NEWS

50th Annual Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society Meeting
The Freudenthal lab cumulatively gave six oral presentations and eight poster presentations at the 2019 EMGS annual meeting.
In Washington D.C., we shared our newest research to other talented researchers in the DNA repair field. First, Bret was honored to present at a special symposium dedicated to Paul Modrich, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry in 2015. Lab members, Amy, Nicole, Tyler, Max, Matt, Mallory, Alex V. and Alex M., later presented their research posters at the special symposium where they received insightful questions and kind praises. Tyler, Max, Alex V. and Alex M. all presented their posters again at the formal EMGS meeting. Nicole delivered a flawless oral presentation on her work understanding DNA sculpting. The following day, Mallory shared her work characterizing a damaged ribonucleotide. Our final day in D.C., Bret, Amy, and Matt gave wonderful presentations on the next frontier of DNA repair, understanding 8-oxo-Gua processing, and telomerase catalysis, respectively. Amy, Nicole, Max, Matt, Mallory, Alex V. and Alex M. received EMGS travel awards, and Bret was recognized with an award for his contributions to the meeting as New Invesigator Co-Chair.
Dr. Tyler Weaver receives Thesis Award and Poster Award
We congratulate Dr. Weaver on winning the 1st place poster award at the Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics (SBMB) Workshop and the 2019 Subramanian Thesis Award from his graduate institution.
At the 2019 SBMB workshop, Tyler impressed the judges at University of Nebraska Medical Center with his poster detailing his recent project in the Freudenthal lab. Tyler also was a recipient of the 2019 Subramanian Award. The Subramanian Award is given to the authors of the best PhD theses in the Department of Biochemistry at University of Iowa. Dr. Weaver’s thesis was entitled “Regulation of polycomb repressive complexes by histone reader domains” and was a product of his work in Dr. Catherine Musselman's lab.  Interestingly, Dr. Freudenthal was also a recipient of this award in 2010 after his graduate training with Dr. Todd Washington. 
Dr. Amy Whitaker presents at a local Science on Tap Event 
Dr. Whitaker was selected to share her science with a broad audience at a local brewery.
Amy shared her passion for science with the audience in attendance at the Science on Tap event at Cinder Block Brewery. This program was put together by Kansas City Researchers in Biomedical Sciences (KCRiBS), a local non-profit organization that aims to connect Kansas City scientists to the community and to each other. Her presentation, titled "Visualizing DNA repair" connected her path into science with her current research work and some of the exciting techniques she has learned in our lab.
Matt Schaich receives Cancer Biology Award
Matt was awarded the 2019 Karen B. and Kelly D. Gregg Graduate Student Award.
This prestigious award goes to an outstanding KUMC graduate trainee in the past year and comes with celebratory LaMar’s Donuts. 
Welcoming the New Additions to the Freudenthal Lab 
The lab has recently introduced several new talented postdoctoral fellows, students, and technicians!
In the last year, the lab has doubled in size! We have been fortunate enough to grow our lab and make room for some new talent: Kristin Khoang (Technician), Luis Cortez (Technician turned 2019 MD/PhD student), Alex Varela (Postdoctoral Fellow), Tyler Weaver (Postdoctoral Fellow), Alexandra Machen (Senior Graduate Student), Benjamin Ryan (Graduate Student), and Griffin Welfer (Graduate Student).  With the addition of these exceptional new scientists, we are excited to progress on current and new scientific research! To welcome our newest lab members (Alex V., Tyler, Benjamin and Griffin) and say goodbye to Luis, we attended a Kansas City Royals baseball game! 
Sharing Our Research with High School Students
We hosted 12 local students at the lab for a day to give them a taste of scientific research.

Max Fairlamb organized and led a local group of high school students from Saint Thomas Aquinas High School on a tour of the Freudenthal Lab. These students are enrolled in an AP Chemistry course at Saint Thomas High School and have high aspirations for studying science in college. By providing this small experience in a research laboratory, we hoped to demystify what research science looks like and spark an interest and awareness of the basic sciences.  The entire Freudenthal lab membership helped to guide the students through four different interactive science demos throughout the day. This year, we included certificates that recognized excellence during the day's activities 

2019 KUMC Student Research Forum
Several of our students won research presentation awards at the 2019 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, Alexandra Machen received the distinguished Joe Kimmel Award on behalf of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department, and Mallory and Nicole won second place award for their individual sessions.

American Cancer Society Outreach
Dr. Amy Whitaker performed several outreach activities with the local American Cancer Society network.

As a recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from ACS, Amy shared her science with members of the local ACS chapter as well as organizers from across the state of Kansas. She presented a short overview of her research at the Relay for Life Kickoff event for Kansas City Metro. Her short presentation piqued the interest of many attendees and led to her later providing a lab tour of our facilities and sharing a more in-depth look into the basic research of fighting cancer.

2019 Gordon Research Seminar & Conference
The Freudenthal lab attended the 2019 Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) and Conference (GRC) on Mammalian DNA Repair.

Dr. Amy Whitaker served as this year's co-organizer of GRS, where she succeeded at facilitating the promotion of young-career scientists and their groundbreaking research. She also successfully surpassed her fundraising goals and secured insightful and engaging platform presentations; one of which was our own Matthew Schaich. Matt gave an exceptional presentation detailing his work characterizing the telomerase active site. Nicole and Max also participated in GRS by showcasing their projects as poster presentations. At GRC, the whole lab shared recent unpublished data at poster sessions, engaged in stimulating conversations, and networked with other DNA repair experts. 

2019 ASBMB/EB Annual Meeting
Mallory Smith was chosen to receive an ASBMB Travel Award AND present her abstract as a spotlight session talk during the annual Experimental Biology/ASBMB meeting.

Mallory's abstract was selected from more than 1,400 others to give a 12 minute presentation at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) meeting. She is elated to share her work characterizing the effects caused by DNA damage during DNA polymerization. She will present her talk within the spotlight section titled, "Chemical Modifications and Mechanisms of DNA Metabolism". Mallory is also thankful for the continued support from ASBMB, who have been vital for her growth as a scientist and for advancing her interest in science policy.

KUMC Biomedical Research Training Program (BRTP) Award
Nicole Hoitsma receives a KUMC BRTP grant!
 

The University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) annually awards outstanding pre- and post-doctoral candidates with partial fellowships through a Biomedical Research Training Program (BRTP) Award. Nicole was chosen to receive this award due to a high quality proposal and as someone who exemplifies productivity and promise in her academic career. 

American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship
Dr. Amy Whitaker was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship from ACS!

Amy Whitaker, Ph. D. has received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Cancer Society to continue her work aimed at deciphering the molecular mechanisms used by key DNA repair enzyme APE1 to maintain genome stability and combat cancer-causing DNA lesions resulting from oxidative stress. Amy is excited to work with the American Cancer Society toward their mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

The Freudenthal Lab received an R35 from NIGMS!
The "Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA/R35)" grant is awarded to investigators that have achieved significant research accomplishments and is not bound to specific aims or experiments. Thanks to this funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), we will be able to take the lab in especially new and exciting directions!
The NIEHS awarded the Freudenthal Lab its first R01!
After diligent efforts towards collecting preliminary data and lots of heavy writing, the lab is extremely excited to be financially supported by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and continue working towards understanding the underlying mechanisms of DNA repair!
2018 Cold Spring Harbor Course: X-Ray Methods in Structural Biology
Dr. Amy Whitaker was selected to attend a competitive X-ray scattering course.
 

The X-Ray Methods in Structural Biology course is provided by Cold Spring Harbor and features prominent structural biologists from across the nation. To ensure the best learning environment, the course is limited in size, whereby applicants are evaluated by the quality of their research proposal and propensity to benefit their training. Dr. Whitaker is excited to deepen her understanding of X-ray scattering, and she is honored to have been selected among the multitude of applicants.

2018 Kansas City March for Science Festival
On Citizen Science Day, April 14, 2018, the Freudenthal lab participated in the annual March for Science in Kansas City, partially organized by our own Mallory Smith.
 

This year, we had an extra reason to show continued support and passion for science at the local "March for Science" festival held in North Kansas City. Mallory contributed heavily to this years event by serving as Secretary to the "March for Science KC" non-profit organization and Booth Coordinator for the science festival event. We endured less than ideal weather but enjoyed supporting science advocacy and education. Fellow KUMC professors, Roy Jensen and Prachee Avasthi, spoke actively at the event and provided great perspective on the state of science both regionally and nationally.

2018 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Hill Day
Mallory Smith was selected to go to Washington D.C. and speak with legislators about the importance of supporting basic science.
The ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee sponsors an annual Capitol Hill Day in which students and postdocs from around the country come to Washington D.C. to meet with their congressional representatives. From this experience, Mallory observed science advocacy in action and spoke with her senators and state representative. This experience helped to further solidify her interest in science policy careers.
Max Fairlamb sponsors students from Saint Thomas Aquinas High School
Max, Mallory and Amy helped expose high school students to science research!
Max Fairlamb organized and led a local group of high school students on a tour of the Freudenthal Lab. These students are enrolled in an AP Chemistry course at Saint Thomas High School and have high aspirations for studying science in college. By providing this small experience in a research laboratory, we hoped to demystify what research science looks like and spark an interest and awareness of the basic sciences. Max led this effort by coordinating the activities and making arrangements. Mallory and Amy also volunteered to assist Max with the activities during the tour.
2018 KUMC Student Research Forum
Nicole won the first place award for her oral presentation in platform G at the 2018 KUMC SRF. 
The Student Research Forum is an annual student-run event that showcases research conducted by students from the schools of medicine, nursing, health professionals, and graduate studies at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Nicole won the first place award in her platform (G) out of the 12 other student oral presentations given in this section. This particular presentation award is a testament to her ability to share her science in a comprehensible way to scientists in fields other than Biochemistry.
Mallory Smith, Graduate Student Council (GSC) President 2018
Mallory was unanimously elected as President of GSC.
Mallory's passion for helping others and advocating for  graduate students at KUMC are going to serve her well this year as she acts as president of the KUMC Graduate Student Council.  Currently, she is advocating for an increase in the stipends of KUMC graduate students, which have been stagnant for an entire decade.
Happy Holidays from The Freudenthal Lab
The lab celebrated the holidays and a great year together.
As a group, we spent the evening eating and participating in a blind gift exchange. Additionally, all the lab members started a new tradition by giving Dr. Freudenthal a 3-D printed X-ray structure, for which he was excited and thankful. Together, our lab wishes you all a merry holiday and a happy new year!

6th EU-US Conference on Repair of Endogenous DNA Damage
Dr. Bret Freudenthal and Matt Schaich attended 6th EU-US Conference on Repair of Endogenous DNA Damage in Udine, Italy.

Dr. Bret Freudenthal was an invited speaker for the session titled, "Advanced technologies for analysis of DNA repair and the DNA damage response", where he gave a presentation on "APE1 Cleavage Mechanisms during DNA Repair". 

Matt Schaich was presented with the best poster award for his poster titled, "Visualizing the Insertion of Therapeutic Nucleotides".  

This conference placed a focus on the cellular responses to naturally formed genomic damage, and the relationship of defects in these responses to genetically inherited disorders associated with cancer predisposition, neurological deficits and premature aging. Tomas Lindahl, the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, gave a keynote lecture on his work identifying the mechanisms of repair of DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species.

2017 EMGS New Investigator Platform Award
Dr, Amy Whitaker is the 2017 EMGS New Investigator Platform Award  recipient!

Amy was awarded the 2017 EMGS New Investigator Platform Award for a flawless delivery of her symposium presentation, titled "APE1 Cleavage Mechanisms during DNA Repair".  This is awarded to the best presentation given by a new investigator at the EMGS Meeting. Award recipients receive a monetary award and special recognition at the EMGS banquet.

Science to Art Exhibtion
Artwork created by Dr, Amy Whitaker and Max Fairlamb was featured in the Kansas City Area Life Science to Art (KCALSI) exhibition. 

The Science to Art exhibition provides a platform for scientists to display and describe their investigation through visual art. Artwork was submitted from the surrounding community and displayed July 21st to September 3rd, 2017. After the exhibition, a silent auction of the artwork was held at a special event benefiting STEM and art education within the community. The art piece submitted by the Freudenthal lab, featured on the right, was one of the highest selling pieces and additionally selected as a featured piece among those submitted.

2017 EMGS 48th Annual Meeting 
The Freudenthal Lab traveled to Raleigh, NC for this years annual EMGS meeting.​

In Raleigh, Bret co-chaired a session titled "Molecular Insight during DNA Damage Processing", where Amy gave a symposium presentation. Amy served as  a co-chair for the flash talk session. Additionally, both Amy and Mallory gave poster presentations. The lab attended the special symposium which was organized as a tribute to Phil Hanawalt and included a keynote lecture from Nobel laureate, Aziz Sancar. Amy and Mallory presented posters and flash talks for the special symposium. Amy and Mallory were also presented with travel awards for the excellence of their research, their research progress, and the desire to contribute to the research mission of EMGS. 

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in the Biomedical Sciences (IGPBS) Teacher of the Year
Dr. Bret Freudenthal was awarded teacher of the year by the students of the 2016-2017 IGPBS class.

Teacher of the year is an annual award given to the professor that goes above and beyond during their IGPBS lectures. Both Bret and Amy contributed lectures during the teaching segment for which the award was given. Teacher of the year is determined by the IGPBS students and awarded at the annual IGPBS dinner. Being his first year of teaching, Bret was surprised and touched to have earned this honorary title. In addition, Bret recognizes Amy's contribution and views her as being a part of this award.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in the Biomedical Sciences (IGPBS) Student of the Year
Nicole Ellis was awarded student of the year among her classmates after completing her first year of graduate studies.

This award is given to the top student of the IGPBS class for their academic achievement, positive contributions during lectures. Student of the year is selected by the IGPBS faculty and IGPBS Advisory Board. Being one of few students achieving a 4.0, her hard work and dedication was recognized at an IGPBS dinner exactly one year after beginning her graduate career.

Solar Eclipse August 21st, 2017
The Freudenthal Lab got to experience an optimal view of the Solar Eclipse.

The lab traveled to Sibley, MO in order to avoid the encroaching storm. After bracing a morning storm, we observed minimal cloud cover during the eclipse and full view of the totality period. The total solar eclipse was an unforgettable experience, and we were lucky to be able to share it together.

July 2017 Graduate Studies Professional Development Award
Mallory Smith and Matt Schaich received travel awards for Fall 2017.

Both Matt and Mallory were selected to receive internal travel awards offered to the University of Kansas Medical Center Graduate Students. This award will help to fund their attendance at the annual EMGS meeting in Raleigh, and the 6th EUUS Conference on DNA Repair of endogenous DNA damage.  The travel award is given to applicants based on merit of the research being presented, and a written statement on the impact of the students attendance on their future career.

University of Kansas Cancer Center Research Symposium 2016
Dr. Amy Whitaker was selected to present as a trainee speaker, and she was awarded the second place travel award in the poster competition.
 

The lab showcased the hard work that has been accomplished after opening only a year ago at the annual KUCC research symposium. Both Amy and Mallory competed in the poster competition, and the entire lab learned more about the recent research being done locally at KUMC and KU. Amy was one of two postdoctoral fellows chosen to showcase their research, and subsequently gave a superb research talk.

The entire lab attended the annual SBMB workshop at University of Nebraska Medical Center.

As a structural biology lab, we all attended the SBMB workshop that is geared to bring similarly focused regional researchers together for learning and collaboration. Held in Omaha, NE, the Freudenthal lab was able to spend time with Dr. Freudenthal's graduate mentor, Dr. Todd Washington, and members of his lab both past and present. All of the students in our lab presented posters on their current research and communicated with peers and faculty alike.

2017 EMGS Student and New Investigator Travel Award
Dr. Amy Whitaker and Mallory Smith received travel awards to attend the Environmental Mutagenesis & Genomics Society (EMGS) 48th Annual Meeting.

Both Amy and Mallory were selected to receive competitive EMGS travel awards that will help to fund their attendance at the annual EMGS meeting being held September 2017 in Raleigh.  The travel award is given to applicants based on the excellence of their research, their research progress, and the desire to contribute to the research mission of EMGS. 

2017-2021 Self Graduate Fellowship
Max Fairlamb has received the University of Kansas’ prestigious Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Self Graduate Fellowship is a four-year award for new or first-year doctoral students who demonstrate leadership, initiative and a passion for achievement. The fellowship covers full tuition and fees, provides a generous annual payment to new fellows and includes a unique professional development program. The Fellow Development Program provides training in communication, management and leadership to assist Self Graduate Fellows in preparation for future leadership roles which complements the specialized education and training provided by University of Kansas doctoral programs.

Welcome to the Freudenthal Lab, Max and Nicole!
We welcomed Max Fairlamb and Nicole Ellis into our lab as new graduate students.

Max and Nicole joined our lab as graduate students in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology this year after completing the IGPBS course work.  Both Max and Nicole achieved a 4.0 GPA throughout IGPBS and were at the top of their class in terms of grades and work ethic. As a lab, we are happy to see Max transition from our previous lab technician into graduate student. Although Nicole had not previously been in our lab before coming to KUMC, she fits right in along our team and we are equally excited to have her.

Kansas City March for Science
On Earth day, April 22, 2017, the Freudenthal lab participated in the March for Science in Kansas City.
 

To support our passion for science and our future, we attended the local "March for Science" rally held in downtown Kansas City. The scientific community and the science-minded public of Kansas City came together for a common goal: to make our voices heard and promote awareness on the necessity of academic science. Fellow KUMC professors, Roy Jensen and Ken Peterson, spoke actively at the event and provided great perspective on the state of science both regionally and nationally.

2017 Resident, Postdoc and Fellow Research Forum
Dr. Amy Whitaker received the 2nd place award for her oral presentation at the 8th Annual KUMC Resident, Postdoc and Fellow Research Forum.
 

The RPF Research Forum recognizes outstanding research by residents, postdocs and fellows at the University of Kansas Medical Center every spring. This program also creates awareness about research being conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and brings together many young scientists and doctors together to facilitate interdisciplinary interactions. In addition to the award recognition ceremony, a monetary prize was awarded for her excellent presentation on the lab's most recent publication.

Mammalian DNA Repair Gordon Research Conference (GRC) 2017
Dr. Amy Whitaker represented the lab at the 2017 Mammalian DNA repair GRC.
 

Amy traveled to Ventura, California February 18th-24th, 2017 for the biennial Mammalian DNA Repair GRS/GRC. She presented a poster, became acquainted with peers, and was exposed to recent work done by top researchers in the field. In addition, Amy was elected to co-chair the 2019 GRS, which provides dedicated opportunities for young scientists to give talks and engage with each other.

Seventh Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics (SBMB) Workshop
Environmental Mutagenesis & Genomics Society (EMGS) 47th Annual Meeting
Dr. Bret Freudenthal presented a plenary lecture as the 2016 Young Scientist Awardee.

All of our lab members attended the 2016 EMGS meeting and gained insight to the latest research within the field. In addition to Bret's spotlight lecture, Amy Whitaker further represented the lab by giving a poster during the conference. Nobel Laureate Paul Modrich gave an excellent talk on his research in mismatch repair mechanisms and the lab enjoyed meeting our fellow researchers in the field.

Fifth International Symposium on Diffraction Structural Biology (ISDSB)
Dr. Bret Freudenthal presented research at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

The symposium included the latest developments in electron, photon, and neutron sources, as well as small-angle scattering, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and advanced computational approaches. A major theme of the symposium was to demonstrate ways that neutrons in diffraction structural biology can be used to answer big questions.

2016 EMGS Young Scientist Award
Dr. Bret Freudenthal is the winner of the First 2016 Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society Young Scientist Award!

This award grants Dr. Freudenthal a plenary lecture presentation at the EMGS Annual Meeting along with a $2,500 award to support meeting registration, travel costs, and honorarium.  

2016 University of Saint Mary's Science and Math Undergraduate Research Forum
Tony Flynn is recognized as a Top Poster Presenter!

Our recent B.S. graduate, Tony Flynn, who has been mentored in Dr. Bret Freudenthal's lab, was recognized as a Top Poster Presenter at the University of Saint Mary's Science and Math Undergraduate Research Forum for his structural studies of a polymorphism associated with cancer.

7th Workshop on Neutron Scattering Applications in Structural Biology
Dr. Amy Whitaker was selected to participate in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's 7th annual workshop on neutron scattering applications in structural biology.

The course is limited to 15 participants and selection is competitive. The workshop includes a symposium, lectures, tutorials and tours of the High Flux Isotope reactor and Spallation Neutron Source, the world’s leading neutron research facilities.

The workshop is designed for graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty with knowledge of protein function and structure and have a desire to gain experience within neutron science.

2016-2020 Self Graduate Fellowship
Matt Schaich has received the University of Kansas’ prestigious Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Self Graduate Fellowship is a four-year award for new or first-year doctoral students who demonstrate leadership, initiative and a passion for achievement. The fellowship covers full tuition and fees, provides a generous annual payment to new fellows and includes a unique professional development program. The Fellow Development Program provides training in communication, management and leadership to assist Self Graduate Fellows in preparation for future leadership roles which complements the specialized education and training provided by University of Kansas doctoral programs.