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Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology Blog

September 2023 BMBeat




Monthly Newsletter SEPTEMBER 2023





September Content

·           From the Outreach Office

·           September Events

·           New Hires

·           BMB News

·           New science alert

·           Feature of the Month

·           Blog posts + social media

·           Wellness

·           Job Openings

From the Outreach Office


This month is the temporal home to NATIONAL POSTDOC APPRECIATION WEEK! (September 18th-22nd). Start planning now how you will show your postdocs how much you appreciate them! This month, on September 15th, is also the start of Latin American Heritage Month!

September Events

September 4th – Labor Day Holiday! 

September 24thUMass Chan Cancer Walk! Sign up to walk with Dr. Jill Zitzewitz’ “Jill’s Maroon Walkers” team! The dress-up theme this year is “Superheroes.” 

Most Fridays at 12:30, the Outreach Office organizes a “Newbie Lunch” for recent hires (~the last six months). All are welcome, as the goal of the lunch is to help new members of our department meet people and integrate into our community. 

BMB Seminar Series

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE – invite your friends, your heroes, or your frenemies to be speakers in next year’s BMB Seminar Series! Thank you to Josué and Sy for organizing!

Reminder that you can invite anyone from any career stage to cover any topic (including things that aren’t strictly science). FILL OUT THIS FORM


September 13th Dr. Hanhui Ma from Shanghai Tech University

September 20th – Dr. Thoru Pederson from UMass Chan BMB 

September 27th – Dr. Mohsan Saeed from Boston University Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine 


September 22nd – Kristyn Norris from the Munson Lab 

September 29th – Sarah Zvornicanin from the Schiffer Lab 

National Postdoc Appreciation Week Events

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FREE Events in & around Worcester:

Any time – volunteer with One Leaf Corp (run by our own Webb Camille in the Xu Lab) by emailing  

September 2nd - Yoga in the Park at Institute Park 

September 5th - UGROW Volunteer Day run by the Regional Environmental Council – volunteer at an urban garden! 

September 6th-17th -The Butterfly and Crane Movement Exhibit @ the Jean McDonough Arts Center (an art exhibit celebrating and interrogating the history of immigration) 

September 14th - the Central Massachusetts Women in Data Science Mini Conference at WPI 

September 16th - AutumnFest 2023 in Southbridge  

September 17th - stART on the Street. Park Av. Wocester MA

September 17th - Guided Hike to Riche’s Mill Site in Millbury by the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor 

September 17th - Boston Mycological Club Mushroom Foray at Cormier Woods 

September 24th - Green Hill Park Clean-Up – volunteer to clean the park while learning about climate change from WPI speakers. 

September 26th - Bharatanatyam Dance & Discussion about “how water pervades our bodies, our everyday lives & our environment” in Ashland 

September 28th - Container Gardening class by the Community Teaching Garden Literacy Project 

New Hires

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BMB News

Dr. Mary Munson’s commitment to DEI work in science and at UMass Chan was featured in the Worcester Business Journal! 

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We have a new PhD in the house!

Dr. Peren Coskun (Ryder Lab) successfully defended her dissertation on August 17th.



Sarah Zvornicanin’s successful NIH F31 was featured by UMass Chan Medical School. Sarah is studying the devastating disease caused by infection with HTLV1. 

The department attended a rainy Woo Sox game on August 15th. Fun times were had by all, despite a losing game and general dampness.

Dr. Mary Munson’s most recent NIH R01 award was featured by UMass Chan Medical School. This grant will fund Dr. Munson’s ongoing research into the molecular mechanisms of exocytic vesicle tethering and fusion. 

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Description automatically generatedThe Diversity Action Committee organized an ice cream social to celebrate our summer students. We had a great turnout on a beautiful day!

#Newscience alert!

#Preprint alert!

Feature of the Month

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Meet Hila Schaal, a Research associate in the Miller Lab

Read the feature here

Blog Post & social media

Follow the BMB on social media

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Blog post


In honor of Latin American Heritage Month starting on September 15th, here are some mental health resources for the Latin American community members: 

·         Therapy for Latinx & Latinx Therapy – resources to help find a Spanish-speaking and culturally-competent therapist. Language barriers are a big problem in all kinds of healthcare, even for those who are bilingual. Such bilingual patients are evaluated differently in a medical setting depending on whether they are evaluated in Spanish or in English. Additionally, some people may feel more comfortable expressing their emotions in therapy in their first language. Let’s all make an effort to advocate for increased support for Spanish language training for healthcare professionals and for increased career support for Spanish-speaking clinicians and therapists.  

·         The Focus on You is a “self-care, mental health and inspirational” blog written by a Latina Therapist. The most recent post was in 2019, but many of the articles may still be useful. 

·         The American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry “Find a Physician” Page (they list 17 Massachusetts-based PhDs & MDs, including one in Worcester). 

·         Información y Materiales de Salud Mental en español 

·         Psychology Today’s “Find a therapist” feature 

Many of these resources were pulled from Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness

Emergency numbers:  

EAP: 1-800-322-5327 or 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 

MA Behavioral Health Help Line (can also text this number!): 833-773-2445 

SAMHSA National Helpline (in English and Spanish!): 1-800-662-4357 

Worcester Community HealthLink: 1-866-549-2142 

Job Openings – share with your network

Postdoc in the Kobertz Lab

Postdoc in the Thompson Lab 

Academic Administrator for the BMB

Postdoc in the Thyme Lab

Research Associate I in the Bolon Lab

Director of the Mass Spectrometry Facility

Other links

Do you have any suggestions?

Share your news with us!

Do you have a job opening? Let us know

Social media feature request

Miss a previous newsletter? They’re all on the BMB website!




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