Kate Mansfield Gives Talk at Symbiosis Society Meeting

PhD student Kate Mansfield gave an invited talk at the 9th International Symbiosis Society Congress held in Corvallis, Oregon from July 15-20, 2018. The title of her talk was “Immunity Transcription Factor NF-kB is Modulated by Symbiotic Status in Aiptasia.” Kate is a PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Tom Gilmore, where she carries out research that has implications for the evolutionary origins of the immune system and the molecular mechanisms underlying symbiosis and bleaching in marine organisms such as sea anemones and corals. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and Warren-McLeod Fellowships in Marine Biology.

Professors Beffert and Ho Awarded 5-Year NIH Grant for Alzheimer’s Research

By Jennifer ScottJuly 17th, 2018in Faculty News, News

Research Assistant Prof. Uwe Beffert and co-investigator Associate Prof. and Associate Chair of Neurobiology Angela Ho recently received a 5-year NIH grant to support the laboratory’s research on the genetic risk factor apolipoprotein E (apoE) and its role in Alzheimer’s disease. The $2.4 million grant will study the role of apoE and one of its receptors: apoER2, elucidating the functional roles of its many splice variants found in human brain. The preliminary data for this grant was generated through the generous support of the Harold and Margaret Southerland Alzheimer’s Research Fund, which was founded by David and Susan Caron to honor Susan’s late parents who both suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Katey Lesneski Named as a 2018 Switzer Fellow


Katey Lesneski, Ph.D. candidate co-advised by Dr. John Finnerty and Dr. Les Kaufman, was recently named as a 2018 Switzer Fellow. This prestigious fellowship identifies and supports emerging environmental leaders at universities across the nation. The award recognizes Katey’s demonstrated commitment to coral reef conservation in the Caribbean over the course of her Ph.D. training with Professors Finnerty and Kaufman. Read more about Katey and her research here: https://www.switzernetwork.org/users/kathryn-lesneski

Congrats, Katey!


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

By Jennifer ScottMay 16th, 2018in Faculty News, News

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!