GDBBS Awards Banquet 2012

The 2nd Annual GDBBS Awards Banquet was held on September 28, 2012 at the Druid Hills Golf Club. Click here to download the event program.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Jonathan D. Glass is Professor of Neurology and Pathology, and the Director of the Emory ALS Center in the Department of Neurology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is widely known for his research on the pathogenesis and prevention of nerve degeneration in neurological diseases, and for his work in human and experimental neuropathology. His laboratory currently focuses on the causes of nerve degeneration in animal models of neurological diseases, including the development of novel therapeutic interventions to prevent the death of nerve fibers. Dr. Glass is a passionate advocate for bringing science to the clinic, and involving patients in the study of their own disease. Collaboration with ALS patients, he is exploring the biological markers of disease activity and progression. He is
also the principle investigator for the current first-in-human, phase 1 study of spinal cord injection of neural stem cells for patients with ALS (funded by Neuralstem, Inc).

Dr. Glass is an active clinician who has been cited each year since 2001 as one of "America's Top Doctors" (Castle Connelly) and since 2005 as one of the very few neurologists in "Atlanta's Top Doctors" (Atlanta Magazine). He is also a teacher and mentor to young physicians and served as the director of Emory's Neurology residency program from 2001- 2006. Dr. Glass received his undergraduate degree from Middlebury College (Vermont) and his MD from the University of Vermont. He trained in Neurology and Neuropathology at Johns Hopkins, where he was a faculty member until moving to Emory in 1996.

Students of the Year

Kevin Van Bortle
Advisor: Victor Corces, PhD

Jessica Tepe
Advisor: Adam Marcus, PhD

Jenna Daenzer
Advisor: Judith Fridovich-Keil, PhD

Clinton Paden
Advisor: Samuel Speck, PhD

Elizabeth Obneck
Advisor: William Shafer, PhD

Paul Musille
Advisor: Eric Ortlund, PhD

Jessica Marcinkevage
Advisor: K.M. Venkat Narayan, MD

Sharon Swanger
Advisor: Gary Bassell, PhD

Eleanor Sternberg
Advisor: Jacobus de Roode, PhD

Award Recipients

Faculty Mentor Award
Anita Corbett, PhD

Graduate Career Award
William J. Kaiser III (MMG)
Advisor: Ed Mocarski, Jr, PhD

Outreach/Community Service Award
Benjamin Nanes (BCDB, MD/PhD)
Advisor: Andrew Kowalczyk, PhD

Student Leadership Award
Laura Mariani (NS)
Advisor: Tamara Caspary, PhD

Student Mentor Award
Orion Keifer (NS, MD/PhD)
Advisor: Kerry Ressler, MD/ PhD

Student Teaching Award
Rebecca Levine (PBEE)
Advisor: Uriel Kitron, PhD, MPH

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Dr. Elizabeth Smith (Beth) has had a stellar career as a leading scholar, educator and mentor. Beth's promise as an experimentalist and researcher was evident even when she was a graduate student at Emory and Summer Fellow at the MBL. Beth's dissertation work resulted in a number of papers including two papers in Science and Journal of Cell Biology that helped define a new direction in study of cilia and part of the recent revolution in our understanding of cilia in human health. Beth went on to postdoctoral studies with Pete Lefebvre at the University of Minnesota, the leader in development of molecular and genetic tools and approaches using the model organism Chlamydomonas for study of cell signaling  and control of motility. This was a timely and deliberate decision on Beth's part since she recognized that the Chlamydomonas genome sequencing was nearly completed, and that the organism would remain as the most important model system, well into the future, for discovery of conserved genes, that when defective, results in a wide range of diseases collectively called ciliopathies. As a postdoc, she again published a number of notable papers that became the foundation for her new, independent studies at Dartmouth.

At Dartmouth, Beth moved through the ranks to Professor, and she has become the world's leader in study of calcium signaling and the biochemistry of calmodulin and calmodulin interacting proteins in the regulation of the dynein motors and ciliary motility. As is true for many of our faculty in college departments, she did all of this while carrying a very large teaching load in undergraduate and graduate education. The NIH, and other institutions have continuously funded Beth, and she regularly publishes in the top journals. To illustrate her national and international stature, she is regularly invited to speak and / or organize at Gordon Conferences and national meetings. Most notably, in 2008 she was awarded the Keith Porter Fellowship from the Porter Endowment for Cell Biology.

A hallmark of Beth's career has been her commitment and recordin education student and postdoctoral training, including hosting students from Emory University in her lab. Beth is very interactive and a great role model for our students and postdocs. We are sure that many of our GDBBS students would enjoy meeting Beth and discussing careers and professional development. As an important bonus, Beth has a great sense of humor that our students and faculty will enjoy.

Special Thanks

On behalf of the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest appreciation to Dean Lisa Tedesco and the James T. Laney Graduate School for their financial contributions for this event. The GDBBS is deeply grateful for your generosity.

We would also like to thank our keynote speaker, Jonathan Glass, for the contributions you have made to the success of the Division and for sharing your insights. To all faculty, students, and staff thank you for your continual efforts in making the Graduate Division among the most successful programs in modern biological and biomedical research and a true model for interdisciplinary training.

I would especially like to thank three members of our LGS and GDBBS Staff who contributed to the success of this event: Monica Taylor, Robin Harpak and Katie Busch. Thank you Sharon Jordan for filling in while Robin was on leave. It is through the support of individuals like you that we are capable of organizing such a special occasion. Thanks to all of you for taking time out of your schedule to help us celebrate the achievements of students and faculty at this Third Annual GDBBS Awards banquet.


Keith D. Wilkinson, PhD
GDBBS Director