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2014 Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetics awarded to Judy I-Ting Wang

We are pleased to announce that this year's Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetic Research will be awarded to Judy I-Ting Wang. Judy is a current student in the Neuroscience graduate group (NGG), and is performing thesis work in the lab of Dr. Zhaolan Zhou. Her research focuses on pathogenic mechanisms by which mutations in CDKL5 lead to autism spectrum disorder. She developed and characterized the firstCdkl5 knockout mouse model, and she identified multiple signal transduction pathways that are disrupted in this model. She then went on to make conditional Cdkl5 knockouts to tease apart distinct roles ofCdkl5 in excitatory vs. inhibitory neurons. These projects resulted in first-author publications in PNAS and Neurobiology of Disease,with others still in the works. In addition to her research accomplishments, Judy has been an impressive university and community citizen. She has mentored students in the lab (including one undergraduate who became a co-author on a paper), worked as a teaching assistant, and participated throughout her graduate career in numerous outreach activities such as Kids Judge Neuroscience, Upward Bound and Brain Bee.

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2014 Entering GGR students – Welcome to these new students who are joining us this year!

Niambi Brewer - UMBC
Jennifer Cohen – Lehigh U.
Sean Ryan – Rutgers U.

2014 GGR PhD recipients – Congratulations to these students who recently completed their PhDs!

Jessica Bryant, Berger lab, “Chromatin dynamics in yeast and mammalian gametogenesis”

Aleksandra Nall, Sehgal lab, “Uppers and downers: Understanding sleep regulation using small molecules in Drosophila”

2014 Poster Prizes – Congratulations to GGR students Joyce Lee (Wellen lab) and Rob Plasschaert (Bartolomei lab) for winning poster prizes at the CAMB Symposium and the Genetics Symposium, respectively! Joyce’s poster was entitled: “Akt-dependent metabolic reprogramming regulates tumor cell histone acetylation”. Rob’s poster was entitled: “Exploring the role of CTCF in the imprinted expression of Grb10 during neuronal commitment”

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2014 fellowship awards
– Congratulations to GGR students Gleb Bazilevsky (Marmorstein lab), Mike Gallagher (Chen-Plotkin lab), Becky Billmire Glineburg (Johnson lab), Sumeet Khetarpal (Rader lab) for obtaining individual NRSA fellowships this year!

2014 GEN-TG appointments – Congratulations to the 4 new appointees to the Genetics training grant for 2014-2015:

Jeremy Grevet, Blobel lab
Allison Jamieson-Lucy, Mullins lab
Jennifer Myers, Bartolomei lab
Suzi Shapira, Seale lab

Additionally, these students will be re-appointed for a second year:

Aaron Leichty, Poethig lab
Kate Palozola, Zaret lab
Alex Rohacek, Epstein lab
Eliana Weisz, Jongens lab

And these students have been “pre-selected” for appointments in 2015-2016:

Kelsey Johnson, Voight lab
Jonathan Rumley, Murray lab

GGR lab highlighted in Penn News

2013 PhD recipients – Congratulations to the following GGR students!

Lara Abramowitz (Bartolomei lab), “Genomic Imprinting: Establishment, maintenance and stability of DNA methylation imprints”

Amy Campbell (Blobel lab), “Dissecting molecular pathways that underlie disease causing GATA1 mutations”

Samantha Eberle Dwyer (Chodosh lab), “Autophagy is required for HER2/neu-induced mammary tumor recurrence by promoting the survival of dormant tumor cells”

Brittany Gregory (Cheung lab), “Natural variation in the histone demethylase, KDM4C, influences cell proliferation through the regulation of specific genes”

Elizabeth Morton (Lamitina lab), “Regulation and dynamic behavior of the heat shock transcription factor HSF-1 in C. elegans”

Tanya Panchenko (Black lab), “Centromeric chromatin: Structure, Function and Epigenetic Inheritance”

Ruchira Ranaweera (Yang lab), “Control of the tumor suppressor p53 by regulating Mdm2 activity and stability”

Chris Weber (Fisher lab), “Multiple conserved enhancers of the osteoblast master transcription factor, Runx2, integrate diverse signaling pathways to direct expression to developing bone”

2013 Poster Prizes – Congratulations to GGR student Ian Silverman (Gregory lab) for winning poster prizes at both the CAMB Symposium and the Genetics Symposium this year!  Ian’s poster was entitled: “RNase-mediated protein footpring sequencing reveals protein-binding sites throughout the human transcriptome”.

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(Photo courtesy of Brian Gregory)

2013 Kadesch Prize in Genetics – Congratulations to Maria Elena (Ellen) De Obaldia, recipient of the 2013 Kadesch Prize in Genetics.  Ellen is a current student in the Immunology graduate group (IGG), and is performing thesis work in the lab of Dr. Avinash Bhandoola.  Her research focuses on mechanisms of T-lineage specification and commitment during hematopoiesis.  Ellen used genetic approaches in the mouse to show that early T lineage precursor cells in the thymus still have myeloid potential.  She then built on initial observations by Tom Kadesch’s lab to show how Notch and Hes-1 block myeloid specification to allow for T cell specification. These projects resulted in first-author publications inBlood and Nature Immunology. In addition to her research accomplishments, Ellen has been an impressive university and community citizen.  She has mentored students in the lab and at community science fairs, worked as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate immunology course, and served on multiple IGG and BGS committees. She also co-authored the 2011 book “Success with Science: The Winner’s Guide to High School Research”, which compiles advice from students, teachers, science fair directors and other scientists who, like Ellen, got their start in science fairs.

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Becca Mueller, Abby Huntington, Ellen De Obaldia and Stephen Liebhaber

2013 Entering GGR students – Welcome to six new CAMB/GGR students who are joining us this year!

Christopher Cali, Villanova, U.
Priya Chatterji, Vellore Inst of Technology
Shawn Foley, UPenn
Kelsey Johnson, U. Wisconsin, Madison
Terra Kuhn, U. Arizona
Jonathan Rumley, Wingate U.

2013 June PhD recipients – Congratulations to Tanya Panchenko on receiving her PhD!

Tanya Panchenko, Black lab
“Centromeric chromatin: Structure, Function and Epigenetic Inheritance”

2013 UNCF-Merck Graduate Science Research Fellowship – Congratulations to Brian Johnson (Zhou lab) on this fellowship award!

2013 GEN-TG appointments – Congratulations to the 4 new appointees to the Genetics training grant for 2013-2014:

Aaron Leichty, Poethig lab
Kate Palozola, Zaret lab
Alex Rohacek, Epstein lab
Eliana Weisz, Jongens lab

Additionally, these students will be re-appointed for a second year:
Chris Hsiung, Blobel lab
Richard Jimenez, Schultz lab
Ian Silverman, Gregory lab
Katie Wood, Zhou lab

2012 Kadesch Prize in Genetics – Congratulations to Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, recipient of the 2012 Kadesch Prize in Genetics.
Ishmail was a student in the Genetics and Gene Regulation (GGR) program of the Cell and Molecular Biology (CAMB) graduate group, and received his Ph.D. in 2012. His thesis work, performed in the lab of Dr. Meera Sundaram, used a simple model system, the nematode C. elegans, to define multiple genetically-separable roles for Ras signaling in tubular organ development. Ishmail also identified a conserved Nkx5-family transcription factor that cooperates with Ras signaling to control tube morphology.These projects resulted in first-author publications inDevelopmentandDevelopmental Biology. In addition to his research accomplishments, Ishmail is a deeply community-minded person and was involved in many mentoring and scientific outreach programs during his graduate career. For example, as Outreach Coordinator for the E.E. Just Biomedical Society, Ishmail organized events to expose inner city high school students and military veterans to the possibilities of a career in science. Ishmail also served as a highly dedicated teaching assistant for two large undergraduate molecular genetics courses.

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Ishmail Abdus-Saboor (center) with Dr. Steve Liebhaber (right) and members of the Kadesch family