Letter from the Director – Partying and Parting Words

Nael Picture.jpg

Wow, what a great time of year this has been, with two big events.  The first was the 8th annual GDBBS Awards Banquet, where we celebrated the students and faculty who received annual awards for service to their Programs, to the GDBBS, and to the community, or awards for teaching, mentoring and scholarship.  Our Distinguished Alumnus Award was presented to Dr. Khaled Machaca, a 1996 graduate of the Cell and Developmental Biology Program who is now Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medical Center and serves as Associate Dean for Research at the Qatar campus.  The list of awardees and their bios can be found at:  http://biomed.emory.edu/news-events/events/gdbbs-awards-banquet-2018.html.  We had a lot of fun honoring these outstanding members of the GDBBS family, and look forward to our next evening of celebration next year.

This is also an opportunity to remind our alumni of the newly established Keith Wilkinson Division Service Award that will honor Dr. Keith Wilkinson, former Director of the GDBBS.  We plan to name the inaugural awardee at the next Awards Banquet.  Please be on the lookout for an e-mail inviting you to show your support by contributing to this fund.

Secondly, this time of year brings us pride as we watch many of our students fledge out of the nest to join the ranks of alumni as they graduate and move on to exciting careers.  From summer 2017 through spring 2018, the GDBBS graduated 81 scientists as new PhD holders.  These new alumni are now heading off to further training or new jobs in academia, industry, government, etc., well prepared for this next phase of their lives having successfully invested the past few (?) years toward a brighter future with wider horizons.  One recent graduate, after meeting with me for his exit interview, left a gift and a nice note for Margie Varnado, GDBBS Business Manager, thanking her for all she did for him during his time at Emory.  Priceless.  Another student said goodbye to me this week wearing a t-shirt that said “PhD Candidate Survivor”.  We all know it can feel like “surviving” was the major goal, but our students contribute so much to our research ecosystem, while also creating important new knowledge;  and so, while we’re proud to watch them leave the nest, the taste remains bittersweet.

At exit interviews, I tell all of our graduating students that as alumni they will remain part of the GDBBS family forever, and we hope to learn about their future accomplishments.  As established alumni, I remind you of the same.


With best wishes,

Nael A. McCarty, PhD

Director, GDBBS