2018 8th Annual GDBBS Award Banquet

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By Amielle Moreno,  Neuroscience, ‘12


“Are you going to the banquet tonight,” friends asked each other in laboratory hallways between rushed experiments. There was a hard out on April 18, with all pippetting or imaging coming to a halt, in time for the party. Attendees had arrived that morning with bags holding their fancy dresses or wearing outfits that could easily be transitioned into the cocktail attire of the night. Stragglers need not apply, as RSVPs for the event were submitted weeks ago.

Neuroscience students laugh together in a not so quiet corner of the bar room

Neuroscience students laugh together in a not so quiet corner of the bar room

Excited students with “where’s the bar” on the tip of their tongues funneled up the hill and stairs to the Druid Hills Golf Club, where three bars split the attendees into lodge style rooms. Unfortunately, outdoor cocktail hour was unavailable this year due to construction.

Students and Faculty alike teased one another about cutting in drink lines and hunting for trays of puff pastries. Director Nael McCarty chatted with students about their recent successes, offering one young lady a letter of recommendation when the time came. The precocious lady replied in thanks and offered to do the same for McCarty.

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics students grab a shot from the photographer.

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics students grab a shot from the photographer.

As diners settled into their salad courses, McCarty checked the make up of his audience by chiding each program to make as much noise as they could, with claps and yells. The results from the cheer-meter are still hotly contested. With speed and respect, McCarty moved through the recipients of the Program Scholar awards. Celebrating the achievements of their colleagues, programs celebrated their friends and award recipients.

Dr. Khaled Machaca was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award. His achievements were touted as he stood on stage with his mentor, Chairman of the Biology Department Dr. Steven L’Hernault. Now a Dean for Research in his own right at Weill Cornell Medicine’s Qatar campus, Dr. Machaca’s laboratory focuses on calcium signaling and potential therapeutic targets for diseases such as cancer and hypertension as well as immune cell activation.

As the night came to a close, attendees collected mini-gift bags quaffed with balloons and crinkling with cellophane. It would be back to the bench tomorrow with the promise of recognition if their scientific or outreach achievements reach the heights of those honored tonight.

Your 2018 GDBBS Award Recipients

Program Scholars of the Year

BCDB   M Edward Quach, Renhao Li, Advisor

CB          Emily Summerbell, Adam Marcus, Advisor

GMB      Anna Knight, Alicia Smith, Advisor

IMP        Kevin Sia, Jyothi Rengarajan, Advisor

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MMG     Kara Phipps, Anice Lowen, Advisor

MSP       Suzanne Mays, Eric Ortlund, Advisor

NS          Erica Landis, Machelle Pardue, Advisor

PBEE      Brent Allman, Katia Koelle, Advisor

Graduate Career Award

Kendra Quicke, MMG; Mehul Suthar, Advisor

Student Teaching Award

Nick Johnson, PBEE; Karen Conneely, Advisor

Career Teaching Award

Alynda Wood, NS; Sam Sober, Advisor

Student Leadership Award

Sarah Connolly, IMP; Eric Hunter, Advisor

Outreach/Community Service Award

Archana Venkataraman, NS; Brian Dias, Advisor

Student Mentor Award

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Anna Knight, GMB; Alicia Smith, Advisor

Faculty Mentor Award

Nicole Gerardo, PBEE


Distinguished Alumnus Award

Khaled Machaca, Ph.D. (CDB Grad, 1996); Steven L’Hernault, PhD Advisor


Graduate Program in Biology Academic and Professional Achievement Award

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Kevin Morris, BCDB; Anita Corbett, Advisor

Margaret and Thomas Lew Graduate Award in Biomedical Sciences in Biochemistry

Emily Hunter, BCDB; Win Sale, Advisor

Kevin Morris, BCDB; Anita Corbett, Advisor

Brenda Calderon, BCDB; Graeme Conn, Advisor

Raymond Dingledine Award for Extraordinary Graduate Achievement

Lauren Shapiro, MSP; Shannon Gourley, Advisor

William and Catherine Rice Research Award

Valentina Gonzalez-Pecchi, CB; Haian Fu, Advisor