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Graduate Research Assistant

Office: A127B Chemical and Life Sciences Lab (CLSL)
Phone: (217) 244-1583

E-mail: piehl1@illinois.edu



B.S. Biochemistry, Seattle University (2013)

research interests

My name is Dennis Piehl and I am a biochemistry Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. I was born in Knoxville, TN, grew up in Naperville, IL, and attended Seattle University for a B.S. in biochemistry. While my academic interests extend across many areas of biochemistry, including protein folding, intracellular signaling and trafficking, and neuroscience, my primary research interests are the underlying physical and molecular interactions that govern these pathways. In particular, in the Rienstra lab group, I am investigating the misfolded/fibrillar form of α-synuclein—the protein involved in the pathogenicity of Parkinson's Disease—by combining experimental solid-state NMR data with molecular dynamics simulations. Subsequently, the structural information obtained through this research effort will be used to continue the search for improved diagnostic or therapeutic molecules of Parkinson's Disease.


Selected honors and awards

  • American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship, 2015-2017
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, UIUC (2015)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, UIUC (2014)
  • Magna Cum Laude, B.S. Biochemistry, Seattle University (2013)
  • Semester Abroad, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany (2011)
  • DAAD RISE Summer Research Fellowship, Universität Leipzig (2011)
  • Eagle Scout Award (2008)

selected publications

"Immunoglobulin Light Chains Form an Extensive and Highly Ordered Fibril Involving the N- and C-Termini", Piehl, D. W. ; Blancas-Mejía L. M.; Wall, J. S.; Kennel, S. J.; Ramirez-Alvarado, M.; Rienstra, C. M. ACS (2017) 2 (2) 712-720. (Published online, February 27, 2017 ).

"Solid-state NMR chemical shift assignments for AL-09 VL immunoglobulin light chain fibrils", Piehl, D. W. ; Blancas-Mejía, L. M.; Ramirez-Alvarado, M.; Rienstra, C. M. Biomolecular NMR Assignments. (2017)11, 45-50. (Published online, October 22, 2016 ).