Leah Williams’ Paper Selected among Editor’s Choice Top 10 papers for ISDCI Congress

williams-leahA paper by Ph.D. candidate Leah Williams in Tom Gilmore's lab was selected as one of ten Editor's Choice papers (from 2015-18) for the 14th International Society for Developmental & Comparative Immunology Congress, June 17th - 21st, 2018 (Santa Fe, New Mexico). The paper, "A conserved Toll-like receptor-to-NF-κB signaling pathway in the endangered coral Orbicella faveolata," was published in Developmental & Comparative Immunology in February, 2018.

Sanda Zolj Receives Presentation Award at Northeastern Section of the American Society of Plant Biologists Meeting

20160623_104813 (1)Ph.D. candidate, Sanda Zolj, of the Celenza lab was recently awarded with the Best Presentation Award Runner-up at the Northeastern Section of the American Society of Plant Biologists meeting held at UMass Amherst this year. Her talk was entitled "The Arabidopsis alf3-1 Mutation Causes Autoimmunity in the Root and Identifies a TIR Domain Protein."

Sarah Yunes Receives Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award for Biology, 2017/2018

MCBB Ph.D. candidate, Sarah Yunes, of the Hansen lab was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Fellow of the Year for Biology, academic year 2017/2018.  Sarah has served for eight semesters as a teaching fellow in Biology, including for BI 107 and 108 (Biology 1 and 2), two of the largest and broadest introductory courses on campus, and for BB 522 (Molecular Biology Laboratory), a highly interactive upper-level hands-on course. 

Her evaluations from students emphasize the clarity of her explanations and offer feedback such as “passionate about teaching” and “supportive and engaging.” In sum, Sarah’s efforts over the last several years have contributed greatly to the success of the teaching mission of the Department of Biology. In the words of her teaching mentors Dr. Spilios and Dr. Gilmore, “her service to the department is unparalleled.”

Beyond her teaching accomplishments, Sarah’s own research, focused on the role of the transcription factor LSF and its role in cell cycle control and oncogene addiction in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), emphasizes novel and exciting approaches to precisely manipulate LSF activity at specific points during the cell cycle, and is oriented toward identifying the mechanism underlying HCC “addiction” to LSF, since blocking LSF function blocks the carcinoma progression. Ultimately, Sarah’s work will contribute to novel therapies to combat this type of cancer. 

Katelyn Mansfield Receives Charles Terner Award

mansfield-kPh.D. candidate Katelyn Mansfield of the Gilmore Lab was the recipient of the Terner award for 2018. Kate is studying the symbiosis between cnidarians (i.e., corals and sea anemones) and their intracellular algal symbionts (Symbiodinium). Kate studies the role of host innate immunity during the establishment and maintenance of this ecologically important mutualism and during cnidarian bleaching, a process by which symbiosis is disrupted due to environmental disturbances such as ocean temperature warming.

This award provides support for a CM or MCBB Ph.D. candidate who has made significant contributions to their field. Charles Terner was a Professor of Biology at Boston University for over 20 years before he retired in 1985. Dr. Terner specialized in biochemistry and focused his research on the metabolic properties of male reproductive cells. The award was established in his memory after he passed away in 1998.

Davies Lab Attends Society for Women in Marine Science Spring Symposium

On March 24th, the Davies Lab attended its first research symposium! A total of 9 lab members made their way to the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography in Narragansett for the Society for Women in Marine Science Spring Symposium. Seven BU Undergraduates participated in this event, and the lab presented 6 research posters as well. More details and photos can be found on the Davies Lab website.

Ashley Comer Receives the Brenton R. Lutz Award


GPN PhD candidate, Ashley Comer, of the Cruz-Martin Lab was the recent recipient of the Brenton R. Lutz Award for 2018. Ashley studies genes that regulate the development and plasticity of neural circuits and how circuit development is perturbed in diseased states. Specifically, she studies the development of the prefrontal cortex in mice by assaying neuronal connectivity, network activity, and behavior after manipulating genes associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.

This award provides support for PhD candidates conducting research in neurobiology or neuroscience and have made significant contributions to their field. Brenton R. Lutz was the person to receive an M.D./Ph.D. at Boston University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1916. He later became a Professor and Chairman of BU’s Department of Biology. Dr. Lutz also gave the first University Lecture at BU on December 11, 1950 “The Living Blood Vessels.”

Ashley Penvose Receives the Marion R. Kramer Award



PhD candidate, Ashley Penvose, of the Siggers Lab was the recent recipient of the Marion R. Kramer Award for 2018. Ashley’s research focuses on understanding how the type II nuclear receptors regulate gene expression, with a focus on DNA sequence specifity and allosteric mechanisms of regulation.

The Marion R. Kramer Award provides support for high-achieving female students majoring in Biology. The award was established in 2001 in honor of Dr. Marion Kramer who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston University in 1963 and went on to a long and satisfying career in biology and medicine.

Rebecca Branconi Receives the Thomas H. Kunz Award


PhD candidate, Rebecca Branconi, of the Buston Lab was the recent recipient of the Thomas H. Kunz Award for 2018. Rebecca's research focuses on reassessing a classic question in evolutionary biology - why has sociality evolved? Her research combines descriptive and experimental work to test how different factors, ecological and social constraints specifically, influence intra-group structures using two different tractable study systems, the humbug damselfish Dascyllus aruanus and the clown anemonefish Amphiprion percula.

This award provides support for Ecology, Behavior & Evolution (EBE) Ph.D. candidates who have completed the qualifying exam, with a preference for those conducting field research in the award year. The award was established in 2015 in recognition and appreciation of Professor Thomas H. Kunz’s mentorship. His current and former graduate students established this award to serve as a lasting legacy of Tom’s contributions at BU and beyond. Learn more about Dr. Kunz and how you can support this award.

Professor Primack Work on Borneo Forests Published in Nature Communications

For the past 38 years, Professor Primack, his students and colleagues have been studying long-term research plots in species rich rain forests on the tropical island of Borneo. In a recent article in Nature Communications, Primack and numerous colleagues show that these forests are increasing over time in tree biomass, and are therefor absorbing some of the atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change. However, when forests are damaged by human activity, then the forests decline in biomass. These forests will continue to increase in scientific value in coming decades as the intensity of human impact on the environment increases. This article has also been featured in a Nature Communications online collection titled Forests in the Anthropocene.