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GSBS recognizes pivotal achievement for PhD students

Ceremony marks milestone as students transition from classroom to lab

By Mark Shelton and James Fessenden

UMass Medical School Communications

September 18, 2014
  • Chancellor Collins addresses newly qualified PhD candidates in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
  • Cansu Colpan, of the Zamore lab, is congratulated by GSBS Dean Anthony Carruthers.
  • Tania Silvas, of the Schiffer lab, is congratulated by Dr. Carruthers.
  • Elizabeth Schutten, of the Berg lab, is one of 44 newly qualified PhD candidates in the GSBS.
  • Dean Terence Flotte thanks the newly qualified PhD candidates for their contributions to the research mission.
  • Melissa Moore, PhD; Carrie Kovalak of the Moore lab; Socheata Ly; Cansu Colpan of the Zamore lab; and Jill Zitzewitz, PhD, gather after the ceremony.
  • Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, with Arvin Iracheta-Vellve, who was among those recognized for passing his exam.
  • Students and faculty attend a reception after the GSBS ceremony.
  • Pamela Cote, GSBS student; Loretah Chibaya, of the Jones lab; and Aneth laban, of the Bolon lab enjoy the reception after the GSBS ceremony.
  • William Kobertz, PhD; Livio Dukaj, of the Rhind lab; and Seth Campbell pause for a photo after the GSBS ceremony.
  • Stephen Miller, PhD, at the GSBS reception.
  • Victor Ambros, PhD, is seen at the GSBS reception.
  • Associate Dean Mary Lane, PhD, is among the crowd at the reception.

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences honored 44 newly qualified PhD candidates with a formal ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 17, marking the milestone achievement as they transition from classroom-based learning to candidacy for a doctoral degree. The event recognized those who have successfully completed the Qualifying Exam.

Chancellor Michael F. Collins said this has been an outstanding year for the graduate students. GSBS students have been recognized nationally for their work by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; soon the medical school will award its 700th PhD; and GSBS students have authored more than 2,300 publications.

“The world is impressed with what is being accomplished here,” said Chancellor Collins. “Given the current challenges to biomedical research funding, our faculty and students continue to thrive and receive support and accolades for the work that you do.”

Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medicine, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, said the students are now transitioning from answering questions posed to them to asking questions about scientific discovery.

“Students are the lifeblood of our institution in many ways,” Dr. Flotte said. “Labs that don’t have graduate students are different. You bring a creative spark, a fresh way of looking at things, new ideas and an unbiased perspective to problems. We thank you for that.”

In congratulating the newly qualified PhD candidates, GSBS Dean Anthony Carruthers, PhD, said, “There’s nothing quite like being the first to recognize a new biological phenomenon or to be the first to explain the details of a previously unexplained phenomenon. What you do will extend our understanding of the human condition in health and disease.”

Associate Dean Mary Ellen Lane, PhD, recognized the students who were admitted to doctoral candidacy in academic year 2013-14: Those students are:

Diwash Acharya, Thomas Fazzio lab
Spencer Adams Jr., Stephen Miller lab
Thomas Akie, Marcus Cooper lab
Daniel Amante, David Harlan lab
Micah Belew, Heidi Tissenbaum lab
Hsi-Ju Chen, Yicktung Ip lab
Han-Yang Chen, Robert Goldberg lab
Hyoung-Soo Cho, Leslie Berg lab
Loretah Chibaya, Stephen Jones lab
Cansu Colpan, Phillip Zamore lab
James Conley, Leslie Berg lab
Livio Dukaj, Nicholas Rhind lab
Brian Duke, Eric Huseby lab
Jonathan Farley, Marc Freeman lab
Jeremy Florman, Mark Alkema lab
Nicholas Hathaway, Jeff Bailey lab
Nils Henninger, Robert Brown lab
Yung Hwang, Merav Socolovsky lab
Orkan Ilbay, Victor Ambros lab
Arvin Iracheta-Vellve, Gyongyi Szabo lab
Mollie Jurewicz, Lawrence Stern lab
Chido Loveness Kativhu, Daniel Libraty lab

Carrie Kovalak, Melissa Moore lab
Aneth Laban, Daniel Bolon lab
Claudine Mapa, Jennifer Benanti lab
Sean McCauley, Jeremy Luban lab
Rhonda McClure, Joel Richter lab
Jill Moore, Zhiping Weng lab
Samir Patel, Beth McCormick lab
Michael Purcaro, Zhiping Weng lab
Lindsay Romo, Neil Aronin lab
Jacob Schrum, Douglas Golenbock lab
Elizabeth Schutten, Leslie Berg lab
Tania Silvas, Celia Schiffer lab
Huayan Sun, Arthur Mercurio lab
Rujapak Sutiwisesak, Robert Finberg lab
Carolyn Sweeney, Haley Melikian lab
Kendra Takle, Yang Xiang lab
Davide Tavella, Francesca Massi lab
Maeve Tischbein, Daryl Bosco lab
Rui Xiao, Molly Waring lab
Yang “Amy” Xu, Vladimir Litvak lab
Gen Zhang, William Theurkauf lab
Lejie Zhang, William Kobertz lab