2023-2024 Audree V. Fowler Fellows in Protein Science

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Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology (BMSB) graduate students Alexandra Turmon (Backus lab) and Cindy Wang (S. Clarke and C. Clarke labs) have been selected as 2023-2024 Fowler Fellows.

Each Fellow presented a talk at the Audree V. Fowler Fellowships in Protein Science Special Seminar on November 8, 2023.

The 2023-24 Fowler Fellows – (from left) Cindy Wang, Jee Yun Han, Dr. Audree Fowler, Rohith Nagari and Alexandra Turmon. (MBI)

Dr. Audree Fowler

A strong supporter of the basic sciences and medicine at UCLA, alumna Dr. Audree Fowler (B.S. ’56 chemistry, Ph.D. ’63 biochemistry) established the Audree V. Fowler Fellows in Protein Science in 2008. Fowler was Director UCLA Protein Microsequencing Facility from 1984-1999 and is a Researcher Emeritus of the UCLA Department of Biological Chemistry. She is one of the first four women to receive a Ph.D. from the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. In 2018, the women were awarded the department’s 2018 Alumni Legacy Awards in recognition of their achievements in life, and generous support and service to UCLA. “The sciences gave me a great life. Now I want to help others have access to the same opportunities I enjoyed,” Fowler explained when she established the Fowler Fellowships endowment.

Applications for the fellowships are solicited from graduate students in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental (MBI) Ph.D. Program, Biological Chemistry, and Chemistry & Biochemistry Departments. In addition to presenting their research at a special seminar, the recipients each receive a $5,000 award. 

About the 2023-24 Audree Fowler Fellows in Protein Science

Alexandra Turmon

Alexandra Turmon is a third year Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology (BMSB) graduate student in Prof. Keriann Backus’ group. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she researched cyclic peptides and the tunability of their drug-like properties to target protein-protein interactions in the lab of Professor Scott Lokey.

At UCLA, Alexandra’s research is focused on the intersection of chemoproteomic and proteogenomic methodologies to uncover druggable targets within the proteome. Recently, there has been interest in unifying transcriptomic and proteomic datasets to holistically study drivers of diseases which have been historically deemed “undruggable”. This approach is especially powerful in application to diseases arising from genetic mutations, as is the case for chromosome 3 rearranged myeloid leukemias. Alexandra’s research is focused on the development and application of N-terminal chemoproteomic tools to uncover the therapeutic vulnerabilities of these leukemias that have remained obscured by discrepancies between in vitro experiments and patient treatment. Ultimately, these findings will highlight potential pathways critical to modeling in vivo cell biology in vitro, as well as indicate potential targets for future drug development.

Cindy Wang

Cindy Wang is a fourth year Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology (BMSB) graduate student in the labs of Profs. Catherine F. Clarke and Steven G. Clarke at UCLA. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry with a Specialization in Computing at UCLA, where she studied the mechanism of organocatalytic reactions using density functional theory in the lab of Prof. Ken Houk.

For her graduate work, Cindy is employing a combination of biochemical and computational approaches to elucidate the molecular mechanism and structure-function relationship of COQ5, a methyltransferase involved in coenzyme Q biosynthesis. Defects in coenzyme Q biosynthesis lead to primary CoQ deficiency, a complex condition affecting multiple organs, as a result of the electron-carrying and antioxidant activity of coenzyme Q. Cindy is currently investigating the pathogenicity of single nucleotide variants in the human COQ5 gene in a yeast model, which will facilitate the screening and diagnosis of autosomal recessive primary CoQ deficiency.

Other 2023-24 Fowler Fellows are Jee Yun Han (Boutros’ lab) and Rohith Nagari (Tontonoz’s lab).

Previous Fowler Fellows from the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

2022-23 – Cody Gillman (Gonen lab), Declan Evans (Houk lab), Troy Lowe (S. Clarke lab), Ashley Julio (Backus lab), and Alex Stevens (Hong Zhou lab)
2021-22 – Weixian Deng (Wohlschlegel/Plath labs), Yi Xiao “Sean” Jiang (Eisenberg lab), Maria Flores (Rodriguez lab), Carter Lantz (Loo lab), and Logan Richards (Rodriguez lab).
2020-21 – Janine Fu (Loo lab), Calina Glynn (Rodriguez lab), and Jiahui Lu (Eisenberg lab)
2019-20 – David Boyer (Eisenberg lab), Orlando Martinez (Clubb lab) and John Muroski (Loo lab)
2018-19 – Scott McConnell (Clubb lab), Kevin Murray (Eisenberg lab), Rebeccah Warmack (S. Clarke lab)
2017-18 – Michael Hughes (Eisenberg lab), Yuxi Liu (Yeates lab), Kanishk Jain (S. Clarke lab)
2016-17 – Brendan Amer (Clubb Lab) and Jeff Vinokur (Bowie Lab)
2015-16 – Henry Chan (Feigon lab), Smriti Sangwan (Eisenberg lab), Nicholas Woodall (Bowie lab)
2014-15 – Dan McNamara (Yeates lab)
2013-14 – Alex Jacobitz (Clubb lab), Alexander Patananan (S. Clarke lab), Carly Ferguson (Loo lab)
2012-13 – Letian Xie (C. Clarke lab), Anni Zhao (Eisenberg lab)
2011-12 – Timothy Anderson (Clubb lab), Soohong Kim (Weiss lab)
2010-11 – Zeynep Durer (Reiser lab), Cecilia Zurita-Lopez (S. Clarke lab)
2009-10 – Luki Goldschmidt (Eisenberg lab), Kristofer Webb (S. Clarke lab), Sheng Yin (Loo lab)
2008-09 – Nathan Joh (Bowie lab), Neil King (Yeates lab)

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu. Photos and biographies courtesy of the Molecular Biology Institute.