NVIDIA Global Impact Award goes to BEAGLE Developers

Daniel Ayres (CBBG)

Daniel Ayres (CBBG)

Please extend hearty congratulations to Prof. Michael Cummings (BIOL) and his PhD student Daniel Ayres (BISI-CBBG) who were just honored with the NVIDIA Global Impact Award for their development of the BEAGLE software system for the rapid analysis of biological sequence data. 

This major award will provide $100,000 for continued research and development of computational resources.

Details on this outstanding accomplishment are available at https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2017/05/08/global-impact-awards/

Congrats Michael & Daniel !!!

Congratulations to the 2016-17 Award & Fellowship Recipients!

BISI Merit Awards
Daniel Escobar-Camacho (Carleton Lab, BEES)
Alex Novarro (Bely Lab, BEES)
Susan Park Ochsner (Zhu Lab, MOCB)
Cordelia Weiss (Winkler Lab, MOCB)
Noor White (Braun/Mitter Labs, BEES) 

CMNS Endowed Fellowships

Drs. Wayne T. and Mary T. Hockmeyer Endowed Fellowship
Steve Christensen (Mosser Lab, MOCB)
Alex Novarro (Bely Lab, BEES)

The Dr. Edna O. Hokenson Endowed Fellowship
Mengfei Peng (Biswas Lab, MOCB)

The Stephanie and Richard Vogel Graduate Student Award
(in memory of Anne DeStefano Nucci and Elidio John Nucci) 
Sarah Ahlbrand (Briken Lab, MOCB)

Graduate School Summer Research Fellowships
Leann Biancani (Osborn/Cummings Labs, BEES)
Julie Mallon (Fagan Lab, BEES) 
Jonathan Schenk (Gaudry Lab, PSYS)
Alex Simon (Feijo Lab, PSYS)
Alexander Sohr (Roy Lab, MOCB)
Carol Vieira (Dinman Lab, MOCB)

Former student Elise Zipkin (Fagan Lab) Named 2017 Early Career Fellow

Former graduate student in the Fagan Lab, Dr. Elise Zipkin, has been named a 2017 Early Career Fellow of the Ecological Society of America.  She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior.  Read more about her research here: https://msu.edu/user/ezipkin/

Dr. Elise Zipkin

Dr. Elise Zipkin

CMNS now has four T32 Training Grants in the Life Sciences

Congratulations to Catherine Carr, Kevin McIver, Dave Mosser, Leslie Pick, and Anne Simon for the new Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) in virology and the renewed T32 training program in host-pathogen interactions (HPI). The grants add to the college’s other long-running T32 grants focused on the comparative and evolutionary biology of hearing (CEBH) and cell and molecular biology (CMB).

Featured on the CMNS home page: https://cmns.umd.edu/news-events/features/3760

Publication - Daniel Escobar-Camacho (BEES)

Congratulations to Biology's Karen Carleton, BEES graduate student Daniel Escobar-Camacho, and their colleagues from Sao Paolo State University in Brazil, co-authors on a new paper in Molecular Ecology titled "The Opsin Genes of Amazonian Cichlids." 

The study is the first detailed examination of the genetics of vision in cichlid fishes from the murky, silty water of South America’s Amazon Basin. Unlike their African relatives, which evolved in calm, clearwater lakes saturated with sunlight, three Amazonian cichlid species have adapted to the light environment of the Amazon Basin, which favors longer wavelengths of light such as red and orange. All cichlids rely on a diverse array of visual pigment proteins called opsins, but the three Amazonian species in the study have switched off or lost several opsin genes in response to their environmental conditions. 

For more information check out the article on the CMNS website: https://cmns.umd.edu/news-events/features/3733


Training Grants: NIH Funding for BISI Grad Students

Representatives from the BISI Graduate Program, the NIH funded T32 Training Grant, and the MOCB Concentration Area traveled to the AHEAD conference in July, 2016.

Representatives from the BISI Graduate Program, the NIH funded T32 Training Grant, and the MOCB Concentration Area traveled to the AHEAD conference in July, 2016.

BISI is home to three, yes three, active training grant programs:

Graduate students working in these area are eligible for support through the training grant.  Calls for training grant support (usually up to 2-3 years of support, including stipend, tuition remission, and an allowance for health insurance) usually go out in the spring.  Also look for journal clubs (HPI has a weekly journal club on Fridays, Virology has a Monday group meeting) and other training grant activities.

Congratulations Julie Choi (MOCB, Cao Lab)

                            Julie Choi

                            Julie Choi

Julie Choi (MOCB, Cao Lab) has had a pretty amazing spring semester.  She won the top poster presentation for the University of Maryland Graduate Research Appreciation Day, competing against presenters from all over campus.  Shortly thereafter, she was accepted and selected to give an oral presentation at a Gordon Research Symposium: Breaking Barriers in Intermediate Filament Biology: From Structure to Mechanisms and Targets in Human Diseases.  Acceptance into a Gordon Conference is quite competitive!

Congratulations to Julie!

Fall 2015 BISI Matriculating Class

Welcome to our first year class!

Top row (L to R): Miranda Yourick (BEES), Custodio Nunes (PSYS), Ron Clark (BEES), Jon Schenck (PSYS), Brock Couch (BEES), Leann Biancani (BEES), Krittika Petprakob (BEES), Fuxi Wang (MOCB), Javier Carpinteyo (BEES), Nate Olson (CBBG), Ken Cheng (CBBG).

Bottom row (L to R): Matthew Fischer (MOCB), Kunal Kundu (CBBG), Nate Shugarts (MOCB), Markus Brown (MOCB), Jordan Aoyama (MOCB), Alex Simon (PSYS), Shyrice Mitchell (MOCB), Dallas Banks (MOCB), Jake Weissman (BEES), and Julie Mallon (BEES)

Missing: Pablo Villar Del Rio (PSYS)

Recent Publications: Fall 2015

For a complete list, please see publication site here.

  • Andy Foss Grant (BEES, Fagan Lab) whose paper "Hierarchical analysis of phylogenetic variation in intraspecific competition across fish species" was just accepted for publication in Ecology.
  • Carly Muletz Wolz (BEES, Lips Lab) was a co-author on a paper recently published in Science.
  • Cheryl Ames (BEES, Bely/Colllins Labs) is a co-author on papers recently published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution and in PLoS One.
  • Jessica Goodheart (BEES, Cummings/Collins Labs) was the first author on a paper published in Royal Society Open Science
  • Sara Reynolds (MOCB, B. Moss/Culver Labs) was first author on a paper published in Virology.
  • Jules Nchoutmboube (MOCB, Belov Lab) authored two papers in 2015, one in Trends in Microbiology and one in J. Virology.

Graduate School Awards: Spring 2015

BISI Awardees

Outstanding Graduate Director
2014-15: Dr. Michelle Brooks, BISI Associate Director

Flagship Fellowship: 
2015:  Jake Weissman (Fagan Lab)
2014:  Guarav Kandlikar (Kraft Lab)
2013:  Carl Sabottke (Butts Lab)
2012:  Shrutii Sarda (Hannenhalli Lab)
             Andy Foss Grant (Fagan Lab)
2011:   Laura Dillon (Sayed Lab)

Graduate Dean's Dissertation
Fellowship - 2014-15
Vivek Advani (Dinman Lab)
Shang-Hsuan Lin (Colombini Lab)


Ann G. Wylie Fellowships
Vasudevan Achuthan (DeStefano Lab)
Cheryl Ames (Bely/Collins Lab)
Ashley Nazario Toole (Wu Lab)
Alyssa Stewart (Dudash Lab)
Lijuan Du (Wang Lab)
Suna Gulay (Dinman Lab)
Kyle Miller-Hesed (Wilkinson Lab)
Jenni Shemansky (Chang Lab)
Frank Stearns (Fenster Lab)

BISI Students Rock!

A list of BISI student awards and achievements from 2015:

  • Kun Wang (CBBG, Cao Lab) presented a talk at the ACM-BCB15.  He was awarded a NSF Travel Award to attend the meeting.
  • Rachel Shahan (MOCB, Liu Lab) was recently awarded a NIFA Graduate Fellowship.  Congrats to Rachel.
  • Congratulations to Sri Pratima Nandamuri (PSYS, Carleton lab) who was awarded a travel award after her successful presentation at the FASEB Biology and Chemistry of Vision.
  • Alex Novarro (BEES, Lips Lab) was recently awarded an Exploration Fund Grant (Explorers Club); SSAR Grant-in-Herpetology (Soc. for Study of Amphibians), and the Margaret Walton Fellowship (Mountain Lake Biological Station).
  • Edward Hurme (BEES, Wilkinson Lab) was the recipient of two grants: one from the National Geographic Young Explorers and one from the Animal Behavior Society.
  • Micki Kuhlman (MOCB, Simon Lab) was recently given the "Outstanding Performance in Botany" award.
  • Mona Orr (MOCB, Lee Lab) was presented with the best poster award at the International Symposium on c-di-GMP Signaling in Bacteria conference.
  • Noor White (BEES, Braun/Mitter Lab) was awarded the Ernest Mayr Award, which is given to the presenter of the outstanding student talk in the field of systematics at the annual meetings of the Society of Systematic Biologists.
  • Noor White (BEES, Braun/Mitter Labs) and Carly Muletz (BEES, Lips Lab) have advanced to the second round in the UMD 3MT Thesis competition.  
  • Cora Johnston (BEES, Gruner Lab) was awarded the Graduate School's Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award for 2014-15.  Congrats Cora!
  • Juannan Zhou (BEES, Dudash/Fenster/ZImmer lab) has been awarded an NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant.
  • Madhvi Ventkatraman (BEES, Gruner/Fleischer/James lab) was awarded both a CIC Fellowship AND an NSF predoctoral fellowship.  Congratulations to Madhvi!
  • Vasudevan Achuthan (MOCB, DeStefano Lab) was awarded the prestigious Stephanie and Richard Vogel Graduate Student award for Spring 2015.
  • Dr. Antony Jose and students Sinduja Ravanapally and Snusha Ravikumar featured in CMNS News.


Deadlines for Graduate School Fellowships 2015-16

Information for all fellowships below can be found on the Graduate School website here.

Submit all applications as a single PDF to bisi@umd.edu


  • Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship (1 semester): Submit application package  by close of business February 5, 2015.
  • Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship (1 year): Submit application package by close of business February 25, 2015.
  • Summer Research Fellowship (summer only): Submit application package by close of business February 25, 2015.
  • Mabel S. Spencer Award for Excellence in Graduate Education: Submit application package by close of business February 25, 2015
  • Michael J. Pelczar Award for Excellence in Graduate Education: Submit application package by close of business February 25, 2015
  • All S.T.A.R. Award (cash award): Submit CV and a 1-2 page describing your scholarly activity and achievements as a graduate assistant.  Have two letters of recommendation sent to bisi@umd.edu; one that speaks to your scholarly achievements and one that focuses on your achievements as a graduate assistant (in some cases, both of these can be addressed by a single letter).  Applications must be submitted as a single PDF by March 2, 2015.