Kolbrun Kristjansdottir, IVACS Co-Chair Membership

KristjansdottirI am a protein biochemist by training and completed my B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Iceland. I then crossed the Atlantic and obtained my Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Duke University. I completed my postdoctoral training at The University of Chicago. In 2012, I was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Sciences Department at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL. At Midwestern University, I teach graduate courses for students in the Master of Biomedical Sciences Program, Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences Program, Chicago College of Pharmacy, and students in some of our other healthcare-related programs.

My training has equipped me with a solid foundation of protein biochemistry, from kinetic assays of purified enzymes to global phosphoproteomic profiling of complex samples. My current research program is centered on proteins that contribute to the progression of cancer and the lab is currently focused on neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer. We are currently studying the role of the protein NPM1 in neuroblastoma using a variety of techniques including overexpression, siRNA, inhibitors, or mutagenesis. I have also been involved in several collaborative projects including using mass spectrometry to explore changes in the interactome of Hsp70.

I have >10 years of experience using Mass Spectrometry for the identification of proteins and protein modifications. I am also a member and secretary of the Chicago Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group (CMSDG). For the past 7 years I have been an instructor of a Proteomic Workshop at The University of Illinois at Chicago. This week-long hands-on Workshop has attracted participants from the entire Midwest region, from academia and industry.

My first introduction to the Society for In Vitro Biology was at the 2013 meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. As a newly hired Assistant Professor I was invited to co-convene a symposium on “Multidisciplinary Approaches to Answering Biological Questions”. At that same meeting I was also invited to participate in educational symposiums for students on networking and remaining current in their field. For the last two years I have co-moderated the IVACS Student and Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Competition. I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing the exciting research results from SIVB student members and look forward to hearing more at the upcoming meeting.

At the 2014 meeting, in Savannah, Georgia, I convened a plenary session titled “The Omics Generation – Advances in Metabolomics, Proteomics and Genomics”. That year I was also a co-convener for the “MicroRNA and Cancer” session. This year I am convening a session titled “Chemical modifications of genes and proteins”. In addition to the exciting speakers I have lined up, I am really looking forward to presenting work from my own laboratory in this session.

I have served as the IVACS Junior Co-Chair for Membership and was recently elected as the Co-Chair of Membership. The emphasis on students is one of my favorite things about SIVB and why, every year, I encourage my students and my colleagues’ students to attend the SIVB meeting, present their work and become active members in the society. My hope is that these students, and other new members, become life-long members of the society and contribute to the vibrant and inspirational atmosphere at the SIVB meetings.

Submitted by Kolla Kristjansdottir, Ph.D.


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