Montana State University

Kopriva MSU Faculty Lectureship Recipients


Ron June, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
Ron June's MSU lab researches osteoarthritis, which is an aging-related disease in which cartilage deteriorates resulting in painful joints and decreased mobility. Our long term goal is to develop novel treatment strategies which utilize protein transduction and build upon developed knowledge involving chondrocyte mechanotransduction. The lab studies cellular mechanotransduction, or how cells respond to mechanical cues, and synovial joint drug delivery, specifically a bioactive intraarticular delivery platform. The lab's long-term goal is to develop novel treatment strategies that use protein transduction and build upon what we know about how cartilage cells respond to mechanical loads caused by forces, such as gravity, and activities, such as walking.


Seth Walk, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Seth Walk's MSU lab studies how disease-causing microbes interact with the human gastrointestinal tract. In 2014, Walk received a $100,000, 18-month Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Walk and two collaborators – Blake Wiedenheft at MSU and Jason Spence at the University of Michigan – will develop a new tool to study gastrointestinal tract dysbiosis more effectively. Dysbiosis refers to an imbalance of microorganisms that causes a variety of health problems, including gastroenteritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Infections caused by certain pathogens and the loss of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to dysbiosis.


Blake Wiedenheft, Department of Immunology & Infectious Diseases
Blake Wiedenheft examines the mechanisms that viruses use to manipulate their hosts and the counter defense systems that microbes employ to defend themselves from infection. The resilience of life in these seemingly inhospitable environments (i.e., +80C and ~pH3) fueled his curiosity to understand the genetic, biochemical and structural basis for life at high temperatures. He continues to focus his work on the mechanisms of resistance, but instead of high temperate his lab aims to understand how bacteria contend with pervasive viral predators. His work focuses primarily on understanding the structural and functional basis of adaptive immunity in bacteria.


Sandra Halonen, Department of Microbiology
Sandra Halonen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Montana State University. She studies the effects of the parasite Toxoplasma Gondii on the human brain.


Tomáš Gedeon, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Professor Gedeon's interests lie in applied dynamical systems, neuroscience, discrete optimization theory and modeling. He actively collaborates with Center for Computational Biology at MSU on neural coding problems and with colleagues in the Computer Science Department on algorithm development.


Bern Kohler, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Bern Kohler is a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Montana State University. He is the recipient of a Kopriva MSU Faculty Lectureship in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Kohler's research focuses on ultrafast laser spectroscopy, DNA photophysics and photochemistry, and solar energy conversion.
Mary Cloninger, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Mary Cloninger is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Montana State University. She is the recipient of a Kopriva MSU Faculty Lectureship in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Cloninger's research program is based on key questions in chemical biology, including the signaling mechanisms used to control cell functions and the processes that mediate the adhesions and metastatic migrations of cancer cells. Her lab's approach is to synthesize synthetic multivalent frameworks for the study cellular recognition events.