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Lab Highlights

The Elisar Barbar Lab: Fall 2018-Fall 2019 highlights

Dear Barbar Lab Alumni and Friends,

As we say goodbye to 2019 and on the dawn of a new decade, I am happy to report that the status of the lab is strong. We are an active, engaging, and fun lab on all teaching, research and outreach fronts. I am very grateful for the undergraduate and graduate students, who contributed to a very eventful 2019. I am also grateful for the many undergrads, grads, postdocs and technicians who I worked with over the past two decades, and who helped establish and elevate the lab’s reputation to the level that we now enjoy. I would hope to use this newsletter to stay in touch, and to hear from as many alumni and friends who would like to stay in touch.

Best wishes for 2020 and for a new decade of working together, taking risks, and persisting in doing what we believe is worthwhile and that positively impact the world we live in.

Happy New Year!

Elisar Barbar

Elisar Barbar was selected as the new head of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics effective January 1, 2020!

Invited seminars:

Protein disorder and versatility in dynein regulation, transcription activation and viral replication, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, April 2019.
Protein disorder in regulation and assembly of large molecular machines, Lebanese American University, Byblos, Lebanon, July 11th, 2019.
Protein disorder in the rabies virus, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon, July 23rd, 2019.

Invited talks at two national meetings:

Albany 2019: The 20th Conversation, June 11-15, 2019, at the State University of New York at Albany.
Chemical Biology and Physiology Conference, Dec 12-15, 2019, at Oregon Health & Science University

Graduate Students

Photo of Barbar Lab Group

Nathan Jespersen became DOCTOR Nathan Jespersen!

Photo of Elisar Barbar and Kayla Jara

Kayla Jara passed her Preliminary Oral Exams

Aidan Estelle passed his Preliminary Oral Exams

Jesse Howe officially joined our lab Spring 2019

Lena Ferguson and Brittany Lasher rotated with us Fall 2019

Kayla was awarded and secured funding for the OMSI Science Communication Fellowship

Heather secured a research and development internship at HP

Kayla (president), Heather (vice president), Aidan (3rd year rep), and Jesse (social chair) were elected to the Biochemistry and Biophysics Graduate Student Association

Heather and Aidan received the Finn Wold Travel Award to attend and present research at the protein society 33rd Annual Symposium

Photo of Heather standing in front of science poster.

Heather won a travel award from the Biochemistry and Biophysics Graduate Student Association

Photo of man pointing at art showing thumbs up sign.

Heather won the Kevin’s Choice Award in the 2019 NMR is Good art contest at the 2019 Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference

Image of Heather Forsythe artwork.

Undergraduate Students

Photo of Elisar Barbar and Sanjana Saravanan

Sanjana Saravanan graduated and completed an Honors Thesis and started an internship post graduation in California

Photo of Sanjana Saravanan

Delaney Smith joined the lab

Delaney Smith won the Fulbright

Photo of Delaney Smith

Delaney Smith had an NSF graduate Fellowship funded

Hanh, Sapphire, Cat, Brianna, and Joaquin joined the lab

Seth Pinckney was awarded CURE

Cat Hoang was awarded URSA

Cat Hoang was awarded SURE

Photo of Cat Hoang

Cat Hoang was awarded the Mark H. Middlekauf scholarship

Joaquin got the Outstanding Biochemist award from the department

Photo of Joaquin

Joaquin got the JP travel award to the ASBMB meeting (in 2020)

Photo of Barbar Lab Group

We all went to Protein Society!

Photo of photos.
Photo of group at Protein Society

Kayla, Heather, Aidan, Nathan had posters

Photo of Kayla and Cat

CGRB Fall Conference - OSU

Photo of presenter

Kayla and Heather gave lightning talks

Photo of presenter

Undergraduates, Cat and Seth each presented a poster

We have two undergraduates (Cat Phuong and Seth Pinckney) present at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium!

Photo of Cat
Photo of Seth Pinckney

Diversity in STEMposium - UO

Photo of Kayla and Heather

Kayla and Heather had posters

Science Talk 2019 - Portland

Photo of Heather

Heather and Kayla Attended; Heather presented a poster

2019 Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference in Pacific Grove, CA

Photo of Heather

Heather presented a poster

CGRB Spring Conference 2019

Heather presented a poster


Systematic identification of recognition motifs for the hub protein LC8

Nathan Jespersen, Aidan Estelle, Nathan Waugh, Norman E Davey, Cecilia Blikstad, York-Christoph Ammon, Anna Akhmanova, Ylva Ivarsson, David A Hendrix, Elisar Barbar. Life Science Alliance Jul 2019, 2 (4) e201900366; DOI: 10.26508/lsa.201900366

Computer illustration of proteins.

Altered Protein Dynamics and Increased Aggregation of Human γS-Crystallin Due to Cataract-Associated Deamidations

Heather M. Forsythe, Calvin J. Vetter, Kayla Ann Jara, Patrick N. Reardon, Larry L. David, Elisar J. Barbar, and Kirsten J. Lampi. Biochemistry 2019 58 (40), 4112-4124. DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.9b00593

Illustration of proteins.

The LC8-RavP ensemble Structure Evinces A Role for LC8 in Regulating Lyssavirus Polymerase Functionality

Nathan E. Jespersen, Cedric Leyrat, Francine C. Gérard, Jean-Marie Bourhis, Danielle Blondel, Marc Jamin, Elisar Barbar, Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 431, Issue 24, 2019, Pages 4959-4977, ISSN 0022-2836,

Outreach and in the news

Photo of Barbar Lab Group

All Barbar lab graduate students volunteered for the Biochemistry and Biophysics Summer Camp

Photo of Nathan Jespersen

Nathan Jespersen gave a public talk, The Macvicar Scholar Award Lecture


Justin Hall visited to give a talk as OSU BB’s Young Alumni Award Winner!…