DCTP Alumni

Laura Gunther, Ph.D.
Mentors: Takeshi Sakamoto, Ph.D and J.-P Jin, M.D., Ph.D.
Research: The Effects of the N-Terminal Extensions of Cardiac Troponins on the Ca2+ Regulation of Myosin ATPase Kinetics in Cardia Myofibrils
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow  at Penn State soon, working in the Huck Institute of Life Science's Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology under the mentorship of Associate Professor, Christopher Yengo, Ph.D. who's research interests focus on molecular motors and the cytoskeleton, protein structure/function and dynamics, enzyme kinetics, molecular mechanisms of myosin based motility.


  1. Gunther LK, Feng HZ, Jin JP, Sakamoto T. The kinetic properties of cTnT-ND myofibrils. (in preparation)
  2. Gunther LK, Feng HZ, Wei H, Raupp J, Jin JP, Sakamoto T. Effect of N-terminal extension of cardiac troponin I on the Ca2+ regulation of ATP-binding and ADP dissociation of myosin II in native cardiac myofibrils. Biochemistry 2016 Feb 10. PMID: 26862665; PMCID: PMC5278900
  3. Bao J, Wang S, Gunther LK, Kitajiri SI, Li C, Sakamoto T. The actin-bundling protein TRIOBP-4 and -5 promotes the motility of pancreatic cancer cells. Cancer Lett. 2014 Aug 15. PMID: 25130170
  4. Gunther LK, Furuta K, Bao J, Urbanowski MK, Kojima H, White HD, Sakamoto T. Coupling of two non-processive myosin 5c dimers enables processive stepping along actin filaments. Sci Rep. 2014 May 9;4:4907. PMID: 24809456; PMCID: PMC4014986
  5. Bao J, Huck D, Gunther LK, Sellers JR, Sakamoto T. Actin structure-dependent stepping of myosin 5a and 10 during processive movement. PLoS One. 2013 Sep 19;8(9):e74936. PMID: 24069366; PMCID: PMC3777900
  6. Bao J, Bielski E, Bachhawat A, Taha D, Gunther LK, Thirumurugan K, Kitajiri S, Sakamoto T. R1 motif is the major actin-binding domain of TRIOBP-4. Biochemistry. 2013 Aug 6;52(31):5256-64. PMID: 23789641

Dulmini Barupala, Ph.D.

Mentors: Timothy Stemmler, Ph.D.
Research: Characterization of the yeast cysteine Desulfurase complex within the mitochondrial Fe-S cluster biogenesis
Current Position: Program Coordinator for the Med-Direct program at Wayne State University, Graduate School.


  1. Barupala, D. P., Murugesan, Y., Dancis, A., Pain, D., Stemmler, T. L., "Cooperativity between the Cysteine Desulfurase Nfs1 and its accessory protein Isd11 promotes stability and activity of the yeast protein complex". (in preparation).
  2. Barupala DP, Dzul SP, Riggs-Gelasco PJ, Stemmler TL. Synthesis, delivery and regulation of eukaryotic heme and Fe-S cluster cofactors. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2016 Feb 15;592:60-75. doi: 10.1016/j.abb.2016.01.010. Review. PMID: 26785297; PMCID: PMC4784227
  3. Smith AT, Barupala D, Stemmler TL, Rosenzweig AC.  A new metal binding domain involved in cadmium, cobalt and zinc transport. Nat Chem Biol. 2015 Sep;11(9):678-84. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1863. PMID: 26192600; PMCID: PMC4543396
  4. Hong-Hermesdorf A, Miethke M, Gallaher SD, Kropat J, Dodani SC, Chan J, Barupala D, Domaille DW, Shirasaki DI, Loo JA, Weber PK, Pett-Ridge J, Stemmler TL, Chang CJ, Merchant SS. Subcellular metal imaging identifies dynamic sites of Cu accumulation in Chlamydomonas. Nat Chem Biol. 2015 Mar;11(3):235. doi: 10.1038/nchembio0315-235c. PMID: 25689337 (Erratum)
  5. Hong-Hermesdorf A, Miethke M, Gallaher SD, Kropat J, Dodani SC, Chan J, Barupala D, Domaille DW, Shirasaki DI, Loo JA, Weber PK, Pett-Ridge J, Stemmler TL, Chang CJ, Merchant SS. Subcellular metal imaging identifies dynamic sites of Cu accumulation in Chlamydomonas. Nat Chem Biol. 2014 Dec;10(12):1034-42. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1662. Erratum in: Nat Chem Biol. 2015 Mar;11(3):235. PMID: 25344811; PMCID: PMC4232477
  6. Sirajuddin S, Barupala D, Helling S, Marcus K, Stemmler TL, Rosenzweig AC. Effects of zinc on particulate methane monooxygenase activity and structure. J Biol Chem. 2014 Aug 1;289(31):21782-94. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.581363. PMID: 24942740; PMCID: PMC4118136

Christopher Sinkler
Mentors: Maik Huttemann, Ph.D. & Robert Lasley, Ph.D.

Research: COX4-2 as a molecular oxygen sensor and biomarker for lung cancer
Current Position: Dual Appointment-Senior Research Technician II for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute & Laboratory Services Coordinator for the labs of James Bardwell and Ursula Jakob in the Department for Molecular, Developmental, and Cellular Biology. University of Michigan.


  1. Sinkler C, Doan JW, Shay J, Huttemann M. A novel in situ RNA expression assay for the detection of lung cancer. (in preparation)
  2. Sommer N, Hüttemann M, Pak O, Scheibe S, Knoepp F, Sinkler C, Malczyk M, Gierhardt M, Esfandiary A, Kraut S, Jonas F, Veith C, Aras S, Sydykov A, Alebrahimdehkordi N, Giehl K, Hecker M, Brandes RP, Seeger W, Grimminger F, Ghofrani HA, Schermuly RT, Grossman LI, Weissmann N. Mitochondrial Complex IV Subunit 4 Isoform 2 Is Essential for Acute Pulmonary Oxygen Sensing. Circ Res. 2017 Aug 4;121(4):424-438. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.310482. PMID: 28620066
  3. Sinkler CA, Kalpage H, Shay J, Lee I, Malek MH, Grossman LI, Hüttemann M. Tissue- and Condition-Specific Isoforms of Mammalian Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunits: From Function to Human Disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:1534056. doi: 10.1155/2017/1534056. PMID: 28593021
  4. Mahapatra G, Varughese A, Ji Q, Lee I, Liu J, Vaishnav A, Sinkler C, Kapralov AA, Moraes CT, Sanderson TH, Stemmler TL, Grossman LI, Kagan VE, Brunzelle JS, Salomon AR, Edwards BF, Hüttemann M. Phosphorylation of Cytochrome c Threonine 28 Regulates Electron Transport Chain Activity in Kidney: IMPLICATIONS FOR AMP KINASE. J Biol Chem. 2017 Jan 6;292(1):64-79. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.744664. PMID: 27758862, PMCID: PMC5217700
  5. Larkin RM, Stefano G, Ruckle ME, Stavoe AK, Sinkler CA, Brandizzi F, Malmstrom CM, Osteryoung KW. Reduced Chloroplast coverage genes from Arabidopsis thaliana help to establish the size of the chloroplast compartment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Feb 23;113(8):E1116-25. PMID: 26862170; PMCID: PMC4776492
  6. Horsch M, Aguilar-Pimentel JA, Bönisch C, Côme C, Kolster-Fog C, Jensen KT, Lund AH, Lee I, Grossman LI, Sinkler C, Hüttemann M, Bohn E, Fuchs H, Ollert M, Gailus-Durner V, Hrabĕ de Angelis M, Beckers J. Cox4i2, Ifit2, and Prdm11 Mutant Mice: Effective Selection of Genes Predisposing to an Altered Airway Inflammatory Response from a Large Compendium of Mutant Mouse Lines. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 11;10(8):e0134503. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134503. eCollection 2015. PMID: 26263558; PMCID: PMC4532500
  7. Lipovich L, Hou ZC, Jia H, Sinkler C, McGowen M, Sterner KN, Weckle A, Sugalski AB, Pipes L, Gatti DL, Mason CE, Sherwood CC, Hof PR, Kuzawa CW, Grossman LI, Goodman M, Wildman DE. High-throughput RNA sequencing reveals structural differences of orthologous brain-expressed genes between western lowland gorillas and humans. J Comp Neurol. 2015 Jul 1. doi: 10.1002/cne.23843. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26132897
  8. Marshall J, Wong KY, Rupasinghe CN, Tiwari R, Zhao X, Berberoglu ED, Sinkler C, Liu J, Lee I, Parang K, Spaller MR, Hüttemann M, Goebel DJ. Inhibition of N-Methyl-D-Aspartate-Induced Retinal Neuronal Death by Polyarginine Peptides is Linked to the Attenuation of Stress-Induced Hyperpolarization of the Inner Mitochondrial Membrane Potential. J Biol Chem. 2015 Jun 22. pii: jbc.M115.662791 PMID: 26100636; PMCID: PMC4571956
  9. Sanderson TH, Mahapatra G, Pecina P, Ji Q, Yu K, Sinkler C, Varughese A, Kumar R, Bukowski MJ, Tousignant RN, Salomon AR, Lee I, Hüttemann M. Cytochrome C is tyrosine 97 phosphorylated by neuroprotective insulin treatment. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 5;8(11):e78627. PMID: 24223835; PMCID: PMC3818486
  10. Ruckle ME, Burgoon LD, Lawrence LA, Sinkler CA, Larkin RM. Plastids are major regulators of light signaling in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 2012 May;159(1):366-90. PMID: 22383539; PMCID: PMC3375971
  11. Hüttemann M, Helling S, Sanderson TH, Sinkler C, Samavati L, Mahapatra G, Varughese A, Lu G, Liu J, Ramzan R, Vogt S, Grossman LI, Doan JW, Marcus K, Lee I. Regulation of mitochondrial respiration and apoptosis through cell signaling: cytochrome c oxidase and cytochrome c in ischemia/reperfusion injury and inflammation. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Apr;1817(4):598-609. Review. PMID: 21771582; PMCID: PMC3229836

Joseph Wider, Ph.D.
Mentor: Karin Przyklenk Ph.D.

Research: Remote ischemic preconditioning: efficacy in the setting of type 2 diabetes and the role of exosomes
Current Plans: Dissertation defense is scheduled for March 7, 2017.  Following his defense, Joe plans to begin a post-doctoral position with Thomas Sanderson, Ph.D. in the Department of Emergency Medicine/Cardiovascular Research Institute at Wayne State University.


  1. Kumar R, Bukowski MJ, Wider JM, Reynolds CA, Calo L, Lepore B, Tousignant R, Jones M, Przyklenk K, Sanderson TH. Mitochondrial dynamics following global cerebral ischemia. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2016 Aug 24. pii: S1044-7431(16)30132-4. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2016.08.010. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27567688; PMCID: PMC5056829
  2. Gremmel T, Yanachkov IB, Yanachkova MI, Wright GE, Wider J, Undyala VV, Michelson AD, Frelinger AL 3rd, Przyklenk K. Synergistic Inhibition of Both P2Y1 and P2Y12 Adenosine Diphosphate Receptors As Novel Approach to Rapidly Attenuate Platelet-Mediated Thrombosis. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2016 Jan 7. PMID: 26743169
  3. Wider J, Przyklenk K. Ischemic conditioning: the challenge of protecting the diabetic heart. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2014 Oct;4(5):383-96. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2223-3652.2014.10.05. Review. PMID:25414825; PMCID: PMC4221316.
  4. Mentzer RM Jr, Wider J, Perry CN, Gottlieb RA. Reduction of Infarct Size by the Therapeutic Protein TAT-Ndi1 In Vivo. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Dec 23. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24367006
  5. Sanderson TH, Wider JM. 2-vessel occlusion/hypotension: a rat model of global brain ischemia. J Vis Exp. 2013 Jun 22;(76). PMID: 23851591
  6. Lagina AT 3rd, Calo L, Deogracias M, Sanderson T, Kumar R, Wider J, Sullivan JM. Combination therapy with insulin-like growth factor-1 and hypothermia synergistically improves outcome after transient global brain ischemia in the rat. Acad Emerg Med. 2013 Apr;20(4):344-51. PMID: 23701341
  7. Przyklenk K, Undyala VV, Wider J, Sala-Mercado JA, Gottlieb RA, Mentzer RM Jr. Acute induction of autophagy as a novel strategy for cardioprotection: getting to the heart of the matter. Autophagy. 2011 Apr;7(4):432-3. Epub 2011 Apr 1. PMID: 21187719; PMCID: PMC3679089
  8. Sala-Mercado JA, Wider J, Undyala VV, Jahania S, Yoo W, Mentzer RM Jr, Gottlieb RA, Przyklenk K. Profound cardioprotection with chloramphenicol succinate in the swine model of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. Circulation. 2010 Sep 14;122(11 Suppl):S179-84. PMID: 20837911; PMCID: PMC3355994

Kevin Miles, Ph.D.
Mentor(s):  Howard Matthew, Ph.D. and Karin Przyklenk, Ph.D.
Design of a Modular Endothelialized Platform for Bone Regeneration
Current Plans: Kevin will begin a post-doctoral position with Dr. Rhima Coleman in theCartilage Healing and Regeneration Laboratory in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan.


  1. Miles KB, Chung CS, Matthew HW. Endothelial Progenitors Stabilize Vascularization of a Modular GAG/HAP/Chitosan Bone Regeneration System in vivo. Targeting Acta Biomaterialia journal (IF 6.025) for 2017 publication (in preparation)
  2. Miles KB, Maerz T, Matthew HW. Osteogenesis of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Encapsulated in GAG/Hydroxyapatite/Chitosan Microcapsules: A Modular Platform for Improved Bone Regeneration. Targeting Acta Biomaterialia journal (IF 6.025) for 2017 publication (in preparation)
  3. Miles KB, Ball RL, Matthew HW. Chitosan films with improved tensile strength and toughness from N-acetyl-cysteine mediated disulfide bonds. Carbohydr Polym. 2016 Mar 30;139:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2015.11.052. PMID: 26794940

Joshua Holcomb, Ph.D.
Mentor(s)Zhe Yang, Ph.D. and J.-P. Jin, M.D., Ph.D.
Research: Structural and Functional Characterization of the Angiotensin-associated Nogo-B Receptor
Current Plans: Finishing additional research in Dr. Yang's lab before beginning a post-doctoral position in protein science and structural biology.


  1. Holcomb J, Doughan M, Spellmon N, Lewis B, Perry E, Zhang Y, Nico L, Wan J, Chakravarthy S, Shang W, Miao Q, Stemmler T, Yang Z. SAXS analysis of a soluble cytosolic NgBR construct including extracellular and transmembrane domains. PLoS One. 2018 Jan 18;13(1):e0191371. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191371. eCollection 2018. PMID: 29346419 PMCID: PMC5773207
  2. Holcomb J, Spellmon N, Zhang Y, Doughan M, Li C, Yang Z. Protein crystallization: Eluding the bottleneck of X-ray crystallography. AIMS Biophys. 2017;4(4):557-575. doi: 10.3934/biophy.2017.4.557. Epub 2017 Sep 26. PMID: 29051919 PMCID: PMC5645037
  3. Kuiper BD, Slater K, Spellmon N, Holcomb J, Medapureddy P, Muzzarelli KM, Yang Z, Ovadia R, Amblard F, Kovari IA, Schinazi RF, Kovari LC. Increased activity of unlinked Zika virus NS2B/NS3 protease compared to linked Zika virus protease. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2017 Mar 22. pii: S0006-291X(17)30567-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2017.03.108. PMID: 28342876
  4. Spellmon N, Holcomb J, Niu A, Choudhary V, Sun X, Zhang Y, Wan J, Doughan M, Hayden S, Hachem F, Brunzelle J, Li C, Yang Z. Structural basis of PDZ-mediated chemokine receptor CXCR2 scaffolding by guanine nucleotide exchange factor PDZ-RhoGEF. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2017 Apr 1;485(2):529-534. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2017.02.010. PMID: 28179147
  5. Spellmon N, Sun X, Xue W, Holcomb J, Chakravarthy S, Shang W, Edwards B, Sirinupong N, Li C, Yang Z. New open conformation of SMYD3 implicates conformational selection and allostery. AIMS Biophys. 2017;4(1):1-18. doi: 10.3934/biophy.2017.1.1. PMID: 28050603
  6. Jiang Y, Holcomb J, Spellmon N, Yang Z. Purification of Histone Lysine Methyltransferase SMYD2 and Co-Crystallization with a Target Peptide from Estrogen Receptor α. Methods Mol Biol. 2016;1366:207-17. PMID: 26585137
  7. Hou Y, Wu Y, Farooq SM, Guan X, Wang S, Liu Y, Oblak JJ, Holcomb J, Jiang Y, Strieter RM, Lasley RD, Arbab AS, Sun F, Li C, Yang Z. A critical role of CXCR2 PDZ-mediated interactions in endothelial progenitor cell homing and angiogenesis. Stem Cell Res. 2015 Mar;14(2):133-43. PMID: 25622052
  8. Spellmon N, Holcomb J, Trescott L, Sirinupong N, Yang Z. Structure and function of SET and MYND domain-containing proteins. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Jan 8;16(1):1406-28. doi: 10.3390/ijms16011406. Review. PMID: 25580534
  9. Holcomb J, Spellmon N, Trescott L, Sun F, Li C, Yang Z. PDZ Structure and Implication in Selective Drug Design against Cystic Fibrosis. Curr Drug Targets. 2015;16(9):945-50. Review. PMID: 25523900
  10. Holcomb J, Jiang Y, Guan X, Trescott L, Lu G, Hou Y, Wang S, Brunzelle J, Sirinupong N, Li C, Yang Z. Crystal structure of the NHERF1 PDZ2 domain in complex with the chemokine receptor CXCR2 reveals probable modes of PDZ2 dimerization. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014 May 30;448(2):169-74. PMID: 24768637
  11. Holcomb J, Jiang Y, Lu G, Trescott L, Brunzelle J, Sirinupong N, Li C, Naren AP, Yang Z. Structural insights into PDZ-mediated interaction of NHERF2 and LPA(2), a cellular event implicated in CFTR channel regulation. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014 Mar 28;446(1):399-403. PMID: 24613836
  12. JiangY, Holcomb J, Trescott L, Rice M, Yang Z. Structural Dissection of Cardiogenic and Myogenic SMYD Proteins. Experimental and clinical cardiology, Accepted, October 15, (2014).
  13. Trescott L, Holcomb J, Spellmon N, Mcleod C, Aljehane L, Sun F, Li C, Yang Z. Targeting the Root Cause of Cystic Fibrosis. Curr Drug Targets. 2015;16(9):933-44. Review. PMID: 25316272
  14. Jiang Y, Wang S, Holcomb J, Trescott L, Guan X, Hou Y, Brunzelle J, Sirinupong N, Li C, Yang Z. Crystallographic analysis of NHERF1-PLCβ3 interaction provides structural basis for CXCR2 signaling in pancreatic cancer. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014 Apr 4;446(2):638-43. PMID: 24642259
  15. Jiang Y, Trescott L, Holcomb J, Zhang X, Brunzelle J, Sirinupong N, Shi X, Yang Z. Structural insights into estrogen receptor α methylation by histone methyltransferase SMYD2, a cellular event implicated in estrogen signaling regulation. J Mol Biol. 2014 Oct 9;426(20):3413-25. PMID: 24594358
  16. Rice M, Jiang Y, Holcomb J, Trescott L, Spellmon N, Sirinupong N, Yang Z. SMYD2 Structure and Function: A Multispecificity Protein Lysine Methyltransferase. Journal of Cytology and Molecular Biology, 1(2):7, (2014).