It's official! I am the fortunate recipient of a 2016 National Science Foundation CAREER award. Though I've known for some time, the excitement has yet to fade! I am excited by the possibilities for new science. This also means that we get to expand the group further next year!
Announcements regarding research, publication, and successes of the Payne research group members
Ingvild Isaken, advised primarily by Dr. Åsmund K. Røhr at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, will be visiting our lab for approximately 6 months. During her time at UK, Ingvild will be learning molecular modeling techniques toward understanding the mechanisms of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases. Ingvild's work here is supported by a grant to Dr. Røhr through the Research Council of Norway. We look forward to working with Ingvild and Åsmund over the next several months and are excited about this collaborative opportunity afforded to us!
Though Jana is not lacking for publications, he just had his first, first-author manuscript accepted for publication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B! We have several more planned prior to his PhD defense at the end of this year, so Jana will certainly stay busy this year with manuscript and dissertation writing. Congrats, Jana!
Abhishek's long-awaited (my fault!) first paper has been accepted for publication at Glycobiology! We are anxiously awaiting the galley proofs to make it feel official. A second manuscript of his is currently in revision, and Abhishek has a third on my desk as we speak. It's been a productive year for the group!
We have the great fortune to be spending our second summer in Uppsala, Sweden this year. In collaboration with Drs. Mats Sandgren, Jerry Ståhlberg, and Henrik Hansson, we will be spending the summer (1) investigating the mechanisms of beta-glucosidase product inhibition, (2) determining the structural basis of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase C1/C4 specificity, and (3) understanding the structural basis of stability of Trichoderma reesei cellobiohydrolases. Of course, we will have some fun as well. We have already spent a lovely group day out at Dalarö, and we just returned from the Swedish Structural Biology Network meeting in Tällberg. I am sure this summer will be every bit as fun and productive as the last and am supremely grateful for the opportunity to conduct research in such a lovely country. And I would be remiss in not thanking the faculty of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences for renewal of my August T. Larsson Award.
Group meetings with the Kekenes-Huskey group have been scheduled for the semester. We will meet at 175 F. Paul Anderson Tower from 4 to 5 pm on the following days. February 17th - Inacrist Geronimo March 3rd - Abhishek Kognole April 7th - Amir Kucharski May 5th - Yue Yu and Landon Mills
In the last two months, several new members have joined the group! Graduate students Yue Yu and Landon Mills (co-advised by Derek Englert) are starting new projects looking into the mechanism of a desulfinase. Inacrist Geronimo, who recently received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Lodz University of Technology, will use molecular simulation to investigate variant stability and specificity in a cytochrome P450. Exciting times!
Tyler Karnes was selected the inaugural recipient of the 2014 John Walker Biology and Engineering award! Tyler will use the $1000 award to travel to the 2015 AIChE Southern Regional Conference in Clearwater, FL. Here, he will present his research on molecular-level contributions to substrate specificity in enzymatic desulfurization. Congratulations, Tyler!
The Ralph E. Powe award recipients were recently announced, and I was fortunate enough to be named as one. I am very grateful to the ORAU organization for this award and the reviewers who thoughtfully reviewed my application. I look forward to this opportunity to further develop my research group.