.

Check out a few more photos here.

CVMBS College Research Council Grant Awards for July 2016

Brian Geiss: Antiviral drug testing against Zika virus

Marcela Henao-Tamayo: Tamayo Novel Small Animal Model of Tuberculosis Transmission

Rebekah Kading: Entomological risk factors for potential transmission of Rift Valley fever virus around concentrations of livestock in Colorado

Amy MacNeill: Post-operative Administration of Myxoma Virus to Reduce Recurrance of Soft Tissue Sarcomas in Dogs

Candace Mathiason: Elucidating mechanisms of CWD in utero transmission at the feto-maternal interface

Christie Mayo: Genetic diversity of bluetongue virus populations & influence of alternate host transmission on viral evolution (year 2)

Christine Olver: Rattlesnake venom-induced coagulopathy: prolonging clot lifespan through small molecule therapy

Brendan Podell: Inhibition of PKC theta to improve immune tolerance in type 1 diabetic autoimmunity

Jeff Wilusz: Rift Valley Fever Virus and the Host RNA Decay Machinery

Reminder of Payroll Change in June

The June monthly payroll is July 1st for salaried employees.




MIP Bits

"Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include an annual free trip around the sun."

-Source Unknown

Pat Brennan samples some of Fort Collins’ finest ales during a break at the recent CO Mycobacteria meeting.

Alternative Captions

1. Ever since Brexit, I guess that the pound doesn’t buy as much beer as it used to….

2. Never judge a man by the size of his beer.

3. Pat samples the new $20 Ram-size beer we hear that they might consider serving at the new on-campus stadium to maximize revenue.

4. The CO Mycobacteria meeting must’ve been great – attendees only needed  a wee amount of alcohol to unwind in the evening.

5. Submit your own

NIAID offers Primary Caregiver Technical Assistance Supplements to grants

These supplements are designed to support postdoctoral research scientists who are taking care of a child or sick family member. They provide additional funds to an NIAID grant to hire a mid-to-senior level technician to fill in when the caregiver needs to be away from the lab. For more information, read the program announcement.

Investigate Immune Mechanisms to Advance New Tuberculosis Vaccines

Here’s a funding opportunity that’s right up the alley for many MRLers:  http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-AI-16-054.html

New Grant Awards

Angelo Izzo, "Assessment of BCG Korea in the Guinea Pig Model of Tuberculosis", Green Cross Corporation.

Anne Lenaerts, "Novel Spectinamide Antibiotics for the Treatment of MDR/XDR Tuberculosis", Microbiotix, Inc..

Brad Borlee (Primary PI), Herbert Schweizer (Co-PI), "Burkholderia Pseudomallei Library Copy Preparation", American Type Culture Collection.

Dean Crick (Primary PI), Debbie Cran (Co-PI), "Unraveling the Origin of Pyrazinamide's Synergy With Other Anti-TB Drugs", HHS-NIH-NIAID-Allergy & Infect Diseases.

Diane Ordway, "New Therapeutics for Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacteria", Spero Therapeutics.

Greg Ebel, "Predicting Genetic Determinants of Zika Virus Emergence", HHS-NIH-NIAID-Allergy & Infect Diseases.

John Belisle, "BMAC CSU Core Facility Mass Spectrometry Services", HHS-CDC-Centers for Disease Control.

Kristen Davenport, "Characterizing the Role of Protein Interactions in Prion Disease Species Barriers", HHS-NIH-National Institutes of Health

Mary Jackson (Primary PI), Mercedes Gonzalez (Collaborator), "MmpL3 as a Target for Novel Anti-TB Agents", HHS-NIH-NIAID-Allergy & Infect Diseases.

Mary Jackson, "Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Cell Wall Assembly", HHS-NIH-NIAID-Allergy & Infect Diseases.

Mercedes Gonzalez (Primary PI), Mary Jackson (Collaborator), "Aerosol Spectinamide-1599 Therapy Against Tuberculosis", HHS-NIH-NIAID-Allergy & Infect Diseases.

Michael Lyons, "Improving Combination Chemotherapy of Tuberculosis: A Computational Approach", HHS-NIH-NIAID-Allergy & Infect Diseases.

Nicole Kruh-Garcia (Primary PI), Jessica Prenni (Co-PI), Karen Dobos (Co-PI),"TB Surrogate Markers for Assessing Response to Treatment (TB SMART Study)", University of California, San Francisco.

Ramesh Akkina, "In Vivo Model Core", City of Hope National Medical Center. "An Ultrasensitive In Vivo Latent HIV Outgrowth Assay Using Humanized Mice", HHS-NIH-NIAID-Allergy & Infect Diseases.

Sue VandeWoude, "The Ecology and Evolution of Retroviruses in the Endangered Florida Panther", Amer. College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Sue VandeWoude (Primary PI), Kevin Crooks (Co-PI), William Christopher (Co-PI), "Impacts of Landscape Structure, Host Demography, and Management Interventions on Disease Dynamics", NSF - National Science Foundation.

Rushika Perera, "Metabolomics-based Discovery of Small Molecule Biomarkers for Noninvasive Dengue Diagnosis and Prognosis", HHS-NIH-NIAID-Allergy & Infect Diseases.

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MIP Newsletter Volume 13, Issue 6, June 2016

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