26th Annual CBB Conference

Advances in Biocatalytic Sciences: Attacking Societal Problems

October 17, 2017
The University of Iowa 
Iowa Memorial Union, Iowa City, IA


Aliasger K. Salem, Ph.D.

Bighley Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Head of the Division of Pharmaceutics and Translational Therapeutics (PTT)
College of Pharmacy, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Aliasger Salem, Ph.D is the Bighley Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Head of the Division of Pharmaceutics and Translational Therapeutics (PTT) at The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy.  From 2009 to 2013, Aliasger Salem was an American Cancer Society Research Scholar. Since 2012, Aliasger Salem has also been Leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCCC), University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Since 2016, Aliasger Salem has been the Co-Director of the Nanotoxicology Core at the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, University of Iowa. Aliasger Salem was educated in Applied Chemistry at Aston University of Science and Technology, Birmingham, UK (BSc 1998; 1st Class Honors). He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, UK in 2002.  He then received postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore until 2004. Aliasger Salem's research is currently focused on exploring the synergistic application of new polymers and nanotechnology for regenerative medicine and cancer vaccines. He is the author of over 250 scholarly publications, patents and presentations and has published in journals that include Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Materials, Nature Reviews Urology, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Advanced Materials, Bioconjugate Chemistry, Biomaterials, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Research, Journal of Controlled Release and the International Journal of Pharmaceutics. His research is supported by extensive past and current funding from organizations such as but not limited to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes for Health, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes for Health, the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, the American Cancer Society, the US National Science Foundation and the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America Foundation. Aliasger Salem is an associate editor and editorial board member for a number of well-regarded pharmaceutical sciences journals including Associate Editor for the AAPS Journal (flagship journal for the American Association for Pharmaceutical Scientists) and editorial board member for the International Journal of Pharmaceutics. Aliasger Salem is an elected Fellow of the AAPS. Aliasger Salem has participated on a regular basis on a number of grant review study sections including panels for the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense (DoD): Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) Prostate Cancer Research Program. Prof. Salem enjoys mentoring graduate students, research scientists and postdocs and teaching in the PharmD and graduate programs. To date, Aliasger Salem has mentored 27 graduate students, 3 visiting professors, 4 postdoctoral fellows, 3 masters’ students and more than 100 undergraduate, PharmD and high school students in research. Prof. Salem has been an active mentor on the PharmD mentoring program since the program’s inception. He is frequently nominated for collegiate teacher of the year and has previously received the 2006 College of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year award, the 2008 University Of Iowa Council Of Teaching Instructional Improvement Award and the 2012 College of Pharmacy Collegiate Teacher of the Year award.



Ryan Kramer, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, Process and Product Development Manager, Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) Seattle, WA

Ryan Kramer is a Senior Scientist at IDRI and Manages the Process and Product Development Department. Ryan’s department is responsible for moving vaccine candidates into the clinic, including bioprocess development, characterization of vaccine antigen and adjuvant components, and designing drug product formulations that are thermostable and do not depend on the cold-chain for distribution to developing countries. Ryan has worked in a wide range of disease fields including cancer, ETEC, HIV, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, anthrax, West Nile virus, leprosy, hookworm disease, schistosomiasis, chikungunya virus, and shigellosis.

Before joining IDRI, Ryan was a postdoctoral fellow at the Macromolecule and Vaccine Stabilization at the University of Kansas, under the direction of Russ Middaugh and David Volkin. He worked on numerous contract and research formulation development projects characterizing macromolecular systems and biotherapeutics, using state of the art analytical biophysical instrumentation.

Ryan obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Texas A&M University where he developed a mutational approach for increasing protein solubility. As a graduate student, Ryan received a Molecular Biophysics NIH predoctoral training grant and Texas A&M Regents' Graduate Fellowship. 
Ryan graduated summa cum laude from Washington State University and received his B.S. in biochemistry. Ryan is an Eagle Scout and member of Order of the Arrow. 


Susan Brockmeier, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Research Veterinary Medical Officer
Lead Scientist - Non-antibiotic Strategies to Control Priority Bacterial Infections in Swine Virus and Prion Research Unit, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, National Animal Disease Center, Ames, IA 

Susan Brockmeier obtained her D.V.M. from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After spending several years in private practice, she acquired a Ph.D. in Veterinary Microbiology from Iowa State University. She then joined the research team at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, part of the Agricultural Research Service, which is the research branch of the USDA. Her research focuses on infectious diseases of swine including both viral and bacterial pathogens. With the disease models she has developed, she studies virulence mechanisms and pathogenesis, innate and adaptive immune responses, biotherapeutic interventions, and vaccine development and efficacy of common swine pathogens. 



Ulrich Schwaneberg, Dr.

Chair of Biotechnology RWTH Aachen University, Member of Scientific Board of Directors DWI-Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials, Aachen, Germany      

 Ulrich Schwaneberg graduated at the University of Stuttgart in the Institute of Technical Biochemistry in 1999. After a post-doc at Caltech (USA) he was in January 2002, he was appointed as Assistant Professor at the Jacobs University Bremen and promoted in 2006. In January 2009, he moved to the RWTH Aachen University as Chair of the Institute of Biotechnology and since 2010 he is co-appointed in the Scientific Board of Director at the DWI Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials. Furthermore he has been appointed in the board of directors in the Bioeconomy Science Center to advance and to focus NRW’s (local government) research efforts in the area of bioeconomy and servers as speaker of the industry lab HICAST (Henkel Innovation Campus for Advanced and Sustainable Technologies) at RWTH Aachen University. In 2008 he founded with coworkers the startup company SeSaM-Biotech GmbH, which commercialized developed mutagenesis technologies and four reengineered enzymes are in industrial use. He has a special interest in method development and tailoring of proteins for industrial applications, hybrid catalysis, and interactive biomaterials. In 2016 he received from the BMBF the prestigious award for the next generation of biotechnological processes (1.5 Mio€), published >180 manuscripts and is an inventor/coinventor in 18 patent families.



Gregory LeFevre, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering,The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Greg LeFevre is an Assistant Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa where he started in 2016. He received his BS from Michigan Tech, MS and PhD from the University of Minnesota, and Postdoc from Stanford University, all in environmental engineering. Broadly, his research focuses on understanding mechanisms related to the biotransformation of emerging organic contaminants in the environment and engineered water systems. LeFevre has worked with bacterial, fungal, and phyto- transformation and applies a combination of analytical chemical and biological techniques to elucidate novel contaminant transformation products and pathways (for example, high resolution mass spectrometry). The LeFevre Lab’s research integrates well with the CBB by illuminating and exploiting natural enzymatic processes to remediate pollution and develop pioneering, scalable coupling approaches to biological and abiotic catalyzed redox-based water treatment processes. 





Jacob Poliskey, PH.D. Candidate

Kevin G. Rice Research Group, Department of Pharmaceutics and Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Originally from Michigan, Jacob attended Alma College and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in 2014. After graduation, he came to the University of Iowa to obtain his Ph.D. in Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry from the College of Pharmacy. Jacob joined the laboratory of Kevin Rice and has explored different aspects of non-viral delivery of nucleic acids. He has focused on utilizing mRNA for gene delivery by modifying its structure for improved stability and translatability. He plans to pursue his M.D. from the University of Michigan after graduating from Iowa.



Anh-Vu Do, PH.D. Candidate

Aliasger K. Salem Research Group, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, College of Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Anh-Vu came to the United States at the age of six and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He has received his B.S. Degrees in Psychology and Biology as well as a B.S.Bch.E.in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Georgia. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Aliasger Salem at the University of Iowa. His research interests include 3D printing and controlled drug delivery, specifically in conjunction with designing functional and novel 3D printed devices for tissue engineering and cancer vaccinations. Post-graduation, Anh-Vu intends to pursue a career in device development with the focus on drug delivery.



Nitija Tiwari, PH.D. Candidate

Ernesto J.Fuentes Research Group, Department of Biochemistry, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

I am originally from Kathmandu, Nepal and came to the United States to pursue my undergraduate degree in 2008. I completed my Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry with honors from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa in May 2012. Then I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Ernesto Fuentes’s lab for two years. During this time, I worked on a collaboration project with Dr. John Kirby’s lab in microbiology studying protein-protein interactions in bacterial two-component signal transduction systems. In 2014, I joined the department of biochemistry as a graduate student and eventually joined Dr. Fuentes’s lab for my graduate work. My thesis work involves studying regulatory mechanisms of S. aureus two-component system SrrAB using biochemical and structural approaches.