2019 MCB Commencement Reception and Awards

May 14, 2019

The 2019 UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences undergraduate graduation took place at Gampel Pavilion on Sunday, May 12.

Following commencement, the Molecular and Cell Biology Department hosted the annual reception for graduating seniors in biology.

Awards were given out to students in the 4 areas of concentration. Dr. Michael Lynes, head of MCB handed out awards to Brian Aguilera and Jennifer Messina for Outstanding Senior in MCB. Kevin Lee and Tony Patelunas each received an award for Outstanding TA award.

See the photo album here


Professors May, O’Neill and Robinson Receive NFIP Awards

May 17, 2021

The National Fellowship Incentive Program works to build a stronger student and faculty culture around applying for prestigious, nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. Under this program, Drs. Eric May, Rachel O'Neill and Victoria Robinson have been recognized for their work mentoring students through the process of developing proposals and submitting applications for eligible awards.

2020/2021 Outstanding TAs Announced

May 4, 2021

MCB is proud to announce that Katelyn Denegre and Nina Wang have been named the 2020-2021 Outstanding MCB TAs in recognition of their outstanding contributions, professional dedication to inspiring student learning and commitment to education.
Please join us in congratulating Katelyn and Nina on their notable accomplishments.

Fall 2020 Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET) Awards

May 3, 2021

“Excellence in teaching involves the successful engagement of our students by faculty and graduate assistants who foster a spirit of inquiry and intellectual curiosity. We are very proud of our innovative faculty who achieve excellence in teaching and consistently seek new ways to improve as teachers” – Carl Lejuez, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Dylan Audette
Barbara Mellone
Dan Gage
Elizabeth Kline
Joerg Graf
Leighton Core
Mary Bruno
Philip Yeagle
Victoria Robinson
Melissa Durstin

Alyssa Coulter
Amanda Harrop
Camille Pearce
Corey Theodore
Emily Baranowski
Evan McCabe
Nadine Lebek
Ryan Drennan
Tyler McDermott

All Biology Research Symposium Awards

The 2021 All Biology Research Symposium was held virtually on Monday, April 26th.
Congratulations to the following awardees:

Emily Kilian - MCB Department Head Award
Veronica Eskander - Outstanding Senior in PNB Award
Brandon Smith - Connecticut Museum of Natural History Award
Jordana Graveley - Outstanding Senior in EEB Award
James He - Excellence in Applied Genetics and Technology Award
Julia Horan - Margaret F. Ertman Award
Eman Ahmed - Excellence in Applied Genetics and Technology Award
Lily Zhong - Outstanding Senior in PNB Award
Akriti Bhattarai - Biology Director's Award

Specific award information can be found here

Symposium presentations can be viewed here

Drs. Alder, Mellone and Nyholm Promoted to Professor

April 29, 2021

The UConn Board of Trustees approved the award of tenure and/or promotion to 72 individuals across UConn. Among them, Drs. Nathan Alder, Barbara Mellone and Spencer Nyholm were promoted to professor. Please join us in congratulating them!

OVPR Announces 2021 SURF Awards – Includes 14 MCB Students

April 26, 2021

The 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) Awards were announced. 14 out of the 56 undergraduate SURF Award recipients for Summer 2021 are MCB students. These UConn students were selected from an exceptionally strong group of applicants representing diverse areas of academic inquiry. These students are:

Michelle Antony '23 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: EGFR Signals in the Chondroprogenitor Response to Articular Cartilage Injury Faculty Mentor: Dr. Caroline Dealy, Reconstructive Sciences, Orthopedic Surgery & Cell Biology

Amy Backal '22 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: The Effect of Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) on the Tongue Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Goldhamer, Molecular and Cell Biology

Poorna Balakumar '23 (Molecular and Cell Biology & Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, CLAS) Project Title: The Role of Hydrogen Peroxide as a Virulence Mechanism of Mycoplasma pneumoniae In Vivo Faculty Mentor: Dr. Steven Geary, Molecular and Cell Biology

Ashiti Damania '23 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: Validation of RGC Subtypes Via Molecular Markers Using Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Faculty Mentor: Dr. Feliks Trakhtenberg, Neuroscience

Brian Fox '22 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS; Management Information Systems, BUS) Project Title: Defining C1QL1 Protein Signaling in Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cell Differentiation for Central Nervous System Remyelination with Implications for Multiple Sclerosis Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Martinelli, Neuroscience


Varsha Irvathraya '23 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: Chromosomal Rearrangement of CCND1 on the Development of Parathyroid Tumors and Hyperparathyroidism Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jessica Costa, Center for Molecular Oncology

Paul Isaac '23 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: Save the Crabs: An Investigation of the Genomic and Cellular Components of the Limulus polyphemus Immune Response Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel O'Neill, Molecular and Cell Biology

William Odell '22 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: Inhibitory Effect of Sugar Kelp Supplementation on Inflammation in Mice with Atherosclerosis Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ji-Young Lee, Nutritional Sciences

Cindy Pan '22 (Molecular and Cell Biology & Philosophy, CLAS) Project Title: Weighing-In on Weight: A Qualitative Study on an Online Weight Loss Intervention Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Allied Health Sciences

Avin Sapowadia '22 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: Lubricin Delivery System via Biomimetic Nano-Matrix for Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Faculty Mentor: Dr. Yupeng Chen, Biomedical Engineering

Stephen Stanio '22 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: The Mutagenic and Toxic Effects of Formamidopyrimidine Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ashis Basu, Chemistry

Audrey Worth '22 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: Controlling Pathogen Growth in Raw and Pasteurized Milk with Commercial Bacteriophages Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dennis D'Amico, Animal Science

Joshua Yu '23 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: Correlating Uptake and Intracellular Distribution of Nanoparticle Therapeutics with Cytotoxicity Faculty Mentor: Dr. Xiuling Lu, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Humza Zaidi '22 (Molecular and Cell Biology, CLAS) Project Title: Identifying an Early, Novel Biomarker in the Retina for Alzheimer's Disease Faculty Mentor: Dr. Royce Mohan, Neuroscience



Judith A. and David C. Kelly Summer MCB Research Fellowship Recipients Announced

April 22, 2021

The Judith A. and David C. Kelly Summer MCB Research Fellowship program will support three rising senior MCB majors in their research activities in an MCB Faculty laboratory during the summer of 2021. These three fellowships, funded jointly by the Kellys and MCB, in the amount of $8,000 each, are intended to support students with demonstrated financial need who are MCB majors in good standing, and who have career goals aligned with the major.  The recipents are Danielle Arsenault (Peter Gogarten lab), Celeste Cuellar (Sarah Hird lab), and Shirley Guo (Ken Campellone lab). Please join us in congratulating them on their accomplishments and demonstrated academic promise.

MCB Announces 2021 Summer Fellowship Awards

MCB is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 graduate and undergraduate student summer fellowships.  These distinguished fellowships are made possible by some very generous donors and are offered on a competitive basis to the most highly qualified students.

Please join us in congratulating them on their accomplishments and demonstrated academic promise.

Claire M. Berg Graduate Fellowship in Genetics
Prachi Tandale

Arthur Chovnick Graduate Fellowship in Genetics
Savannah Hoyt

Richard C. Crain, Jr. Memorial Fellowship
Shannon Sullivan

Cross-Disciplinary Fellowship in MCB and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Shipra Malik

Jean Lucas-Lenard Special Summer Fellowship in Biochemistry
Nadine Lebek
Irio Schiano

Pfizer Summer Fellowship in Molecular and Cell Biology
Sean Stoessel

Antonio H. & Marjorie J. Romano Graduate Education Fellowship
Emily Green
Elizabeth Herder

Todd M. Schuster Award in Molecular and Cell Biology
Julia Mazur

Biohaven Pharmaceuticals Fellowship
Virginia (Lyle) King

Learn more about these fellowships



Two MCB Faculty Selected as Fulbright Scholars

April 13, 2021

Dr. Carolyn Teschke was recently selected as a Fulbright Scholar, and plans to visit the University of York during the Spring of 2022. She joins our other Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Michael Lynes, who was re-selected for the current year after the pandemic prevented his going to the University of Bergen last year.

Dr. Teschke plans to mathematically model virus assembly reactions to better understand how the process is controlled to produce proper virus capsids. She will also investigate how viruses evolve larger sizes by in silico remodeling of the protein that makes the virus capsid.

Department head and professor of molecular and cell biology Michael Lynes, will conduct research at the Center for Diabetes Research at the University of Bergen in Norway, to explore the relevance of a therapeutic antibody he developed that can prevent the progression of Type 1 diabetes in mice, and whether it could effectively be used in treating patients.