Greetings from Department Head Carolyn Teschke

Greetings friends and alumni:

Here we are at the start of the 23/24 academic year. We all enjoy the summer because we get a chance to slow down a bit, but it’s always exciting when the undergraduates arrive back on campus. Our new class of graduate students have also arrived and are being welcomed into classes and research labs. This year we have 17 new PhD students, 5 MS students, and 11 Professional MS students. We are excited that they have joined us here in Storrs.

Our teaching mission continues to grow. MCB majors now number around 550 and we contribute to the education of the greater than 1000 Biological Sciences students. Many of our undergraduates participate in research. Many of our undergraduate researchers are awarded SURF funds to support their summer research. Last year Romir Raj '24 was awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship and Stephanie Schofield '23 became a Fulbright US Scholar to study in Heidelberg Germany.  In addition, Ananya Aggarwal '24 and Sindy Gorka '23 were chosen as University Scholars.

In terms of research support, we continue to produce new grant proposals at a good rate, and to date in this academic year these efforts have attracted additional major awards totaling more than $4.7 million and research expenditures of ~$7.1 million for FY23. Faculty are also producing work that is translational, with several MCB research programs being supported by institutions and agencies working to transform our scientific discoveries into products, therapies, and diagnostics.

In this issue, we share the work of Kat Milligan-McClennan to strengthen Native American and Indigenous communities, as well as recent research from the labs of Jelena Erceg, Dan Gage, and Jonathan Klassen. I am so proud of how hard our entire community works to provide excellent educational opportunities for our students and the research each lab produces, which enhances our understanding of our world.