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Graduate Education Office (GEO) Newsletter

April 21, 2021
in this issue: 

1. GEO Leadership Corner
2. BGSO Announcements 
3. uGO Rolls Out New Dine & Dash Webinar Series April 22nd 

4. Earth Day is Thursday, April 22nd
5. 6th International Conference on Molecular Medicine and Diagnostics 2021
6. 2021 GradFUTURES Forum: Broadening the Impact of the Ph.D. Within and Beyond the Academy
7. Call for Applications – CWRU Translational Fellows Program
8. Upcoming Seminars


GEO Leadership Corner

Back to the Future—Polio and COVID-19
This week marks the 66th anniversary of the first polio vaccine approved as “safe, effective and potent” in the fight against poliomyelitis, a highly infectious virus that attacks the body’s nervous system causing paralysis and death. Now eradicated across most of the world because of wide-scale vaccination that began in 1955, the number of polio cases have been reduced to a small fragment of what they once were. 

There are remarkable parallels from polio’s onslaught at its height to COVID-19 today. We are experiencing the same fear and worry about a deadly illness that came on suddenly and caught us by surprise. We are affected by the enormous changes the virus has caused to the way we live and work. We are experiencing the loneliness of being separated from family and friends and overwhelmed by immeasurable grief at the loss of those we love. And we are part of the urgent desire to find a cure.

We can thank Dean Emeritus Fred Robbins and a team of researchers who received the Nobel Prize in 1954 for discovering a way to grow the polio virus in a test tube, enabling everyone from children to adults to receive the “shot felt 'round the world.” Their work paved the way for numerous vaccines that have since eliminated debilitating and deadly diseases from much of the planet. That connection to CWRU is an enduring reminder of our role in stopping a previous devastating epidemic.

Many of our own researchers involved in ending today’s pandemic are part of that discovery engine that continues to heal our world. Thanks to the incredible effort to develop a vaccine faster than ever before, relief is here and available for the taking. Like the millions before who lined up for the polio vaccine, let’s follow their lead and stop the spread.

Stan Gerson, MD
Interim Dean, School of Medicine
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director, National Center for Regenerative Medicine

BGSO Announcements


RTA Vote Results

The result for the all-in RTA pass for the graduate students in the School of Medicine is in. The pass was rejected. No graduate student in the School of Medicine will have access to the universal pass, but students individually can purchase the standard monthly pass at the rate of $95 per month directly through the RTA. Additional questions can be sent to BGSO at

BGSO GA Meeting!

Our next BGSO GA meeting will be Wednesday April 28th at 5pm! Hope to see everyone there!
Meeting ID: 945 8338 8837 Passcode: 134988

Recent events:

We are in shock and horror of the events that took place in Minnesota on Sunday night. We ask that everyone has Daunte Wright's family in their thoughts as well as each other as we go through yet another police brutality. We want to highlight that counseling and group therapy is available through University Health and Counseling Services (CWRU Care TimelyMD) for those who'd like a professional to talk to. Additional opportunities to contribute to Daunte Wright's family and to sign a petition for justice can be found here as well as additional resources found here We understand the past year has been traumatic to many due to the many displays of police brutality, racial violence, and white supremacy. BGSO is open to any and all ideas from students on how to make campus a safer place for all students (email us at BGSO is honored to serve the graduate students of the SOM and we are happy to advocate for you in any way we can.


Attention all BSTP graduate students:

This year, BGSO is launching the Mentor Match-up program. Interested current graduate students will have the opportunity to mentor an incoming BSTP student who shares their research and academic interests. As the mentor, you will be one of the first friendly faces the new students will contact regarding rotations, information about CWRU or Cleveland, etc. If you are interested, please sign up on the Google sheet via the link below. Include your name, email, department, and research interests.

Let's Taco Bout It!
Hello all! The BGSO has created a Zoom link for a virtual lunch each week on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11:30-1:30! Come for a few minutes or come for an hour! For sure, come and have fun! 
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 964 4855 8123
Passcode: 392001


2021 Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium (BGSS)

After a successful 2020 Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium (BGSS), we're ready to plan next year's event! If you are interested in being a member of the organizing committee, please fill out the attached google form. Those interested will meet early 2021 to transition in the new subcommittees.


Upcoming Events & Announcements

University Circle Inc's uGo program will present their first of five monthly webinars highlighting different transportation methods in and around University Circle. Attendees will be entered into a raffle to win a $20 uGo to Lunch Prize Pack containing a $20 gift certificate to an Uptown Restaurant and a $20 scooter credit.  
April's kick-off webinar is scheduled for Thursday, April 22nd at 12 p.m., on the topic of Vanpool. Register here and see the whole series here

We've gathered lots of ways to celebrate, learn and do some good during April including:
  • A CWRU Student Scavenger Hunt in partnership with SSC
  • A virtual, do it yourself film fest list
  • See below in the newsletter for other Earth Day inspired opportunities
Click here for more details on the Office of Energy & Sustainability website!

ME Conferences is pleased to announce the upcoming “6th International Conference on Molecular Medicine and Diagnostics” scheduled during May 20, 2021. Molecular Medicine 2021 will be an online event concentrating on the core knowledge and major advances in the ever-expanding field of molecular biology by attracting experts on a global scale. Click here for more details.

Call for Applications – CWRU Translational Fellows Program

The CWRU Translational Fellow Program (TFP) seeks to train individuals in entrepreneurship and the translation of innovation into commercial ventures by connecting them to programs and workshops around campus while protecting time for their entrepreneurial activities. 

We are seeking applications from individuals who are employed by CWRU or its hospital partners or who are students at CWRU and are interested in a career in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. Applications are especially encouraged from doctoral students, post-docs, and/or research staff.  Applicants will commit to work through the process of developing a technology for commercialization either from their own laboratory or agree to be assigned a technology.  This fellowship will run from 7/1/2021 through 6/30/2022.
·         Up to 20% salary coverage for 12 months
·         Training and support for commercialization efforts
·         Entrepreneurship/commercialization mentoring team
·         Commitment to one day/week (20%) set aside for moving the technology to market
·         Participation in the Case Venture Mentor Program, which will pair you will your mentoring team and set up regular meetings
·         Participation in I-Corps@NCATS program with your team, including the PI of the technology
·         Monthly group meetings
·         Attendance at workshops throughout the program (about 3-4 times/year)
·         Sharing of experiences in program on LinkedIn
·         Must have a salary or stipend paid through CWRU or an affiliate and/or be supported by a training grant.  Ideally a senior doctoral student or post-doc at CWRU, but consideration will be given to others who have time and potential to excel in the program.
·         Either currently working with a PI on a CWRU or affiliate based technology that has the potential for commercialization (preferred) or willingness to be paired with a PI
·         Must be willing to commit to 20% effort for one full year, starting July 1, 2021
Selection criteria:
·         Interest in entrepreneurship
·         Commercialization potential of technology (if proposed)
·         If you are currently working with a PI, support from that PI
·         If you are currently a CWRU employee/student and requesting to work with a PI for 20% of your effort, support from current supervisor
·         Applications are highly encouraged from females and underrepresented minorities
To apply:
·         Statement of career interests and how this program fits in with your career path, and, if relevant, brief description of technology that the fellow proposes to work toward commercializing (1 page maximum)
·         Letter of support from PI/supervisor demonstrating willingness to allow for 20% buy out of time, support of entrepreneurial activities (including participation in I-Corps if the PI) and attesting to the strength of candidate (1 page maximum)
·         Form filled out and submitted along with above via Infoready by April 30, 2021
·         Individuals selected for participation will be notified around May 31, 2021
Questions may be directed to Cheryl Thompson, PhD, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Educational Initiatives, School of Medicine, at  We anticipate supporting 5 or more fellows in this cohort.

8th Annual Online Career Conference for PhDs

May 1 & 8, 2021


Given our current economic climate, PhDs still have job prospects — they might just not be in the academy. So for those considering nonacademic career options, now is the time to get ready for the economic recovery from COVID-19. We want to ensure that the conference this year addresses these unprecedented times, and empowers PhDs to be ready for the recovery.

This year’s conference will therefore provide attendees with 3 things:

*Our usual how-to seminars on what it takes to find and secure meaningful work;
*Career advice for PhDs by PhDs who have successfully launched post-academic careers;
*Career support and advice for grad students and PhDs concerned with hiring trends post-COVID. We know that there are specific career sectors with more growth than others right now. Rest assured, a significant part of our programming will be tailored to changes in job searching during COVID and what to expect in the recovery.  Click here to register.


2021 GradFUTURES Forum

CWRU graduate students and postdocs has been invited to participate in the 2nd Annual GradFUTURES Forum: April 26th-30th – via zoom and live streaming. The theme of the 2021 Forum is “Broadening the Impact of the Ph.D. Within and Beyond the Academy: The Imperative of Graduate Student Professional Development.”
Sessions will center around six core areas:

  • Data transparency
  • Experiential Learning
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Learning Cohorts and Communities
  • Mentorship and Networking
  • National Ph.D. Career & Professional Development Initiatives

Here is the schedule – (Please register under the alumni & guest option).

The Birth Justice Fundraiser
Cleveland's new black owned birthing center, Birth of a Nation, (founded by MSMP student, Alliyah Harold) is partnering up with Birth Center Equity Fund and Bravo Television Network to host a birth Justice Fundraiser on May 1st, 2021. Registration opens Monday April 5th. Birth of a Nation aims to serve women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Birth Center Equity Fund is an organization that allocates funds to BIPOC owned birthing centers across the nation. Heather Thomson from The Real Housewives of NYC will be the MC and Dr. Jackie Walters from Married To Medicine will serve as keynote speaker. Registration link: will be active on Monday and closes April 26th. Click here to download agenda.


Summer Biochemistry Course- BIOC 405

The Department of Biochemistry would like to let you know about a biochemistry course, BIOC 405 that we'll offer in June.  This 5-week graduate course (beginning June 1) is intended primarily for MS students who are headed for careers in the health sciences.  BIOC 405 lets you meet the requirement of many professional programs for a biochemistry course and helps prepare for entrance exams.

The course will be synchronous remote, following university safety requirements..
BIOC 405 will survey the molecules of living systems and will stress the structure and function of proteins, and the metabolism of small molecules, with frequent references to the role of these molecules in human health and disease.  Topics include: protein structure and function; enzymes; membranes; bioenergetics; and intermediary metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleotides.  One year of organic chemistry is required.  
If you are interested in taking BIOC 405 this summer, please contact Dr. Snider at or Dr. Wang at  We will be happy to answer questions. 

The Evolution of Public Health into Global Health Practice
MPHP 496

This condensed course will use readings and case studies to explore the motivating factors in the emergence of global health interventions over the last 200 years, with a focus on its roots in public health practice, its expanding scope in the early to mid- 20th century, and the strengths and weaknesses of modern global health interventions. Readings and seminar discussions will involve consideration of the changing definitions of "public health", and of the spaces in which public health interventions are expected to occur.  

This course that will be offered online asynchronously from June 1-July 2.  If you have any questions, please contact Tara Hannum.

Women of Achievement Awards & Spotlight Awards
Open for Nominations

Since 2015, the Annual Women of Achievement Awards & Spotlight Awards celebrates the scholarship and research of women faculty and outstanding achievements by women campus staff and students. The prizes are partially funded through the Mather Spotlight Series Endowment, established in 1989 by the Mather Centennial Celebration Committee of the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association.

The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women and the Mather Spotlight Awards Selection Committee invite nominations of CWRU women faculty, staff, and students for the biennial Mather Spotlight Award, which recognizes the achievements of two women faculty, two women staff, one woman graduate or professional student, and one woman undergraduate student whose outstanding professional accomplishments, leadership, and service have had a significant positive impact on our university and campus community. 

The evaluation criteria for this award are:
  1. Professional Accomplishments (could include job performance, academic performance, scholarly contributions, etc.)
  2. Leadership (leadership can relate to positions/roles and/or engaging in work that reflects the Flora Stone Mather Center values - these values are in the nomination form for reference).
  3. Service (could include volunteering, teaching, committee work, mentoring, etc.) 
  4. Demonstrated impact on our university/campus community 
Nominations are due by April 23Click here to submit a nomination!

CWRU Resources Available to Students
We all need a little help sometimes.  If you find yourself in need of assistance, here are some resources available to students from CWRU:
Source: Katie Gaffen, Department of Nutrition

New Virtual Mental Health Option for CWRU Students—
Wherever They Are

CWRU has announced a new initiative to help ensure that students living outside of Ohio can access mental health care during these trying times called CWRU Care. CWRU Care is a 24/7 mental telehealth care service that undergraduate, graduate and professional students can access from wherever they are.
Through CWRU Care, students can access two kinds of appointments: TalkNow Visits, which are available 24/7 and provide immediate support, and Scheduled Visits, which is a scheduled option for students to speak to a licensed counselor based on their needs and schedule. International students will only be able to use the 24/7 TalkNow visits, and not the scheduled option.

For more information about the program or to make an appointment, please visit


Upcoming Seminars

Thursday, April 22nd

Neurosciences Seminar
Zhen Yan, PhD
SUNY Distinguished Professor
Department of Physiology & Biophysics
State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo
School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

"Epigenetic Treatment Strategies for Alzheimer’s Disease"
12p Zoom

Cancer Moonshot Seminar Series

Carl June, MD
University of Pennsylvania 

"Updates in CAR T Cell Therapies Create an Adult Immunotherapy Network 
Immuno-Oncology Translational Network (IOTN)"
12p Register here

Molecular Biology & Microbiology Seminar

Kathleen Molyneaux, PhD
Brady-Kalnay Lab
"Development of assays to test the anti-tumor activity of compounds directed against PTPmu"

1p Zoom
Friday, April 23rd

Cancer Center Seminar Series Mini Retreat

9:00-9:20am Derek Taylor, PhD
9:20-9:30am Q&A
9:30-9:50am Vinay Varadan, PhD
9:50-10:00am Q&A
10:00-10:20am German Corredor, PhD
10:20-10:30am Q&A
10:30-10:50am Pushpa Pandiyan, PhD
10:50-11:00am Q&A

9a Zoom

Cancer Center Seminar Series
Jeffrey Myers, MD, PhD, FACS
Chair, Department of Head and Neck Surgery
Alando J. Ballantyne Distinguished Chair of Head and Neck Surgery
Deputy Chair for Academic Programs
Director of Research
Director of Translational Research
MD Anderson Cancer Center

"Gain of Function Mutant TP53's Impact on the Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Tumor Micro-Environment"
12p Zoom

Monday, April 26th

Neurosciences Seminar
Seth Tomchik, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience
The Scripps Research Institute
Jupiter, FL

"Neuronal plasticity underlying learning, memory, and behavioral alterations in a neurodevelopment disorder model"
11a Zoom
Meeting ID: 978 6379 0116
Passcode: 267961

Case CCC Metabolism Seminar
Dr. Jordan Winter
"Wild-type IDH1 inhibition as a novel therapeutic strategy for cancer"

4p Zoom
Password: 423460

Tuesday, April 27th

Case CCC Genome Stability and Cancer Therapy Seminar
Dr. Arishya Sharma
"USP14 is a Potential Target to Improve the Efficacy of Radiotherapy in Combination with Immune-Checkpoint Inhibitors in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer"
3p Zoom
Passcode: 446174

Upcoming Dissertation Defenses

David Sweet
Pathology Dissertation Defense
Thursday, April 22nd
"Kruppel-like Factor 2 Regulation of Aging and Healthspan: A Link between the 3D Nucleome and Disease"

Britney Graham
Systems Biology and Bioinformatics Dissertation Defense
Monday, April 26th
"Estimating Prevalence of Human Traits Among Populations from Polygenic Risk Scores"

Nicholas Brian Sarn
Genetics and Genome Sciences Dissertation Defense
Wednesday, April 28th
"Microglia Pathology: An Inherent Feature of Constitutional PTEN Dysfunction
Brecken Blackburn
Biomedical Engineering Dissertation Defense
Monday, May 10th
"Development of Phase Decorrelation Optical Coherence Tomography for Assessment of the Ocular Lens and Cornea
Liyan Fan
Pathology Dissertation Defense
Wednesday, May 12th
"Kruppel-like Factor 15 Regulation of Systemic Metabolic Homeostasis
Ann W. N. Auma
Pathology Dissertation Defense
Wednesday, June 2nd
"The Impact of Direct-acting Anti-viral Therapy on Naive CD4+ T Cell Lymphopenia and Cellular Immune Activation in HCV Infection and HCV/HIV Co-infection Respectively

GEO Wants to Hear From You

Have you published a paper, received a fellowship, or have other exciting news you want to share?  Well, the Graduate Education Office would like to hear you. To submit information to be included in the GEO newsletter, please complete the GEO announcement submission form.

The Huddle provides news and information about our interprofessional education and collaborative practice efforts within and beyond Samson Pavilion and the dental clinic.  Click here to read the latest issue.

The Pulse

The Pulse, the School of Medicine's newsletter, where you can keep current with latest news from the school every month. If you have news to share in future issues, submit your story here.  Watch for The Pulse in your inbox each month, stay informed and enjoy!  Click here to read latest SOM news.
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