2018 Convocation Speakers & Award Winners

Graduating Biology and BMB students were recognized for their academic excellence and research contributions at the Biology and BMB Convocation ceremonies on May 19.

At the Biology ceremony Ernest Dimbo served as Student Speaker and a number of awards were given out to graduating seniors including Anjali Oberoi (Senior College Prize for Excellence in Biology); Sabrina Shih and Anush Swaminathan (Excellence in Scholarship Award); and Jessica Lin, Anthony Ma, Chao Wu and Tarik Zahr Academic Achievement Award).

At the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology ceremony Meagan Olive was the Student Speaker and the graduation awards went to Jonathan Messerschmidt (Senior College Prize for Excellence in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and to Reina Iwase, Blake Jardin, Anne Londregan, and Meagan Olive (Outstanding Achievement in Research and Scholarship Award).

Congratulations to those recognized and to the entire Class of 2018!

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."

Elena Newmark Awarded Francis Bacon Award for Writing Excellence in the Natural Sciences

Elena Newmark, Ecology & Conservation Biology Class of 2018, won the Francis Bacon Award for Writing Excellence in the Natural Sciences, for which she was recognized at the Biology Convocation on May 19!

The Francis Bacon Award for Writing Excellence in the Natural Sciences is one of four awards the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association gives out based on papers that have been submitted as departmental nominations for these awards.


Nicola El Tom Selected to Participate in Summer Research Program, Station1

Nicola El Tom, Biology Class of 2020, has been selected to join the inaugural 2018 cohort of students in the summer science and technology-based research program, Summer@Station1. Station1 has a mission of providing frontier, socially-directed, science and technology-focused research and internships to students nationwide. Nicola was selected from hundreds of applicants across the nation and the world as a result of a lengthy admissions process. This summer, Nicola will be working on an exciting research project at the United Therapeutics Corporation Organ Manufacturing Group (OMG) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their mission is to address the lack of supply for donor organs through the manufacture of an unlimited supply of transplantable organs before the end of the decade. Congratulations, Nicola!

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. 

Senior Lecturer Elizabeth Co Wins Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Elizabeth Co has been chosen as one of two 2018 winners of the Metcalf Award in Teaching. The Metcalf Committee noted that praise for Dr. Co's performance is strong from both students who take her classes and colleagues within the Biology Department. Dr. Co will receive the award at this year's BU Commencement on May 20th. To read more about Dr. Co's teaching style and what makes her such an outstanding instructor, please see her interview in BU Today. Congratulations Liz!

Professor Siggers Wins Prestigious Education Award

BU Biology's Professor Trevor Siggers has been awarded Boston University's 2018 Dean's Award for Excellence in Graduate Education! As explanation for their choice of Professor Siggers for this prestigious award, the Dean's office notes that Siggers was "chosen by a committee of faculty colleagues from a very strong group of nominees to receive this honor. The committee was deeply impressed by his truly superior teaching and clear dedication to his students." This award will be presented to Professor Siggers on May 9th.

2018 Biology Department Undergraduate Research Awards

Please join us in congratulating the three winners of the 2018 Biology Department Undergraduate Research Awards: Milad Babaei, Linnea Smith, and Rebekah Zhang! Milad Babaei performed research with the Gilmore lab on CRISPR-based targeting of the NEMO adapter protein for tissue-specific inactivation of NF-kB signaling. Linnea Smith performed research with the Primack lab on the variation and drivers of leaf longevity in evergreen plants at the Arnold Arboretum. Rebekah Zhang performed research with the Man lab on the establishment and characterization of an in vitro model of dendritic pruning. All three award recipients presented 15 minute talks about their respective research at the Biology Department Weekly Seminar on April 30.Undergrad Honors Seminar 2018