The Keedy Lab

Spring 2021 news roundup

Unsurprisingly, there was a long gap between news posts… but that just means there are lots of good things to discuss now!

First of all, on the personnel front: Shivani Sharma, a PhD student with CUNY Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCD), has joined the lab. We are excited to give her a warm welcome in person sooner than later!

Also, Sakib has started a new and exciting job with OpenTrons – manufacturers of the OT-2 robot we have here at the ASRC SBI. He’s had the rewarding opportunity to work on their Pandemic Response Lab to help NYC trace and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. (Thankfully for us, he remains affiliated with the Keedy lab on a limited basis.)

In addition, this summer we look forward to welcoming a new undergraduate researcher, Julia Michalak, from the CCNY B3 REU Program. Fortunately, due to declining COVID cases and continuing vaccinations in NYC and elsewhere, all signs point to in-person research activities in our wet lab (with the proper safety precautions, of course), which will feel nice. Welcome, Julia!

Beyond the personnel updates, we’ve had good news on the publications front. Blake’s qFit 3 paper was accepted to Protein Science. And we submitted Ali and Blake’s joint SARS-CoV-2 Mpro multitemperature paper! Huge thanks to the beamline scientists at NSLS-II FMX for their help with remote experiments during the pandemic. Ali and Blake even managed to secure consecutive PDB codes for a dozen structures – good reason to celebrate!

In terms of awards, Tamar has been on a tear: she won both a CUNY Graduate Center Dissertation Year Fellowship and a D.E. Shaw Research Graduate & Postdoc Women’s Fellowship. I struggle to think of a more deserving recipient for these competitive awards. They will nicely complement the upcoming papers in her near-term future… Congrats, Tamar!

Looking ahead, Virgil is broadening our lab’s horizons by bringing hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) into the mix. This is a powerful solution experiment that will open many doors for Virgil’s thesis work – which he will defend at his scheduled second level (or “qualifying”) exam next month. In addition, we are eager to analyze the reams of X-ray diffraction data we have collected recently for various PTPs in various conditions across several remote synchrotron trips (“to” FMX and NYX at NSLS-II, and FlexX at MacCHESS). So: more good things coming down the pike.

I won’t promise how long it’ll be until the next news post – but keep checking!