New and Noteworthy
By Karen Hronek


Raz Bar-Ziv

Raz Bar-Ziv, a postdoc in the Dillin lab, received the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Postdoctoral Fellowship to study here at UC Berkeley.

Johannes (Han) de Jong

Johannes (Han) de Jong, a postdoc in the Lammel lab, won the outstanding poster award at the 2018 Winter Conference on Brain Research for “Neural Circuit Mechanisms Underlying Drug-Induced Changes in Motivated Behaviors.”

Chun-Hao Huang with Ashton Kutcher

Chun-Hao Huang (right)
Photo credit: Astrid Maria Rasmussen

Chun-Hao Huang, a postdoc and visiting scholar in the Doudna Lab, was selected as an UNLEASH Innovation Lab SDG talent, attended the inaugural event in Denmark, and was one of the winners chosen to create solutions to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Won-Tae Kim

Won-Tae Kim, a postdoc in the Hockemeyer lab, received a prestigious Siebel Stem Cell Institute Fellowship for 2017- 2018.

Meghan Koch

Meghan Koch, a postdoc in the Barton lab, accepted a faculty position at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as an Assistant Member of the Basic Sciences Division.

Kathleen Pestal

Kathleen Pestal, a postdoc in the Barton lab, received a CRIIrvington Fellowship for her project proposal entitled, “The regulation of apoptotic cell-clearance identity in tissue-resident macrophages.”

Koning Shen

Koning Shen, a postdoc in the Dillin lab, received a Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship for her project proposal entitled, “Defining the protective role of the mitochondrial stress response in aging.”

Alex Tiriac

Alex Tiriac, a postdoc in the Feller lab, received the 2017 Graduate Deans’ Distinguished Dissertation Award from the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa, which is bestowed only occasionally and recognizes exceptionally meritorious scholarship.


Leslie Chan Shannon Wu

Leslie Chan

Shannon Wu

Two undergraduate researchers in the Hockemeyer lab are fellowship recipients: Leslie Chan received a fellowship from the Center for Research and Education on Aging, and Shannon Wu, a fellowship from the Koret Foundation.

The Jesse Rabinowitz Prize, awarded to a junior in Biochemistry, was given to Jonchee Kao.

MCB Undergraduate Award Recipients

2018 MCB Undergraduate Commencement Awards:

  • Blount Award (GGD): Roshni Patel
  • BMB Outstanding Scholar: Matthew Cooper
  • Brown Award (GGD): Apeksha Singh, Hanna Liao
  • Chaikoff Award (NEU): Jennifer Chung, Karen Shih, Maya Kostman, Raymond Ho, Sarah Mendoza, Suvruta Iruvanti, Tommy Jiang, Yennie Shyu, Benjamin Hoshal, Ching Fang, Cole Urnes, Jigyasa Sharma, Nadia Rahimian, Nicholas Daneshvari, Priya Shah, Samantha Lai
  • Departmental Citation: Leslie Chan
  • Distinction in Academic Achievement (IMM): Emily Duan, Hewitt Chang
  • Evans Memorial (CDB): Ziad Rifi

Graduate Students

OGSI Award Recipients

Left to right: Brittany Daws, Tess Linden, Joshua Cofsky, Paige Diamond, Jingxun Chen, George Otto.

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (OGSI) Awards: This annual campus award honors more than 200 UC Berkeley GSIs for their outstanding work in the teaching of undergraduates. In MCB, the honors went to:

  • Brittany Daws (E. Miller Lab)
  • Tess Linden (King Lab)
  • Joshua Cofsky (Doudna Lab)
  • Paige Diamond (Ingolia Lab)
  • Jingxun Chen (Ünal Lab)
  • George Otto (Brar Lab)
  • Lydia Lutes (Robey Lab)
  • Kelly Miller (Heald Lab)
  • Charlotte Nixon (Marqusee Lab)

Vasiliki Karalis

Vasiliki (Villy) Karalis, a graduate student in the Bateup lab, was awarded the Elizabeth Roboz Einstein Fellowship to study how mTOR signaling affects cortical and hippocampal development.

John Blair
Photo: Mark Joseph Hanson

John Blair, a graduate student in the Bateup lab, received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Award to work on a genetically defined human neuronal model for Tuberous Sclerosis.

Franzi Lorbeer Ryan Morrie

Franziska Lorbeer

Ryan Morrie

Franziska (Franzi) Lorbeer, a graduate student in the Hockemeyer lab, and Ryan Morrie, a graduate student in the Feller lab, were chosen as two of 600 outstanding young scientists under age 35 to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany. The international forum for scientific exchange will attract scientists from 84 countries and a record 42 Nobel laureates. Franzi also received a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Fellowship, which provides the best young, up-and-coming scientists with comprehensive support during their PhD phase.

Amy Tresenrider

Amy Tresenrider, a graduate student in the Ünal lab, won the “Best Talk” prize at the Bay Area RNA meeting for her speech entitled “5' Extended mRNAs Repress Gene Expression During Budding Yeast Meiosis.”

Kunitoshi Chiba Shion Lim Brian Castellano

Kunitoshi Chiba
Hockemeyer Lab
Photo: Mark Joseph Hanson

Shion Lim
Marqusee Lab

Brian Castellano
Zoncu Lab

2018 MCB PhD Commencement Awards: This year Kunitoshi Chiba received the Nicholas Cozzarelli Prize, Shion Lim received the Alan Bearden Book Award, and Brian Castellano received the Cris Alvaro Memorial Prize.

Jo Downes Bairzin
Left to right: Andrew Bremer (5th year BioE PhD Student), Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier, Jo Downes Bairzin

Jo Downes Bairzin (Hariharan lab), received the Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), allowing her to travel to Washington, DC to meet with congressional policymakers and advocate for federal support for biological research. She was also one of four Berkeley graduate students to attend the Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering workshop sponsored by the AAAS.

NSF Logo Banner

Congratulations to all the graduate students in MCB faculty labs who received NSF Fellowships:

  • Madeline Arnold (1st Yr. | Saijo Lab)
  • Victoria Blake (2nd Yr. | Rine Lab)
  • Eliana Bondra (2nd Yr. | Rine Lab)
  • Anthony Harris (2nd Yr. | Ünal Lab)
  • Maiko Kitaoka (2nd Yr. | Heald Lab)
  • Michael Manoharan-Valerio (2nd Yr. | Robey Lab)
  • Gabriella Martini (2nd Yr. | Garcia Lab)
  • Marcela Preininger (2nd Yr. | Kaufer Lab)
  • Arik Shams (2nd Yr. | Corn Lab)
  • Joshua Tworig (2nd Yr. | Feller Lab)
  • Natalie Wolf (2nd Yr. | Raulet Lab)
Honorable mention to:
Alyssa Bormann (Miller Lab), Emeric Charles (Savage/Doudna Lab), Brittany Daws (Miller Lab), John Desmarais (Savage Lab), Philip Frankino (Dillin/Tjian Lab), Erika Lopez-Alfonzo (Martin Lab), and Alec Uebersohn (Brar Lab).