APRIL 2018

2018 Boyce Award Winners

Congratulations to graduate students, Carrie Lomelino, Melissa Hale and Jana Jenquin on receiving the 2018 Wanda and Richard Boyce Awards for their outstanding graduate research in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Carrie will present at the upcoming 44th annual Medical Guild sponsored graduate student research competition which will be held Monday, April 9th, starting at 1:30 pm, in the auditorium of the Cancer and Genetics Research building (the CGRC) where she will give a 15-minute presentation and respond to a 5-minute Q&A session on her topic, “Structure-Guided Drug Design of CA IX Selective Inhibitors for Breast Cancer Treatment”.


Undergrad Research Symposium


The UF Center for Undergraduate Research sponsored this year’s undergraduate research symposium on Thursday, March 22. There was a morning and afternoon poster session held in the Grand Ballroom of the Reitz Union, which was open to the public, students, faculty and staff.

Several students working in the labs of our Biochemistry and Molecular Biology faculty participated in this event.





Bala Venkatakrishnan

A graduate from Drs. Mavis Agbandje-McKenna and Robert McKenna's lab in 2012, Bala Venkatakrishnan went on to do a 5-year postdoc at Indiana University with Dr. Adam Zlotnick on Hepatitis B virus structure and assembly biophysics and now works at Syngene International Limited, a contract research organization in Bangalore, India. Although he has only been with this organization for less than a year, he loves the challenge that his work brings. As principal investigator, he runs his own lab with a focus on protein purification, characterization and structure determination. His team works on a large variety of proteins and their primary challenge is to get projects done as efficiently as possible with a healthy pace. They are constantly looking to upgrade their skills and understanding to keep up with this challenge.

When asked how his education and experience in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology helped prepare him for his career track, Bala described it as being extremely useful. He went on to say that “structure determination is an ability that requires a full apprenticeship, and I learned all of it from the best (Drs. Mavis and Robert McKenna). I have carved my own niche here because of my past work on a number of viruses during my time at UF. Most of all my thought process, approach and attitude towards my science is most entirely a product of the years of effort that my mentors, committee members and other members of the department (both faculty and administration) put into it. I still reach out to my mentors for advice regularly.”

Bala and his wife (and their cat, Capt. Murugan) braved an intercontinental journey back to India in 2017 and have settled into a good life there. He continues to represent the Gator nation in all that he does!


Diversity and inclusion are core values at the UF College of Medicine. The Celebration of Diversity Week was designed to honor those values and explore opportunities to work within our community to promote cross-cultural understanding and address health care disparities.

Our faculty member, Dr. Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, will be participating in the Dean’s Grand Rounds Panel Discussion, Today’s Challenge: Building and Sustaining a Culture of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity from Noon 1:30 p.m. in the Harrell Medical Education Building North Learning Studio. Please RSVP to RSVP@hsc.ufl.edu or 352-294-8452 and indicate your reservation is for the Dean’s Grand Rounds.


Save The Date!

To highlight the work of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's undergraduates, there will be a poster session in which the undergraduate research students will present their work. Posters will be judged, and five students will receive a cash prize of $100. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tuesday, April 10th
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Academic Research Building
3rd Floor



Grad Student Appreciation Flyer

2018 Graduate Student Appreciation Week

Graduate Student Appreciation Week is a chance for the university to give back to our amazing graduate student body for all of the work they do teaching, researching, and serving.





Felicitas Bidlack, Ph.D.

Associate Member of the Staff of
The Forsyth Institute
Instructor, Department of Developmental Biology
Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Cambridge, MA

Monday, April 16     4:00 pm

McKnight Brain Institute     LG-101A     DeWeese Auditorium



Wednesdays     4:00pm     ARB R3-265

                                 April 4             Dr. Thomas Yang

                                 April 11           Dr. Linda Bloom

                                 April 18           Dr. Matthew Merritt  


Structural Biology

Mondays, 3:00pm, ARB R3-265

                                 April 2            Jacob Andring
                                 April 9            Judit Penzes
                                 April 16          Anusha Kota
                                 April 23          Justin Kurian


Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Tuesdays, 4:00pm, ARB R3-265

                                 April 3             Akilah Murray

                                 April 10           Nivetha Ramesh Babu

                                 April 17           Yasmin Ali

                                 April 24           Andrea Ramirez


Click here to subscribe to this newsletter.



Make a gift to the Molecular Biology Fund to support faculty and students involved in teaching and research at the forefront of biochemistry and molecular biology. Your gift directly impacts instructional programs for our undergraduate and graduate students in the molecular biosciences. Use the "Make a Gift" button below for donating to the Molecular Biology Fund, and thank you for your investment in the future of medicine.