Protein-nucleic acid interactions, including kinetics and mechanism of transcription initiation, characterization of DNA wrapping in protein DNA complexes, development of small molecule solutes as thermodynamic and mechanistic probes of protein and DNA conformational change

Record lab group photo

Latest news from the lab


  • May 2023 – Congratulations to our spring undergraduate graduates – Alexa Berens and Stephanie Ruzicka!


  • April, 2022 – Renxi Li was awarded the Wisconsin ACS Local Section Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Chemistry.
  • April, 2022 – Siwei Qian has received the Mary Shine Peterson Undergraduate Award from Biochemistry and Martha Gunhild Week Scholarship from Chemistry.
  • April, 2022 – Will Langholz has received an undergraduate research award from the Biochemistry Department, and was awarded a Hilldale Fellowship. Will is also presenting at the Undergraduate Symposium on Friday, April 29th, as part of the Hilldale award.


  • May 20, 2021 – Dylan Plaskon has been awarded the Denton Award for Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring.
  • April 14, 2021 – Armor Rupanya is presenting a poster about his research at the Chemistry Undergraduate Research Symposium running tomorrow through Friday.
  • April 6, 2021 – Taka Ishikuri will be giving a talk about his research at the Undergraduate Symposium later this week.
  • April 1, 2021 – Armor Rupanya has received the 2021 National ACS Undergraduate Award in Physical Chemistry.  Jiayin Tang and Taka Ishikuri have each been awarded a 2021 National ACS Undergraduate Award in Chemical Biology.  Hearty congratulations to them all for their hard work and commitment to research.


  • September 30, 2020 – This weekend is the Gibbs Conference, which is being held virtually this year, and we have two lab members participating.  Dylan Plaskon will be giving a talk about his research, and Tristan Gunther will be presenting a poster about her research.
  • September 15, 2020 – We would like to congratulate our hard-working students who have recently completed their education with us.  Claire Evensen will soon begin her Marshall fellowship year at Oxford before grad school at UC Berkeley, Malavika Abhineshababu Sridevi has begun her new job at Biocon Biologics in India, and Sarah Doughty is studying dentistry at Marquette.  Thank you all very much for your significant research contributions, and we wish you all the best in your new endeavors!
  • June 16, 2020 – Jiayin Tang has also been awarded a Mary Shine Peterson Undergraduate Award.  Dylan Plaskon has been awarded a Department of Biochemistry Graduate Fellowship.
  • May 19, 2020 – Armor Rupanya and Taka Ishikuri have been awarded Mary Shine Peterson Undergraduate Award Scholarships.  Taka has also recieved a Hilldale Fellowship.  Will Langholz has received a Biochemistry Research Award.
  • March 11, 2020 – Claire Evensen will present her research at the 17th Annual Research in the Rotunda event at the Wisconsin State Capitol.
  • February 28, 2020 – Dylan Plaskon will be talking about his research on E. coli transcription initiation at 12:00 pm in the Khorana Auditorium.
  • January 14, 2020 – Claire Evensen adds Prestigious Marshall Scholarship to String of Academic Honors.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

2019 News

  • August 16, 2019 – Munish Chhabra has his thesis defense today at 1:00 pm in room 1211 of the Biochemical Sciences Building.
  • May 6, 2019 – Keer Zhao and Claire Evensen have each been awarded Letters and Sciences Honors Program Senior Thesis Awards.
  • April 29, 2019 – Claire Evensen has been awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • April 22, 2019 – We are pleased to announce that several undergraduates in our lab have been awarded scholarships.  Claire Evensen was awarded the Hilldale and Mary Shine Peterson awards, Artun Kadaster was awarded the Mary Shine Peterson Award and the Study Abroad Scholars Award.  He will be researching X-chromosome inactivation in the Brockdorff Lab at Oxford University through UW-SCORE this summer.  Stephen Halada was awarded the James J. Leddy and Richard Fischer Chemistry Department Scholarships, and has also accepted an internship for the Pediatric Oncology Education Research Program at St. Jude Hospital this summer.  Sarah Doughty has been awarded the Mary Shine Peterson Undergraduate Award, Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Martha Gunhild Week Scholarship, Richard J. Boomer Scholarship, and the Henry and Eleanor Firminhac Chemistry Scholarship.  Keer Zhao received a 2019 College of Letters and Science General Continuing Students Scholarship last semester, and the Eugene and Patricia Kreger Herscher Scholarship, Henry and Eleanor Firminhac Chemistry Scholarship, Margaret McLean Bender Scholarship and Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowships this semester.
  • April 10, 2019 – We have a few people from our lab presenting at the Undergrad Symposium this Friday at Union South.  Claire Evensen is giving a talk at about 9:45 AM, Jack Prazich has a poster at 10:30-11:45, and Stephen Halada, Artun Kadaster, and Gary Guanyu Liao have posters after that (12-1:15).
  • January 25, 2019 – Kate Henderson has received the 2019 Paul Boyer Award for Postdoctoral Excellence in Biochemistry.  She will give a lecture today at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25 in Room 1211 of the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Building.  Link

2018 News

  • December, 2018 – Congratulations to Rezwana Karim for completing her undergraduate studies.  She will continue research as an intern in our lab while applying to graduate schools.
  • October 2, 2018 – The Gibbs Conference on Biothermodynamics will be this weekend, October 6-9, 2018  in Carbondale, Illinois.  Dylan Plaskon will present a poster and a flash talk, and Kate Henderson will present a poster.
  • September 27, 2018 – This coming Friday, Munish Chhabra and Hao-Che Wang are presenting posters of their research at the Biophysics Colloquium 2:45 pm to 4:30 pm in Union South.  Also this Friday, Sarah Dyke and Guanyu “Gary” Liao are giving short talks about their summer research projects overseas through the SCORE SUPER-G program in the Khorana Auditorium at 3:00 pm.  SCORE SUPER-G symposium
  • June 14, 2018 – Kate Henderson has been awarded the Sigrid Leirmo Memorial Award in Biochemistry.  Also we welcome local high school student Jeremiah Williams to our lab for summer research credit.
  • May 31, 2018 – We welcome Khorana scholar Srijoni Majhi to our lab for a summer research internship.
  • May 3, 2018 – Four of our undergrads (Kate McClure, Felix Yang, Loran Cipala, and Sumin Yang) are presenting posters of their research for Bio 152 today at Union South from 5 to 7 pm.
  • May 2, 2018 – Three of our undergrads are graduating this semester.  Lulu Callies will be going into a post-baccalaureate internship at the National Institutes of Health.  Christina McNerney will be attending Johns Hopkins University PhD program in the Cellular, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics program.  Nick Visser will take a gap year to work as an assistant scientist at PPD, a contract research organization in Middleton, WI while applying to medical schools.
  • April 30, 2018 – Rezwana Karim was presented with an award for her outstanding poster at the Chemistry Undergraduate Poster Symposium last Friday.
  • April 27, 2018 – Claire Evensen and Rezwana Karim will be presenting posters this afternoon from 5 pm to 7 pm at the undergraduate poster session in Shain atrium.  Rezwana had also presented at the ASBMB recently in San Diego.  Claire has also been awarded a Welton Sophomore Honors Summer Apprenticeship.
  • April 18, 2018 – Biochemistry has published our paper entitled “Quantifying Interactions of Nucleobase Atoms with Model Compounds for the Peptide Backbone and Glutamine and Asparagine Side Chains in Water”.  Authors are Xian Cheng, Irina A. Shkel, Cristen Molzahn, David Lambert, Rezwana Karim, and M. Thomas Record, Jr. doi:  10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00087
  • April 17, 2018 – We would like to congratulate several of our undergrads who have been awarded scholarships for the summer or fall semesters.  Sumin Yang has been awarded a Department of Chemistry Eugene and Patricia Kreger Herscher Scholarship.  Stephen Halada has been awarded a Welton Sophomore Honors Summer Apprenticeship.  Artun Kadaster will receive a Biochemistry Undergraduate Summer Research Scholarship.  Sarah Dyke has won a Mary Shine Peterson Undergraduate Research Award, the Hilldale Undergraduate Research Award, the Study Abroad Scholars Scholarship, the Katie Narem Memorial Award (from the French Department), and a Phi Kappa Phi Summer Internship Award.  Claire Evensen will receive a Biochemistry Undergraduate Summer Research scholarship and the Ackerman and Martha Gunhild Week scholarship from the Chemistry Department.  Guanyu “Gary” Liao has been awarded a Mary Shine Peterson Undergraduate Award.
  • April 12, 2018 – Christina McNerney and Katelyn “Lulu” Callies will be presenting their research posters tomorrow at the Undergraduate Symposium at Union South.  Lulu presents at 11:00 am – 12:15 pm, and Christina presents at 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm.  Also both will be presenting at the ASBMB/Experimental Biology Annual Meeting next week in San Diego, CA.
  • March 15, 2018 – Graduate alumnus Rituparna Sengupta has been offered the job position of Senior Application Development Biophysicist in the Separation and Purification Sciences Division (SPSD) at the 3M Company.
  • February 16, 2018 – Hao-Che Wang will present a poster today for the Chemistry Department grad student recruiting weekend.  The poster session takes place at Union South Varsity Hall from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
  • February 15, 2018 – Kate Henderson, Xian Cheng, Munish Chhabra, and Kevin Lauterjung will present posters of their research at the Biophysical Society annual meeting in San Francisco February 17-21.
  • January 26, 2018 – Dylan Plaskon and Emily Zytkiewicz will be presenting posters at the IPiB poster session today from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the atrium of the Biochemistry Laboratories.

2017 News

  • September 25, 2017 – Lulu Callies, who was in the SUPER-G Program this past summer at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory-Heidelberg, will give a short talk about her research experience there this Thursday, September 28, in a session that begins at 6 pm, in Room 175 of the Deluca Biochemistry Research Labs.
  • September 21, 2017 – Xian Cheng will give a talk in the Biophysics Colloquium on Sep 29th at 11:40 am -12:00 pm in Union South.  Kate Henderson presented a poster on transcription initiation at the Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages meeting (here in Madison) in August.  Munish Chhabra and Kevin Lauterjung will be presenting posters at this weekend’s Gibbs Conference in Carbondale, IL.  Kate Henderson will be giving an oral presentation on the mechanism of transcription initiation at the lambda Pr promoter also at the Gibbs Meeting in Biothermodynamics.
  • August 8, 2017 – Xian Cheng’s Final thesis defense is today!  Her thesis is titled “Atom-by-Atom Analysis of Amide Interactions with Amides, Nucleobases and Hofmeister salts in Water”.  For more information click Xian Cheng Thesis Review
  • July 7, 2017 – The Journal of the American Chemical Society has accepted our manuscript for publication entitled, “Experimental Atom-by-Atom dissection of Amide-Amide and Amide-Hydrocarbon Interactions in H2O.”  Authors are Xian Cheng, Irina A. Shkel, Kevin O’Connor, John Henrich, Cristen Molzahn, David Lambert, and M. Thomas Record, Jr.  doi:  10.1021/jacs.7b03261
  • July 6, 2017 – We have welcomed three students for special summer research.  Rahul Vivek through the Khorana Program, Xuan Zhao from the University of Science and Technology of China, and local high school student Austin Frings.
  • May 12, 2017 – Two of our graduating seniors will be heading off to medical school in the fall.  David Lambertwill be going to the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Andrew Kilger will be going to the University of Minnesota Medical School.
  • April 21, 2017 – Poster making party all day in lab!  Join us at the March for Science tomorrow!  March for Science, Madison
  • April 18, 2017 – Xian Cheng is presenting a poster of her amide research today at the GSFLC (Graduate Student – Faculty Liaison Comittee) Spring Poster Session held in Union South from 4:00 – 6:00 pm.  Co-authors are Cristen Molzahn, David Lambert, and Irina Shkel. This weekend, Runyu Hong will be presenting a poster at the ASBMB (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) annual meeting in Chicago.
  • April 7, 2017 – Check out the upcoming Undergrad Symposium on April 13th.  Lab members Clare Kai Cimperman, Runyu Hong, and Taylor Bye will be presenting posters of their research, and Emilio Jacobo will be giving a talk about his research.  Emilio is scheduled to present in Session 2 at 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in room Northwoods A.
  • April 6, 2017 – Congratulations are in order for several of our lab members who have been accepted into graduate school programs for this coming fall!  Sherry Cheng will be going to the Caltech Chemistry Department to study the physical chemistry track.  Lindsey Felth will be going to UC-Davis for the Pharmacology and Toxicology Ph.D. program.  Cristen Molzahn will be going to the University of British Columbia-Vancouver Biochemistry Department.  Yao Yao will be going to Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science Department.  Runyu Hong has decided on New York University School of Medicine’s Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences for the System & Computational Biomedicine track.
  • April 3, 2017 – Congratulations to several of our undergrads who have been awarded scholarships for the upcoming summer or fall semesters!  Claire Evensen has won the Henry and Eleanor Firminhac Chemistry Scholarship.  Sarah Dyke and Gary Guanyu Liao are both receiving Biochemistry Department scholarships for summer research.  Christina McNerney received the Mary Shine Peterson Undergraduate Award from the Biochemistry Department for undergrad research.  Christina has also accepted an internship offer for this summer at the University of Nebraska in a program called “UNL Redox Biology Summer REU” and will be studying copper metabolism.  Lulu Callies will be studying abroad with the UW-Madison SUPER-G program.  She will be doing research at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in a developmental biology lab looking at the timing of mammalian embryogenesis.  Clare Kai Cimperman will be graduating this semester and has accepted a National Institutes of Health post-baccalaureate internship position in Maryland.
  • March 30, 2017 – We are pleased to announce that our manuscript, “Mechanism of transcription initiation and promoter escape by E. coli RNA polymerase”, has been accepted for publication by PNAS.  Authors are Kate L. Henderson, Lindsey C. Felth, Cristen M. Molzahn, Irina Shkel, Si Wang, Munish Chhabra, Emily F. Ruff, Lauren Bieter, Joseph E. Kraft, and M. Thomas Record, Jr.  doi: 10.1073/pnas.1618675114
  • March 28, 2017 – Recent graduate Can Abby Xu accepted a Validation Engineer position from Medline Industries at their Shanghai office.  Congratulations, Abby!