Physical Therapy Management of Osteoarthritis in the Hip & Knee; Molecular Biology of Coronaviruses; Modifying the Roles of Proteins in Foods; The Rhyme of the Ancient Paddler

For 23 March 2022    
Hi WN@TL Fans,
First, an invitation:  I hope you, your friends & family will mark your calendars for April 8, 9 and 10 and set aside some time to come to explore UW-Madison during our 20th Annual UW Science Expeditions campus open house.  More than two dozen venues will open their doors to you over the three days.  
Because of covid, this will be the first Science Expeditions in three years that you can again adventure across campus to talk with scientists and peer into some of the places and spaces that make this such a remarkable Destination for Exploration.  
Check out the Timetables and Maps at, and chart out your path of discovery.
Two days after the vernal equinox, and a day after the mercury climbed to the mid-70’s and Sconsinites flooded outdoors into the sunshine, it’s likely several of us are recovering from biking too fast or hiking too far.  Some of the aches might be from muscles, others from tendons, a few from ligaments.  And then there are the pains in the joints.
To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn–but if you hope to extend, retract, or rotate, it’s good to have knees and hips and shoulders, and to have them in good working order.  I am reminded that much depends on our joints, around which so much of our primate movement pivots.  Maintaining a range of smooth motion is a soothing lotion, and a topic of interest to many of with a lot of miles on the odometer, as well as to many athletes with many years ahead of them.
On March 23Jill Thein-Nissenbaum of the Physical Therapy Program will share her insights and techniques on Physical Therapy Management of Osteoarthritis in the Hip and Knee.
Description:  Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis; it effects millions of people nationwide. As we age, articular cartilage can degenerate and start the cascade of joint related pain. Numerous factors are associated with osteoarthritis including load experienced by the joint, alignment of the joint, history of a previous injury to the joint, and genetic factors.

Conservative management is the first line of choice for early onset arthritis. And although physical therapy related interventions cannot change joint structure, the proper interventions can improve quality of life. Tonight’s discussion will revolve around the conservative management of arthritis related pain, with a specific focus on the hip and knee. Research related to recommendations regarding exercise, weight loss, bracing, as well as the use of medications and nutraceuticals will be discussed.


Bio:  Jill Thein-Nissenbaum, PT, DSc, SCS, ATC is an Associate Professor in the Physical Therapy Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Iowa State University, her Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of Iowa, and her Doctorate of Science in Orthopaedic and Sports Science from Rocky Mountain University in Provo, Utah. In addition, Dr. Thein-Nissenbaum has been a board-certified Sports Clinical Specialist (SCS) through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties since 2001, and has been a certified athletic trainer since 1990.
Dr. Thein-Nissenbaum has served in numerous capacities since joining the DPT program faculty in 1995. In her current role, she teaches 2 5-credit courses in the musculoskeletal track and a 2-semester Sports PT elective. Dr. Thein-Nissenbaum’s clinical appointment is with the Department of Athletics as the staff physical therapist for Badger Sportsmedicine. She is the first physical therapist to be contracted into the athletic training room and is currently in her 14th season with the Badgers. She provides rehabilitation services and consultation for all 23 sports, working directly with the athletic trainers and team physicians. She was the first individual to perform dry needling in the athletic training room; today, it is a valued component in the care and rehabilitation of UW athletes. She has taken numerous dry needling courses and has spoken on the topic. She is actively involved in professional organizations, and serves as the treasurer of the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy (AASPT).
In addition, she hosts a monthly call-in show through Wisconsin Public Radio, where listeners can call in with musculoskeletal-related conditions and receive recommendations regarding treatment and/or management. Her co-host is her sister, Lori Thein Brody, PT, PhD, SCS, ATC. Her research interests include the adolescent female athlete, bone-related injury, dry needling and prevention of anterior cruciate ligament injuries. She has numerous presentation and publications related to these and other sports-related topics.
On March 30 Robert Kirchdoerfer of Biochemistry will be here to share his insights into the virus that causes covid, and ways to exploit those insights to impede infection and reduce disease.  His talk is entitled “Molecular Biology of Coronaviruses.”
Description:  Coronaviruses are pathogens of both animals and humans. This family of viruses circulates with diverse reservoirs of viruses in animal populations. Periodic transmission of a coronavirus from an animal host to a human host with subsequent human-to-human transmission resulting in outbreaks of novel coronaviruses in the humans. The 21st century has seen three of these crossover events. SARS-CoV emerged in 2002 and was quickly contained using public health measures. MERS-CoV emerged in 2012 and continued animal-to-human transmission events have continued to the present day. Finally, SARS-CoV-2 emerged in 2019 to spur the global COVID-19 pandemic. Over the decades, we have learned a lot about how coronaviruses enter cells and replicate their RNA genomes. These studies were key preparations for the rapid development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and antiviral therapies. 

Coronaviruses enter host cells using large viral spike proteins. As part of their entry process, these spikes undergo large conformational changes to recognize host cells and fuse viral membranes with host cell membranes. Atomic models derived from cryo-electron microscopy studies were key to understanding these conformational changes and lead to the design of spike-like proteins to elicit better antibody responses. These designed spike-like proteins have been incorporated into several popular COVID-19 vaccines including those offered by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. 
After entering host cells, a coronavirus must replicate and transcribe its viral genome to produce new viral proteins and viral genomes. Coronaviruses carry their genomes as single pieces of RNA. As host cells do not have a polymerase capable of copying an RNA template, the virus supplies its own polymerase. In coronaviruses, these polymerases form large protein-protein complexes to combine several enzyme activities and co-factors. High-resolution imaging using electron microscopes has shown us how the polymerase accepts substrates for genome transcription and replication. These studies are also starting points for understanding how antiviral drugs like remdesivir and molnupiravir, approved for the treatment of COVID-19, interact with viral proteins and inhibit viral replication. 
Bio:  Dr. Robert Kirchdoerfer, Ph.D., grew up in Oregon, Wisconsin before attending college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied Genetics and Biochemistry. He received his Ph.D. working with Ian Wilson at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California studying the replication of influenza virus. Dr. Kirchdoerfer’s postdoctoral work, also at the Scripps Research Institute focused on the replication of Ebola virus and the cellular entry and replication of coronaviruses. He joined the faculty of University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019 as a member of the Biochemistry Department, the Institute for Molecular Virology and the Center for Quantitative Cell Imaging where he continues to carry out high-resolution imaging of coronavirus proteins. 
Explore More:
Kirchdoerfer Lab website: 
SARS-CoV-2 Life cycle animation: 
US Center for Disease Control: 


On April 6 Audrey Girard of Food Science will show us ways of “Modifying the Roles of Proteins in Foods Using Plant Extracts.
Description: Proteins have many functions in foods. Beyond their nutritional properties, they play a wide range of structure, texture, and flavor roles. These roles can be modified with other ingredients, but consumers increasingly desire short ingredient statements with familiar and easy-to-identify components. Further, many households want ingredients in their foods that add a functional benefit such as beneficial bioactive compounds like polyphenols. Along with their bioactive properties, polyphenols are known to modify protein function. 

Polyphenols are ubiquitous plant compounds that offer many potential health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties, cardiovascular benefits, and chemoprotective effects. The healthful perception of foods such as cranberries, dark chocolate, and red wine is derived primarily from the benefits of polyphenols. However, polyphenols themselves are unstable and susceptible to degradation during processing and storage.
The affinity of proteins and polyphenols for one another results in protein-polyphenol interactions that can be leveraged to improve protein function and polyphenol stability. There are a range of potential impacts of protein-polyphenol interactions based on the specific proteins and polyphenols interacted, as well as the conditions under which they interact. This talk will focus on sorting through those potentials and identifying processing conditions that produce desired results.

Bio:  Dr. Audrey Girard is an assistant professor specializing in food chemistry in the Department of Food Science at UW-Madison. She earned a B.S. in Bakery Science & Management from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in Food Science & Technology from Texas A&M University. Audrey’s overarching research goal is to use protein chemistry to improve food quality and sustainability, as well as to promote human health.

Explore More:
Lab website: 
UW-Madison Dept. of Food Sci. website: