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SMB News

  • 25 undergraduates receive awards to conduct research

    WSU disseminated undergraduate research awards to students across campus in support of their projects. SMB research labs were well represented, including:
    • Grace Carrell, Microbiology major, Alan Goodman's lab
    • Zachary Howard, Genetics and Cell Biology major, Alan Goodman's lab
    • Estifanos Kassa, Microbiology major, Rey Carabeo's lab
    • Marina Martin, Biochemistry major (pre-medicine), Alan Goodman's lab
    • Elizabeth Rice-Reynolds, Genetics and Cell Biology major, Michael Griswold's lab
    • Seth Schneider, Genetics and Cell Biology major (STARS Program), Anthony Nicola's lab (Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology)
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  • WSU cancer therapy shows promise in trials

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  • WSU researchers gain unprecedented look at DNA damage

    A cluster of researchers from WSU's School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) have characterized DNA lesions associated with skin cancer in a novel way. Dr. John Wyrick anchored the SMB team that published a new DNA damage study in PNAS this week.

    WSU News story:

    Publication from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS):

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  • Summer Microscopy ‘Camp’ will enhance research efforts of three SMB labs

    Over the summer months, SMB researchers in the Carabeo, Jones and Konkel labs will take their cells and reagents to the Advanced Imaging Centre (AIC) at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Labs in Virginia. There they will study how cells move, how pathogens invade mammalian cells and how invasion impacts the adhesion systems of a host cell, using some of the new bioimaging technologies being developed by Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Betzig and others. The mission of AIC is to “make cutting-edge imaging technologies developed at Janelia widely accessible, and at no cost, to scientists before the instruments are commercially available”. The Carabeo, Jones and Konkel labs each submitted proposals to AIC last year and all three were accepted. The Jones lab is currently at Janelia. Carabeo and Konkel lab personnel will begin their studies in July and August.
  • Cynthia Cooper, SMB Associate Professor (WSU-Vancouver) will speak at the May 14, 2016 Northwest Melanoma Symposium

    Cynthia Cooper, SMB Associate Professor (WSU-Vancouver) will speak at the May 14, 2016 Northwest Melanoma Symposium. The symposium is hosted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, co-sponsored by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the Melanoma Research Foundation, inviting family and friends to this public science outreach event with a theme of Science to Survivorship.  


    For more information on the symposium, visit

  • SMB Graduate will pursue application of cancer research.

    After graduating Saturday, Luis Cortez, a first-generation student from Othello, Wash., plans to get his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in order to “research human health issues and transfer my lab discoveries into practice.”
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  • SMB professor Mike Konkel just returned

    SMB professor Mike Konkel just returned from the 2015 Campylobacter, Helicobacter and Related Organisms (CHRO) international meeting in Rotorua, New Zealand where he delivered a plenary address.
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  • Matthew A. Powell, MD named director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine

    Matthew A. Powell, MD, a noted gynecologic oncologist and researcher and a WSU alum, has been named director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine. Powell earned a B.S. degree in biochemistry and biophysics from Washington State University in 1990. Congratulations Dr. Powell!
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  • 1st Biennial Chromatin-DNA Repair Lecture Honored the Distinguished Careers of Drs. Raymond Reeves and Michael Smerdon

    To honor Drs. Smerdon and Reeves and their long careers and innovative research on how DNA in chromatin influences basic cell functions, the School of Molecular Biosciences hosted the “Smerdon/Reeves Symposium on DNA Repair in Chromatin: The First 40 years (and Beyond)” May 21-23, 2015.

    Raymond Reeves and Michael Smerdon

    The event, which brought prominent speakers from the United States, Canada, and Australia, coincided with the 40th anniversary of the first studies reported on nucleotide excision repair in chromatin. The Smerdon/Reeves Chromatin-DNA Repair Lecture Fund at WSU’s School of Molecular Biosciences was created to fund a biennial lectureship and to honor their legacies. For more information on how you can support this lectureship, visit

    DNA Repair in Chromatin: The First 40 years (and Beyond), WSU Lewis Alumni Centre, May 21-23, 2015

    Raymond Reeves is a pioneer in the fields of cell biology and chromatin structure/ function. His contributions include the first demonstration that gap junctions are membrane channels used for cell-to-cell communication of small molecules, that the nuclei of adult differentiated skin cells contain all of the genetic information to produce new individuals, and the original isolation and characterization of the genes coding for the High Mobility Group A (HMGA) family of non-histone chromatin proteins that regulate gene transcription in both normal and cancerous cells. He has served on numerous National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation grant panels, and on the editorial boards of a number of international scientific journals. For many years, he served as the director of the NIH Biotechnology Training Program at WSU. He has received numerous honors for his academic and research achievements. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and his work was recognized as contributing to the 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded to Professor John Gurdon. More recently, he was chosen to present the WSU Distinguished Faculty Ad-dress in 2014. Dr. Reeves retired in July 2015.

    Over the course of his career at WSU,Michael Smerdon, Regents Professor of biochemistry and biophysics, made impressive contributions to the understanding of DNA damage and repair in chromatin. A recognized leader in the field, he was one of the first investigators to focus on the role of chromatin structure in DNA repair. Dr. Smerdon has extensive experience on the effects of chromatin structure, chromatin modifications, and transcription factor binding on excision repair in both yeast and mammalian cells. He was continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for 36 years. He also received a Research Career Development Award (RCDA) and MERIT award (Method to Extend Research in Time) from the National Institutes of Health. He served on several scientific advisory panels. He received several honors for his academic achievements, most recently being elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences. And this fall, a special issue DNA Repair titled “DNA Excision Repair in Chromatin” will honor his career in the field of DNA repair.

    For more information visit

  • Dr. Pat Hunt elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences, joining Dr. Smerdon in this elite group. Congratulations!

    SMB's Dr. Pat Hunt has been elected into the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2015. Click here for the WSU News story: Four elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences.