Academic Interests and Expertise

My current research involves a wide variety of biochemical tools aimed at understanding regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in processes that include cancer, cardiomyopathy, and Listeria infections.

Areas of Research Interest
  • Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics
  • Protein structure-function relationships
  • Actin Cytoskeleton Regulation
  • Cancer Metastasis
  • Scientific teaching
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy
Areas of Teaching Interest

Teaching duties include introductory chemistry for health professions students as well as advanced biochemistry courses for undergraduate and graduate students.  Dr. Beck has mentored over 50 undergraduate students in her research lab, has developed a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) course in biochemistry and is the director of the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) in STEM program.

Undergraduate Classes Taught
  • CHEM 103: Introductory General, Organic, and Biochemistry
  • CHEM 661: Principles of Biochemistry
  • CHEM 662: Biochemistry I
  • CHEM 663: Biochemistry II
  • CHEM 664: Biochemistry Laboratory
  1. Vattepu, R., Klausmeyer, R., Ayella, A., Dille, J.T., Saiz, S.V., Yadav, R., Beck, M. (2020) Conserved tryptophan mutation disrupts structure and function of immunoglobulin domain revealing unusual tyrosine fluorescence Mutation of conserved tryptophan in Ig4 domain of palladin alters structure and function. Protein Science. 29(10):  2062-2074. PMID: 32797644
  2. Filomena, M.C.*, Yamamoto, D.L.*, Caremani, M., Mastrototaro,G., Kadarla, V., Marmonti,E., Nigro, V., Luther, P., Beck, M.R., Chen, J., Linari, M., Bang, M.L. (2019) Myopalladin promotes muscle growth through modulation of the serum response factor pathway.  J. Cachexia, Sarcopenia Muscle. 11(1): 169-194. PMID:  31647200
  3. Dhanda, A.S., Vogl, A.W., Albraiki, S.E., Otey, C.A., Beck, M.R., Guttman, J.A. (2018) Palladin compensates for the Arp2/3 complex and supports actin structures during Listeria infections. MBio. 9(2): e02259-17 PMID: 29636431
  4. Ayella, A. Beck, M.R. (2018) A course-based undergraduate research experience investigating the consequences of non-conserved mutations in lactate dehydrogenase.  Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education. 46(3): 285-296. PMID:  29512279
  5. Yadav, R., Vattepu, R., Beck, M.R. (2016) Phosphoinositide binding inhibits actin crosslinking and polymerization by palladin. Journal of Molecular Biology. 428(20): 4031-4047 PMID:  27487483
  6. Gurung, R., Yadav, R., Brungardt, J.G., Orlova, A., Egelman, E.H., Beck, M.R. (2016) Actin polymerization is stimulated by actin crosslinking protein palladin. Biochem J. 473(4): n383-96. PMID: 26607837
  7. Elsarraj, H.S., Hong, Y., Valdez, K.E., Michaels, W., Hook, M., Smith, W.P., Chien, J., Herschkowitz, J.I., Troester, M.A., Beck, M.R., Inciardi, M., Gatewood, J., May, L., Cusick, T., McGinness, M., Ricci, L., Fan, F., Tawfik, O., Marks, J.R., Knapp, J.R., Yeh, H.W., Thomas, P., Carrasco, D.R., Fields, T.A., Godwin, A.K., Behbod, F. (2015) Expression profiling of in vivo ductal carcinoma in situ progression models identified B cell lymphoma-9 as a molecular driver of breast cancer invasion. Breast Cancer Res. 17: 128-. PMID:  26384318
  8. Thompson, P.M., Beck, M.R., Campbell, S.L. (2015) Protein-Protein Interaction Analysis by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Methods in Molecular Biology 1278: 267-279.  PMID:  25859955
  9. Vattepu, R., Yadav, R., Beck, M.R. (2015) Actin-induced dimerization of palladin promotes actin-bundling. Protein Sci. 24: 70-80. PMID: 25307943
  10. Beck, M.R., Dixon, R.D., Goicoechea, S.M., Murphy, G.S., Brungardt, J.G., Beam, M.T., Srinath, P., Mohiuddin,J., Otey, C.A. and Campbell, S.L. (2013) Structure and function of palladin’s actin binding domain. J Mol Biol. 425: 3325-3337. PMID:  23806659
  11. Beck, MR, Otey, CA, Campbell, SL (2011) Structural characterization of the interactions between palladin and a-actinin. J Mol Biol. 413(3):  712-725. PMID:  21925511
  12. Beck, M.R., DeKoster, G.T., Cistola, D.P., Goldman, W.E. (2009) NMR structure of fungal virulence factor reveals structural homology with mammalian saposin B. Mol Micro. 72(2): 344-53. *Selected by Biology Faculty of 1000 as a "Must Read." PMID:  19298372
  13. Beck, M.R., DeKoster, G.T., Hambly, D.M., Gross, M.L., Cistola, D.P., Goldman, W.E. (2008) Structural features responsible for biological stability of Histoplasma's virulence factor CBP. Biochemistry: 47:4427-38. PMID:  18361504
  14. Beck, M.R., Morgan, E.A., Strand, S.S., Woolsey, T.A. (2006) Volunteers bring passion to science outreach. Science. 314: 1246-7. PMID:  17124309
  15. Yeo, H.J., Yuan, Q., Beck, M.R., Baron, C., Waksman, G. (2003) Structural and functional characterization of the VirB5 protein from the type IV secretion system encoded by the conjugative plasmid pKM101. PNAS. 100(26):  15947-52. PMID:  14673074
  16. Savvides, S.N., Yeo, H.J., Beck, M.R., Blaesing, F., Lurz, R., Lanka, E., Buhrdorf, R., Fischer, W., Haas, R., Waksman, G. (2003) VirB11 ATPases are dynamic hexameric assemblies: new insights into bacterial type IV secretion. EMBO J. 22: 1969-80. PMID:  12727865
  17. Brown, C.K., Madauss, K., Lian, W., Tolbert, W.D., Beck, M.R., and Rodgers, D.W. (2001) Structure of neurolysin reveals a deep channel that limits substrate access. PNAS. 98: 3127-3132.  PMID:  11248043
Professional Experience

2017-present - Associate Professor of Chemistry, WSU

2011-2017 - Assistant Professor of Chemistry, WSU

2007-2011 - Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics 

1999-2000 - Research Technician, University of Kentucky, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

Awards and Honors
  • Partners for Progress & Prosperity Award from the American Chemical Society (October 2019)
  • Eastern Kentucky University Distinguished Alumni Award (October 2017)
  • Trio Disability Support Services & Office of Disability Services Faculty Appreciation Award (April 2017)
  • Young Scientist Program Leadership Award (October 2016)
  • Phenomenal Woman Award, WSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion (March 2016)
  • National Academy of Science Education Fellow in the Life Sciences (July 2013)

Current and past funding:

  • PI on NIH R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award, Myopalladin’s Role in Cardiac Muscle Function and Disease, September 2021-August 2024, $428,473
  • PI on NIH AREAR 15 Equipment supplement, awarded June 2022, $22,099
  • PI on NIH AREA R15 DEIA mentoring supplement, awarded August 2022, $285,862
  • Co-PI on NSF MRI Acquisition of a 500 MHz NMR for Expanding Research and Training in the Wichita Region, $606,305
  • PI on NIH R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award, Probing actin filament assembly, structure and dynamics by palladin, September 2016-May 2021, $415,340
  • Co-PI on NSF ADVANCE Catalyst, A catalyst to increase the representation and advancement of women and underrepresented minorities in academic STEM careers at Wichita State University,  September 2019-August 2021, $299,734
  • Faculty mentor for NIH K-INBRE undergraduate research grants
  • Donations from Boeing, Evergy, and United Health Care for Expanding Your Horizons STEM Workshop for Middle School Girls, 2021-2022, $30,000

Fellowships and Training Grants:

  • NIH NRSA postdoctoral grant from National Cancer Institute, 2009-2011                    
  • NIH Training Grant: Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2007-2009                    
  • St. Louis-Pasteur Institute Collaboration short-term fellowship, November 2006
Areas of Service

Dr. Beck is deeply involved in retention efforts and currently serves as the lead retention fellow and as co-PI on the ADVANCE Catalyst grant to increase representation of female and URM faculty at WSU. She is also a Frick Foundation Honors faculty fellow.  For the past 10 years, Dr. Beck has coordinated a 1-day Expanding Your Horizons STEM Conference for middle school girls.  Dr. Beck is also a member of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), the Protein Society, and the Biophysical Society.  She is also the faculty advisor for WSU’s American Chemical Society Student Chapter.