Biography and Education
Dr. Oelkers’ research addresses the question, “How do cells allocate fatty acids?” Fatty acids are linear hydrocarbons with species differing regarding length and the number and location of double bonds. Prior to utilization fatty acids are converted to acyl-CoA, the substrate for a variety of acyltransferase enzymes. Accordingly, acyltransferases are a focus of study since they are central to the allocation of fatty acids species among triglycerides, phospholipids, and proteins. Regarding phospholipids, this allocation influences the biophysical properties and thus function of cell membranes. Dr. Oelkers’ main pedagogical goal is to empower students to thrive in a professional setting. Problem solving and data analysis are featured.
Ph.D. – Molecular and Cellular Pathobiology, August 1996
Wake Forest University – Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC Advisor: Paul Dawson, Ph.D.
B.S. – Biology May 1991
College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Teaching and Research
 Oelkers, P., Pokhrel, K. (2016) Four acyltransferases uniquely contribute to phospholipid heterogeneity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Lipid Insights 9: 31 - 41.
 Jain, S., Dholakia, H., Kirtley, W., Oelkers, P. (2016) Energy Storage in Yeast: Regulation and Competition with Ethanol Production. Current Microbiology 73: 851 - 858.
 Renauer, P., Nasiri, N., Oelkers, P. (2015) Saccharomyces cerevisiae lysophospholipid acyltransferase, Lpt1, requires Asp146 and Glu297 for catalysis. J. Lipid Res. 56: 2143 - 2150.
 Ayyash, M., Algahmi, A., Gillespie, J., Oelkers, P. (2014) Characterization of a lysophospholipid acyltransferase involved in membrane remodeling in Candida albicans Biochim. Biophys. Acta 184: 505 - 513.
Awards and Recognition
Nominated for a Distinguished Teaching Award for the 2012-2013, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years.
Undergraduate researcher Amal Algahmi won the “Best Undergraduate Poster” in the Systems Biology category at the 2013 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology national meeting.
- Member for
- 2 years 5 months