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Iowa State honors Nilsen-Hamilton, Underbakke

ASBMB Today Staff
Aug. 21, 2023

Two members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are among the Iowa State University faculty who will be honored at a community celebration in September.

Marit Nilsen–Hamilton
Eric Underbakke

Marit Nilsen–Hamilton, a professor in the biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology department, received the lifetime title of university professor, given to faculty who act as positive change agents on campus. Eric Underbakke won the James Huntington Ellis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Introductory Teaching.

Much of Nilsen-Hamilton’s recent research revolves around aptamers, bits of synthetic single-stranded nucleic acids that bind a target molecule. She has published 111 studies in peer-reviewed journals. Her new status reflects her contributions to Iowa State, where she has worked for more than four decades. Her leadership roles include nearly six years as chair of an interdepartmental program in molecular, cellular and developmental biology and a five-year stint as chair of her department. She has served on more than 25 university committees, notably the Faculty Review Board, which she twice chaired.

Underbakke’s lab focuses primarily on protein biochemistry, exploring the interplay and post-translational modifications of signaling proteins that tune the strength and plasticity among neural synapses. He is an associate professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, and he started his research group at Iowa State University in 2014.

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