A long overdue update

James Fraser
10 November 2017

It’s been over a year since I wrote an update for our lab news section (parenthood has slowed me down a bit). There have been a lot of changes:

  • Goodbye David Mavor, PhD!
    • David (aka Iggy) finished his doctoral work in the lab and moved on to Dan Bolon’s lab at UMass Medical. Iggy merged his thesis work with graduate education in the PUBS course and published a spectacular deep mutational scanning paper (with a record number of co-authors!) based on the the first year of the class. The next two years were summarized in a pre-print. Congratulations Dr. Mavor
  • Welcome to new postdocs Dr. Brandi Hudson (and soon Dr. John Lee)!
    • Brandi joined us last summer from the Tantillo lab at UC Davis and has been working in collaboration with Relay Therapeutics and Schrodinger on how to account for conformational dynamics in ligand design. John will be joining us later this month from the Burkart lab at UCSD.
  • New rotation students!
    • Two fantastic students are rotating with us this quarter. Jenna from iPQB and Robbie from Tetrad. Jenna is working with Erin Thompson on compensatory mutations in enzymes and Robbie is working with Ben Barad on chitinases!
  • Foreign visitors to the lab!
    • During 2016 we had Tommy Lazarou visiting from Canada as part of his co-op program at McMaster University. He’s now a graduate student at NYU. Dr. Kazutaka Ito recently joined us from Asahi KASEI Pharma Corporation in Japan and will be working with Michael Thompson on proteases and XFELs (including our trip later this month to the SACLA XFEL in Japan). Early next year, Prof. Roberto Chica will be joining us on sabbatical from University of Ottawa to work on room temperature X-ray diffraction studies of designed enzymes. I love the international community of science. Visiting the Tawfik lab at the Weizmann Institute in 2010 was a formative experience for me, so it’s fun to host people here and continue the tradition of scientific exchange!
  • Goodbye Professor Daniel Keedy!
    • Postdoc Daniel Keedy accepted a tenure track position in New York, NY at the ASRC of CUNY as part of their Structural Biology Initiative. We held his goodbye party this week and he has already started his long drive across the country. In our lab, supported by the A.P. Giannini Foundation, Daniel pioneered new computational and experimental approaches to “map the intramolecular nervous systems of proteins” - a synthesis we’ve come to call multiconformer multitemperature X-ray crystallgoraphy (or MMX). Daniel always had a remarkable way with words and his attention to detail was second to none. He took a big chance coming to join a fresh new lab and I’m so proud of all that he accomplished here. His last manuscript is almost ready to post on BioRxiv and we’re excited to see how Prof. Keedy adjusts to being the “big cheese” of the Keedy lab in 2018.
  • Starting a new “Macromecular Structure Methods” class!
    • John Gross and I have started a new class for UCSF Biophysics and Chemical Biology students. In the tradition of PUBS, this new Methods class has a project-based format. Organizing the material has invovled a lot of heavy lifting by David Bulkley (in our EM core), Ryan Tibble (in John’s lab), Eugene Palovcak and Daniel Asarnow (in Yifan Cheng’s lab), and Kazu Ito and Michael Thompson (in our lab!). It is a lot of work to start these kinds of classes, but I think it is worth it. I’ll update with an assessment later in the year!
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