Dr. Peter Kuhlman
|Title:||Associate Professor |
B.A. from St. Olaf College, 1986
Ph.D. from University of California, San Diego, 1993
Field of Interest:
I think of myself as something of an intellectual vampire -- I feed off of the different aspects of my job. My research feeds my intellectual curiosity and helps keep my scientific knowledge current and well grounded in experience. Teaching is my passion, a real source of emotional energy. On this page, I've tried to give you an overview of both my teaching and research interests. I encourage you to look elsewhere on my web pages to find out more, and to email me or stop by to talk about anything here that intrigues you.
Broadly, my research interests lie in the area of Molecular Evolution. Specifically, I'm interested in the rates at which biological macromolecules evolve and the forces, both at the level of molecule and of organism, which constrain the rate of evolution of individual molecules.
The past decade has seen a true revolution in the technology of biomolecular sequence determination, and a corresponding explosion in the magnitude of sequence information available for analysis. This wealth of information has given us an increasingly clear picture of how and why biological macromolecules change over time. But it also highlights our ignorance. For example, virtually every large scale molecular evolutionary tree shows one or more groups of organisms with aberrant rates of evolution -- which shows up as unusually long or short branches. Yet no one is able to predict these rate hiccups, or even to explain them post-facto, and that intrigues me. But rather than simply looking for these cases of bizarre evolutionary rate, my interest is with the forces involved; I seek to explicitly test hypotheses about causal events that can drive rate abnormalities.
The goal of my research program is therefore to explore cases of altered evolutionary rate and to generate biochemical systems for testing hypotheses about the consequences of the rate acceleration. My focus for the last several years has been on one such case study: describing and exploring the accelerated evolution of the genes encoding the subunits of the RNA polymerase in chloroplasts of plants in the genus Pelargonium. To learn more about my research interests, and the projects that students have pursued in my lab, please see my research page.
Chem 121 - General Chemistry I plus Laboratory
Bio/Chem 302 - Biochemistry I plus Laboratory
Bio/Chem 402 - Advanced Biochemistry plus Laboratory
I've also had the pleasure of teaching a number of number of less conventional courses over the past decade.
ex. GEOL 200 - Introduction to Chemistry. "The humdrum, the curious, and the very, very cool: taking a closer look at the chemistry of your life"
ex. GEOL 200 - Honors Seminar. "Examining the Evidence for Evolution "
ex. GEOL 200 - Honors Seminar. "Unimagined Power: biotechnology and its impact on our world"
Our department is firmly committed to the notion that as experimental sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry need to be experienced in an active, investigative context, so every course I teach has an integral laboratory component.
P. Kuhlman, H.L. Duff*, and A. Galant*. 2004. A fluorescence-based assay for multi-subunit DNA-dependent RNA polymerases. Analytical Biochemistry. v. 324 p. 183-190
C. K. Brown, P. L. Kuhlman, S. Mattingly, K. Slates, P. J. Calie, and W. W. Farrar. 1998. A model of the quaternary structure of enolases, based on structural and evolutionary analysis of the octameric enolase from Bacillus subtilis. J. Prot. Chem.. v. 17 p. 855-866
Y. Cho, Y.-L. Qiu, P. Kuhlman, and J. D. Palmer . 1998. Explosive invasion of plant mitochondria by a group I intron.. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA. v. 95 p. 14244-14249
J.C. Vaughn, M. T. Mason, G. L. Sper-Whitis, P. Kuhlman, and J. D. Palmer. 1995. Fungal origin by horizontal transfer of a plant mitochondrial group I intron in the chimeric coxI gene of Peperomia. J. Mol. Evol.. v. 41 p. 563-572
P. Kuhlman and J. D. Palmer. 1995. Isolation, expression, and evolution of the gene encoding mitochondrial elongation factor Tu in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Mol. Biol.. v. 29 p. 1057-1070
P. Kuhlman, V. T. Moy, B. A. Lollo, and A. A. Brian. 1991. The accessory function of murine ICAM-1 in T lymphocyte activation: Contributions of adhesion and activation. J. Immunol. v. 146 p. 1773-1782
[* denotes an undergraduate student working under my guidance]
S. Stefanović, P. Kuhlman, P. Calie, and J. Palmer. 2007. Rapid evolution of plastid RNA polymerases in three unrelated flowering plant lineages. Platform talk at the joint annual meetings of the Botanical Society of America and the American Society for Plant Biologists.
P. Kuhlman and P. Calie. 2006. Accelerated sequence evolution of the four proteins comprising the core complex of the bacterial-derived DNA-dependant RNA polymerase in the plant family Geraniaceae. Poster presentation at the National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence.
S. Hoskins, J. Hogan, D. Bautista, P. Kuhlman and P. Calie. 2004. Modeling studies suggest that the accelerated sequence evolution in the a-subunit of the Geraniaceae DNA-dependant RNA polymerase is accompanied by a high level of conservation of secondary structure. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists.
P. Kuhlman and H.L. Duff*. 2003. A fluorescence-based assay for RNA Polymerase activity. Poster presentation at Experimental Biology 2003, the combined annual meeting of several national societies for experimental biologists, including the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
C. N. Gorman*, H. L. Duff*, and P. Kuhlman . 2000. Investigations into the function of the rapidly evolving RNA Polymerase in Pelargonium chloroplasts. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the (international) Protein Society.
H. Duff*, T. Wine*, and P. Kuhlman . 1999. Investigation of the rapidly evolving plastid RNA polymerase in Pelargonium. Poster presentation at the International Botanical Congress.
P. Kuhlman, P. J. Calie, J. M. Logsdon, A. Z. Wang*, G. Vora*, B. Thomason*, and J. D. Palmer . 1998. Accelerated evolution of the chloroplast-encoded RNA polymerase driven by positive Darwinian selection. Talk given at the 1998 international meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
[* denotes an undergraduate student working under my guidance]