New ASBMB committee members

Learn about the society’s newest leaders.
ASBMB Today Staff
Dec. 30, 2021

Public Affairs Advisory Committee


Jill Johnson, professor, University of Idaho
Johnson’s lab focuses on the role of molecular chaperones in the cell. She currently is studying the role of co-chaperones Hsp40 and Hsp70, which interact with client proteins before Hsp90. She’s a member of the Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies at U of I. She earned her Ph.D. at the Mayo Graduate School in 1994.


Jeffrey Wilusz, professor, Colorado State University
Wilusz is a microbiologist whose lab studies RNA–protein interactions, mechanisms of cellular RNA decay, and the interplay between noncoding RNAs and cellular RNA processes/post-transcriptional control. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He earned his Ph.D. at Duke University in 1985.

Membership Committee


Chi Fung Lee, assistant member, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Lee’s lab is interested in metabolic signaling of heart disease. His research program focuses on NAD+ redox balance, consumption and synthesis pathways, and mitochondrial biology. He is a member of the American Heart Association and the American Physiological Society. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in 2011.


Ross Hardison, professor, Pennsylvania State University
Hardison’s lab measures transcriptome profiles and uses epigenetic marks (such as transcription factor occupancy and histone modifications) and comparative genomics to predict gene regulatory modules. He is a member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1977.


Akpedje Dossou, Ph.D. candidate, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth
Dossou studies tumor-associated macrophages and their targeting via lipoprotein-based nanoparticles in Rafal Fudala's lab. She’s a member of the American Physiology Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. She earned her M.S. at UNT Health Science Center and B.S. at UNT.


Rachell Booth, professor, University of Incarnate Word
Booth is a member of the steering committee that rapidly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing members with resources for pivoting to online teaching. She also served as a regional director for Student Chapters from 2012 to 2021. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2001.


Mona Al-Mugotir, analytical chemist, Glaxo Smith Kline
With a background in both pharmaceutical companies and academic research, Al-Mugotir aspires to contribute to the production of disease diagnostic markers, therapeutic molecules for drug development and understanding new mechanisms of action for existing drugs. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2018.

Education and Professional Development Committee


Nisha Cavanaugh, associate director of career development and postdoctoral programs, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Cavanaugh works to expand career and professional development for biomedical Ph.D. students. She was a member of the National Postdoctoral Association Advocacy Committee for eight years. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2008.


Thomas Kiselak, patent agent, Clark+Elbing LLP
Kiselack helps clients obtain patents related to chemistry and biotechnology, specifically in areas of analytical and organic chemistry, biosurfactants and proteomics. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of North Texas and is a student at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law.


Chandrima Majumdar, postdoctoral researcher, University of California, Berkeley
A postdoc in Jamie Cate’s lab, Majumdar is interested in the synthetic biology of the ribosome, specifically the generation of sequence-defined polymers with nonnatural amino acids. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the UC Davis Leaders for the Future. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, in 2020.


Reinhart Reithmeier, professor, University of Toronto
Reithmeier’s lab studies the structure and function of membrane proteins, in particular the chloride/bicarbonate anion exchanger AE1, Band 3, a glycoprotein of the erythrocyte membrane responsible for the exchange of chloride and bicarbonate across the plasma membrane, which is necessary for respiration. In 2012, he was elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia in 1977.

Minority Affairs Committee


Allison C. Augustus–Wallace, associate professor, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans
Augustus–Wallace promotes equity and inclusion to increase the presence of historically excluded groups in medicine and biomedical research and to promote health equity and improved health outcomes of marginalized groups. She is a member of the scien­tific research honor society Sigma Xi and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. She earned her Ph.D. at LSU Health Sciences Center–New Orleans in 2014.


Cecilia Giulivi, professor, University of California, Davis
Giulivi’s lab explores the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial biology in disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, Huntington and fragile X tremor and ataxia syndrome. She is a member of the scientific research honor society Sigma Xi. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Buenos Aires in 1989.


Lea Vacca Michel, associate professor, Rochester Institute of Technology
Michel’s research is focused on dual-oriented bacterial lipoproteins and crystallin proteins, which are localized in the eye lens. She received the 2022 ASBMB Early Career Leadership Award. She earned a Ph.D. at the University of Rochester in 2007.


Alberto Rascón Jr., associate professor, San José State University
Rascón studies the expression, characterization and inhibition of mosquito proteases with a goal of limiting the mosquito population and minimizing the spread of mosquito-borne viruses. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in 2010.


Yufeng Wei, associate professor, New Jersey City University
Wei’s research focuses on interactions between signaling proteins, including in the MAPK pathway, in apoptosis signaling and in the inflammasome. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 2002.

Science Outreach and Communication Committee


Adriana Norris, graduate student, Vanderbilt University
Adriana Norris is a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, where she studies the role of phospholipid flippases in the development of diabetes and metabolic syndrome in a mouse model. Norris also is an avid science communicator with experience in teaching and tutoring. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Armstrong State University in 2018.


Melissa Rowland–Goldsmith, associate professor, Chapman University
For the past several years, Rowland–Goldsmith has been teaching the blended ASBMB Art of Science Communication class within her cancer biology course. She is involved in both biology education research as well as working with undergraduate students to utilize molecular biology techniques to study pancreatic cancer inhibition and invasion when treated with various agents. In addition, she is the co-director of her university’s Institute for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside, in 1997.


Michele Vitolo, assistant professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Vitolo studies cell signaling that promotes attachment and invasion in cancer cells, with particular interest in cellular microtentacle formation. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland Baltimore in 2004.


Michael Wolyniak, associate professor, Hampden–Sydney College.
Wolyniak’s research interests in molecular biology are wide-ranging, but recently he has focused on applying engineering to brewer’s yeast to benefit a local microbrewery. As director of undergraduate research, he also conducts pedagogical research. He earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University in 2004.

Student Chapters Committee


Corina Maeder, associate professor, Trinity University
Maeder studies proteinprotein and protein–RNA interactions in the spliceosome, which governs pre-mRNA splicing. For work on how splicing mutants contribute to the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, Maeder recently received a Voelcker Young Investigator Award. She earned her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in 2005.


Erik Yukl, assistant professor, New Mexico State University
Yukl is interested in the mechanisms by which bacteria acquire transition metals from the environment, and how certain metalloproteins are used as sensors of environmental conditions. He earned his Ph.D. at Oregon Health and Science University in 2009.

Women in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Committee


Mariana Barboza Gardner, assistant project scientist, University of California, Davis
Barboza is a glycobiologist. Her research focuses on glycoproteomic studies to elucidate host cell surface glycans on the gut–brain axis and understand their modulation by diet and gut microbes in health and disease processes. She earned her Ph.D. in 2006 at Universidad Nacional de San Martin in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Meghna Gupta, research specialist, University of California, San Francisco
Gupta studies membrane proteins and transporters using cryo-electron microscopy in Robert Stroud’s lab. Her work has expanded to encompass the coronavirus spike protein and other pandemic-related studies. Gupta earned her Ph.D. at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2016.


Karlett Parra, professor and chair, University of New Mexico
Parra studies yeast vacuolar ATPases, investigating their assembly and how they regulate homeostasis, secretion and filamentation in the opportunistic pathogen Candida albicans. She chairs the biochemistry and molecular biology department at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Parra earned her Ph.D. at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in 1998.

Meetings Committee


Kim Orth, professor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Orth studies bacterial virulence factors to elucidate biochemical mechanisms used by pathogens to manipulate host signaling pathways. She discovered a family of Fic enzymes that mediate AMPylation, a posttranslational modification used by both pathogens and host cells to regulate signaling. She is recipient of the ASBMB Merck Award and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1993.


Martha Cyert, professor and department chair, Stanford
Cyert uses systems biology techniques to study the calcium-dependent phosphatase calcineurin, which her lab identified as the target of immunosuppressant drugs such as cyclosporine A and FK506. She is the co-organizer of the 2022 ASBMB annual meeting. Cyert earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, San Francisco, in 1988.


Aaron Hoskins, professor, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Hoskins studies the enzymes that control pre-mRNA splicing, using single-molecule techniques to see how splice sites are recognized and how events in RNA processing are linked. He is a past participant in the Beckman Young Investigator program. He earned his Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006.


Jared Rutter, professor, University of Utah and Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Rutter studies how the mitochondrial proteome controls metabolism, a goal pursued by determining the functions of mitochondrial proteins and systematically identifying allosteric interactions between proteins and metabolites. He is a former ASBMB Council member and plenary lecturer. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2001.

ASBMB Today editorial advisory board


Jeanine Amacher, assistant professor, Western Washington University
Amacher studies peptide-binding protein domains and how they recognize their target peptide motifs, focusing on human scaffolding domains (e.g., PDZ and SH2) and bacterial sortases, and their interactions with ligands. She earned her Ph.D. from Dartmouth University in 2014. She was a Jane Coffin Childs postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley.


Paul Craig, professor, Rochester Institute of Technology
Craig’s research focuses on software development for mass spectrometry and enzymology. He also develops programs for teaching biology and helping students think like scientists. He won the ASBMB’s 2018 education award. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1985.


René Fuanta, assistant professor, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.
Fuanta uses biophysical methods to study enzymes involved in the survival of respiratory pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which eventually could contribute to new antimicrobial molecules, and investigates virulence-related genes. He earned his Ph.D. at Auburn University in 2018.


Danielle Guarracino, professor, The College of New Jersey
Guarracino’s lab works in the field of chemical biology, developing peptides that behave as inhibitors to the von Willebrand factor–collagen interaction that initiates thrombosis.  She also studies how peptide sequences affect folding. Guarracino earned her Ph.D. at Yale University in 2008.


Ken Hallenbeck, scientist, Avitide
Hallenbeck is a drug-discovery researcher focused on novel ligand identification. A frequent contributor to ASBMB Today, he serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit ReImagine Science, which aims to find new ways to conduct and share science. Hallenbeck earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2018.


Brian O’Flynn, postdoctoral researcher, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
O’Flynn is in the lab of Tanja Mittag at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he studies biomolecular phase separation and the role it plays in functional and pathological processes. He uses a combination of cryo-electron microscopy and crystallography to investigate the assembly of multivalent biomolecules. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of South Florida in 2019.


Jen Quick–Cleveland, postdoctoral researcher, University of California, Santa Cruz
Quick–Cleveland’s research focuses on RNA splicing in yeast, which she studies using RNA nanopore sequencing, among other techniques. Quick–Cleveland is a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow. She earned her Ph.D. in 2017 at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied microRNA biogenesis.


Brandon Roy, Ph.D. student, Cornell University
Roy is a member of the plant pathology and plant microbe biology program at Cornell. His research focuses on viruses that infect grapevines. When not volunteering for the ASBMB, Roy also works with a STEM outreach program and is a church organist. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Lebanon Valley College in 2020.


Qiou Wei, associate professor, University of Kentucky
Wei is an associate professor of toxicology and cancer biology at the University of Kentucky. He studies the oxidative stress–induced redox protein sulfiredoxin, which is overexpressed in some types of cancer and promotes metastasis. Wei earned his Ph.D. at the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine in 2005.

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