Whitney Costello wins the FEBS Journal Poster prize at the 2018 EUROMAR meeting in Nantes, France

Whitney Costello was awarded the FEBS Journal poster prize for her contribution to the 2018 EUROMAR meeting entitled “Digging into the core: studies of the yeast prion protein via DNP-NMR”.  The FEBS journal has a long history of supporting early career scientists and is delighted to recognise their important contributions at this meeting.   Congratulations, Whitney!

Kendra Frederick receives 2018 NSF CAREER award

KENDRA FREDERICK, assistant professor of biophysics, recently received a 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. The award recognizes early career faculty who show equal dedication to research and education within their departments and institutions.

Frederick was recognized for her proposal, Structural biology in cellular environments using high sensitivity NMR, which centers on understanding how cellular environments change the shape of proteins that appear to be unstructured when they are studied in isolation.

The NSF CAREER Award grants faculty members like Frederick five years of financial support to promote balanced approaches to STEM education, focusing on both teaching and research.

Ted Nash Long Life Foundation profiled by the Center Times

Ted Nash Long Life Foundation funds Alzheimer’s research.

(from the Center Times, a publication of the The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Campus Edition, August 2017)

Ted Nash, the son of a railroad company man, grew up in his father’s shadow.  Born in 1917, he worked as a caring boy while a teen, shoveling coal to heat President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s private railroad car while traveling across the U.S. during the 1932 presidential election campaign.

Mr. Nash served in the Army during World War II and later worked for Electro-Motive, a division of General Moters.  He set his sights on becoming a millionaire with the intent to eventually donate his money to make the world a better place.  Before Mr. Nash’s death in 2002, he established a philanthropic foundation with a mission to help increase the life expectancy of the average American citizen.

For 15 years, Ted Nash Long Life Foundation has granted more than $5.6 million to various research institutions, including more than $1.7 million to UT Southwestern Medical Center.  The Foundation’s most recent gift for $200,000 supports scientific study in Alzheimer’s disease under the direction of Dr. Kendra Frederick, Assistant Professor of Biophysics who also holds faculty appointments in the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases and in the Cecil H. and Ida Green Comprehensive Center for Molecular, Computational and Systems Biology.

Dr. Frederick is studying atomic structures using a superconducting magnet, a new technology that allows her to see inside live cells and potentially unlock the mysteries of certain diseases.  UT. Southwestern in the fourth university in the nation to acquire this magnet that has transformed the study of atoms and made Dr. Frederick’s work possible.

UTSW Center Times covers Kendra’s Searle Scholar award.


By Deborah Wormser


Dr. Kendra Frederick

Dr. Kendra Frederick, Assistant Professor of Biophysics at UT Southwestern, has been recognized as a 2017 Searle Scholar and awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant to support her research on proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Frederick, who is studying the structure determination of amyloid proteins inside living cells, was one of 15 investigators selected from 196 applications nationwide. The Searle Scholars Program supports high-risk, high-reward scientific research.

“The Searle Scholars Program recognizes some of the most promising young biomedical scientists in the country. I am honored to be one of the researchers selected for such a distinction,” said Dr. Frederick, who has additional appointments in the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases and the Cecil H. and Ida Green Comprehensive Center for Molecular, Computational, and Systems Biology.

Her expertise is in how a new technology for solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy – called dynamic nuclear polarization – can be applied to biological samples for structural studies of proteins in cells. She is first author on an article in Cellthat describes this approach and includes the finding that cellular environments can influence protein structure.

“Kendra is applying cutting-edge NMR technologies, available in only a handful of laboratories worldwide, to a critical problem in biology and human health – how proteins assemble into amyloid fibers,” said Dr. Michael Rosen, Chair of Biophysics, Professor of Biochemistry, and a member of the Green Center. “Her work will help us to better understand normal cell function, and how those processes go awry in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.”

Using NMR spectroscopy, protein chemistry, and yeast genetics, Dr. Frederick aims to determine the structures, dynamics, and energetics of protein folding in complex physiological environments such as those involved in the initiation and progression of human disease.

Dr. Frederick joined UT Southwestern in its Endowed Scholars Class of 2015-2019 following postdoctoral work at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in biochemistry and French language and literature and then earned the equivalent of a master’s degree in protein structure, function, and engineering from the University of Paris-Sud.

The Searle Scholars Program is funded through grants from the family trusts to The Chicago Community Trust and administered by Kinship Foundation, the private operating foundation that manages the institutional philanthropy of the Searle family. Dr. Frederick is the 12th faculty member at UT Southwestern to be honored with this award.

Dr. Frederick is a Lupe Murchison Foundation Scholar in Medical Research.

Dr. Rosen, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, holds the Mar Nell and F. Andrew Bell Distinguished Chair in Biochemistry.

Whitney Costello is awarded an NSF EAPSI Fellowship

Congratulations to Whitney Costello (left), a Molecular Biophysics graduate student in Dr. Kendra Frederick’s lab (right) on being selected by the National Science Foundation and approved by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology to spend seven weeks at Zhejiang University in China on a new collaborative research project as part of the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes, or EAPSI.

Kendra named Searle Scholar

The Searle Scholars program has named fifteen scientists as Searle Scholars for 2017. Each researcher is awarded $300,000 in flexible funding to support his or her work over the next three years.

The Searle Scholars Program makes grants to selected universities and research centers to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry who have recently been appointed as assistant professors on a tenure-track appointment. The Program’s Scientific Director appoints an Advisory Board of eminent scientists who choose the Scholars based on rigorous standards aimed at finding the most creative talent interested in pursuing an academic research career. This year, 196 applications were considered from nominations by 143 universities and research institutions.

“The new class of Searle Scholars is truly outstanding. Our Scientific Advisory Board members remarked that the selection process this year was the most difficult ever because there were so many meritorious applicants,” said Dr. Doug Fambrough, Scientific Director. “The new Scholars are pursuing fundamental research in chemistry and the biomedical sciences—from determining molecular structures to working out the neuronal circuitry underlying various behaviors. All of these Scholars have chosen to take on risky projects that, if successful, will have great impact upon their fields and, in many cases, contribute directly to the betterment of human health.”

Seventy Searle Scholars have been inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. Sixteen Scholars have been recognized with a MacArthur Fellowship, known as the “genius grant.” And a Searle Scholar has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Since 1981, 587 scientists have been named Searle Scholars. Including this year, the Program has awarded more than $129 million.

About the Searle Scholars Program 
The Searle Scholars Program supports high risk, high reward research across a broad range of scientific disciplines. Grants are $300,000 for a three-year term with $100,000 payable each year of the grant. Searle Scholars Program is funded through grants from the family trusts to The Chicago Community Trust and administered by Kinship Foundation, the private operating foundation that manages the institutional philanthropy of the Searle Family. For more information about the Searle Scholars Program visit www.searlescholars.net.


Nash Foundation funds in-cell structural biology project.

The Ted Nash Long Life Foundation has awarded a two-year $200,000 grant to Kendra K. Frederick, Ph.D. for her studies of Alzheimer’s associated tauopathies.  The grant aims to capitalize on new sensitivity-enhancing technology for solid state NMR, dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP), to determine the structure of tau protein aggregates inside of normal and diseased human cells.