Spring 2019 New & Noteworthy: Postdocs & Students

New and Noteworthy


Matthew Akamatsu headshotMatthew Akamatsu (Drubin lab) is a recipient of the NIH K99 Pathway to Independence Award. This fellowship supports outstanding postdoctoral researchers from mentored research positions to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions. Chenshu Liu headshotChenshu Liu (Dernburg lab) was awarded a fellowship from the Life Sciences Research Foundation for his project entitled “Analysis of forces underlying homologous chromosome recognition during meiosis.”This three-year fellowship is sponsored by the Walter Group.

Posdoc Profile: Kevin Mark // Kevin Mark headshotKevin Mark is a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Michael Rape’s lab studying the role of ubiquitin in regulating human embryonic stem cell self-renewal. His research interest focuses on understanding protein ubiquitylation at the molecular level and how misregulation of ubiquitin pathways can lead to human pathologies, with specific expertise in the biology of protein posttranslational modifications. In the near future, he hopes to start and lead his own research group.

Within the MCB postdoc community, Kevin is actively involved as a co-organizer of the MCB Postdoc Lunch Club (PDLC) whose mission is to help create community support and recognition for fellow postdocs’ work. “PDLC afforded me the opportunity to connect with many dedicated scientists from different career stages and disciplines, which greatly expanded my scientific network, and it’s been a pleasure for me to help keep it going.”


Graduate Students

2019 Outstanding Graduate Student InstructorsOutstanding Graduate student Instructor (OGSI) Awards — (left to right):

 Rosalie Lawrence // Rosalie Lawrence headshotRosalie Lawrence’s research focuses on using biochemical and optical techniques to study growth signaling in mechanistic detail in the lab of Roberto Zoncu. This spring, she will be filing her PhD dissertation: Rag GTPase heterodimers coordinate mTORC1 activity via dynamic nucleotide loading and spatial cycling. After graduating, she will be starting a postdoctoral position in the Peter Walter lab at UCSF.

Lawrence notes that her most gratifying experiences in MCB are sharing scientific discovery with collaborators and friends and says, “that has led to big breakthroughs in my dissertation project that wouldn't have been achieved in isolation.” She also acknowledges the generous mentorship of several faculty who had meaningful impacts on her work. In addition, Lawrence has valued having the opportunity to engage in activities outside of her research, including serving as an instructor at the Prison University Project at San Quentin and being a part of the MCB Grad Network. Both have allowed her to “express my love for science outside of the department bubble and helped to keep me motivated, learning and supported during times of research challenge.”

Melissa Metcalf headshotMelissa Metcalf (Dillin lab) – F31 NRSA from the National Institute on Aging


 Jessica Bonnar // Jessica Bonnar headshot

Jessica Bonnar is an MCB senior, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology emphasis, graduating this May. She is currently working in Jeremy Thorner’s lab studying the TORC2 complex, a master sensor and regulator of plasma membrane homeostasis in eukaryotes. Her honors thesis is focused on a putative regulator of the complex in budding yeast. After graduating, she will be working as a research technician the lab of Jonathan Weissman at UCSF, after which she plans to pursue her PhD in Biochemistry.

Reflecting on her time in MCB Bonnar says, “It’s those ‘aha!’ experiences, fun stories, and excellent teaching moments from world-class researchers which have made the pursuit of my major truly enjoyable, despite the challenge.” She feels fortunate for the incredible mentorship and support she has received in the Thorner lab, where her mentors have positively impacted her view of herself as a scientist. “[This] caused my mentality to shift from being afraid of failure to embracing it, which has instilled in me the confidence to commit to research as a hopefully lifelong pursuit.”


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