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Endowed Professorships in Natural Sciences

Name of Professorship

Appointment Date

Current Holder


Centenary Research Professorship in Natural Sciences #1


Cynthia Brame

Funded in 1991, this professorship will allow Dr. Brame, Assistant Professor of Biology at Centenary, to introduce course-embedded research in molecular genetics into the biology curriculum. It is commonly accepted that a critical part of education in the sciences involves completion of a research project. In fact, many institutions require completion of an independent research project as a capstone experience in a natural sciences education. It is often difficult, however, to ensure a high quality research experience in which the students are asking a novel question, using modern (and thus broadly applicable) techniques, and thoroughly analyzing the data.

The goal of this proposal is to give students a quality research experience investigating the structural regulation of Yck2, a protein that is known to be involved in cellular morphogenesis and cytokinesis, cell wall accumulation, bud site selection, and mating pheromone response in yeast and that is a member of a protein family that regulates synaptic transmission, receptor signaling, circadian rhythm, DNA repair, nuclear import, and cell division in multicellular organisms. This project, which will be a collaboration between Centenary students, a Centenary professor, and a professor at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, will allow students to investigate a biological question whose answer has implications for understanding basic cellular mechanisms as well as disease mechanisms. In investigating this question, students will learn to use modern techniques that are important in any genetics laboratory—both “classroom” laboratories and research labs. Finally, the students will be guided through the procedures and data analysis, helping ensure understanding of the experiments, their results and their implications.

This project will be directed toward students in Genetics (BIOL313), a class required for all biology majors and frequently taken by biochemistry and neuroscience majors. To reach the goal of providing students with a quality research experience investigating a real-world biological question, the project has several specific aims:
1. Students will generate six distinct, directed mutations in the C-terminal tail of Yck2, a region known to be involved in Yck2 localization and regulation.
2. Students will investigate the function of the Yck2 mutants.
3. Students will investigate the localization of the Yck2 mutants by visualizing the fluorescently-tagged Yck2 using fluorescence microscopy.
4. Students will analyze their results and present them in a lab report based on the format of the scientific literature.

John B. & Minnie Sue Entrikin Endowed Professorship


Joshua Lawrence

Funded in 1995, this professorship will allow the professor to involve students in research throughout the year as a part of their course work, including the summer, in an ongoing research project. In collaboration with student coworkers, Dr. Lawrence is developing and studying transition metal reagents for perfluoroalkylation of aromatic compounds. They have demonstrated that Fe(CnF2n+1)(I)(CO)4 compounds react with silver trifluoroacetate to transfer the perfluoroalkyl group to a broad range of aromatic compounds in reasonable yields. They have prepared perfluorobutyl analogues of ibuprofen and are collaborating with faculty members in Centenary’s Department of Biology to test these compounds in a live animal model. For the last three years, Dr. Lawrence and his research students (most recently Rebecca McMahen and Kathryn Craigo) have presented their finding at American Chemical Society National Meetings.

Centenary Research Professorship in Natural Science #2/ Research #6

Summer 2009

Cristina Caldari-Farren

See Natural Sciences #5 for research project.

Centenary Research Professorship in Natural Science #3/ Research #7

Summer 2011

David Brownholland

This professorship will allow Dr. Brownholland and two students, Charles Madden and Madeline Fechter, to generate new synthetic strategies towards archaeal-type phospholipids, or bolalipids. Bolalipids have emerged as an alternative for traditional lipids in membrane-based biotechnologies, such as biosensors and drug delivery vehicles due to the enhanced stability of membranes formed from these unique lipids. There are two major limiting factors for the realization of bolalipids in biotechnology: supply and an understanding of the structure/function relationships between these lipids and the membranes they form. Expression and purification of archaeal-type lipids in biological species is time-consuming and extremely expensive, necessitating the need for synthetic methods towards these compounds. Secondly, there is a very poor understanding of structure/function relationships between the lipids and their corresponding, making it difficult to choose (or design) archaeal-lipids appropriate for a given application. This research program will design synthetic procedures for novel bolalipids as well as generate a small library of lipids allowing us to probe the effects on chain length of bolalipids on the biophysical properties of their corresponding membranes.

Centenary Research Professorship in Natural Science #4/ Research #8

Summer 2011

Cynthia Brame

See below Natural Science #6.

Centenary Research Professorship in Natural Science #5/ Research #9

Summer 2012

Cristina Caldari-Farren

Funded in 1999, this professorship will allow Dr. Caldari-Farren and student researcher, Charles Madden, to focus on the efficacy of synthetic lipids similar to those isolated from Archaea (extreme-loving) bacteria as vesicles for the delivery of vaccines. These synthetic lipids were synthesized last summer by Mr. Charles Madden while working under the tutelage of Dr. David Brownholland and with support from the Student/Faculty Summer Research Program. We believe these synthetic lipid vesicles, or archaeasomes, will prove to be effective and safe as vehicles of vaccination delivery in the mouse model.

Centenary Research Professorship in Natural Science #6/ Research #10

Summer 2011

Cynthia Brame

Funded in 1999, this professorship will allow Dr. Brame and student researcher to prove their hypothsis, which is..."Almost every event within a cell—and thus within a living organism—is regulated by protein phosphorylation. Metabolic reactions, cellular motility, gene expression, and cell division are just a few of the cellular events that are controlled at multiple steps by the addition or removal of a phosphate (PO42-) group to a protein target. The enzymes that catalyze the addition of a phosphate group are known as kinases, and regulation of these proteins is vital for healthy cellular function."

They are interested in a group of kinases known as the CK1 protein kinases. They hypothesize that these kinases are negatively regulated by the addition of a phosphate group to one or more sites within the activation loop of CK1 protein kinases. This summer, Gaurav Shah and Dr. Brame are purifying Yck2, a CK1 protein kinase from yeast. They will determine phosphorylation status via mass spectrometry. Coupled with our genetic data, this information should allow us to address our hypothesis.

Irene Wright Mathematics Department Professorship #1-5


Katherine Brandl

Funded in 2003, this professorship will be used to support the scholarly activities of the holder and the advancement of the department.

Last updated May 21, 2012.