Past News & Events

March 2015  Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Kraut who has been awarded a Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement! The focus of the funded work is, "Do Proteasomal Motor Proteins Have Separable Functions? The Effect of Aromatic Paddle Mutations on Proteasomal Processivity." Read more about the award.  Congratulations!  

January 2015 Dr. Barry Selinsky and colleague published a review entitled, “Bacterial and algal orthologs of prostaglandin H2 synthase: novel insights into the evolution of an integral membrane protein” in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. Well done!

December 2014 Congratulations to senior Nick Ader(Biochemistry/Biology, 2015) who has been awarded a Marshall Scholarship! He is the second ever Villanovan to be awarded this prestigious scholarship (and the second Villanova Biochemistry major in as many years to be awarded a Marshall Scholarship!). Read moreabout Nick and the Marshall Scholarship. Update March 2015:  Nick has also been accepted into the NIH Marshall Program, which provides two years of additional funding towards his doctoral work. Congrats!

December 2014 Dr. Dennis Wykoff’s laboratory published their work, “Dissection of the PHO pathway in Schizosaccharomyces pombe using epistasis and the alternate repressor adenine” in Current Genetics. Kudos! 

December 2014 Dr. Anil Bamezai and colleagues published their work in BMC Immunology, “Lipid raft-based membrane order is important for antigen-specific clonal expansion of CD4+ T lymphocytes.” Congratulations!  Update March 2015:  This article has been selected as an Editor's pick!  Kudos to Dr. Bamezai and his student Daniel Schieffer!

November 2014 Dr. Aimee Eggler and Nick Ader (Biochemistry/Biology 2015) traveled to the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine Annual Meeting in Seattle to present their work, “Comparison of Human Nrf2 Antibodies: All Is Not as It Seems.”   Excellent!

November 2014 Our student Biochemistry club, Villanova Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is now an official chapter of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Undergraduate Affiliate Network (UAN). Way to go! 

November 2014 Dr. Elaine Youngman and collaborator have published a review in Frontiers in Genetics entitled, “From early lessons to new frontiers: the worm as a treasure trove of small RNA biology.” Congratulations!

October 2014 Congratuations to Dr. Matt Youngman who has been awarded a 2014 Kaufman Foundation Investigator Award for his proposal, Analysis of the role of SMK-1 in the age-dependent regulation of the FOXO transcription factory DAF-16 in Caenorhabditis elegans.” Across Pennsylvania, only 5 of these awards were made. Congratulations on this tremendous achievement!

April 2014:   Several members of our student Biochemistry club, Villanova Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, volunteered at PAGES. They led 6th grade girls in an enzyme experiment.  Check out the pictures here!

April 2014:  Dr. Knepper and several Biochemistry students in her laboratory presented their work at the international meeting for the American Association of Cancer Research in San Diego!  See some pictures here!  

April 2014:  Congratulations to Ms. Jessica Eby (Biochemistry/French, 2014) who has been awarded a 2014-2015 Fulbright US Student Grant. Well done, Jess!

March 2014:   Mr. Nicholas Ader (Biochemistry/Biology, 2015) has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship! Congratulations on this tremendous honor!   

February 2014:  Congratulations to Dr. Aimee Eggler, the recipient of a Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement!  The focus of the work is the "Activation of the Nrf2 pathway by oxidizable diphenol compounds:  Elucidating the contributions of the electrophilic form and reactive oxygen species."  

December 2013:  Our Biochemistry program has earned accreditation through the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)! 

December 2013:  Senior Biochemistry major Joana Petrescu has been named Villanova’s first ever Marshall Scholarship winner.  Congratulations on this tremendous honor!  Joana will use this award to study cancer biology at Cambridge University.  Read more about Joana and the Marshall Scholarship!

November 2013Dr. Daniel Kraut has published an article entitled, “Slippery Substrates Impair ATP-dependent Protease Function by Slowing Unfolding” in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.  Check it out!  Congratulations! 

November 2013:  The Wilson lab has published an article entitled, “Engineering large functional plasmids for biosafety” in Plasmid.  Congratulations!

August 2013:  Dr. Aimee Eggler delivered the PSNA/Elsevier Award Lecture at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Phytochemical Society of North America.  Well done!  At the same meeting, graduate student Zachary Kemmerer presented his work entitled, “Synergistic Nrf2/Antioxidant Response Element Pathway Activation by Sulforaphane and Zerumbone through Addition of Redox Catalyst.”

July 2013:  Congratulations to the Wykoff lab on their publication in PLos One entitled, “The fate of linear DNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida glabrata: the role of homologous and non-homologous end joining.”  Kudos!

July 2013:  The Palenchar lab presented their work at the Annual Symposium of the Protein Society in Boston, MA. 

June 2013:  Research from the Selinsky lab on aminosterol antibiotics is published in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters!  Congratulations!

June 2013: The Biochemistry program is now offering a Biochemistry minor. You may find the details here.

May 2013:  Honors and awards abound for our students! 

·         Rising senior Biochemistry major Joana Petrescu wins a prestigious Goldwater Fellowship!   Rising senior Biochemistry major Daniel Amor receives an honorable mention for the Goldwater Fellowship.  Graduating senior Katharine Dynarski also was an honorable mention for the Goldwater last year.

·         We proudly have four Phi Beta Kappa inductees this year:  graduating senior Lien Trieu and rising seniors Daniel Amor, Jessica Eby, and Joana Prestrecu

·         Graduating senior Katharine Dynarski is the recipient of the Villanova Mendel Medallion in Biochemistry – The Rosalind Franklin Award.   

Congratulations to all on these well-deserved honors!

May 2013:  Congratulations to our seniors!  This year, 21 students graduated in Biochemistry.  Of these, one graduated summa cum laude, two graduated magna cum laude, and four graduated cum laude.  We wish you all the best in your new endeavors!

May 2013:  Kudos to biochemistry students Sarah Mulroy (Eggler lab) and Daniel Amor (Desmond lab)!  Both received Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellow (VURF) awards to carry out summer research here at Villanova.  Well done!

April 2013:  The Villanova Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (VSBMB) is now official!  Stay tuned for the happenings of our student biochemistry club.

April 2013:  Members of Dr. Angela DiBenedetto’s laboratory presented their work at the regional meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA:

·         Jonathan Rumley, M.S. Biology candidate, presented: Development of a transgenic zebrafish line inducibly overexpressing brd2a.

·         Paul Barnett, M.S. Biology candidate, presented: Late centeral nervous system defects and cerebellar-dependent behavioral analysis in transcriptional co-regulator Brd2-knockdown zebrafish larvae.

·         Alison Presti, B.S. Biochemistry candidate,  presented:  Analysis of miRNA expression in Brd2 knock-down zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos.

·         Sydney Lee, B.S. Biology candidate, presented: A PTZ zebrafish kindling  paradigm for the study of epilepsy susceptibility.

February 2013:  Dr. Barry Selinsky and members of his laboratory attended the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.  They presented the following work:

·         Gassler, F., Tessema, T-D., and Selinsky, B.S., Antimicrobial and lytic activities of squalamine analogs: Effect of varied cationic groups at C3 and stereochemistry at C7, Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, February 2013.

·         Butchy, M.V., Backus, K., Tang, H., and Selinsky, B.S., Cloning, expression, and purification of a putative prostaglandin synthase from Nostoc as a SUMO fusion protein, Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, February 2013.

January 2013:  Dr. Janice Knepper receives a National Institutes of Health AREA/R15 grant to fund her lab’s work on breast cancer!  Congratulations!

September 2012:  Congratulations to the Wykoff lab on their newest publication in press!  Kerwin C.L. & Wykoff DD. 2012 De novo generation of a phosphate regulated promoter in Candida glabrata. FEMS Yeast Research.

August 2012:  Dr. Matthew Youngman joins us as a new Assistant Professor of Biology and member of the Biochemistry Program!  Dr. Youngman completed his undergraduate work in Biochemistry at Pepperdine University, received a PhD in Cell Biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and carried out postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.    At Villanova, Dr. Youngman will carry out research to understand the molecular basis for the age-dependent decline in immunity known as "immunosenescence".  Using the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model host, the Youngman Lab will seek to define the mechanisms by which genes that are important for the immune response are regulated during aging and to understand how changes in cellular function that occur later in life impact the ability of an organism to resist infection. Welcome Dr. Youngman!

August 2012 Many congratulations are in order!  Dr. Barry Selinsky has accepted the position of Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development in the College of Arts & Sciences.   Dr. Dennis Wykoff has been named the Dennis M. Cook Endowed Gregor Mendel Chair in Genetics.  Congratulations to both on these well-deserved honors!

August 2012:  Dr. Aimee Eggler is the inaugural recipient of the Phytochemistry/Phytochemical Society of North America Young Investigator Research Grant Award!  The award is the first of its kind sponsored by the Elsevier journal Phytochemistry.  Congratulations on this honor!

August 2012:  Dr. Daniel Kraut and colleagues published the following work: “Sequence- and species-dependence of proteasomal processivity.”  Kraut DA, Israeli E, Schrader EK, Patil A, Nakai K, Nanavati D, Inobe T, Matouschek A.  ACS Chem Biol. 2012 Aug 17;7(8):1444-53. Congratulations!

August 2012:  Our biochemists were well represented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia!  Posters were presented on “Antimicrobial and lytic activities of squalamine analogs: Effect of stereochemistry at C3 and C7” (T-D Tessema and B.S. Selinsky), “Synthesis and antimicrobial activity of a series of (3β-N-1,3-diaminopropyl) bile acids” (F.G. Gassler and B.S. Selinsky), “PCR and statistical analyses of the observed variations in the CCR5 gene” (F. Raposo, J. Palenchar, B.S. Selinsky, and J. Rucker), “Analysis of amino acid conservation using the functional amino acid navigator” (P. Palenchar),  “Unusual cofactor preference of Trypanosoma brucei β-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase” (S. Uppal and J. Palenchar), and  “Characterization of an essential trypanosome DNA binding protein” (C. Sofa and J. Palenchar)

August 2012:  Dr. Jennifer Palenchar has been named the co-director of the Biochemistry program from the Chemistry Department.  She joins Dr. Janice Knepper, the co-director from the Biology Department.

August 2012:  We sadly inform you of the passing of Dr. Robert Reczkowski.  Bob is missed and his many years of teaching and research in the Chemistry Department are greatly appreciated.August 2012 – We welcome Dr. Aimee Eggler to Villanova as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry, teaching in the Biochemistry Program. Dr. Eggler received her BS in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Eggler’s research involves the molecular mechanism of regulation of transcription factors. We welcome Dr. Eggler to Villanova!


July 2012:  Members of the Wykoff laboratory attended the Yeast Genetics & Molecular Biology meeting at Princeton University.   They presented the following:  “De novo generation of a phosphate-starvation regulated promoter in C. glabrata.” (C. Kerwin & D. Wykoff), “Amino acid changes responsible for neofunctionalization of the Candida glabrata PMU2 gene” (K. Orlando, C. Kerwin, M. Cirullo, S. Leone, D. Davies & D. Wykoff), and “Identification of cis regulatory elements in the pho1+ promoter of Schizosaccharomyces pombe.” (M. Peel & D. Wykoff). 

March 2012:  Dr. Anil Bamezai was invited to speak at the International Conference and Exhibition on Nanotechnology & Nanomedicine, March 12-14, 2012, at Omaha, Nebraska. Title of his talk was: “Nano-structures on plasma membrane of immune cells: isolation and characterization”.  Congratulations on this honor!


June 2012 – Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Palenchar and Dr. Dennis Wykoff, who were both granted tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor effective in August 2012.

May 20, 2012 – At graduation ceremonies, the second class of four year biochemistry majors were awarded their BS degrees. Congratulations to Jillian Kazley (who finished in December 2011), Taseer Bhatti, Jazzmin Boyd, Sage DeRosa, Andrew Feiter, Brooks Hopkins, Daniel Mason, Irene Michailides, Jennifer Mottern, Sayani Patra, Elizabeth Tang, and Jephne Wang. Thanks for making the last four years special for us all!

May 2012 – Biochemistry faculty members Dr. Peter Palenchar and Dr. Jennifer Palenchar published an article in Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology entitled “The  Evolution  of  Metabolic  Enzymes  in  Plasmodium  and  Trypanosomatids  As  Compared  to Saccharomyces and Schizosaccharomyces”.   (Volume 184, pp. 13-19, 2012)

April 22, 2012Dr. Dennis Wykoff presented an invited talk at the National Meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in San Diego, CA. Dr. Wykoff’s talk was, “Effective teaching and mentoring while publishing and (hopefully) having a life”.

April 2, 2012 – Biochemistry undergraduate student Jephne Wang, along with Biology graduate students Eric Shrestha and Justin Saunders and Biochemistry faculty member Dr. Janice Knepper, presented a poster at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. The title of their poster was “Fliz-1 regulation of GATA-3 expression in mammary tumor cells”.

March 2012 – Dr. Anil Bamezai, along with Biology student Joseph Comber, published an article in the journal Vaccine (30, 2140-2145) titled, “In vitro derivation of interferon-γ producing, IL-4 and IL-7 responsive memory-like CD4+ T cells”.

January 2012 – Congratulations to Tina Shah, who was given a Best Poster award at the American Chemical Society (Philadelphia section) Undergraduate and Graduate Poster Session at Temple University. Biochemistry undergraduate student Russell Miller and faculty member Dr. Jennifer Palenchar also attended the poster session.

January 2012 – Welcome to Dr. Daniel Kraut, a new Assistant Professor of Chemistry who will be teaching in the Biochemistry Program. Dr. Kraut received his BS from Swarthmore College, his PhD from Stanford University and has just completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Biochemistry at Northwestern University. Dr. Kraut’s research examines the proteosome, a cellular complex involved in protein breakdown and recycling.

December 2011 – Colleen Kennedy, Matthew D. Nelson and Anil K. Bamezai. 2011. Analysis of Detergent-free Lipid Rafts isolated from CD4+ T cell line: Interaction with antigen presenting cells promotes coalescing of lipid rafts. BioMed Central - Cell Communication and Signaling, 9:31

May 15, 2011 – At today’s graduation ceremonies, the first class of four year biochemistry majors received their BS degrees. Congratulations to Kevin Backus, Vincent Capparelli, Alyssa Dragone, Tala El-Yousef, John Hull, Brittany Internoscia, Kasey Johnson, Elise Mangione, Shawn Morris, Paulina Ogorzalek, Ian Piro, Victoria Pisciella, Juliette Power, Stephanie Reinhold, Thomas Ruffino, Huasong Tang, Chong Wai Tio, Jenna Weinstein, and Hye Jin Yoo. We know that you will leave your impression on the world.

April 2011 - Undergraduate biochemistry students Paulina Ogorzalek (Biochemistry ‘11) and Russell Miller (Biochemistry ‘13), along with faculty member Jennifer Palenchar, presented a poster entitled “Characterization of a putative Trypanosoma brucei transcription factor” at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Washington, DC, in April 2011. Paulina has entered the Masters program in Food Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

April 2011 - Undergraduate biochemistry students Kasey Johnson (Biochemistry ‘11) and Victoria Pisciella (Biochemistry ‘11), along with faculty member Barry Selinsky, presented a poster entitled “Expression, Purification, and Characterization of a Putative Acetylcholine Binding Protein from Nostoc punctiforme” at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Washington, DC, in April 2011. Kasey has entered the PhD program in neurobiology at the University of Connecticut Medical School, while Victoria is employed at PPD, Inc., as a project assistant in biostatistics.

April 2011 - Undergraduate biochemistry students Huasong Tang (Biochemistry ’11) and Kevin Backus (Biochemistry ’11), along with faculty member Barry Selinsky, presented a poster entitled “Expression, Purification, and Characterization of a Putative Cyclooxygenase from Nostoc punctiforme” at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Washington, DC, in April 2011. Huasong has been accepted into the Commonwealth Medical School in Scranton, PA,  and Kevin is.

February 2011 – Dr. Dennis Wykoff published a journal article in the February issue of Eukaryotic Cell entitled “Systematic screen of Schizosaccharomyces pombe deletion collection uncovers parallel evolution of the phosphate signal transduction pathway in yeasts.”  Theresa Henry (Biology ’10) is the first author along with two other undergraduate authors - Juliette Power (Biochemistry ’10) and Aishat Mohammed (Biology ’08).  All three students performed a senior thesis and were supported during a summer by the Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships.  This work identified a new signal transduction pathway in fission yeast and suggests that certain parts of the phosphate signal transduction pathway are highly conserved in eukaryotes.

November 2010 – Dr. Dennis Wykoff published an article with B.S./M.S. student Brianne Orkwis and B.S. student Danielle Davies in the journal Genetics in November of 2010.  The article entitled “Novel Acid Phosphatase in Candida glabrata Suggests Selective Pressure and Niche Specialization in the Phosphate Signal Transduction Pathway,” describes a novel gene in a human commensal yeast species that causes genetic isolation from the related brewer’s yeast.  Ms. Orkwis is teaching classes in biology at the Philadelphia Institute of Technology and Ms. Davies is attending medical school at UMDNJ.  This work is beginning to define the genes required for speciation.

May 16, 2010 – Congratulations to Kathryn Capasso, Melinda Darnell, Stephanie Komura, Bryan McCusty, Lauren Pedicini, Adam Terreri, Paul Weibel, and Alessa Wood, who graduated with Biochemistry degrees at Villanova’s commencement ceremonies this morning. We will miss you!

May 17, 2009 – Congratulations to Natalie Barrera, Michael Barresi, Kyle Doolan, Kristen Koller, Greg Papachristos, and Ryan Spears, who graduated with Biochemistry degrees at Villanova’s commencement ceremonies this morning.