Dr. Yowler's resume

Dr. Brian Yowler
Assistant Professor of Biology
Geneva College
Beaver Falls, PA 15010

Office: 319 Science and Engineering
Phone: 724-847-6728
E-mail: bcyowler@geneva.edu

B.S. in Biology, Indiana University of Pa (IUP), Indiana, Pa, 1994.
Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 2002.

Current Teaching Responsibilities:
BIO 101 Bioterrorism (for non-biology majors)
BIO 319 Genetics

Scholarly Interests:

Research Interest: Prevention of botulinum neurotoxin entry into neurons
Botulinum neurotoxin is the deadliest known natural substance. To put this into perspective, it is a million times more potent than cobra toxin! Humans infected by this toxin will become paralyzed, and if not hospitalized, will die. The only course of treatment is for the patient to be put on artificial respiration for up to 6 months until the toxin is cleared. Since there are no generally approved vaccines or treatments for botulinum toxin, it is considered to be a category A (highest threat) bioterrorism weapon by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Although much work has been done over the last 30 years, the cell-surface receptors that the toxin uses to gain entry into neurons are not well defined. However, through results obtained by myself as part of my PhD research as well as other labs, a particular class of glycolipids (combination of sugars and lipids, called gangliosides are necessary for the toxin to enter neurons. Since it is the sugar portion of these glycolipids that is recognized by the toxin, it is believed that perhaps a drug could be made from these sugars that would prevent the toxin from entering neurons. It is the further characterization of the mechanism of entry of the toxin, as well as the design of a drug to prevent this entry, that is the focus of my research.


Yowler, B.C., and Schengrund, C-L. (2004) Glycosphingolipids-Sweets for botulinum neurotoxin. Glycoconjugate Journal. 21: 285-291.
Yowler, B.C., and Schengrund, C-L. (2004) Kinetic analysis of the interaction of Botulinum neurotoxin with ganglioside GT1b. Biochemistry 43: 9725-31.
Kensinger, R.D., Yowler, B.C., Benesi, A.J., Schengrund, C-L. (2004) Synthesis of novel, multivalent, glycodendrimers as Ligands for HIV-1 gp120. Bioconjugate Chemistry 15:349-58.
Yowler, B.C., Kensinger, R.D., and Schengrund, C-L. (2002) Botulinum neurotoxin A activity is dependent upon the presence of specific gangliosides in neuroblastoma cells expressing synaptotagmin I. Journal of Biological Chemistry 277:32815-32819.
Yowler, B.C., Stoehr, S.A., and Schengrund, C-L. (2001) Oxidation and base-catalyzed elimination of the saccharide portion of GSLs having very different polarities. Journal of Lipid Research 42:659-662.
Ropson, I.J., Yowler, B.C., Dalessio, P.M., Banaszak, L.B., and Thompson, J. (2000) Properties and Crystal Structure of a B-Barrel Folding Mutant. Biophysical Journal 78:1551-1560.

Personal Information:
Born and raised in central Pennsylvania.
Married to Tracy with pre-school daughter, Molly
Attending Evangelical Free Church in Chippewa
Enjoy camping and hiking with my family on Mount Desert Island in Maine
Avid runner and marathoner (have run 7 marathons, including Boston in 2005)
Enjoy hunting and fishing
Avid Pittsburgh sports fan