Congratulations to PhD Graduates

Neil Shubin

We here congratulate all of our 2019-20 PhD graduates from the BSD.  Each has attained the highest degree awarded, and some have had their extraordinary accomplishments acknowledged through the award of their program's prize for contributions to their field.  Simone Rauch’s outstanding thesis work has additionally been recognized with the BSD Best Dissertation Award.  We also recognize Professor Megan McNerney, nominated by her students for her passion for research and dedication to training, as a recipient of the University’s Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award.

Since we cannot gather in person, we present recorded remarks from Dean Kenneth Polonsky and our featured speaker, Professor Neil Shubin, in a video produced by the UChicago Medicine and Biological Sciences Division Development Office.

For all of you who graduated this academic year, please accept my heartfelt congratulations.  While I greatly look forward to a future ceremony—where we can come together to mark this important occasion in person—now is the time to celebrate your remarkable achievements.  I wish you the very best of fortune, and look forward to staying connected with you as you move on to the next stage of your life and career.  

Victoria Prince, PhD
Dean and Director, Graduate Affairs

Award for Best Dissertation in the Division of the Biological Sciences

Simone Rauch (Winter 2020)
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Boston University, AB, 2015
DISSERTATION: Synthetic Biology Approaches to Study and Control the Transcriptome
ADVISOR: Bryan Dickinson, PhD

Program Dissertation Awards

Gregory Anthony (Summer Quarter 2019)
Medical Physics
Northwestern University, AB, 2014
DISSERTATION: Therapeutic Ultrasound: Improved Image Guidance and Combinatorial Treatments for Recurrent Prostate Cancer
ADVISOR: Steffan Sammet, MD, PhD
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of medical physics

Anastasia E. Beiriger (Spring Quarter 2020)
Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, BS, 2013
DISSERTATION: Origins and Migration of the Octavolateral Efferent and Facial Branchiomotor Neurons in Zebrafish
ADVISOR: Victoria Prince, PhD
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of developmental, regeneration, and stem cell biology

Lauren Elizabeth Blake (Winter Quarter 2020)
Human Genetics
Duke University, SB, 2013
DISSERTATION: Using Functional Genomics Approaches to Investigate Human Complex Traits and Diseases
ADVISOR: Yoav Gilad, PhD
POSITION: Data Scientist, Alto Neuroscience
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of human genetics

Nathan Paul Buerkle (Winter Quarter 2020)
Neurobiology
University of Minnesota Twin Cities, SB, 2012
DISSERTATION: Evolution of Neural Computation in Color Vision Circuits
ADVISOR: Stephanie Palmer, PhD
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of neurobiology

Wanhao Chi (Spring Quarter 2019)
Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology
Yantai University, SB, 1997
Zhejiang University, SM, 2002
University of Chicago, SM, 2018

DISSERTATION:  Genetic and Neural Mechanisms of PNPO Deficiency in Vitamin B6-Dependent Epilepsy
ADVISOR: Xiaoxi Zhuang, PhD
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of genetics, genomics, and systems biology

David Press (Autumn Quarter 2019)
Public Health Sciences
University of Southern California, SB, 2007
University of Cambridge, MPhil, 2008
DISSERTATION: Individual and Neighborhood Contributions to African American Health Disparities in Bio-Specimen Research Participation, Prostate-Specific Antigen Levels, and Prostate Cancer Aggressiveness
ADVISOR: Habibul Ahsan, MD
POSITION: NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern University
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of public health sciences

Simone Rauch (Winter Quarter 2020)
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Boston University, AB, 2015
DISSERTATION: Synthetic Biology Approaches to Study and Control the Transcriptome
ADVISOR: Bryan Dickinson, PhD
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of biochemistry and molecular biophysics

Ashley Rich (Spring Quarter 2020)
Cell and Molecular Biology
University of Evansville, BS, 2013
DISSERTATION: Optogenetic Analysis of Rho family GTPases during Morphogenesis and Polarization
ADIVSOR: Michael Glotzer, PhD
POSITION: Postdoctoral researcher, Duke University
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of cell and molecular biology

Aneesha Suresh Sahu (Autumn Quarter 2019)
Computational Neuroscience
Northwestern University, SB, 2010
Ibid., SM, 2011
DISSERTATION: Sensorimotor Representations of Manual Behavior
ADVISOR: Sliman Bensmaia, PhD
POSITION: Postdoctoral fellow, Northwestern University
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of computational neuroscience

Sriram Sundaravel (Summer Quarter 2019)
Cancer Biology
Illinois Institute of Technology, MS, 2012
DISSERTATION: TBX5: Mechanism of Action of a Signaling Protein DOCK4 in Myelodysplastic Syndromes
ADVISOR: Amittha Wickrema, PhD
POSITION: Research fellow, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
The program award for outstanding performance in the general field of cancer biology

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