At the sixth annual Driskill Day, students, faculty and alumni gathered to showcase research, celebrate excellence and welcome 30 new doctoral students to The Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences (DGP).
The event, held Monday, September 18, recognizes the $10 million gift the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Foundation made in 2011. The DGP program now includes 19 different departments, 188 students and 165 faculty members.
“This is a special day in the school year when we celebrate the DGP: its students, its faculty and its benefactor,” said Nicholas Cianciotto, PhD, director of DGP and professor of Microbiology-Immunology. “We gather as a diverse community, expressing enthusiasm for our shared goals of education, training and the advancement of biomedical research.”
The four student research award recipients kicked off the evening with research presentations on topics ranging from bioinspired delivery vehicles for nucleic acid therapies for cancer to a bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus.
The award winners, which included both current doctoral students and recent graduates of the program, were nominated by faculty and selected by the program committee.
Over dinner, awards were also presented to a student and faculty member for exemplary service to the DGP community, as well as two faculty members for their excellence in teaching. The evening concluded with short presentations by third-year students, as well as scientific games led by second-year students.
Driskill Research Award Winners:
— Kaylin McMahon, ’17 PhD, who completed her thesis in the lab of C. Shad Thaxton, ’04 MD, ’07 PhD, associate professor of Urology, researches developing bioinspired delivery vehicles for nucleic acid therapies for cancer. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow.
— Doug Wilcox, ’16 PhD, a student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) who completed his thesis in the lab of Richard Longnecker, PhD, Dan and Bertha Spear Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology, presented on the age-dependent mechanisms of pathogenesis in herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis.
— Hannah Gavin, PhD candidate in the lab of Karla Satchell, PhD, professor of Microbiology-Immunology, studies the ways a bacterially produced toxin can influence interactions between an aquatic bacterium, Vibrio vulnificus, and its host organisms.
— Yuanming Xu, PhD candidate in the lab of Deyu Fang, PhD, Hosmer Allen Johnson Professor of Pathology, presented on the E3 ubiquitin ligase Hrd1 and its role in the development and function of T-cells.
Other Award Recipients:
Student Service Award:
— Ashlee Bell-Cohn, PhD candidate in the lab of Praveen Thumbikat, PhD, O’Connor Family Research Professor of Urology and an associate professor of Pathology.
Faculty Service Award:
Dean’s Teaching Awards: