Latest News


February 12, 2024 – The Harris lab welcomes Brandon Seltzer as its latest  Pharmacology graduate student! Brandon Seltzer: 02/16/2024 Brandon will be working on adipose tissue biology. He is interested in metabolic adaptations to exercise and fasting in adipocytes.


January 15, 2024 – Nithin Avala, Amelie Gaeta, Pamela Green, and Paria Karimi join the Harris lab as undergraduate research assistants. Welcome to science everyone!


December 20, 2023 –  Right before Christmas the Harris lab gets good news. Congratulations go out to Danny Lank for receiving a two-year Fellowship from the Daniel LankAmerican Heart Association!

24PRE1240394, “Obesity-induced Adipocyte Upregulation of Adora2B Promotes Chronic Lipolysis and Peripheral Insulin Resistance”.

Yay Danny!


November 1 – The Harris lab welcomes John Butler, Biology grad student, for a six-week rotation.

October 26, 2023 –  The department of Pharmacology has its annual retreat at Morven farms. BeautifulMike Lemke at Pharmacology retreat weather and a good time was had by all. The student talks were excellent and Mike Lemke wins an award for best student presentation!

Congratulations Mike, great job!!


October 1, 2023 – Brandon Seltzer rotates in the Harris lab.  Welcome Brandon!


June 27, 2023 – Congratulations to Danny Lank. He was just awarded one of UVA’s prestigious Wagner Fellowships, details here.

March 23, 2023 –  Daniel Lank passes his qualifying exam!  Congrats Danny, now your thesis work can really begin.

February, 2023 – UVA undergrads Julia Totten and Rahul Reddy join the Harris lab as science interns.  Both will be working with Daniel Lank

December 9, 2022 – For the first time in several years the Pharmacology department holds an annual Christmas party. Students and faculty both enjoy themselves. Merry Christmas 2022!


September 23, 2022 – Mike presents a fifteen minute talk at the Mid-Atlantic Diabetes and Obesity Symposium!  Although it was online this year, it was still great to hear Mike have a chance to talk about his work on Mast2. Next is to get his manuscript written up and submitted.

Danny’s abstract was also selected as part of a poster blitz giving him a chance to give a 2 1/2 minute talk.  Both students give great talks.

Mid-Atlantic Diabetes Symposium


September 8-10, 2022 –  Michael Lemke and Danny Lank travel to Durham, NC to attend the Fredrickson Lipid Research Conference (formerly the Southeast Lipid Research Conference) September 8-10th, 2022.  Both presented posters at the conference and enjoyed the talks.

August 12, 2022 – Michael Rader, UVA undergrad, joins the Harris lab to perform research for credit. Welcome Michael!

July 6, 2022 – A big congratulations to Mike Lemke passing his Qualifying Exam!  The title of his project is, “The role of Microtubule Associated Serine/Threonine Kinase 2 (Mast2) in Anabolic Signaling”  Mike is now an ‘official’ PhD candidate.


July 4, 2022 –  The USA is 246 years old today.  And more relevant for our research, Mitch’s paper is accepted in the journal, Molecular Metabolism! Entitled, “Feeding desensitizes A1 adenosine receptors in adipose through FOXO1-mediated transcriptional regulation”, this manuscript (here) contains a large part of Mitch’s thesis work. Congrats Mitch!




May 31, 2022 -The Harris lab welcomes Dana Carreno to the lab!  Dana is a SRIP (Summer Research Internship Program) that will be working with Danny Lank. She will be learning mouse physiology this summer.

And Harris undergrad Sophia Wang returns this summer as a part-time employee in the Harris lab. She will be responsible for the Mast2/drosophila collaboration with the Bland lab (website here).


Welcome undergrads!

May 26, 2022 – Congratulations to Mitch for being awarded the Jill Hungerford prize in Biomedical Sciences!  This award is given for outstanding research to a single UVA BIMS graduate student per year. Mitch was also acknowledged as the outstanding graduate student for Pharmacological Sciences for 2021, winning the Robert Haynes Award.

Yay Mitch!

May 5, 2022 – After a very successful graduate career, Mitch Granade presented  his Dissertation Defense on Thursday, May 05, 2022. The title is, “Adenosine Regulation of Adipose Tissue Lipid Metabolism”.Picture

Congratulations Mitch!

Mitch will be relocating to Cambridge, MA to begin his postoctoral work at Pfizer.

March 28, 2022 – UVA lifts mask requirement for non-clinical areas!

February 14, 2022 – Daniel Lank has joined the Harris lab as a graduate student. He will be in the Pharmacology PhD program.

January 1, 2022 – And to kick the New Year off right, on the first day of the year Mitch Granade has a paper accepted in Biochemical Pharmacology!  The new paper is a collaboration between Mitch from the Harris lab, and Laryssa Manigat from Dr. Purow’s lab.  ‘Identification of ritanserin analogs that display DGK isoform specificity‘ contains the result of a small scale screen that identified several inhibitors that are specific for diacylglycerol kinase (DGK) alpha.

June 9, 2021 – The return of the monthly research in progress series, Metabolic Interest Group!  UVA policy now allows vaccinated individuals to meet in groups. Therefore MIGs is allowed to meet once again.  Mitch Granade from the Harris lab and Clint Upchurch from the Leitinger lab are the first to give an in person presentation in over a year.

April 2, 2021 – The Harris lab welcomes  Michael Lemke. Mike will be pursuing his PhD in Pharmacology.

March 17, 2021 – The one year anniversary of the Covid-19 lockdown!

October, 2020 – Katelyn Ahern successfully defends her thesis, “Adipocyte Lipolysis and Acute Insulin Resistance”.  After 5 1/2 years and many, many accomplishments Katelyn is ready to move on to her next challenge.  She has already accepted an offer at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, IN and will be starting early in the new year.

Congratulations Dr. Ahern!!






October, 2020 – Vidisha Raje and Katharina Bottermann have their manuscripts accepted the same week.  Vidisha’s report on the mechanistic basis for stress-induced insulin resistance appears in the journal Scientific Reports (here).  And Katharina’s work on the contribution of adipocyte lipolysis to cardiac function following a myocardial infarction is in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (here).





Congratulations to Katharina and Vidisha!!



October, 2020 – Former Harris lab undergraduate Danielle Murashige is in the latest Science news.  Danielle performed research in the Harris lab for several years while she was in the Human Biology program at UVA.  Now in the MD/PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania she just published a first-author paper in Science on cardiac substrate preference in the failing human heart. Paper here.  Hooray Danielle!!

June, 2020 –  Congratulations to Katelyn once again!  She just received her notice of award from the NIDDK for  her F31 fellowship.Picture

June, 2020 –  The Harris lab is approved to begin ramping up research in the lab. Graduate students are now allowed back in the lab at this time!  Appropriate precautions for all workers is required.

June, 2020 – The Harris lab welcomes Stefan Hargett to the lab. Stefan is a laboratory specialist with a great deal of experience in all areas of metabolism.

May, 2020 – Zach Palas (Biochemistry), Anna Carey (Biochemistry), and Dana Wang (BME) graduate from UVA. All three have been long term undergraduate researchers in the Harris lab and have done fantastic jobs. All three will pursue post-graduate education with Zach attending dental school at  U Maryland, Anna entering graduate school at U Minn, and Dana going to medical school. Congratulations graduates!

March, 2020 – The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has restricted lab work until further notice. No undergraduate or graduate students are allowed to work ‘on-site’ in the laboratory.

December, 2019 – Mitch Granade is awarded an American Heart Association fellowship for his application entitled “Indirect effects of adenosine on cardiac function via suppression of adipocyte lipolysis”.  Congrats Mitch!  Well deserved for all the effort Mitch put learning how to perform the myocardial infarction model in mice.



November, 2019 – The Harris lab makes a great showing at the Pharmacology annual retreat!  Mitch wins best talk for graduate students and Katelyn is awarded the prestigious Rall award for best paper from a Pharmacology student in the past year, announcement for both students can be found here (see Katelyn’s publication in August, 2019-link below). Congrats to both!!!

Note: the Pharm retreat was Halloween themed for 2019. This accounts for the non-standard dress code for both departmental chair and student!



October, 2019 – Thurl, Katelyn, and Mitch all travel to Dusseldorf, Ger for the fall meeting of the VA-HHU International Research Group Training program (IRTG). Katelyn gives an excellent talk summarizing her work and we all enjoy catching up with our friends and associates in the program including Katharina Botterman, Vici Oenarto, and Lisa Kalfhues. All five are caught in the same photo! (clockwise from bottom left; Lisa, Katelyn, Katharina, Mitch, and Vici (Vici’s back is to the camera)).

In related news, Peyton Randolph, a recent Harris lab undergraduate who is currently in his second year of graduate school, just came out with a second author Nature paper!!  Congrats Peyton, what an accomplishment.

August, 2019 – Katelyn’s paper on LC-MS detection of oxidized fatty acids is accepted to Scientific Reports. Congrats Katelyn! It is now online at Pubmed,”Regioisomer-independent quantification of fatty acid oxidation products by HPLC-ESI-MS/MS analysis of sodium adducts“.

Spring, 2019 – A busy travel time for the Harris lab. Katelyn travels to Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Ger. for a two month stint in Dr Axel Godecke’s lab. Katelyn is participating in the UVA-HHU International Research Group Training program (IRTG). She examines how cardiovascular events such as heart failure and myocardial infarction impact expression of resistin, an adipocyte-derived hormone implicated in insulin resistance.

And Mitch travels to the Pfizer Research Technology Center in Boston, MA for a three month externship. This externship is a component of the Biotechnology Training Program (BTP) and provides students with industry experience. While at Pfizer Mitch is working on antibodies and biologics.

Meanwhile undergraduate researchers Faye Gibink (Anthropology/Biology) and Hannah Chung (Biochemistry) graduate with their BS degrees. Faye plans to attend vet school and is spending the summer at the New Mexico Wildlife Center. Hannah will attend medical school but is taking a gap year to gain clinical experience in northern Virginia. Congratulations graduates!

And the undergraduates remianing in the lab will have a busy summer as well. Dana Wang (BME) will be in Norfolk at the Eastern Virginia Medical School Summer Scholars Program, while Anna Carey (Biochemistry) will be here at UVA working in the Center for Diabetes Technology- a first class program that is committed to the development of the artificial pancreas for T1DM.

Great opportunities for all the students!

February 14, 2019 – Amy Walker, PhD from University of Massachusetts Medical School visits the department to kick off the Spring seminar series.  The Harris lab is happy to host Amy while she is here. Her seminar is about how ” Metabolic Control of Methylation Alters Lipogenesis and Responses to Stress”.


February 4, 2019 – Lisa Kalfhues, a graduate student from Heinrich Heine University (HHU) in Dusseldorf, Ger arrives in the lab as part of an exchange program between HHU and UVA’s Cardiovascular Research Center. Lisa is funded by the International Research Training Group (IRTG1902) and will be working on metabolic regulation and cardiac function. Welcome Lisa!


November 13, 2018 – The Harris lab would like to congratulate Katelyn Ahern for receiving the L. Jackson Roberts II and Jason D. Morrow Award at the 10th annual meeting of the International 4-Hydroxynonenal Club at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. This annual award is for best overall presentation. Congratulations Katelyn!!

November 8, 2018 – Mitch Granade is the student chair organizer for the 2018 BTP Symposium. Focused on CAR-T cell therapy the program, entitled “Herding Cats-Convincing Your Immune Cells to Work for You”, featured speakers from academia, regulatory, Picturebiotech, and pharmaceutical domains.

August 1, 2018 – Congratulations to Faye Giebink, fourth year undergraduate Biology major as being a recipient of the 2018-19 Harrison Undergraduate Research Award for your project, “Exploring the Stability and Degradation of the Lipin-1 Protein”.

July 23, 2018 –  Mitch’s book chapter on lipin enzyme assays comes out in in Methods of Enzymology. The title is, Purification of Lipin and Measurement of Phosphatidic Acid Phosphatase Activity from Liposomes.



July 18, 2018- Catherine Wingrove, an undergraduate from Hope College, MI is in the Harris lab as part of UVA’s Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP).

Here’s a shot of Catherine presenting her research project at a SRIP research symposium in Newcomb Hall.


June 21, 2018 – The first day of summer and good news for Mitch Granade! He passes his oral and written qualifying examination with flying colors and will now advance to candidacy for his PhD. And just before his exam starts, he finds out he was awarded a Robert R. Wagner Fellowship for 2018. Congrats Mitch!

May 19th, 2018 – The Harris lab congratulates UVA Biochemistry, 2018 graduate Peyton Randolph. After several years as an undergraduate researcher Peyton leaves with an authorship on a publication and a well-developed, ongoing project on GGTaseIβ. Peyton is now moving on to graduate school at Harvard, in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Graduate Program. Yay Peyton!

April 12th, 2018 – The Harris lab hosts Dr. James Granneman as this week’s Pharmacology Seminar series speaker, where he gave a great presentation on “A New Locus of Lipolysis Control in Adipose Tissue and Muscle”.

February 2nd, 2018 – Salome Boroda’s recent paper in JBC is highlighted in February’s issue of ASBMB Today. In a short article entitled “Back to the (poly)basics-lipin enzyme phosphoregulation“, Salome describes her findings on how the lipin family of phosphatidic acid phosphatases is regulated. Congratulations Salome!

December 11th, 2017 – The third annual Joseph Larner memorial lecture welcomes Dr. Daniel P. Kelly from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kelly’s presentation was entitled, “Fuel Metabolic Checkpoints as Targets for Cardiometabolic Disease“.

October 26th, 2017 – Thurl and the rest of the Harris lab host Dr. Gary Lopaschuck for the CVRC seminar series. Dr. Lopaschuk is from the University of Alberta and a world expert on cardiac metabolism presents his talk, “Cardiac energy metabolism in the failing heart“.

October 13th, 2017 – Salome comes back to join the Harris lab for one more conference, the Mid-Atlantic Diabetes Symposium. Salome’s paper is picked from the abstracts for a short talk, and she rose to the occasion. Vidisha, Katelyn and Mitch all present posters. A long day but a very nice meeting.

October 5th, 2017 – Salome’s paper on the polybasic domain of the lipin family is in press at JBC-The Phosphatidic Acid-Binding, Polybasic Domain is responsible for the differences in the phosphoregulation of Lipins 1 and 3. 

August 8th, 2017 – The Harris lab welcomes Dr. Sheila Collins from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in  Orlando, Florida. Dr. Collins gave an outstanding talk entitled, “Signaling Mechanisms Old and New in Adipocyte Metabolism and Energy Expenditure“.



July 16th, 2017- Vidi and Vici visit Snowmass, CO to attend the 2017 FASEB Glucose Transport meeting. The time at the meeting was informative and pleasant, their trip home not so much.

<====   Front row of course!


June 13th, 2017- Katelyn rocks her oral exam to advance to candidacy scoring a high pass!  Congratulations to Katelyn for now officially being able to work towards her PhD…

June 2nd, 2017- Congratulations to Katelyn Ahern!  On her first fellowship attempt she is awarded an American PictureHeart Association fellowship.  She received an amazing score of 0.25% and was lauded by reviewers.

April 19th, 2017- Salome Boroda successfully completes her thesis defense.

Congratulations Dr. Boroda!

April 15Picture, 2017– Nikki Aaron presents at her senior thesis defense on “Exploring the stability and degradation of lipin-1  protein and its role in lipid metabolism”.

Also, congratulations are in order for currently graduating and past undergrad researchers from the Harris lab. Current students Nikki Aaron and Debbie Ledezma will be entering graduate students at Columbia University and George Washington University, respectively. And former undergrad researcher and research technician Rebecca Grande is in the entering PhD class for Immunology at New York University!  Congrats to all three for their success and wishing them the best in their scientific careers.


April 3rd, 2017- We welcome Vici Oenarto to the Harris lab. Vici is a visiting graduate student from Germany and is participating in the IRTG jointly held between UVA’s CVRC and the University of Dusseldorf.

February 16th, 2017- Mitch Granade joins the Harris lab to pursue his PhD.

October 18th, 2016 – Salome’s paper describing the pharmacology of DGK inhibitors is accepted by Biochemical Pharmacology. Dual activities of ritanserin and R59022 as DGKα inhibitors and serotonin receptor antagonists.

October 12th, 2016 – The annual Pharmacology retreat at Morven Farms. A wonderful time was had by all, see department web page for more details. Most importantly, congratulations to Vidisha Raje for winning best talk by postdoctoral fellow!

October 6th, 2016 – The second annual Joseph Larner memorial lecture occurs. Dr. Alan Cherrington from Vanderbilt gave an outstanding talk on the “Control of Glucose Uptake and Storage in the Postprandial State”.

October 3rd, 2016 – The Harris lab welcomes Katharina Bottermann!!  Katharina is a visiting scientist from Heinrich Heine University and will be in the lab for about a year.  She is interested in cardiac lipid metabolism during heart failure.

September 16th, 2016 – Vidisha returns from attending  the NIH-sponsored course on “Glucose clamping in the conscious mouse” at Vanderbilt’s Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center (here). Her first two mice were successful (to the right)! She is graClamp_10-16-16teful to David Wasserman and Owen McGuiness for their help and training in this class.

July 25th, 2016 – Katelyn Ahern returns from attending the NIH’s 4th Annual Workshop on Metabolomics at the University of Alabama. Katelyn won a travel award to attend this event. Details about the workshop here.  Group picture of the participants is here (Katelyn is second row back from the front, third from left).

Garrett on tv_05-26-16 copyMay 26th, 2016 – Garrett Mullins, recent graduate from the Harris lab,  returns to NBC29 news when he takes a cell phone for a wild ride. This work is described online in Clinical Chemistry.

Full story found here.

February 15th, 2016 – Katelyn Ahern joins the lab as a first year Pharmacology graduate student. Welcome to the lab Katelyn!

November 20th, 2015 – The first annual Joseph Larner memorial lecture occurs. Drs David Brautigan and Morris Birnbaum speak at this inaugural event.

October 28th, 2015 – The Harris lab (and the world!) welcomes Meera, Vidisha and Ninad’s new baby girl!

October 8th, 2015 – The Pharmacology Retreat for 2015 takes place at Morven Farms. Pictures available here;  Not surprisingly, even though he has finished the program Garrett Mullins is awarded the Ted Rall award for best paper in 2014. Full story.

September 25th, 2015 – Vidisha, Maria and Salome travel to Bethesda, MD to attend the Mid-Atlantic Diabetes Research Symposium. Maria and Salome present posters while Vidisha’s abstract was selected for a short talk.

August 25th, 2015 – The Harris lab welcomes Tasha Sharma and Debbie Ledezma back to the lab for undergraduate research. Tasha and Debbie worked all summer learning the basics of cell culture and Western blotting. In addition, Nikki Aaron joins the lab for undergraduate research. These three join Jonathan, Peyton and Alexander as undergraduate researchers in the Harris lab. Welcome all undergrads!

August 11th, 2015 – Thurl is appointed Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for Pharmacological Sciences. Full story here.

June 7th, 2015 – Salome wins a prestigious Robert R. Wagner Fellowship for 2015. This fellowship provides a full year’s stipend, tuition & fees.

May 27th, 2015 – The Harris lab’s big German adventure! Vidisha, Maria and Thurl go to Dusseldorf, Germany to participate in the ‘International Research Training  Group’ symposium to highlight collaborations between laboratories at Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf and the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Virginia. Much fun was had by all.

April 10th, 2015 – Garrett successfully defends his doctoral thesis Garrett graduation_2015

and becomes Dr. Mullins! At the same time, Garrett was selected as the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center Graduate student of the year for 2014.  Full story is here.

This is yet another award for Garrett in an amazing career as a graduate student. And he graduates in only four years! We’ll miss you Garrett.

March 30th, 2015 – Maria Andrian-Albescu, an MD-PhD student, joins the Harris lab.

March 26th, 2015 – The Harris lab hosts guest speaker Dr. Judit Villen from the University of Washington. Dr. Villen spoke at the Pharmacology seminar series on “Systematic Interrogation of Signaling Networks Using Mass Spectrometry”. Dr. Villen her graduate student Robert Lawrence were co-authors on graduate student James Eaton’s JBC paper on the characterization of lipin 2, published in 2014. Dr. Villen and Rob and are now collaborating with graduate student Salome Boroda on a new lipin study expected to appear in the summer of 2015.

March 12th, 2015 – Vidisha receives the ‘New Horizons Travel Grant’ from University of Virginia to travel to a conference to add experience and contacts necessary for expanding opportunities in research or scholarship to new areas.

February 27th, 2015 – Local news channel NBC29 runs a segment on Garrett’s PNAS paper. Another story runs in UVA Today.

February 25th, 2015 – Sankeerth is accepted to Saint George’s University School of Medicine!

December 19th, 2014 – Garrett Mullins accepted a Clinical Chemistry Fellowship position in the University of Virginia Department of Pathology. During this fellowship, he will be in training to direct a clinical chemistry (diagnostics) laboratory at a research hospital. His fellowship begins in July 2015.

November 4th, 2014 – Welcome Mr. Mason Riley Mullins! Garrett and Katie’s second child is a boy. This has been a busy week for Garrett and his family!

November 3rd, 2014 – Garrett’s paper detailing the effects of catecholamines on insulin signaling is accepted in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Catecholamine-induced lipolysis causes mTOR complex dissociation and inhibits glucose uptake in adipocytes. Mullins GR, Wang L, Raje V, Sherwood SG, Grande RC, Boroda S, Eaton JM, Blancquaert S, Roger PP, Leitinger N, Harris TE. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Nov 24.

October 9th, 2014 – The Harris lab is proud to host Dr Dan Raben from Johns Hopkins University. Dan will present on “Regulation and Neuronal role of DGKtheta”.

September 24th, 2014 – The Harris lab hosts a group of interested individuals at Mini Med School this evening. Sankeerth and Salome help out to show what kind of experiments they do in the lab. Because of our research interests we will focus on obesity and diabetes.

July 29th, 2014 – Garrett’s poster was selected for first place at the AACC.

July 25th, 2014 – Garrett travels to the American Association of Clinical Chemists summer meeting in Chicago, IL. He received a travel award from the AACC to help defray his expenses and his abstract was selected for publication in the AACC journal. Garrett will be presenting a poster on his work.

July 14th, 2014 – The Harris lab welcomes Dr. Vidisha Raje. Vidisha recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University under the guidance of Dr. Andrew Larner. Vidisha comes to the lab as a postdoctoral fellow to study how counter-regulatory hormones impact insulin signaling in adipocytes.

July 14th, 2014 – James Eaton successfully defends his thesis proposal. Congratulations to Dr. Eaton, the first Ph.D. student to graduate from the Harris lab! James finishes with two first author papers and multiple contributing author papers. James has accepted a scholarship to study law at the University of Richmond and plans to specialize in technology transfer.

James Graduation

July 7th, 2014 – Tiffany Wang, an entering graduate student in the Cancer/Cell/Pathology track, begins her summer rotation in the Harris lab.

June 20th, 2014 – Kelley passes her qualifying exam!

June 11th, 2014 – Salome passes her qualifying exam!

June 9th, 2014 – Jennifer Pearson, an entering graduate student in the Biochemistry track, begins her summer rotation in the Harris lab.

June 2nd, 2014 – Maria Andrian-Albescu, a second year MSTP student, begins a month-long rotation in the lab.

May 27th, 2014 – Christopher Santos begins his second Summer Research Internship Program rotation. Chris spent the summer of 2013 in the lab working on lipin phosphorylation by a novel kinase and enjoyed the project so much he has come back for the summer of 2014.

May 8th, 2014 – James’ paper characterizing the phosphatidic acid phosphatase lipin 2 is accepted for publication in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Lipin 2 binds phosphatidic acid by the electrostatic hydrogen bond switch mechanism independent of phosphorylation. Eaton JM, Takkellapati S, Lawrence RT, McQueeney KE, Boroda S, Mullins GR, Sherwood SG, Finck BN, Villén J, Harris TE. J Biol Chem. 2014 Jun 27;289(26):18055-66. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.547604. Epub 2014 May 8