The University of Chicago



The 2013-2014 Teaching Prize for the best performance by a BSD graduate student who is TAing in fulfillment of the Divisional Teaching Requirement was awarded to Ellis Kim and Dallas Krentzel. In addition, honorable mentions went to Jenna Christensen, Amy Henry, and Kristen Witte.

Ellis Kim

Ellis Kim is a second-year student in Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Medicine Training Program, and is also in the Growth and Development Training Program (MD/PhD). She receives this prize in recognition of her work in two courses this past year: in BIOS 10500, Metabolism and Exercise, in Winter 2014 and in BIOS 20188, Fundamentals of Physiology, in Spring 2014. She is cited for being friendly, approachable, and knowledgeable, giving constructive criticism, being a phenomenal lab TA, her warmth and kindness, and for her ability to answer questions clearly.

Dallas Krentzel

Dallas Krentzel is a third-year student in Evolutionary Biology who receives the prize in recognition of his work as a TA in BIOS 23254, Mammalian Ecology, in Spring 2014. He is cited for his depth of knowledge and passion for the topic, his well-organized lectures, his ability to answer arbitrary questions effectively and clearly, as well as his availability to help his students.

Jenna Christensen is a fourth-year student in Cell and Molecular Biology and receives an honorable in recognition of her work as a TA in BIOS 20234, Molecular Biology of the Cell in Autumn 2013. She is cited for the very strong support from the Molecular Biology of the Cell class, who commended her for her ability to communicate the material effectively, making the difficult material digestible and informative; as well as her ability to make discussion sections helpful and interesting.

Amy Henry is a fourth-year student in Evolutionary Biology and was awarded an honorable mention for her work in BIOS 20196, Ecology and Conservation, in Autumn 2013. She was cited for her willingness to go above the call of duty, her ability to clarify the lectures, and her enthusiasm for the material.

Kristen Witte is a fourth-year student in Cell and Molecular Biology and was awarded an honorable mention for her work in MGCB 31600, Cell Biology 1, in Autumn 2013. She was cited for her ability to tie information to the bigger picture, her wonderful review sessions, her willingness to provide extra help, and her ability to explain material in an original way that was both clear and interesting.

The BSD teaching prize was established in 1996 by the faculty Committee on Teaching Assistants in appreciation and recognition of the enthusiasm and effort that graduate students put into their early teaching experiences. Award of the prize is based on nominations by the students in the course taught by the TA. This year, over 100 Teaching Assistants were nominated by their students for the Teaching Prize, a tribute to the dedication of our graduate students as they take on the role of teaching assistant, and illustrating the value placed on teaching in the BSD. Congratulations to all winners!


Awards and Fellowships

Six graduate students were awarded the University of Chicago Graduate Student Research Award, which allows awardees the opportunity to study at the Marine Biology Laboratory at Wood's Hole:

Kamil Ahsan  Kamil Ahsan (Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology; advisor, Dr. Vicky Prince) took MBL's Zebrafish Development and Genetics course; 
Kate Criswell  Katharine Criswell (Integrative Biology; advisor, Dr. Michael Coates) is working with alum Andrew Gillis at MBL and took the MBL Embryology course; 
Hillary Katz  Hillary Katz (Integrative Biology; advisor, Dr. Melina Hale) attended a laboratory-intensive Neural Systems and Behavior course at MBL; 
Simon Lax  Simon Lax (Ecology and Evolution; advisors, Drs. Jack Gilbert and Cathy Pfister) studying microbial communities associated with the freshwater aquatic plants Lemna minor (common duckweed);
Darcy Ross  Darcy Ross (Integrative Biology; advisor, Dr. Neil Shubin) attended the Embryology course and stayed to learn new techniques in the laboratory with visiting investigator Dr. Jonathan Henry,
Jiajie Xu  Jiajie Xu (Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology; advisor, Dr. Rick Fehon) took the MBL Embryology course;

Natalia Gonzales (Human Genetics) received several awards: the 2014 UCLA Statistical Genetics Short Course Diversity Fellowship, the 2014 CTC Award for Best Poster Presented by a Graduate Students, a 2014 AAAS/Science Program Award for Excellence in Science, and a 2014 IBANGS Travel Award. Her advisor is Dr. Abraham Palmer.

Catherine Igartua (Human Genetics) was awarded a NRSA F31 grant. Her advisor is Dr. Carole Ober.

Mark Lunderberg (Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program: Microbiology) won an NRSA F30 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for his work on "Assembly of the envelope of Bacillus anthracis vegetative forms. His advisor is Dr. Olaf Schneewind.

Sahar Mozaffair (Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology) won a FASEB MARC Travel Award to attend the American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting in October, 2014. Her advisor is Dr. Carole Ober.

Matt Odenwald (Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Medicine) was awarded an NRSA F30. His advisor is Dr. Jerrold Turner.

Ramya Parameswaran (Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program,: Biophysical Sciences) won the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, an award to support work toward and MD and PhD in the biophysical sciences. Her research focuses on nanoscale biomaterials that can interface with immune cells. Her advisors are Drs. Erin Adams and Bozhi Tian.

Monika Scholz (Biophysical Sciences) was awarded an HHMI International Student Research Fellowship. Her advisors are Drs. Aaron Dinner and David Biron.

Ben Winger (Evolutionary Biology) won the Society of Systematic Biologists' Ernst Mayr Award at the Evolution meetings in Raleigh, NC (June 20–24), for his study on the evolution of New World bird migration patterns. Dr. John Bates is his advisor.

Previous Accomplishments

Stefan AnghelMaureen CeteraSean GibbonsDaniela PalmerDaniel Rabe


Jonathan RosenfieldAdrian SanchezChristopher SchellLaura SouthcottJason TorresJiajie Xu

Andrei (Stefan) Anghel, of the Cell and Molecular Biology program, received a doctoral fellowship from Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, Germany. His advisor is Dr. Robert Keenan.

Maureen Cetera, of the Committee on Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology, won a first place poster prize at the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, held in San Diego. Her advisor is Dr. Sally Horne-Badovinac.

Sean Gibbons, of the Biophysical Sciences program, won the Erasmus Mundus Scholars Scholarship for the Erasmus Mundus Master Course "European MSc in Marine Environment and Resources" for 2013-2015.

Daniela Palmer, of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology, received a NSF EAPSI fellowship to fund field research in Asia this summer. Her advisor is Dr. Marcus Kronforst.

Daniel Rabe, of the Committee on Cancer Biology, has been accepted to participate in the NIH Clinical Center's Clinical and Translational Research course for PhD students in July, 2014. His advisor is Dr. Marsha Rosner.

Jonathan Rosenfield, of the Committee on Medical Physics, was selected to present at the John R. Cameron Young Investigator Competition at the 56th annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine this July in Austin, Texas. His advisor is Dr. Patrick LaRiviere.

Adrian Sanchez, of in the Committee on Medical Physics, was a Robert F. Wagner Best Student Paper Conference Finalist at the SPIE Medical Imaging Symposium. His advisor is Dr. Xiaochun Pan.

Christopher Schell, of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology, was awarded a 2014 UNCF Merck Graduate Science Research Fellowship. His advisor is Dr. Rachel Santymire.

Laura Southcott , of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology, was awarded a NSERC post-graduate fellowship.

Jason Torres , of the Committee on Immunology, was accepted through a competitive process to participate in a course on the genetics of complex diseases at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. His advisor is Dr. Nancy Cox.

Jiajie Xu , of the Committee on Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology, won a Children's Tumor Foundation Young Investigator's Award. His advisor is Dr. Richard Fehon.


Congratulations to NSF Winners!

NSF grants were awarded to:

Hector Acaron, Biophysical Sciences

Adam Hardy, Integrative Biology

Alyssa Harker, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophsyics

Joshua Riback, Biophysical Sciences

Darcy Ross, Integrative Biology

Joel Smith, Ecology and Evolution

Kevin Song, Biophysical Sciences

Hector AcaronAdam HardyAlyssa HarkerJoshua RibackDarcy RossJoel SmithKevin Song


Congratulations as well to those that received an Honorable Mention:

Lindsey Fong, Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology

Hilary Katz, Integrative Biology

Erin McAuley, Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Medicine

Chris Quintanilla, Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology

Corey Seacrist, Biophysical Sciences

Claire Stevenson, Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology


Multicultural Graduate Community awarded Innovation Grant

On behalf of the Multicultural Graduate Community, Joyce Pieretti and Daniela Palmer applied for an Innovation Grant from the Provost's Office. They have received notice that it was funded. Their project is described below:

The students comprising the Multicultural Graduate Community (MGC) at the University of Chicago seek to actively promote the engagement and success of diverse and often underrepresented students in the sciences by providing academic and personal support networks, and resources for professional development. In alignment with the University's initiatives on diversity and inclusion, we proposed a quarterly speaker series, in which speakers committed to these initiatives share their expertise on minority recruitment and outreach, or their personal experiences as an underrepresented minority (URM) in their respective field. Invited speakers will host two seminars, a traditional scientific seminar on their research and a diversity seminar discussing the speaker's experience with URM issues in the sciences. The series will promote ongoing dialogue on diversity and inclusion on campus and offer new academic networking connections to graduate students across the Biological, Physical, and Social Sciences divisions.

Moen and Mayo receive Lindau Fellowships

Erika MoenLeah Mayo

Two students received Lindau Fellowships. Erika Moen and Leah Mayo will travel to Lindau, Germany, for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting June 29 through July 4, 2014. About 600 young researchers from almost 80 countries will travel to the meeting dedicated to Physiology or Medicine; at this point, 37 Nobel Laureates have announced their participation. And for the first time since the meeting's inception in 1951, the percentage of female participants is higher than male participants (52 to 48/%). The program will include lectures, discussion sections, master classes, and panel discussions. Leah is a student in the Committee on Neurobiology with Dr. Harriet de Wit as her advisor, and Erika is a student in the Committee on Cancer Biology, with Drs. Lucy Godley and Eileen Dolan as her advisors.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards announced:

We are pleased to announce that four BSD graduate students have received NRSA awards:

Angika Basant


Nicholas Banovich(Human Genetics: Gilad lab): Genetic Factors Governing Inter-individual Variation to Oxidative Stress Response

Alan Chang(Cancer Biology, Lesniak lab): CCR4 in Regulatory T Cell Trafficking to Glioma

Daniel Levanthal and Peter Savage

Daniel Leventhal(Cancer Biology, Savage lab): Functional role of Aire-dependent Tregs in peripheral tolerance and prostate cancer

Justin Mark Lunderberg(Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Progam: Schneewind lab): Assembly of the envelope of Bacillus anthracis vegetative forms



Congratulations to our 2014 Chicago Biomedical Consortium Scholars!

Inaugurated in 2010, the CBC scholars program invites member universities to nominate up to three outstanding graduate students each year. Each CBC scholar receives a grant of $5,000 per year for up to two years for academic purposes such as travel to conferences. The purpose of the program is to develop a leadership forum for students from the CBC universities (Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and University of Chicago) to advance the CBC mission of fostering collaboration and excellence.

Mike GebhardtLeah Mayo

Michael Gebhardt, Committee on Microbiology, Advisor: Howard Shuman

Leah Mayo, Committee on Neurobiology, Advisor: Harriet de Wit





Angika Basant

Angika Basant(Cell and Molecular Biology; Glotzer lab) was awarded a two-year pre-doctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. In addition, she was invited by the American Society for Cell Biology to give a talk at a minisymposium in New Orleans.


Matthew Nelsen (Evolutionary Biology; Ree lab) was the recipient of a William Rainey Harper Fellowship for 2013-2014.

Ben Rubin (Evolutionary Biology; Moreau lab) won the Brown Family Fellowship for 2013-2014 at the Field Museum of Natural History.

Jared Salisbury (Computational Neuroscience; Palmer lab) won a Chateaubriand Fellowship, a grant offered by the Embassy of France in the United States. It allows doctorate students enrolled in American universities to conduct research in France for 4 to 9 months. He will study at the Institut de la Vision (Paris VI, Université Pierre et Marie Curie) in Paris for 9 months.

Tom Stewart (Integrative Biology; Coates lab) is the recipient of the 2013 Tinker Field Research Grant, through the University's Center for Latin American Studies. He will use these funds to travel to Equador and develop a project on adaptive evolution in the Pimelodidae, a group of South American catfishes. He is also the recipient of the 2013 Raney Award for Ichthyology, granted by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Tom has also recieved support from the Hinds Fund and BSD Travel Award.

Haley Stinnett


Haley Stinnett (Integrative Biology; Ho lab) wrote a guest post for Cell Reports that was selected as the winner of the inaugaral Cell Reports guest blog competition. Read more


Benjamin Winger (Evolutionary Biology; Bates lab) won the Lester Armour Fellowship from the Field Museum for 2013-2014.

The 2013-2014 Steiner Travel Awards were awarded to Matthew Perisin (Microbiology) to attend a Marine Biological Labs summer course on "Strategies and Techniques for Analyzing Micrbial Population Structures," and Max Winston (Evolutionary Biology) for travel to the Amazonian basin for research on phylogeny of the army ant genus Eciton.



Accomplishments Archives: 2013, 2012, 2011