Jonathan Edwards and Elizabeth Pollom have been awarded the 2012 Diane Harris Leadership Award for their exemplary public service as doctoral students in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. The department created this award in honor of Diane Harris former student services manager who retired in 2007 after 20+ years of service. Ms. Harris held her position with great dedication and loyalty and each year faculty nominate graduating student(s) who served the department well in addition to being leaders among their peers. Jonathan and Elizabeth are both set to graduate from the program this May 2012 and they were presented with their plaques and award checks during the 1st Annual Graduate Student Spring Social event on April 11, 2012, held at the Farm in Carrboro.
Jonathan trained with Dr. Matt Redinbo as part of the biophysics program. As a graduate student, Jon worked on the vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus the most dangerous bacteria in the established world. He studied the atomic-level resolution structure of the protein that allows "staph" to attain vancomycin resistance. Jonathan served as a student representative on the Department's Graduate Education Committee and served a term as an elected student president. Jonathan was also the recipient of a competitive university award for excellence in graduate research, the 2012 Graduate Education Impact Award. Currently, he is set to join the lab of Dr. Bevin Engelward at MIT as a postdoctoral fellow.
Elizabeth trained with Dr. Ron Swanstrom and her work involved the chemical mapping of the secondary structure of SIV genomic RNA and HIV-1 spliced mRNA. Elizabeth also served as a student representative on the Department's Graduate Education Committee as well as augmented her studies with several teaching and mentoring experiences of undergraduate students. She will be joining Dr. Karla Kirkegaard's lab at Stanford University this fall and just received a competitive Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award from Stanford, a postdoctoral fellowship that will support her continued training and experience in mentoring and teaching.