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Congratulations, Dr. Griffin Welfer!

Congratulations Griffin Welfer on successfully defending his dissertation "Unraveling the Impact of Ribonucleotides on Telomere Integrity: Pulling Threads Connecting Molecular Mechanisms to Cellular Consequences"! Griffin received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Good luck on your postdoc in the lab of Scott Blanchard at Saint Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Congratulations, Dr. Ben Ryan!

Congratulations to the newly minted Benjamin Ryan, PhD! Ben received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology after successfully defending his dissertion "DNA Polymerase Beta: Mechanisms of Nucleotide Insertion During DNA Repair."

We wish Ben luck as he goes on to pursue the start of his postdoctoral career in the lab of Dr. Bevin Engelward at MIT.

The Lab attends EMGS & Dr. Freudenthal receives the Samuel H. Wilson Award

The lab attended the 2023 54th annual meeting of the Environmental Mutagenesis & Genomics Society in Chicago, IL. Members Dr. Freudenthal, Dr. Justin Ling, and Griffin Welfer had the opportunity to present their research during Symposium and Platform talks. Members Luis Cortez, Kaitlin DeHart, and Spencer Thompson were also offered the opportunity to present their research during Poster Presentations, while Dr. Tyler Weaver chaired the Symposium: Mechanisms of DNA Repair in Chromatin.

Luis Cortez, Kaitlin DeHart, Dr. Justin Ling, Spencer Thompson, Dr. Tyler Weaver, and Griffin Welfer were all awarded Travel Awards to attend the conference.

Finally, Dr. Bret Freudenthal was awarded the first annual Samuel H. Wilson Award. The award was established in memory of Dr. Samuel H. Wilson Jr. whose contributions to the field of base excision repair are remembered by his many mentees. The award is presented to junior investigators for their scientific contributions to the field of DNA repair. Dr. Freudenthal was honored to accept the award in memory of his own posdoctoral mentor. 

Luis Cortez is awarded an NIH F31 Fellowship
We congratulate Luis's success in obtaining an NIH NIGMS Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)!

This award will support Luis's ongoing research project titled “Structural and Biological Effects of Ribonucleotide Insertion into Telomeres.” The goal of the F31 fellowship is to support promising predoctoral students with potential to develop into a productive, independent research scientists, to obtain mentored research training while conducting their thesis work. Congratulations, Luis! 
Justin Ling, PhD joins the Lab as a New Post-Doctoral Fellow
Welcome Dr. Justin Ling!

We welcome Justin Ling to the lab as our new post-doc. Justin comes to us from Iowa City after finishing his PhD in Biochemistry in the lab of Todd Washington at the University of Iowa. Justin brings with him plenty of structural biology experience and a great attitude to dive into new science with the Freudenthal lab. We look forward to your time and accomplishments with us, Justin!
Cryo-EM Open House and Dr. Freudenthal is Named Scientific Director

An event that has been in the works for a long time, KUMC hosted an open house for the unveiling of our new ThermoFischer Glacios microscope. The Open House was a great event with presentations from many of the pilot projects, and longer running cryo-EM projects on KUMC’s campus. The keynote for the event was Dr. Jason McClellan from UT Austin, who gave an excellent talk about his work on vaccine development. Specifically the work he did on the SARS CoV-2 vaccine. Finally, Dr. Bret Freudenthal was named Scientific Director of the cryo-EM facility. There is sure to be a lot of great research utilizing this facility in the coming years!

The Lab attends the Midwest DNA Repair Conference

The lab attended the Midwest DNA Repair Conference in Iowa City, Iowa. A conference that is normally held every two years, but because of the pandemic had been pushed back several times. It was great to reconnect with our regional DNA repair friends, and to meet some new friends. Most of the lab presented posters at this event, and Ben Ryan won the award for best oral presentation.

New Faces and Milestones in the Freudenthal Lab!

Spring is always an exceptionally busy time of the year in the Freudenthal lab. First, we’re very proud of Spencer Thompson, the second MD PhD candidate in the lab, who passed his qualifying exam. Secondly, the lab continues to grow with Peyton Oden joining the lab! Peyton hails from Illinois, and attended Baker University for her undergraduate education, where she majored in chemistry. Welcome Peyton and we’re looking forward to the work that you do in the lab!

Griffin at the Kansas Capitol Research Summit

The Capitol Graduate Research Summit is an event for graduate students around the state to present their work to state government officials and the people of Kansas. This is a great opportunity for high quality research to be shared with lawmakers within the state. This year Griffin was one of the students selected to share his collaborative work on telomerase the Capitol Graduate Research Summit. He was also selected as the Overall Winner for his presentation. Exceptional work Griffin!

Student Research Forum 2023
Kaitlin and Ben won awards for their oral presentations at the 2023 Student Research Forum.

The Student Research Forum (SRF) is a student-organized multi-day conference on KUMC’s campus. In addition to professional development, the event offers a great opportunity for both clinical and laboratory students to present their research. The Freudenthal lab had a great showing at SRF this year! Kaitlin DeHart won second place for her presentation in her session and Ben Ryan won the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Joe R. Kimmel Award.

Luis Cortez was Awarded the Biomedical Research Training Program Fellowship
KUMC offers an annual Biomedical Research Training Program fellowships to outstanding pre- and post-doctoral candidates. These fellowships serve to formulate the foundation of a proposal for an NIH training fellowship. Our own, Luis Cortez, was one of the awardees of the BRTP! He wrote a strong proposal that he was then able to modify and get a strong score on his F-31 award. Congrats Luis!
Lumicks Installed the Lab's New C-Trap! 
After being held by FedEx in Kansas City for a few weeks, the newest instrument in lab, a Lumicks C-Trap, was installed and users from the lab were trained on its operation! The C-Trap is an optical tweezers that allows for the visualization of of molecular interactions in real time. It's a new exciting instrument that will allow us to answer deeper questions about DNA repair! 
7th US-EU Conference on Endogenous DNA Damage & Repair at Stony Brooke University
The second and final conference of fall 2022 was attended by both Bret and Tyler at Stony Brooke University in New York. Bret served as a co-organizer for this event, and Tyler presented a great oral presentation on the lab's work on base excision repair in the context of the nucleosome. Tyler ultimately took home one of the prizes for individual talks while getting to meet Nobel Laureate Tomas Lindhal! 
13th ICEM and Sam Wilson Memorial Symposium in Ottawa, Canada
The first conference of the fall was attended by Bret, Tyler, Griffin, and Ben. This was a special conference as it featured the Sam Wilson Memorial Symposium on the first day. In honor of all of Sam’s work on Base Excision Repair, an excellent symposium was put together featuring speakers that Sam had impacted throughout his career. Bret delivered an exciting talk on unpublished data regarding Base Excision Repair in chromatin. Tyler was the only post-doctoral fellow chosen to speak at this session. He gave an excellent talk about the translesion synthesis polymerase Rev1, work that was recently accepted at Nature Communications.
Griffin and Ben both presented during the ICEM portion of the conference. Griffin presented his work in both a poster format and as a platform presentation. Ben presented a poster that subsequently won best overall Student and New Investigator Poster. An excellent conference that opened the door to collaboration for the lab!!
Sixth Midwest Single Molecule Workshop
The lab also attended the 6th Midwest Single Molecule workshop which was put on by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This was a valuable experience for the lab as we venture more into single molecule experiments, we were able to discuss different techniques and how they can complement the work currently ongoing in the lab. Ben was selected to give an oral presentation at this conference, and Kaitlin, and Griffin both presented posters. Once again receiving great feedback and ideas to bring back to the lab.
Second Annual Genome Stability and DNA Repair Retreat
The lab attended the Second Annual Genome Stability and DNA Repair Retreat with our DNA repair friends from the University of Iowa and Creighton University. This presented a forum for Kaitlin, Luis, Ben, and Griffin to present their research as oral presentations in a friendly environment and receive great feedback on all the projects in the lab.
Second Southern Genome Maintenance Conference
Senior members of the lab attended the 2nd Southern Genome Maintenance Conference hosted by Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Bret and Tyler gave excellent talks discussing recent work understanding Base Excision Repair in the context of chromatin. Tyler came home with as the runner-up for oral presentations from a post-doctoral fellow. Additionally, Tyler, Ben, and Griffin all presented posters at the conference. Tyler once again was runner-up for best post-doctoral fellow poster presentation and Ben won the best student poster award.  
Luis Cortez Passes His Qualifying Exams!
We are very proud of Luis (MD/PhD) for successfully completing his qualifying exam in the Department of Cancer Biology! Luis is the lab’s first MD/PhD student and the lab’s first student in the Department of Cancer Biology.
Congratulations, Drs. Nicole Hoitsma and Max Fairlamb!
After successfully defending their dissertations, Dr. Freudenthal bestowed doctoral hoods to Nicole and Max at the KU Hooding ceremony in Allen Fieldhouse. We are so proud of these talented scientists and can't wait to follow their scientific careers! 

Dr. Hoitsma is headed to Boulder, CO as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Karolin Luger at the University of Colorado Boulder. 


In addition to welcoming a baby boy any day, Dr. Fairlamb will be starting as a postdoctoral fellow in the Vaccine Analytics and Formulation Center in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department at KU.


Kaitlin DeHart passes her qualifying exams
We are very proud of Kaitlin for successfully completing her qualifying exams in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology!
EMGS DNA Repair Special Interest Group- WOW Event

The EMGS DNA Repair SIG hosted a WOW (Webinar and Online Workshop) event with keynote lecture given by Dr. Graham Walker (MIT). Freudenthal lab member Nicole Hoitsma was selected to present a her work studying "Mechanistic Insight into AP-Endonuclease 1 Cleavage of Abasic Sites at Stalled Replication Forks." It was a great day filled with intriguing scientific data, impressive presentations, online networking, and all things DNA Repair. 

2022 KUMC Student Research Forum
Several Freudenthal lab students won presentation awards at the 2022 KUMC Student Research Forum.

KUMC Student Research Forum is a student-organized multi-day conference that aims to advance the research and bolster the professional development of KUMC students. The forum provides a public stage for the presentation, assessment, and discussion of their scientific investigations, as well an opportunity to recognize and award exceptional research efforts. This year, Ben Ryan and Griffin Welfer won first place awards in their respective sessions for oral presentations and Kaitlin DeHart won a poster award. Additionally, Griffin Welfer received the distinguished Joe Kimmel Award on behalf of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department. 

Want to see what else we've been up to? Check out some of our "less new" news:
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