BME Seminar: Tamara Kinzer-Ursem (Purdue University)

March 29, 2018
10:10 am - 11:10 am
Whitaker Hall 218 (Danforth Campus)

“March Madness: Proteins Compete for Calcium Signaling Championship Title”

Abstract: This talk will describe our multidisciplinary approach to describing the fascinating world of sports protein networks. We are using computational methods to quantitatively characterize the most important spatial and temporal parameters in calcium-dependent signaling. Applied specifically to investigate the molecular basis for learning and memory, our recent work has focused on how competition for a limited resource (such as an upstream regulator like Ca2+/calmodulin), can tune the activation of downstream proteins to respond to varying input frequencies. Experimentally, we are developing new platforms to measure protein-protein interaction dynamics and enzymatic activity, and to image protein complexes. We are using chemical biology techniques to study protein post-translational modifications that affect protein localization in vivo. Ultimately, these techniques will be combined to describe the molecular mechanisms that underlie learning and memory function in normal and disease states 

About Dr. Kinzer-Ursem:  Tamara Kinzer-Ursem is an Assistant Professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. She received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Toledo, her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and her post-doctoral training in Molecular Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Purdue she was the Head of R&D in Biochemistry at Maven Biotechnologies and Visiting Associate in Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Kinzer-Ursem has been honored to receive numerous awards for teaching, mentoring, and research including the Willis A. Tacker Award for Outstanding Teaching from Purdue University (2014), Outstanding Engineering Graduate Student Mentor Award (2017), Mandela Fellows Global Innovation Challenge Award (2017), and the NSF CAREER Award (2018). Research in the Kinzer-Ursem lab focuses on developing tools to advance quantitative descriptions of cellular processes and disease within three areas of expertise: 1) Using particle diffusivity measurements to quantify biomolecular processes. Particle diffusometry is being used as a sensitive biosensor to detect viscosity changes in protein-based solutions and to detect the presence of pathogens in environmental and patient samples. 2) Development of novel protein tagging technologies that are used to label proteins in vivo to enable quantitative description of protein function and elucidate disease mechanisms. 3) Computational modeling of signal transduction mechanisms to understand cellular processes. Using computational techniques, we have recently described “competitive tuning” as a mechanism that might be used to regulate information transfer through protein networks, with implications in cell behavior and drug target analysis.

Biomedical Engineering (BME) seminars

For inquiries contact Jamie Skubal


Please know that there have been changes to parking on the Danforth Campus due to the east end construction.

Metrolink or biking to the Danforth campus are the easiest options.

If you choose to drive, the closest parking is in Millbrook garage off of Forest Park Parkway and Throop Drive.  It will take approx. 15 minutes to walk to our building.