The University of Chicago


Benjamin Blanchard

Benjamin Blanchard, a first-year student in Evolutionary Biology, received an NSF-East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) grant to travel to China for his research on ants.




Nathan Buerkle

Nathan Buerkle (Neurobiology) received an NSF-East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) grant to spent the summer in Michiyo Kinoshita's lab at Sokendai (the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Hayama, Japan). His advisor is Dr. Stephanie Palmer.



Kate Criswell

Kate Criswell (Integrative Biology) received a NSF DDIG fellowship for her dissertation work, "Independent evolution and ancestral conditions in the gnathostome axial column." Her advisor is Dr. Michael Coates.



Awards and Fellowships

Anya Bershad

Anya Bershad (Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program) has received an ARCS Foundation Scholar Award (Pritzker). Her advisor is Dr. Harriet de Wit.




Lauren Blake

Lauren Blake (Human Genetics) received a 2015 Raymond W. Sarber Award from the American Society for Microbiology, which will be presented at the ASM General Meeting Awards Banquent on Sunday, May 17, 2015 in New Orleans. Her advisor is Dr. Anna Di Rienzo.



Marcelo Coca Perraillon

Marcelo Coca Perraillon(Health Studies) was awarded the Lee B. Lusted Student Prize award for Preference Assessment for his project "Predicting the EQ-5D Preference Index from the SF-12 Health Survey in a National US Sample: a Finite Mixture Approach." The Lee B. Lusted Student Prize award is given yearly for original research in medical decision making. His adviser is Dr. R. Tamara Konetzka.


Natalia Gonzales

Natalia Gonzales (Human Genetics) received a travel fellowship from the International Mammalian Genome Society to attend the 28th International Mammalian Genome Conference (IMGC) in Bar Harbor, ME. While attending, she won an award for outstanding poster presentation. Her advisor is Dr. Abraham Palmer.



Sara Jackrel

Sara Jackrel (Ecology and Evolution) was awarded an ARCS Foundation Scholar Award (BSD). Her advisor is Dr. J. Timothy Wootton.




David Koren

David Koren (Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program) has been selected as a recipient of the Roche/ARCS Foundation Scholar Award in Life Sciences (Pritzker). His advisor is Dr. Wei Wei.





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.


Accomplishments Archives: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011