News & Updates Archive
NSF award received
June 28, 2013
Congratulations to Luda Rizshsky and Shivani Garg on receiving NSF funding for their project "STTR Phase I: An Advanced Biomanufacturing Platform Focused on Producing Sustainable Bio-based Commercial Chemicals." The grant provides $225,000 in support for Garg's start-up business, OmegaChea Biorenewables LLC.
June 6, 2013
Dr. Tyrell Carr has joined the Nikolau group for the summer as a visiting faculty research intern. While here, he will work with other group members on the hycrocarbons project, which is investigating how maize plants coat their surfaces with cuticle lipids. Carr, who is an assistant professor in the department of biology and physical sciences at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, NC, earned his MS and PhD in interdepatmental genetics at Iowa State.
Postdoc accepts faculty position
June 4, 2013
Effective July 1, Huanan Jin will begin his new position as associate professor at Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China. Jin has held a postdoc position with the Nikolau research group since completing his PhD in May 2010. As professor, Jin will teach and conduct research on soybean oil biosynthesis and secondary metabolism. Congratulations, Professor Jin!
Grad student launches biorenewables business
May 20, 2013
Congratulations and all best wishes to Shivani Garg, PhD student in the Nikolau research group, on launching her new business, OmegaChea Biorenewables LLC. Read all about it here.
Pappajohn Competition winner
May 8, 2013
Congratulations to grad student Shivani Garg whose business plan was one of three winners at the May 3 finals of the statewide Pappajohn New Venture Student Business Plan Competition. The competition included 14 finalists from ISU, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, Drake, and North Iowa Area Community College. Seed grants of $5,000 each were awarded to the top three competitors. Garg's OmegaChea Biorenewables LLC plans are to commercially produce sustainable, bio-based raw materials for detergents, lubricants and polymer manufacturing.
REU students present special seminar
May 7, 2013
On April 22, fourteen REU students who spent spring 2013 semester in the Nikolau lab presented a special seminar program on Fats and Oils. The seminar was the capstone of the students' participation in BBMB 490. More...
Metabolites journal publication
November 9, 2012
The article Medicinal Plants: A public resource for metabolomics and hypothesis development has been accepted and will appear soon in the online journal Metabolites [publication link updated 12/2/12]. Congratulations to authors Eve Syrkin Wurtele, Joe Chappell, A. Daniel Jones, Mary Dawn Celiz, Nick Ransom, Manhoi Hur, Ludmila Rizshsky, Phillip Dixon, Jia Liu, Mark P. Widrlechner and Basil J. Nikolau.
October 19, 2012
Click photo for larger image.
Nikolau Research Group members Alexis Campbell, Xin Guan, Lucas Showman and Basil Nikolau spent the past week participating in theNSF-JST Workshop at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, OK. NSF-JST is a joint program between the National Science Foundation and the Japan Science and Technology Agency whose purpose is to study metabolomics for a low carbon society.
Busy REU summer
August 17, 2012
The Nikolau lab hosted a record number of REU students this summer. Congratulations to Mericia Boutchee, Riley Brien, Reid Claussen, Colin Hueser, Ray Liu, Sara Pederson, Thomas Pires, Yiqun Qiu, Joshua Scaralia and Ryan Wissman on a job well done! And special thanks to REU mentors Libuse Brachova, Alexis Campbell, Jennifer Chmielowski, Fuyuan Jing, Luda Rizshsky, Jennifer Robinson, Lucas Showman and Zhihong Song.
Journal of Bacteriology publication
August 16, 2012
Congratulations to Huanan Jin and Basil Nikolau, whose article "The role of genetic redundancy in Polyhydroxyalkanoate Polymerases in PHA biosynthesis in Rhodospirillum rubrum" is scheduled to appear in issue 20 of the Journal of Bacteriology.
Sam Condon is named Goldwater Scholar
April 2, 2012
Sam Condon, an undergraduate researcher with the Nikolau group, has been awarded a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for 2012. Sam is a senior majoring in biochemistry at Iowa State. Congratulations, Sam! Read the full story here.
NSF awards I-Corps grant to Nikolau team
March 31, 2012
A team made up of Basil Nikolau (PI), Shivani Garg (entrepreneurial lead) and Peter Keeling (mentor) recently learned that they have been selected for an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
I-Corps' purpose is to "bring together the technological, entrepreneurial, and business know-how to bring discoveries ripe for innovation out of the university lab."
ISU's project, Novel Bio-Based Chemical Feedstocks for the Polymer Industry, will explore the potential of developing a marketable innovation based on the use of 3-ketoacyl ACP synthase III (KASIII) enzymes.
New members join the Nikolau group
January 19, 2012
The Nikolau group welcomes new graduate students Kiran-Kumar Shivaiah and Bryan Gontarek. Kiran is a first year biochemistry major who joined the lab in January, and Bryan is an interdepartmental plant biology major who is doing a rotation with the group.
The group also welcomes undergraduates Kelsey Schieltz (ChemE) and Garrett Smith (Genetics). Kelsey will be working with Zhihong Song, and Garrett with Alexis Campbell.
New Plant Journal article
January 6, 2012
Congratulations to Geng Ding, Ping Che, Hilal Ilarslan, Eve Syrkin Wurtele and Basil Nikolau on their new Plant Journal article, Genetic dissection of methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase indicates a complex role for mitochondrial leucine catabolism during seed development and germination.
November 15, 2011
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) have awarded a "Metabolomics for a Low Carbon Society” Program grant to an international group of researchers headed by Lloyd W. Sumner of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and Kazuki Saito of the RIKEN Plant Science Center. ISU’s Basil Nikolau is a co-PI on the project, which will characterize metabolites related to plant biomass and oil production. This is one of four projects funded under the first program ever fully jointly coordinated by NSF and JST. The project will provide research funding for three years, with possibility of a two-year extension.
Link to 12/05/11 ISU News Service story
November 14, 2011
Preeti Bais, Stephanie Moon-Quanbeck, Basil Nikolau and Julie Dickerson have received notice from Oxford Journals that their article Plant metabolomics.org: mass spectrometry-based Arabidopsis metabolomics — database and tools update has been published in Nucleic Acids Research. Congratulations!
November 14, 2011
A big welcome to Kevin Potter, who is doing a research rotation with the Nikolau Research Group. Kevin is a first-year student in the MCDB graduate program.
October 5, 2011
Congratulations to Stephanie Moon Quanbeck on her appointment as Research Associate with the Molecular Characterization, Regulatory group at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
The Nikolau Group honored Stephanie at a send-off party on October 1. All best wishes to Stephanie as she begins her new adventure!
August 24, 2011
Congratulations to Nikolau group members Alexis Campbell and Xiaobin Zheng on successfully defending their theses as the final step in completing their graduate work. Alexis (PhD in plant biology) and Xiaobin (MS in biochemistry) both will continue research with the Nikolau Group. Kudos to Alexis and Xiaobin!
A Busy Summer in the Nikolau Lab
August 24, 2011
The Nikolau group enjoyed a full and productive summer hosting participants in the CBiRC Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program.
REU student Julia Petrullo, a chemical engineering major at the University of Buffalo, was mentored by graduate student Lucas Showman. Graduate student Shivani Garg provided guidance for REU student Morgan Becker, a biology and mathematics major at Iowa State.
RET program participant Chris Trueba, who teaches biology and chemistry at Los Lunas High School in Los Lunas, NM, was guided through her research project by graduate student Bryon Upton.
Xun Wang Accepts New Position
February 21, 2011
Congratulations to alumnus Xun Wang (PhD Biochemistry, Summer 2003) who recently was appointed vice president of research and development at Sapphire Energy, Inc, in San Diego, CA. The company focuses on green crude production.
Plant Physiology Article Published
February 21, 2011
The Nikolau group article titled Reverse genetic analysis of the two biotin-containing subunit genes of the heteromeric acetyl-CoA carboxylase in Arabidopsis thaliana indicates a unidirectional functional redundancy was published last month in Plant Physiology, and is available online.
Plant Physiology Accepts Manuscript
October 29, 2010
The Nikolau group received notice this week that Plant Physiology has accepted an article for publication. The article, titled Reverse genetic analysis of the two biotin-containing subunit genes of the heteromeric acetyl-CoA carboxylase in Arabidopsis thaliana indicates a unidirectional functional redundancy will appear in an upcoming issue to be announced. Congratulations to authors Xu Li, Hilal Ilarslan, Libuse Brachova, Hui-Rong Qian, Ling Li, Ping Che, Eve Syrkin Wurtele and Basil Nikolau!
Welcome to Prashant (Krishna) Ambilwade
October 29, 2010
The Nikolau group welcomes Krishna Ambilwade, a first-year student in the MCDB graduate program, who began a lab rotation with the group on October 15. Krishna comes to ISU from Mumbai, India, which he affectionately calls "a land of Saints and Gurus."
Journal Article Accepted
September 22, 2010
Congratulations to Ann Perera, Wenmin Qin, Marna Yandeau-Nelson, Li Fan, Philip Dixon and Basil Nikolau on the Nikolau group's most recently accepted article, Biological origins of normal-chain hydrocarbons: a pathway-model based on cuticular wax analyses of maize silks. The article will appear in a future issue of Plant Journal, but you can get a sneak peek of the abstract here.
Dr. Nikolau Invited to International Lipids Conference
August 31, 2010
Basil Nikolau has been invited to present at the 51st International Conference on the Bioscience of Lipids to be held September 7-11, 2010, in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. He will chair the September 11 session on Microbial and Plant Lipids, which will include his presentation entitled "An integrated strategy for generating lipid-based biorenewable chemicals: Diversifying fatty acid synthesis with polyketide synthesis biocatalysts."
Welcome to Adarsh Jose
August 29, 2010
A big welcome to Adarsh Jose, the newest addition to the Nikolau research group. Adarsh, who is a second year PhD student in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program, comes to us from Kerula, India, by way of Akron, Ohio. Meet Adarsh here.
CBiRC Young Engineer to present
July 27, 2010
Jarmila Tvaruzkova, a participant in CBiRC's Young Engineers Program, participant will present her research at the regularly-scheduled Nikolau group lab meeting at 10am, July 27. See an interview with Jarmila.
July 22, 2010
CBiRC REU students Emily Lin and Kim-Xuan Nguyen will present the results of their summer research projects at 2pm, July 28, in 1344 Howe Hall. Emily and Kim-Xuan have spent the past several weeks in the Nikolau lab exploring mutagenesis under the guidance of Ph.D. students Shivani Garg and Fuyuan Jing.