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Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology Blog

October 2023 BMBeat


October 2023 Monthly Newsletter


October Content

From the Outreach Office

Keep your eyes on your emails for information about spooky department events happening this month 👀🎃👻🦇


BMB seminars

  • October 4th – Julia Cooper from the University of Colorado

  • October 10th, 9am-5pm Celebrating the Life, Impact, and Legacy of Michael R. Green

  • RIPS HAVE STARTED UP AGAIN! Please contact Sophia Glogowski and Brian Kelch if you’re interested in signing up to give a talk in the spring.

    • October 6th – Michelle Mosqueda (Massi Lab)

    • October 13th – Adam Hedger (Schiffer Lab / Watts Lab)

    • October 20th – Judy Huang (Schiffer Lab)

#Newscience Alert

Read the relevant blogpost Taking the STING out of Disease


BMB News

The Redding lab was feature in the news from the Marine Biological Laboratory (University of Chicago) - Reflecting on a Super-Productive Summer with the 'Chromatin Consortium'.

Left to right: Juniper Glass-Klaiber (Redding lab), Sy Redding, Lifeng Chen (Rosen lab), and Daniel Gerlich in the Chromatin Consortium’s collaborative lab in the MBL Whitman Center. Credit: Diana Kenney


Members of the department attended the 25th UMass Chan Cancer Walk to support Dr. Jill Zitzewitz’s team, the Maroon Walkers. As a team, we raised more than 2,000!!!! Thank you to everyone who donated and/or participated! (People in the picture include Ebru Kaymak, Ellie Bilsel, Guadalupe Montiel, Haley Barlow, Celia Schiffer, Helen Magana, Hoang Vo, Jill Zitzewitz, Leonora Martinez-Nunez, Natasha Buwa, Renata da Costa Barros Silva, Rinalda Proko, & Sabri Bilsel).


Please join us in congratulating the official new PhD candidates in the department!

Webb Camille (Zuoshang Xu & Thompson Labs)

Kathleen Desevin (Rando Lab)

Lauren Intravaia (Schiffer Lab)

Nicole Shedd (Weng Lab)

Congratulations to all the new PhD candidates!


UMass Chan launched its new catchphrase, Advancing Together.” Monserrat Olea Flores and Sandhya Yadav were featured on the school’s social media, and we have “advancing biochemistry together” buttons available on the 9th floor for us to all flaunt!


Dr. Mary Munson was featured in the Worcester Business Journal for her career-long dedication to advocating for women and diversity in science.

Mary Munson (left) seeks to be a voice for change at UMass Chan and the broader scientific community. Here, she speaks with Roey Chen, an undergrad intern from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Credit: Edd Cote


October events

October 5th – 6th - Workshop: 3D Molecular Visualization with Blender. Learn how to use Blender 3D to style molecular data. Register here

October 9th - Indigenous People’s Day

October 11th-12th - DIO Diversity Summitregister here!

October 14th - BBBS volunteering event – get underprivileged kids excited about science! Email us to volunteer!

October 26th-28th - SACNAS meeting. We hope to see you there in Portland, OR.

October 26th-27th - UMass Chan 28th Annual Research Retreat. UMass Amherst Conference Center

October 31st - Annual BMB Spooktacular

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.

New Hires

Feature of the Month

This month, Haley interviewed Dr. Tony Carruthers, one of our distinguished emeritus faculty

Read here

Blog Post & Social Media

Follow the Outreach Office on Social Media and check out the BMB Blog Post 👆


Outreach Opportunities

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

  • Worcester Technical High School is looking for labs to host student interns!

    The Biotechnology Program at Worcester Technical High School combines instruction in basic lab techniques (gel electrophoresis, PCR, sterile technique, etc.) with a standard high school science curriculum and internships in industry or academic labs.  The  goal is to prepare students for research support jobs, but the vast majority go on to major in the sciences at four year colleges and universities, including some of the most competitive schools in the country.   The program does a remarkable job serving under-represented and economically disadvantaged students from Worcester, and hosting an intern is a great way to help.  It’s also a chance for students and postdocs to gain valuable mentoring experience.   A few specifics:  

    • Internships generally run from November through the end of the spring semester in May, but start dates are flexible.  

    • Students alternate one week in the lab with one week in class, and are paid for 30hrs/week in the lab at $15/hr.  Total stipend costs generally run between $3,000 and $4500, which can go on a grant or RTF.  This is also a great way to satisfy outreach requirements for NSF grants.   

    • Teachers at the school make preliminary assignments based on student interests, but final placement is at the discretion of the PI, following an interview.

    • Please email Bill Theurkauf ( if you’re potentially interested in hosting an intern or would  like more information.”

  • October 14th – Big Brothers Big Sisters Outreach Event – join us in conducting hands-on science activities with underprivileged kids and their mentors! The Big Brothers Big Sisters program matches vulnerable youth with adult mentors to help children reach their full potential. We’ll be walking them through experiments to learn where medicine comes from. Email us to volunteer!

Free events in & around Worcester

Every weekend in October – Wachusett Mountain has stuff going on! Not free, but they’ve got Oktoberfest, AppleFest, BooFest, and more!

October 1st, 11am – Yoga in the Park at Institute Park in Worcester

October 3rd – Shrewsbury Blood Pressure Clinic and Open House – get your blood pressure checked!

October 5th – North County Harvest Festival in Fitchburg

October 6th, 6pm – Reception for Jean McDonough Arts Center Exhibit on using art therapy to battle schizophrenia (exhibit open October 4th – 8th)

October 14th – Cultivate Care Farms PRIDE Event – includes goat snuggles.

October 16th – Annual Meeting of the Worcester Cultural Coalition – apparently there will be food and dancing!

October 25th – Latinx in Tech Mixer in Natick

October 27th-29th – Hopkinton Wicked Weekend (lots of events!)

October 28th – World of Foods – come celebrate the vibrant immigrant food scene in Worcester!

October 28th – Howl-O-Ween Pawty for the Pups at the Worcester Animal Rescue League – please bring a trick (dog toy) or a (dog) treat to this supply-raiser event.

October 28th – Beth’s 2nd Annual Halloween Costume Party – if you’re looking for a costume party, this bar is hosting one!


October is Emotional Wellness Month! Emotional wellness is a form of resilience – according to the NIH, “emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.” Here are some resources to *bolster* our emotional health and wellness (hint: engaging in and strengthening social connections is a big component of emotional resilience!).

Check out the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) – they’ve got lots of resources on how to be a resilient scientist.

EAP: 1-800-322-5327 or

Emergency numbers:

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!


Job opportunity

The Worcester Public Schools' (WPS) Innovation Career Pathways (ICP) program is looking for a part-time Biotechnology Lab Assistant for its Foundations of Biotechnology and Application of Biotechnology Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses.

The successful applicant will work with ICP's Biotechnology instructors to set-up and implement biotechnology labs for the program's 10th,11th and 12th grade students at Worcester Technical High School. The position requires previous lab experience and competency in basic lab skills. Lab practices include micropipetting, sterile technique, preparation of solutions from powders, dilution of liquids, viability assay, DNA isolation, restriction digests, agarose gel electrophoresis, PCR, DNA sequencing, sequence analysis, and more.

This position is a two-day a week position, from 2:00pm - 5:30pmfrom November 8, 2023 - March 7, 2024. Stipend of $2,000 offered. Great for local college and graduate students!

Interested applicants should email their resumes and references to


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