Department of Biochemistry
Historical Timeline for Faculty
Welcome to the WVU Department of Biochemistry Historical Faculty Timeline.
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Bradley Webb, Ph.D. joined the Biochemistry department in 2018
Jun Liu, Ph.D. joined the Biochemistry Department in 2017
Gregory Konat, Ph.D. joined the Biochemistry Department in 2017
Scott A. Weed, Ph.D. joined the Department of Biochemistry in 2017
Jianhai Du, Ph.D. joined the Department of Biochemistry in 2016
Aaron Robart, Ph.D. joined the Department of Biochemistry in 2016.
Richard E.B. Seftor, Ph.D. joined the Biochemistry Department in 2016. Dr. Seftor is a Research Professor who comes to us from Chicago at Northwestern University.
Andrey Bobko, Ph.D.
Dr. Andrey Bobko joined the Biochemistry Department in August 2015. He was recruited from Ohio State University and will be joining us as a Research Assistant Professor with a specialization in development of probes and approaches for in vivo detection of important biochemical and biophysical parameters (pH, redox, pO2, glucose et cet.) using electron and nuclear magnetic resonance techniques.
Mark Tseytlin, Ph.D.
Dr. Mark Tsetlyin joined the Biochemistry Department in August 2015. He was recruited from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire and is joining us as an Assistant Professor with a specialization in development of new experimental methods and algorithms for Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and imaging with the major focus on studying tumor microenvironment.
Valery Khramtsov, Ph.D.
Dr. Valery Khramtsov joined the Biochemistry Department in the Fall 2015 Semester! He was recruited from Ohio State and will be joining us as a Professor with a specialization in Electron Paramagnetic Resonance and the use of EPR probes to image parameters in the tumor microenvironment, e.g. oxygen levels, in animal models.
Roberta Leonardi, Ph.D.
Dr. Leonardi received her M.Sc. from the University of Catania, Italy, her PhD from the University of Southampton, UK, and completed her Postdoctoral Training at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dr. Leonardi joined the faculty in 2013.
Peter Stoilov, Ph.D.
Dr. Stoilov received his MSc from Sofia University in Bulgaria. He received his PhD from Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany. He performed his postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at WVU in 2010. Research Interests: Regulation of alternative pre-mRNA splicing; Alternative splicing in cancer progression; Drugs targeting alternative splicing as cancer therapeutics and research tools; High-throughput research methods.
David M. Smith, Ph.D.
Dr. Smith received his PhD from the University of South Florida, School of Medicine. He performed his postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School. He joined the faculty of the Biochemistry Department at WVU in 2010. Research Interests: Our lab is interested in understanding how the proteasome—an ATP-dependent protein degradation machine— functions on a molecular level, including substrate recognition, unfolding, translocation and degradation inside of a sequestered chamber. We are also interested in the role that proteasome plays in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as developing new proteasome modulating drugs that could be useful to treat these diseases.
Bryan O'Hara, Ph.D.
Dr. O'Hara received his PhD from the University of Cincinnati, School of Medicine. His postdoctoral studies were performed at the National Cancer institute, Laboratory of Molecular Oncology. He joined the Biochemistry Department faculty at WVU in 2009. Research Interests: Zinc Finger Nucleases Targeted to Human Papillomavirus-Zinc fingers bind to DNA base pair triplets and can be joined in arrays to recognize long, specific DNA target sequences. When joined to a payload, such as a nuclease, these arrays can be used to target a nuclease to a specific DNA sequence and to cut that sequence. Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 Receptor Kinase-Independent Signaling to Akt via PHLPP1-A second effort involves the PHLPP1 protein phosphatase. It is known that PHLPP1 dephosphorylates and inactivates Akt, a protein kinase central to the response to factors such as insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1).
Vazhaikkurichi Rajendran, Ph.D.
Dr. Rajendran received his BS from the University of Madras. He then performed his postdoctoral studies at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He joined the faculty of West Virginia University in 2006 and the Biochemistry faculty in 2009. Research Interests: Dr. Rajendran is interested in investigating the electrolyte transport processes that regulate colonic fluid movement during physiological and pathophysiological (diarrhea and ulcerative colitis) conditions. We focus to identify the Ca2+-activated intermediate conductance (also known as KCNN4) K+ channel isoform that provides the driving force for Cl- secretion in several fluid secreting epithelial cells. To achieve this goal, we employ electrophysiology, biochemical, molecular and biophysical techniques.
Michael Schaller, Ph.D.
Dr. Schaller received his BSc and PhD from McMaster University. He then performed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Virginia. He joined the Biochemistry Department at WVU as the dept. chair in 2008. Research Interests: Dr. Schaller is interested in signal transduction and the regulation of cell growth, survival and motility in normal cells, cancer cells and endothelial cells. Signaling events regulated by tyrosine kinases and phosphatases following cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix are of particular interest. Multiple strategies, including molecular, biochemical, proteomic, structural, cell biology and animal model approaches, are being applied in his lab to study the mechanism of action of these types of enzymes.
J. Michael Ruppert, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Ruppert received his BA from West Virginia University and his MD and PhD from Johns Hopkins University. He joined the faculty in Biochemistry at WVU in 2008. Research Interests: The Ruppert lab is interested in the role of the zinc finger transcription factors KLF4/GKLF and Gli1 as regulators of chromatin structure, gene transcription and malignant transformation in epithelial cells, and their role in tumors such as breast cancer and skin cancer.
Elena Pugacheva, Ph.D.
Dr. Pugacheva earned her BS from Lomonosov Moscow State University and her PhD from the Russian Academy of Sciences. She performed her postdoctoral studies at Fox Chase Center. She joined the faculty of the Biochemistry Department at WVU in 2007. Research Interests: The fundamental question we are interested in is how cell adhesion and cell mitotic machineries communicate with each other. It is the matter of life for a multi-cellular organism, where specific and oriented adhesions were evolutionary necessary to develop. The focus of the Pugacheva Lab is the focal adhesion scaffolding proteins of the Cas family and their role in proliferation and invasion. Our current efforts are dedicated to outlining the molecular mechanisms governing Cas dependent activation of oncogenic kinase AurA and finding AurA substrates responsible for tumor progression.
Alexey Ivanov, Ph.D.
Dr. Ivanov received his MS from Lomonosov Moscow State University and his PhD from the Russian Academy of Sciences. His postdoctoral studies were performed at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Lerner Research Institute, and the Wistar Institute. He joined the Biochemistry Department faculty at WVU in 2007. Research Interests: The laboratory of Alexey Ivanov, Ph.D., focuses on mechanisms that regulate gene expression with a special emphasis on how the DNA-packaging structure of chromatin is regulated during cellular processes. The laboratory seeks to define the biochemical and molecular mechanisms that govern the normal silencing of genes during development and homeostasis, as well as disruptions of these governing mechanisms during tumor initiation and progression.
Visvanathan Ramamurthy, Ph.D.
Dr. Ramamurthy received his PhD from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and performed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington. He joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at WVU in 2006. Research Interests: Biochemical mechanisms behind gene mutations that result in photoreceptor cell death; Protein methylation in neurons; Gene therapy for blinding diseases.
Ph. D. Students
Jeffrey R. Christiansen-2011
Maxim Sokolov, Ph.D.
Dr. Sokolov received his PhD from the Weizman Institute of Science. His postdoctoral studies were performed at the University of Kansas and Harvard University Medical School. He joined the Biochemistry Department at WVU in 2005. Research Interests: The primary research interests of the Sokolov laboratory are understanding molecular mechanisms of protein homeostasis in neurons that require molecular chaperones.
Steven Frisch, Ph.D.
Dr. Frisch received his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley. He performed his postdoctoral training at the Center for Cancer Research, MIT. He joined the faculty in the Department of Biochemistry at WVU in 2004. Research Interests: The mechanism of anoikis and the development of novel cancer therapeutics based on this mechanism is a major focus of the laboratory.
William P. Petros, Pharm.D., FCCP
Dr. Petros received his BS from West Virginia University School of Pharmacy and his Pharm.D. from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science. He performed his postdoctoral studies at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He joined the Biochemistry Department at WVU, as an adjunct/joint faculty in 2003. Research Interests: Dr. Petros is interested in elucidation of factors which determine inter-individual variability in anti- cancer drug response and toxicity. The most common approaches he pursues involve investigation of drug clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenomics. In addition, he is involved in the design of anti-cancer drug trials including those in the early phases of investigation.
Yehenew M. Agazie, DVM, Ph.D.
Dr. Agazie received his DVM from Addis Ababa University, and his PhD from the University of Saskatchewan. He performed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Missouri and SUNY-Stonybrook. He joined the Department of Biochemistry faculty at WVU in 2003. Research Interests: The Agazie lab focuses on the role of the Src homology phosphotyrosyl phosphatase 2 (SHP2) in receptor tyrosine kinase and the Wnt/ß- catenin signaling pathways and its role in cancer.
Heimo Riedel, Ph.D.
Dr. Riedel received his PhD from EMBL and the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He performed his postdoctoral studies at Genentech. He joined the Biochemistry Department faculty at WVU in 2003. Research Interests: Dr. Riedel’s research program addresses the cellular signaling circuits that control normal cell proliferation, metabolism and the specific defects in these processes that underlie cancer and diabetes-with a combination of molecular cell biology, functional genomics / bioinformatics and proteomics approaches. A new project is focused on the design of cell-permeant zinc finger nucleases to directly attack a pathogen genome such as human papillomavirus (HPV) the causal agent of cervical cancer. The second project has discovered and is defining alternative signaling mechanisms of receptor tyrosine kinases that are independent of their catalytic activity with a current focus on the insulin receptor.
Qiang Ma, MD, Ph.D.
Dr. Ma received his MD at Tonji Medical University and his PhD from Rutgers University and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He performed his postdoctoral studies at Stanford University School of Medicine. In 1997, Dr. Ma received a staff appointment at the Morgantown campus of NIOSH and he joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at WVU as an adjunct member in 2001. Research Interests: Dr. Ma’s laboratory is interested in understanding the function and mechanism of action of xenobiotic- activated receptors (XARs) in mediating biological responses to xenochemicals, small chemicals that humans encounter from the environment including therapeutics, environmental / occupational carcinogens and toxicants, and dietary constituents.
Patrick L. Apopa-2007
William Wonderlin, Ph.D.
Dr. Wonderlin received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University. He performed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Calgary. He joined the faculty at West Virginia University in 1991, and joined the Biochemistry Department in 2001. Research Interests: Dr. Wonderlin is interested in the structure and function of ion channels and large pores. His research combines physiological, biochemical and cell biological techniques. His current primary focus is on the physiological properties of the Sec61 translocon in the endoplasmic reticulum.
Stephen Graber, Ph.D.
Dr. Graber received his PhD from the University of Vermont. He performed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Virginia. He joined the faculty at WVU in 1993, and the department of Biochemistry in 2001. Research Interests: While actively engaged in research my interests were focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of selectivity in G protein signaling and receptor theory. Areas of special expertise include expression and purification of proteins, functional reconstitution of membrane proteins, binding analysis, non-linear curve fitting and other statistical analysis. Recently I have ended my own research program to direct the Department of Biochemistry Protein Core and to concentrate on the educational mission of the department.
Knox Van Dyke, Ph.D.
Dr. Van Dyke received his AB degree from Knox College and his PhD from St. Louis University. He performed his postdoctoral studies at West Virginia University. He joined the faculty at WVU in 1969, and the Biochemistry Department at WVU in 2001. Research Interests: Research interests in the Van Dyke laboratory are centered in two main areas: chemotherapy and inflammation.
Jing Jie Yu, M.D.
Dr. Yu joined the Biochemistry faculty at WVU in 2001. Research Interests: Dr. Yu is interested in the relationship between platinum-drug resistance and DNA repair mechanisms. Her primary research focus is inhibition of DNA repair pathways by blocking critical genes to overcome platinum resistance, and identification of new drugs for more effective cancer chemotherapy.
Michael R. Gunther, Ph.D.
Dr. Gunther received his BSc from Oregon State, and his PhD from Oregon State University. He performed his postdoctoral studies and the University of North Carolina and NIEHS. He joined the Biochemistry faculty at West Virginia University in 1999. Research Interests: Dr. Gunther’s research has been directed towards understanding how mutant forms of the protein superoxide dismutase cause the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The primary interests of the lab have been identifying and characterizing free radicals formed on proteins with the hope of understanding how these unstable species might contribute to disease pathophysiology. In recent years we have been studying mitochondrial defects that arise from the expression of the ALS-causing mutant superoxide dismutase proteins in yeast. The main tools used in our laboratory are UV-visible spectroscopy and EPR spectroscopy, which is used to study free radicals.
Jason Andrew Peters-2002
Peter Hiram Mathers, Ph.D.
Dr. Mathers earned his ScB from Brown University, and his PhD from the California Institute of Technology. His postdoctoral studies were performed at NICHD, NIH, and the Center for Biologics Evaluation, FDA. He joined the Biochemistry Department as a joint/adjunct faculty at WVU in 1996. Research Interests: The Mathers laboratory is specifically interested in studying genes that are critical for forming the sensory organs of the head: the eyes, the ears, and the nose.
Vera Voronina = 2003
David M. Howell-2009
Brian G. Zamora-2009
Christina M. Okernick Umbright-2002
James E. Mahaney, Ph.D.
Dr. Mahaney received in PhD from the University of Virginia and performed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Mahaney was recruited from the University of Minnesota to join the Department as Assistant Professor in 1994. Dr. Mahaney’s research interests were in calcium transport in the muscle with his major contributions coming from studies on the regulation of calcium ATPases in the heart. In 2003, Dr. Mahaney joined the faculty at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. In 2008, he became the Associate Dean for the Biomedical Division and Research. Dr. Mahaney also has an associate appointment in the Department of Biochemistry at Virginia Tech.
Jason Shawn Southall-2002
Jason Robert Waggoner-2004
Patrick L. Apopa-2002
Richard Crout, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Dr. Crout received his MS, DMD, and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. He joined the faculty at WVU in the Department of Dentistry in 1981, and in 1993 joined the Department of Biochemistry as a joint/adjunct faculty member. Research Interests: The interests in the Crout laboratory lie in the areas of pharmacology, periodontics and oral health disparities.
Lisa M. Salati, Ph.D.
Dr. Salati received her PhD at the University of Minnesota and performed her postdoctoral studies at the University of Minnesota. She joined the faculty of the Biochemistry Department at West Virginia University in 1992. Research Interests: The long-term goal of the laboratory is to understand the molecular details by which fatty acids regulate cellular functions.
Deborah Lynne Hodge-1997
Laura P. Stabile-1999
Brian Nelson Griffith-2006
Alison Bloom Kohan-2009
Callee McConnell-Walsh-2009 M.S. Students
Heather E. Knupp-2011
F. Brad Hillgartner, Ph.D. Dr. Hillgartner received his PhD from Michigan State University. His postdoctoral work was completed at the University of Iowa. He joined the faculty in Biochemistry at WVU in 1992. Research Interests: The Hillgartner lab is interested in the mechanisms mediating the nutritional and hormonal regulation of genes involved carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.
Vinay K. Pathak, Ph.D.
Dr. Pathak performed his postdoctoral work with Dr. Howard Temin at the McArdle Laboratories at the University of Wisconsin and was recruited to the Department as an Assistant Professor in 1991. Dr. Pathak’s broad research interests were in virology, specifically in the area of retroviruses. At WVU, he studied factors that altered mutation rates in retroviruses, the development of retroviral vectors, anti- retroviral drugs and HIV. In 1999, Dr. Pathak moved to the National Cancer Institute to become Section Chief of the HIV Drug Resistance Program.
John George Julias-1997
Elias Konstantine Halvas-2000
Evguenia S. Svarovskaia-2000
Peter Challoner, Ph.D.
Dr. Challoner joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1991. Dr. Challoner trained with Elizabeth Blackburn, studying the sequence of telomeres, and then pursued postdoctoral studies at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he studies mechanisms of processing the 3' end of mRNAs.
Marilyn I. Evans, Ph.D.
Dr. Evans joined the Biochemistry Department in 1991. Dr. Evans research interests were in the mechanisms of regulation of gene expression by estrogen.
Franklin David Christian Shuler-1996
Robert Stephen Edinger-1996
Janet Lee Cyr, Ph.D.
From 1991 to 2008, Dr. Cyr was a member of the faculty WVU with a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry. In 2008, she left WVU to join the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders as a Program Officer responsible for individual training awards. Dr. Cyr received her PhD at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She performed her postdoctoral studies with James Hudspeth at the Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience at the Rockefeller University. Dr. Cyr was a Senior Research Associate with Peter Gillespie and Research Assistant Professor at the Oregon Hearing Research Center at the Oregon Health & Science University. In 2001, she was recruited to WVU as Assistant Professor in Otolaryngology and Dr. Cyr held a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry. In 2008, Dr. Cyr accepted a position at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders as a Program Officer responsible for individual training awards.
Kelli R. Phillips-2007 M.S. Students
Andrew K. Shiemke, Ph.D.
Dr. Shiemke earned his undergrad degree from Kalamazoo College, then after earning his PhD from the Oregon Graduate Institute, he proceeded to perform his postdoctoral studies at the University of Georgia, University of Illinois, and the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Shiemke joined the faculty in the Biochemistry Department at West Virginia University in 1990. Research Interests: The main focus of research in this laboratory is the structural and mechanistic characterization of metal- containing enzymes and proteins. Many protein active sites contain one or more of the transition elements (Fe, Cu,, Mn, etc.) making them amenable to investigation using Spectroscopic techniques specific for the metal center. Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR), resonance Raman, and X-ray Absorption spectroscopies are used to probe the structure of the metal center, from which the detailed mechanism of the enzyme may be deduced.
Scott Andrew Cook-1997
Timothy Brian Miley-1998
Kent E. Vrana, Ph.D.
Dr. Vrana received a BS degree (with honors in biochemistry) from the University of Iowa and his PhD in biochemistry from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. He performed his postdoctoral training (in embryology and molecular biology) at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (on the Johns Hopkins University campus). In 1986, Dr. Vrana was recruited to WVU as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. It was here that he established his research career in neuroenzymology (studying the regulation of biogenic amine [dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine] biosynthesis in the brain). In 1991, Dr. Vrana joined the faculty at Wake Forest University in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. In 2004, Dr. Vrana became the Elliot S. Vesell Professor and Chair of Pharmacology at the Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, PA.
Hazem M. Hallak-1991
Steven Jeffrey Walker-1992
Diana S. Beattie, Ph.D.
Dr. Beattie received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a Research Associate in the Biochemistry Department and the Veterans Administrative Hospital in Pittsburgh before joining the faculty in Biochemistry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York. In 1985, she joined the faculty at WVU as Professor and Chair of Biochemistry. From 1989-1996, Dr. Beattie served as director of the Medical Student Training Program in the School of Medicine. In 2006, Dr. Beattie left the Department to become the Dean of the Pre-Medical and Pharmacy Programs at the Oman Medical College in the Sultanate of Oman. Dr. Beattie’s research interests were in the areas of mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial metabolism.
Harvey C. Jenkins-1991
Eugene A. Berkowitz-1991
William J Fu-1991
Ramanujam S Ramabadran-1995
Victor H. Obungu-1998
C. Edward Ebert-2003
Suzelle Madeleine Amyot-1998
Kevin L. Dreher, Ph.D.
Dr. Dreher received his PhD in Biochemistry from Penn State and pursued his postdoctoral studies at the NIH. In 1983, he joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. In 1987, Dr. Dreher left WVU to join the National Health and Environmental Effects Laboratory at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Leslie Ann Bruggeman-1987
Bruce Caterson, Ph.D. Dr. Caterson joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1983. In 1989, Dr. Caterson was recruited to the University of North Carolina to join the Department of Orthopaedics as the first Norfleet-Raney Professor of Research. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Caterson accepted a position at Cardiff University in the School of Biosciences. His longstanding research interests were in proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans and his development of monoclonal antibodies for their study provided important opportunities for the study of proteoglycan metabolism.
Patrick John Donahue-1986
Singanallur N. Jagannathan, Ph.D.
Dr. Jagannathan joind the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1983.
Joseph Albert Fontana, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Fontana joined the Biochemistry Department in 1980. Dr. Fontana received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University and his MD from Penn. He did postdoctoral work at the NIH, his internship and residency at Case Western Reserve University and his fellowship at the NCI. Dr. Fontana was recruited to the Department of Medicine at WVU in 1980 as an Assistant Professor and he held a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry. In 1987, he joined the faculty at the University of Maryland as the Chief of Hematology/Oncology and in 1998 returned to his alma mater, Wayne State University, as Professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology at the Karmanos Cancer Institute and the Chief of Hematology/Oncology at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.
Carol Arthur Emler-1984
John P. Durham, Ph.D.
Dr. Durham received his training in Biochemistry at Oxford University and obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from Ohio State University. After postdoctoral studies at the Fels Research Institute at Temple University, Dr. Durham returned to the UK to accept a position at the University of Glasgow. In 1980, Dr. Durham was recruited to WVU as a Research Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Biochemistry and in 1984 was promoted to Professor of Biochemistry. From 1986-88, Dr. Durham served as the Associate Director for Basic Research in the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. Dr. Durham had broad research interests in the area of signal transduction in leukemic cell lines, including cellular responses to retinoids, role of cyclic nucleotides and regulation of protein phosphorylation. Dr. Durham was also a strong teacher in the Department, twice being nominated as Outstanding Teacher in the School of Medicine.
Peter Caine Baciu, Ph.D.-1990
Fred R. Butcher, Ph.D. Dr. Butcher received his PhD in Biochemistry from Ohio State University and pursued his postdoctoral studies at the McArdle Laboratories for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the faculty in the Section of Physiological Chemistry at Brown University. In 1978, Dr. Butcher was recruited to join the Department as Professor of Biochemistry. In 1981, Dr. Butcher succeeded Dr. Sander as Chair of Biochemistry, a position he held until 1984. In 1984, he became Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies and the Deputy Director of the planned Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. From 1989-2000, Dr. Butcher served as the founding Director of the MBRCC. In 1993, he also served as the Senior Associate Vice President and in 2007 he became the Interim Vice President of the Health Sciences Center. In 2009, upon recruitment of Dr. Collenda as Chancellor for the Health Sciences Center, Dr. Butcher was appointed Vice President of Planning and Operations. Dr. Butcher’s research interests at WVU were on the regulation of exocytosis in the parotid gland, including the role of cyclic nucleotides and protein phosphorylation.
Peggy Sue Biser-1989
Mary J. Wimmer, Ph.D. Dr. Wimmer received her PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She joined the faculty in the Biochemistry Department of West Virginia University in 1978. Scholarly Activity: Dr. Wimmer’s research interests involved primarily two main areas, the first being enzyme mechanisms, and the second, the analysis and environmental fate of pesticides. The enzyme research focused on the mechanism by which plant chloroplasts convert light energy into the chemical energy of ATP. Recently Dr. Wimmer’s efforts have been focused on the teaching mission of the Department. She is a leader in biochemistry teaching to the medical students, dental students and students in the school of pharmacy, and plays a major role in problem based learning in the Medical School curriculum. Dr. Wimmer has won seven awards for her teaching and is a four-time winner of the School of Medicine Distinguished Teacher award.
Paula Ann Sherman-1983
James Gardner Spencer
Michael R. Miller, Ph.D.
Dr. Miller received his PhD from the Hershey Medical School at Penn State University and performed his postdoctoral studies in the Department of Pharmacology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. He joined the Biochemistry faculty at WVU in 1977. Research Interests: Dr. Miller has two main research interests: 1) the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) and 2) bacteria in scuba diver’s rinse tanks. Research areas include: interaction of Bb with the vascular system, Bb-induced inflammation, how Bb penetrates blood vessels and molecular mechanisms regulating Bb chemotaxis and motility. He also studies bacterial contamination of communal equipment- and mask-rinse tanks used by scuba divers.
Pragna I. Patel-1982
John Blaine Shabb-1984
Russell A. Hammond-1987
Eugenia Harnagea Theophilus-1999
Samantha Lynn Gadd-2001
Stacey Lynn Brower-2005 M.S. Students
Christina B. Myers-1980
Rolf F. Kletzien, Ph.D.
Dr. Kletzien joined the Biochemistry Faculty in 1976. Dr. Kletzien's major research interests were in the hormonal regulation of gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis, and the regulation of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.
Johnny Keith McClung-1983
Deborah J Stumpo-1984
Charles Gordon Todderud- 1984
Christopher Robert Prostko-1987
Eugene Sander, Ph.D.
Dr. Sander received his PhD in Biochemistry from Cornell and served on the faculty at the University of Florida. In 1976, Dr. Sander was recruited as Chair of Biochemistry at WVU. In 1980, Dr. Sander moved to Texas A&M as the Head of the Department of Biochemistry. In 1992, he was appointed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Vice Provost for Agriculture at the University of Arizona. In 2011, Dr. Sander was appointed President of the University of Arizona. As Chair of Biochemistry at WVU, Dr. Sander oversaw a large expenditure for the renovation of the Department and recruited a number of faculty, including Drs. Fred Butcher, Mike Miller, Mary Wimmer, and R. Kletzien.
Julie Ellen Scheffler-1980
D. Ponton, Ph.D.
Dr. Ponton joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1974
Charles L. Harris, Ph.D.
Dr. Harris received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Chicago. In 1972, Dr. Harris joined the WVU faculty as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. From 1972 until 2008, Dr. Harris served in the Department, running an active research program and actively participating in the teaching mission. In 2008, Dr. Harris retired and was appointed Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry. After his retirement, Dr. Harris continued to participate in the teaching mission, returning to lecture in the Biochemistry component of the Human Function course for first year medical students each fall. Dr. Harris’ research interests were in the area of tRNAs and aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. His studies involved biochemical characterizations of these RNAs and enzymes, primarily in prokaryotes. Dr. Harris made major contributions to the teaching mission of the Department, playing a key role in graduate education and teaching in the professional biochemistry courses in the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy during the course of his career. He is an accomplished teacher, twice winning the Outstanding Teacher Award at WVU (in 1976 and 1982). In 2000, Dr. Harris received the School of Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award for the contributions he made in the Department, the School and the Health Sciences Center.
Eugene W. St Clair-1975
James Blair, Ph.D.
Dr. Blair received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Virginia and performed his postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin. In 1972, Dr. Blair was recruited to the Department of Biochemistry at West Virginia University, where he rose through the ranks from Assistant to Associate to Full Professor. He served as Associate Chair of Biochemistry (1983-84) and Interim Chair of Biochemistry (1984-85) at WVU. In 1990, Dr. Blair took a position as Professor and Head of Biochemistry at Oklahoma State University, and in 2001, he accepted the position of Associate Provost for Research and Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Tech. He also served for a time as Interim Vice Provost for Research. In 2006, Dr. Blair retired from Virginia Tech. Dr. Blair made major contributions to the Department during his tenure at WVU. His research program broadly addressed liver metabolism with specific interests in pyruvate kinase and alcohol dehydrogenase. Dr. Blair was engaged in the research activities of his colleagues and sometimes "understood your data better than you did". He was a strong mentor and excellent teacher, winning a West Virginia University Outstanding Teacher Award in 1974-75. Dr. Blair also made significant contributions to the service mission of the Department, serving on many major committees at the Department, School and Health Science Center levels.
Michele A. Cimbala-1977
James Joseph Kerbacher-1983
Christopher John Kolanko-1990
J. S. Ellingson, Ph.D. Dr. Ellingson joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1970. Dr. Ellingson was a lipid biochemist, whose research interests at WVU included the phospholipid composition in dental pulp and predentin, and changes in phosphoglyceride and phospholipid composition in Dictyostelium discoideum during life cycle changes. In the mid-1980’s Dr. Ellingson joined the faculty at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and later served on the faculty in the Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology at Jefferson Medical College at the Thomas Jefferson University.
Larry R. Larson-1975
George P. Tryfiates, Ph.D.
Dr. Tryfiates joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1967. Dr. Tryfiates received his Ph.D. degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. in 1964 and did post graduate studies at the Univ. Pa. Sch. Med. and Duke Univ. Sch. Med. Early in his career, Dr. Tryfiates studied the characterization and differences of nucleic acids in human leukemias and the synthesis in vitro of mammalian enzymes. He was the first to demonstrate completion of active tyrosine aminotransferase synthesis using mammalian polyribosomes in a cell-free system. His long standing interest in tumor biology led him to extensive studies on the effects of vitamin B6 compounds on the growth of solid tumors, the synthesis of enzymes in tumors and how tumors of varying degree of differentiation utilize the vitamin. His research demonstrated the dependence of tumor growth as well as of enzyme activities on the availability of the vitamin and led to the discovery of a circulating human tumor marker,-a vitamin B6 conjugate compound -, the blood level of which is significantly higher in the presence of cancer, up to 2-3x higher, (vs. controls), depending on the degree of differentiation. The conjugate compound was isolated from tumors, its structure determined and was subsequently chemically synthesized. Dr. Tryfiates is the author and/or editor of graduate level books, author of different book chapters and was the editor of the Journal of Nutrition, Growth and Cancer. He was invited speaker at different Universities in Europe and Africa and organized international scientific meetings overseas. He taught Biochemistry to Dental, Pharmacy, and Medical Technology students. He retired in 1997 as Professor Emeritus but continued teaching Dental Biochemistry for the following two years. He has since been occupied with philanthropic activities in different African countries.
Ronald E. Bishop-1990
MS Degree Students:
Thomas J. Puskar-1971
John King Shuler-1975
Harold Resnick, Ph.D. joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1967.
Edward F. Plow-1971
Sam Katz, B.S., Ph.D. joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1965
Gale W. Rafter, B.S., Ph.D.
Dr. Rafter joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1965. Dr. Rafter's research interests included the effects of bacterial endotoxins upon leukocytes, including the effects upon pyrophosphatase activity. Dr. Rafter was also interested in the mechanism of action of glutathione and the regulation of disulfide bond formation.
David R. Wikehart-1969
Patricia E. Gimber-1969
Carol G. Cox-1971
George Harmison-1975 MS Degree Students:
Carl S. Walker-1966
Susan R. Tenney-1967
Carol G. Cox-1969
Barabara H. Witherspoon-1970
Samuel James Black II-1972
Diana A. Robinson, A.B., Ph.D.
Dr. Robinson joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1963.
James B. Gilbert, M.D. Dr. Gilbert joined the Bioochemistry Department Faculty in 1963.
William Frederick Hymes-1966
Chester Bradley Hager-1967
Ben A. Hitt Jr.-1970 MS Degree Students:
William Frederick Hymes-196565
Patricia E. Stafford-1967
Richard A. Cox-1969
George H. Wirtz, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Dr. Wirtz was recruited to the Department of Biochemistry in 1963 and was a valued member of the faculty until his unfortunate death in 1993. Dr. Wirtz made major contributions to the research and teaching missions of the Department. He was a beloved member of the faculty, always smiling and telling jokes ("That’s a knee slapper!"). Dr. Wirtz’s had diverse research interests, including the areas of vitamin A and the complement system and immunity. Dr. Wirtz was an outstanding teacher, in graduate student teaching and in teaching in the professional biochemistry courses in the Health Sciences Center, particularly in Dental Biochemistry. In 1994, the Biochemistry graduate students dedicated the George Wirtz Memorial Library in Dr. Wirtz’s honor.
In early 2017, Renovation of the Wirtz Library was completed in honor of its namesake, Dr. George Wirtz, and continues to serve as the primary conference room and classroom in the Department.
Richard A. Patrick-1968
Ronald Edward Orynich-1972
Daniel H. Conrad-1973
Gloria C. Higgins Wright-1976 MS Degree Students:
Pervis Cheri Major-1969
Jerald L. Connelly, B.S., Ph.D.
Dr. Connelly joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1961.
William T. Burke, Ph.D.
Dr. Burke joined the Department of Biochemistry Faculty in 1960. Dr. Burke’s research interests were in liver metabolism and changes that occurred during carcinogenesis and regeneration in a rat model.
James L. McCoy-1965
MS Degree Students:
Chester Bradley Hager-1965
Ewald C. W. Krueger-1966
Damon C. Shelton, B.S.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Dr. Shelton joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1960. At WVU, Dr. Shelton’s research interests were in the area of amino acid transport by the anaerobic bacteria, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, a bacteria that is utilized for industrial fermentation.
Stanley B. Gross-1963
Omar Christian Yoder-1966
Ernest Kent Robinson-1967
MS Degree Students:
Omar Christian Yoder-1964
Janice Marie Mayshak Bischoff-1965
C. Carl Tully-1966
Robert M. Carper-1967
Patricia E. Gimber-1967
William J. Canady, B.S., M.S., Ph.D. Dr. Canady was the first new faculty member recruited to the Department of Biochemistry after its relocation to the new Health Sciences Center. His research interests were in protein biochemistry and his major contributions came in the characterization of alpha-chymotrypsin and cytochrome P-450.
Dr. Canady and his wife are long-time supporters of the WVU College of Creative Arts. The Canadys have sponsored the orchestra’s Canady Symphony Series at WVU since 2006, in memory of their daughter Valerie. The Series includes three Pittsburgh Symphony concerts at the Creative Arts Center each year.
Since 1996, the Canadys have also presented the Canady Scholarships in the College of Creative Arts, through the Valerie Canady Charitable Trust Foundation.
The scholarships are named for their daughter, Valerie Canady, a WVU graduate, who was among the 270 people who died in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988.
James L. Miles-1964
Richard H. Wildnauer-1966
Anthanetta J. Hymes-1967
Garfield P. Royer-1968
Charles Cecil Cuppett-1969
Edward M. Williams-1971
James L. Turner-1974
Wayne L. Backes-1979 M.S. Students:
James L. Miles-1961
Ricci J. Larese-1962
James L. Turner-1964
Richard H. Wildnauer-1964
Anthanetta J. Hymes-1965
Nicholas J. Nardacci-1970
Frederick J. Lotspeich, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Dr. Lotspeich was a native of Keyser, W.Va. He earned his BS and MS at WVU and his PhD at Purdue University. After completing his dissertation, he was a research chemist for E.I. DuPont, and later became an assistant professor of chemistry and acting chairman at Simpson College in Indianola , Iowa. Dr. Lotspeich joined the Department of Biochemistry at WVU in 1956 as an Assistant Professor. In 1977, Dr. Lotspeich left the WVU faculty to become the founding Chair of the Department of Biochemistry at Marshall University, where he served until 1991. Dr. Lotspeich served medical education in the state of West Virginia for 35 years. The third floor conference room in the Byrd Biotechnology Science Center at Marshall is named the Frederick J. Lotspeich, Ph.D. Conference Room in Dr. Lotspeich’s honor (re-dedicated April 16, 2012). His research interests included metabolism of beta-carotene, the regulation of tRNA methyltransferases and the effects of retinoids in cancer.
Frank D. Crain-1965
Roberta S. Karickoff (Core)-1967
Charles B. Cuono-1971
Margaret E. Gnegy-1974
M. Marcia Federici-1977 M.S. Students:
Charles K. Payne-1960
Elizabeth H. Fleming-1961
Roberta S. Karickoff (Core)-1965
Richard A. Patrick-1966
Edwin C. Gangloff, Ph.D.
Dr. Gangloff joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1955. Dr. Gangloff’s research interests were in the area of energy metabolism and the citric acid cycle.
Lois J. Kinley-1959
Reginald F. Krause, A.B., B.S., Ph.D., M.D.
Dr. Krause joined the Department as Professor and Head after completing his MD at the University of Vermont. At the beginning of Dr. Krause's tenure as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry, Governor Patteson announced that the new Medical Center would be located in Morgantown. Dr. Krause was actively involved in planning the new complex. Upon completion of construction in 1957, the Department of Biochemistry moved from the Chemistry Building downtown into the Medical Center. Dr. Krause was a practicing physician with his office located in his house, which was in the Evansdale area. In addition to his clinical practice and administrative duties, Dr. Krause also ran an active research program studying vitamin A. Dr. Krause compiled the early history of the Department of Biochemistry in "A History of Biochemistry as it relates to Medical Education at West Virginia University, 1869-1974". This work was invaluable in developing the earlier years of our timeline.
Mary Agnes Pallotta-1966
Charlotte W. Lawrence-1967
David J. Moffa-1968
Anna Mae McCormick-1973 M.S. Students:
Lear Twigg Powell-1953
Maurice S. Spivak-1953
Stanley B. Gross-1957
Judith E. Larese-1963
Mary Agnes Pallotta-1963
Frank D. Crain-1963
Charlotte W. Lawrence-1966
Peggy A. Brown-1966
Ida Idella Yoder-1966
Jane Hoover Plow-1970
Joanne P. Materio-1972
Anna Mae McCormick-1973
Randolph J. Canterbury II-1974
Mullen O. Coover, Ph.D.
Dr. Coover joined the Biochemistry Department Faculty in 1950.
Visiting Professors Sent to WVU
The University of Chicago sent two visiting professors Mr. Ray Koppelman (1948-1949), Dr. James D. Lowell (1949-1950) to WVU to teach Biochemistry in the interim between the death of Dr. Maclachlan and the recruitment of Dr. Krause as the Head of Biochemistry.
Ms. Betty Stonestreet served as Instructor.
Charles Denko, Ph.D.
Dr. Charles Denko was appointed as Instructor.
Donald W. Mckinstry, Ph.D.
Dr. Donald W. Mckinstry was appointed Instructor (Ph.D. from Penn State College). He resigned 1943.
Lemuel D. Wright, Ph.D.
Dr Lemuel D. Wright was appointed Instructor in Biochemistry (Ph.D. from Oregon State in 1940). He resigned 1943.
Dr. Percival L. McLachlan is appointed Assistant Professor and Head of Biochemistry, a position he held until his sudden death in 1948.
John R. Trotter, Ph.D.
Dr. John R. Trotter was recruited. (Ph.D. from Iowa in 1938)
Percival L. McLachlan, Ph.D.
Dr. Percival L. McLachlan was appointed as Instructor of Biochemistry.
Forrest R. Davidson, Ph.D.
Forrest R. Davidson is recruited as Assistant Professor in Biochemistry and Pharmacology.
Michael A. Rafferty, M.D
Mr. Michael A. Rafferty was made Instructor and head of the Department of Biochemistry. In 1936, he took at leave of absence to obtain his MD. Dr. Rafferty returned as a faculty member in 1938. He resigned to take a position at Miles Pharmaceutical Laboratory and joined the armed forces a few months later. He was killed in action in 1940.
Physiological Chemistry was renamed Biochemistry.
George R. Bancroft, Ph.D.
Dr George Russell Bancroft is recruited to direct teaching and research in physiological chemistry.
H. van der Heyde, Ph.D.
Dr. van der Heyde joined the faculty in 1919.
1917 - 1923
Withrow Morse, B.Sc., A.M., PH.D.
Dr. Withrow Morse is appointed as Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Physiology in 1917.
The first medically oriented chemistry courses are offered Medical Organic Chemistry and Medical Analysis, taught by Frederick L. Kortright.
College of Medicine Established The College of Medicine is established
Dr. Otto Folin is the first physiological chemist.
The Beginning of Medical Education at WVU
"Anatomy, Physiology and Hygiene" was taught by Samuel G. Stevens.