2020-2021 Biology Department Awards


Student Accomplishments

We are all proud of the accomplishments of all of our students during this challenging year! We’d like to recognize a few Ph. D. students who deserve extra recognition as winners of three departmental awards. It is our great pleasure to announce the recipients of the 2020-2021 Biology Department Awards. 

Outstanding Teaching Assistant of the Year Award

Shu Jun Lin and Nimmy John 

Shu Jun Lin
Nimmy John


The outstanding teaching assistant of the Year award was established in 1995 in memory of Don LaFrancois and recognizes graduate student teaching assistants who have earned the respect of both students and faculty for their dedication to teaching and students, outstanding performance in the classroom and excellence in fulfilling all responsibilities associated with their teaching assignment. This years’ recipients are honored because of the dedication, responsiveness, care and sense of responsibility they have brought to their teaching assignments. Shu Jun is a Ph.D. student in Gaby Fuch’s lab and Nimmy John is a Ph.D. student in ChangHwan Lee’s lab. 

David Shub Graduate Student Award for Excellence in RNA Research


Ed Zandro Taroc

The $500 award was established by Professor David Shub and is given to a senior graduate student working on an RNA-related project who best epitomizes the qualities of the former faculty member and Chair of Biological Sciences, David Shub: innovation, motivation, and scholarship. Ed Zandro Taroc, a Ph.D. student in Paolo Forni’s lab, was selected as the student who best demonstrates all three of these qualities. 


Peter and Anne Marfey Book Award 

Shane Bresnak

Shane Bresnak

This award was established by Professor Anne Marfey in memory of her late husband, Professor S. Peter Marfey (Biological Sciences), and by Ms. Christina Marfey and Mr. Johan Marfey, in memory of their late father. Professor Marfey was a nucleic acid biochemist who was one of the faculty members hired when the University first occupied the uptown campus in 1967. The Marfey Endowment provides this $150 book award to a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences demonstrating excellence in the field of Biological Chemistry. Shane Bresnak, a Ph.D. student in Prash Rangan’s lab was selected on the basis of his excellent work that includes and reaches beyond the field of biochemistry.


Congratulations to the award winners, to everyone nominated, and to all of the graduate students for surviving and excelling during these challenging times!

The Graduate Programs Committee

Mindy Larsen
Paolo Forni
Andy Berglund
Haijun Chen
Gaby Fuchs