2019 GDBBS Awards Banquet

By: Miranda McDaniel 

This year, the GDBBS was proud to honor its students and faculty during a particularly special Annual GDBBS Awards Banquet celebrating 30 years of graduate education. The banquet, which was held on April 24th, recognized the wonderful achievements earned by the members of our community.


The night began with an opening greeting from Director, Dr. Nael McCarty. He expressed his appreciation for the faculty and students, acknowledging all those who dedicate their time and energy towards making our interdisciplinary program one of the most successful programs in biological and biomedical research. He also reflected on the evolution and impact of our program since it began 30 years ago, paying special attention to the faculty and previous Division Directors who have helped to establish such a flourishing community of scientists and scholars.  


Among the award recipients was Dr. Valerie Horsley, who received the Distinguished Alumna Award. Since earning her PhD in 2003, Dr. Horsley has gone on to become an Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Dermatology at Yale. In addition to her several awards, including the Pew Scholar Award, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and the Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award, Dr. Horsley also ran for State Senate in 2018.

[To learn more about Dr. Horsley and her journey from science to senate, check out our Fall 2018 edition of the GDBBS Alumni Newsletter to find her article “Why I (A Successful Scientist) Decided to Run for Political Office and Why You Should Get Involved, Too”.]


After dinner, several students, faculty, and alumni were recognized for their achievements. The award recipients were as follows:

GDBBS Award Recipients 

Endowment Research Awards

 Graduate Program in Biology Academic and Professional Achievement Award

Marko Bajic (GMB) — Advisor: Roger Deal, PhD


Margaret and Thomas Lew Graduate Award in Biomedical Sciences in Biochemistry

Kelsey Maher (BCDB) — Advisor: Roger Deal, PhD

M. Edward Quach (BCDB) — Advisor: Renhao Li, PhD


Raymond Dingledine Award For Extraordinary Graduate Achievement

Suzanne Mays (MSP) — Advisor: Eric Ortlund, PhD


William and Catherine Rice Research Award

Fadi Poulous (CB) — Advisor: Brian Petrich, PhD


Keith Wilkinson Division Service Award

Sarah Suciu (GMB) — Advisor: Tamara Caspary, PhD


Distinguished Alumna Award

Valerie Horsley, PhD (BCDB Graduate, 2003) — Advisor: Grace Pavlath, PhD


Program Scholars of The Year

Kelsey Maher (BCDB) — Advisor: Roger Deal, PhD

Allyson Koyen (CB) — Advisor: David Sung-Wen Yu, MD, PhD

Hari Somineni (GMB) — Advisors: Subra Kugathasan, MD; Gregory Gibson, PhD

Maria White (IMP) — Advisor: Anice Lowen, PhD

Ashley Cross (MMG) — Advisor: Joanna Goldberg, PhD

Cameron Herting (MSP) — Advisor: Dolores Hambardzumyan, PhD

Arielle Valdez (NS) — Advisor: Gary Bassell, PhD

Connor Morozumi (PBEE) — Advisor: Berry Brosi, PhD


Graduate Career Award

Amanda Mener (IMP) — Advisor: Sean Stowell, MD, PhD


TATTO Teaching Award

Xingwen Loy (PBEE) — Advisor: Berry Brosi, PhD

Matthew Stern (NS/MD-PhD) — Advisor: Robert Gross, MD, PhD


Student Career Teaching Award

Elizabeth Kline (NS) — Advisor: Malú Tansey, PhD


Student Leadership Award

Mary Herrick (NS) — Advisor: Malú Tansey, PhD


Student Mentor Award

Erica Harris (PBEE) — Advisor: Nicole Gerardo, PhD


Faculty Mentor Award

Peter Wenner, PhD (NS)


Outreach/Community Service Award

Andrea Pack (NS) — Advisor: Samuel Sober, PhD

Rachel Turn (BCDB) — Advisor: Richard Kahn, PhD


Congratulations to all of our award recipients! We are incredibly proud of our community for their amazing achievements, and we look forward to the next 30 years of success!