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Graduate Education Office (GEO) Newsletter

September 30, 2020
in this issue: 

1. GEO Leadership Corner
2. BGSO Announcements
3. MGSO Announcements

4. Caroline Schuerger publishes in Crain's Cleveland Business
5. Resources for PhD students from the HelloBio
6. NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education Seminar
7. Message from Stan: Health Care Forums and Our Distinguished Medical Community
8.  BGSS Abstract Deadline this Friday
9. Upcoming Seminars

11. CWRU Translational Fellow Program (TFP) Application Deadline this Friday

GEO Leadership Corner

On Diversity and Inclusion

Last week, the government issued an executive order that, among other things, prohibits training on diversity and inclusion.  They suggest that diversity issues in the United States are due to radicalized individuals trying to divide the country and argue that training perpetuates this division.  The AAMC issued a statement in response to that executive order.

I want to take this opportunity to make it clear that the School of Medicine Graduate Education Office is committed to diversity and inclusion.  We further disagree that diversity and inclusion training is politically motivated, and believe that we cannot close these gaps without understanding each other and our backgrounds. 

Although we have made headway in biomedical graduate education diversity, we recognize that we still have a way to go.  We have seen increasing diversity of our students across all of our graduate programs for the last several years, but recognize that our faculty diversity still needs work.  And we recognize that representation itself does not always equal inclusion.  The University’s two recent days of dialogue have highlighted some of the issues that remain across the University, and we remain here ready and willing to listen to your concerns.  

Please know that we are committed to as inclusive of an education and training as possible for ALL of our graduate students.  Recently the Biomedical Graduate Student Organization (BGSO) conducted a survey of students.  If you participated, thank you very much.  We look forward to reviewing the results of the survey and identifying ways we can improve.  

Cheryl L. Thompson, PhD
Associate Professor
Assistant Dean of Educational Initiatives


BGSO Announcements

Survey Reminder!:

The BGSO would like to hear your thoughts on diversity and inclusion within our programs and provide guidance for improvements from those that have yet to fill out this survey!. We have extended the end time to October 2nd at 5 pm. We greatly value all opinions and hope to hear from as many students as possible.The responses will be used to provide the BGSO general thoughts among graduate students as a whole as well as specific comments that you may haveWe will not be using the survey to identify respondents.  Click here to take survey.
Please see the following notice from GSC:

As you may know, KSL is canceling $470,000 worth of access to journals, databases, and subscriptions. You can find the list of what is being canceled here. Page numbers per discipline are as follows:
  • Arts & Humanities 1-9
  • Business 10-13
  • Engineering 14
  • Science 15-16
  • Social Sciences 17-20
  • Interdisciplinary 21
  • Memberships 22
If you are affected by any of these cancellations, please fill out this survey by October 10th. GSC is collecting data on how many students these changes will affect and the extent to which they will impact research, grants, and publications. You may respond anonymously.

MGSO Announcements

Minority Graduate Student Organization (MGSO) is voting on a new executive board for the 2020-2021 academic year! Please read the nominee summaries by clicking the link in the form description to learn about their experience and goals for their positions before voting! Voting will be open until Friday, October 9th!
Vote here

Upcoming Events & Announcements

Caroline Schuerger Publishes in
Crain's Cleveland Business


Caroline Schuerger published an Op Ed on the importance of science education and communication in Crain's Cleveland Business.  Caroline is a 6th year student in Molecular Medicine working in Dr. Yogan Saunthararajah's laboratory.  She is also an US Congressional Intern, the 2020 Christine Mirazayn Science and Technology Policy Fellow, and President of the CWRU Science and Human Rights Coalition.  Click here to read article.

Note: The views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not an endorsement by the Graduate Education Office.  

Resources for PhD students from the HelloBio


NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education Seminar

Please join the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education for the first of a virtual seminar series focused on the mental health and well-being on biomedical researchers. The webinar and small group discussions are open to students, fellows, staff and faculty at NIH, universities and research institutions. The topic of our first program is suicide awareness and prevention. We will learn about the scope of the suicide crisis in our nation and around the world, talk about suicide in the biomedical research community, and explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to increase suicide risk.  In the small groups we will have the opportunity to develop and practice skills to assist us in communicating with someone who may be experiencing suicidal ideation, to make connections and get help for the individual. Because the small groups will be facilitated by mental health experts, you must register in advance to participate. 

1:00 pm – 3:30 pm EDT
October 5, 202

Health Care Forums and
Our Distinguished Medical Community

Last week, the School of Medicine held a series of four live, virtual health care forums as a run-up to this week’s presidential debate at our Health Education Campus. Attendance was good for all four forums, the discussions were lively, and those who attended asked the moderators and panelists some terrific questions.
Each forum addressed critical topics facing global health care today. Collectively, the forums provided us an opportunity to demonstrate the world-class powerhouse that is Cleveland’s medical community. We discussed how our collaborative hospital and public health efforts are managing COVID-19 locally; how tax dollars are at work helping to advance medical research toward breakthrough discoveries; how we are driving to secure public health for underserved populations in our communities; and how critical investments in biotech have helped us adapt to the current pandemic and prepare us for the next crisis.   
If you missed the live forums, you can watch them on our YouTube channel. View the playlist of all four forums here.
Or link below to watch the forums individually:
Forum I: COVID-19 Collaboration: Shared Hospital and Public Health Efforts to Care for Greater Cleveland

Forum II: The Public Return on Investment: Federal Support for Medical Research 

Forum III: Advancing a Culture of Health and Equity in Cuyahoga County

Forum IV: Why Biotech Advances Matter Now More Than Ever
After watching, we believe you will discover all the things that make our community such a robust leader in health care, one of the very best on the planet.
My sincere thanks to our moderators and panelists for their participation in our Health Care Forums, to our outstanding medical community who, day after day, rise to the challenge and save lives, and to you, for watching.

Stan Gerson, MD
Interim Dean, School of Medicine and Interim Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director, National Center for Regenerative Medicine 


Call for Applications –
CWRU Translational Fellows Program
The newly established CWRU Translational Fellow Program (TFP) seeks to train individuals in entrepreneurship and the translation of innovation to benefit humanity by connecting them to programs and workshops around campus while protecting time for entrepreneurial activities. 

We are seeking applications from individuals interested in a career in technology commercialization, especially (but not limited to) doctoral students or post-docs, to work through the process of developing a technology for commercialization beginning 11/1/2020.  For more information or to apply, go to Infoready. Applications are due October 2, 2020.

Questions may be directed to Cheryl Thompson, PhD, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Educational Initiatives, School of Medicine, at  

University of Michigan
Virtual Postdoc Preview

November 9-11, 2020
This recruiting event awards 20 upper-level graduate students the opportunity to explore the extensive postdoctoral research and training opportunities in biomedical sciences available at U-M. During a three-day virtual visit, invited candidates will interview with prospective mentors, network with current postdocs, and learn about life in Ann Arbor. Applicants are selected from a national pool of candidates who expect to complete their thesis research by Summer 2021. Applications are open until September 30, 2020. Interested candidates can visit our sites for more information or to apply.

Pre-Professional Health Seminar

The next Pre-Professional Health Program Seminar "MD Admissions Process" is scheduled on Tuesday, October 6th at 12:00 pm via zoom.  Click here to download the flyer that contains the zoom link and passcode.   

The Fall 2020 GELS Membership Application is now live!

The Global Ethical Leaders Society (GELS) is the student group affiliated with the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence. GELS members meet weekly to discuss ethics, ethical issues and world events, welcome guest speakers and hold events open to the campus community. 
The group’s mission is to stimulate the growth of responsible global leaders while facilitating their experiential learning and providing the tools needed for future ethical endeavors. GELS is about fostering discussions, interactions, and opportunities today that can lead to solutions tomorrow.

All CWRU undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in all areas of study are
welcome to apply. Prospective members are also welcome to attend our information sessions listed in the flyer. Each week's session has different content, so individuals can attend more than one event.

Applications are due by Friday, October 2 at 11:59PM EST. If you have any questions, please contact our GELS VP of Membership, Annie Du ( We look forward to hearing from anyone interested in joining GELS!

Zoom link for information sessions:



2020 Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium (BGSS)

We invite you to participate in this year's Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium (BGSS), which will be November 9-10, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s BGSS will be virtual. 
BGSS is a student-run event that celebrates student research in the School of Medicine at CWRU. This event will consist of student poster presentations, student oral presentations, and a keynote address from Dr. Yasmine Belkaid, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). BGSS will also partner with the Career Opportunities for Trainees Series (COTS) for a career panel (details and panelists to be announced).
We are now accepting abstracts for posters and oral presentations for BGSS 2020!
Please use the attached Abstract Template Form to submit your abstract. 
Deadline: 10/2/2020 BY 11:59PM (No Exceptions)
The template is attached and please submit your abstract here.
Cash prizes will be awarded to top student posters and oral presentations! 


Upcoming Seminars

Neurosciences Seminar

"Dynamic organization of cortical circuits underlying behavior"

Michael Higley, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Neuroscience
Yale University

Thursday, October 1, 2020
12:00 pm
via Zoom
(Meeting ID: 979 8305 9415  Passcode: 433263)

Molecular Biology and Microbiology Seminar

“Dynamics of the Newcleolus”

Alan Tartakoff, PhD
Professor, Department of Pathology

Thursday, October 1, 2020
1:00 pm
via Zoom
(Meeting ID: 945 5321 8036 Passcode: 339202)

Cancer Center Seminar

"In Pursuit of Multi-Omic Predictive Biomarkers for Immunotherapy via Team Science Approach"

Lillian Siu, MD, FRCPC 
Professor, University of Toronto
Senior Medical Oncologist, Director of Phase I Program
Co-Leader, Tumor Immunotherapy Program
BMO Chair in Precision Cancer Genomics
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Friday, October 2, 2020
12:00 pm
via Zoom
(Meeting ID: 924 1003 9726 Passcode: CaseCCC)

Physiology and Biophysics Seminar

"Intracellular Ion Channels: Identification and Physiological Roles"

Harpreet Singh, PhD
Associate Professor, Physiology and Cell Biology
The Ohio State University 

Monday, October 5, 2020
4:00 pm
via Zoom
Meeting ID: 954 8381 6991 Passcode: 151453)


Career & Professional Development

BIEC October Meeting- Virtual Networking Event with
Lisa Hebert and Laura Papcum

Click here to download flyer.

Postdoc Corner

Upcoming Events: 


Accessing care through the U.S. healthcare system can seem like a daunting, mountainous task. After all, we fear the unknown. In fact, a recent survey shows that only four percent of Americans truly understand the key components of their health insurance and how they impact their out-of-pocket costs, and for international postdocs, the statistic is undoubtedly even lower. Join us for an informative webinar where we will discuss those unfamiliar concepts and terms you may have come across when looking at health insurance benefit summaries or speaking with healthcare professionals. Fortunately, when armed with a bit of knowledge and understanding, accessing care seems like less of a mountain and more of a molehill.

Steve Johnson is the area vice president of Gallagher Benefit Services’ Student and Scholar Services division, and is responsible for the sales, administration and customer care of all university and research facility clients. Johnson's background working in the Graduate Division of a major research university, his degree in finance, and his 20 years of insurance experience have allowed him to help universities across the country design and implement quality, comprehensive postdoctoral benefit programs that reflect the value these institutions place on their postdocs.

 Date: 10/7/2020
When: Wednesday, October 7, 2020
1:00 p.m. E.T.
Where: Webinar
United States
Contact: NPA staff

Click here to register.

Click here for a full list of events from the National Postdoctoral Association.

Upcoming Dissertation Defenses

Erika Cyphert
Biomedical Engineering Dissertation Defense
Friday, September 25
1:30 – 3:30pm
"Towards the Creation of Polymer Composites which can be refilled with Antibiotics after Implantation for Treatment of Infections"

Alyson Wolk
Molecular Medicine Dissertation Defense
Wednesday, October 7
10:30am – 12:30pm
"The Role of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium in Sorsby Fundus Dystrophy"

Funding Opportunities

Funding opportunities from the
Cancer Center

Applications for the NCI F99/K00 award is being accepted. This is an award for graduate students focused on cancer research, and our institution gets one nomination. Please find more details attached

In addition, calls for applications for the Cancer Center Trainee Dream Experiment. This award is available to graduate or medical students, postdocs, residents, and fellows that have a cancer focused research project. Please find more details attached

Contact Damian Junk for more information.

Check out what's going on around campus

The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women is calling for
Mentors and Mentees

The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women works collaboratively with student groups to offer mentoring with professionals in their field. Collaborating with Women in Science and Humanities Earning Doctorates (WISHED) we connect graduate students in a PhD program (second year or higher) with faculty mentors and with the Women in Science Engineering Roundtable (WISER) we connect undergraduate students (second year or higher) with professionals working in STEM fields. Please check out the details below if you are interested in participating as either a mentor or mentee in one of these programs.

Burst the Bubble–Build Community: Steps for Working Together as Community with the Surrounding Neighborhoods

Wednesday, September 30 at 3 p.m.


Mark Chupp, PhD, assistant professor and chair, community practice for social change CWRU Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Gwendolyn Garth, community leader, multimedia artist and founder and owner of Kings & Queens of Art, a grassroots collaboration of local artists.

Visit the Power of Diversity website for registration details.

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.
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