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University of Iowa News Release


July 11, 2008

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Shea named interim head of biochemistry at the UI

Madeline Shea, Ph.D., University of Iowa professor of biochemistry, has been named interim head of the Department of Biochemistry in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. The appointment is effective immediately.

Shea succeeds John Donelson, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, who has served as department head since 1998. Donelson will pursue a long-planned sabbatical in molecular parasitology at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He will remain a UI biochemistry faculty member.

"We are delighted that Dr. Shea has agreed to lead the department through this period of transition," said Paul Rothman, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "Madeline is an exceptional scientist and educator and an outstanding administrator who will ably advance departmental excellence and innovation.

"The department's reputation for excellence is a result of the fine leadership provided by John Donelson over his decade-long tenure as department head," Rothman continued. "John has skillfully shaped and guided the department, making it a home for dynamic and successful scientific endeavor."

Shea, who joined the UI Carver College of Medicine in 1989, has served as vice chair of biochemistry since 2004. She is an expert in the energetics and structural biology of protein-ligand interactions essential in calcium-mediated signal transduction. She has been a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator, and she has served her field as the president of the Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics and through memberships on other internal and external committees. She also is a graduate of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Leadership Program.

As a former director of the UI Biochemistry Undergraduate Program, Shea also has a long-standing commitment to mentoring the next generation of scientists. She has trained numerous undergraduate, masters and graduate students in her lab, and mentored postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty as they embark on independent scientific careers. Shea currently teaches first-year medical students in medical biochemistry.

Shea received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a doctoral degree in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University, where she also conducted postdoctoral research.

For more information about Shea's research, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, 319-335-9917