MCB News and Announcements

3 weeks 22 hours ago

MCB/MSTP Student, Erin Dela Cruz of the Fredricks Lab, wins the Amercan Society for Microbiology Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship for 2016-2019!

The goal of the ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship is to increase the number of underrepresented groups completing doctoral degrees in the microbiological sciences. It is aimed at highly competitive graduate students who are enrolled in a PhD program and who have completed their graduate course work in the microbiological sciences. Up to seven PhD candidates are awarded the three-year fellowship annually. The fellowship encourages students to continue and complete their research project in the microbiological sciences. Applicants are reviewed according to the following criteria:

  • Academic achievement
  • Evidence of a successful research plan developed in collaboration with research advisor/mentor
  • Relevant career goals in the microbiological sciences
  • Involvement in activities that serve the needs of underrepresented groups

The program provides a total stipend of $63,000 ($21,000/year).

See for more information on the Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship.

ASM offers students exposure to the professional world of science and develops academic and leadership skills to ensure success. The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 47,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities.

A Little Historical Perspective

An ASM-sponsored national fellowship program for minority graduate students in the microbiological sciences, established in 1980, was renamed the Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship in 19
97. Watkins served as ASM’s Public Relations Director and was the first African-American to serve in a major staff position at ASM, and he was very active in promoting ASM’s minority programs.*

*Revisiting the Contributions of African-American Scientists to ASM, Though piecing the story together can be difficult, we need to remember and honor the contributions of African-Americans to ASM, Authored by: Marian Johnson-Thompson, PhD, Microbe/Volume 2, Number 2, 2007

This posting quotes extensively from the ASM website.

3 weeks 1 day ago

Five early career faculty at Fred Hutch each received an unexpected $100,000 in research funding this spring in the form of the President's Young Investigator Awards. They include Principal Investigators (PIs) Dr. Robert Bradley, Dr. Emily Hatch, Dr. Aude Chapuis, Dr. Martin Prlic and Dr. Alice Berger.

The President’s Young Investigator Awards are made possible through the generosity of Paula Rosput Reynolds and Steve Reynolds, and the family of Richard C. Goldstein. These awards recognize and assist new researchers and junior faculty members. Importantly, the five awards are given to researchers in each of the Hutch’s five scientific divisions. Three of the five awardees are also MCB faculty.

Dr. Robert Bradley said, "It's very motivating to have your work recognized and valued. And it is exciting to have an opportunity to move our science forward more rapidly." With his unrestricted funds, Bradley said he intends to take his research in a new direction. "Having access to unrestricted funds allows us to move more quickly in a therapeutic direction," he said.

Dr. Emily Hatch, a Rising Star, says she plans to use the money to invest in imaging technologies that will allow her to perform high-resolution microscopy of the nuclei of living cells. A new faculty member, Hatch says "It makes me feel very welcome and part of the Hutch community."

Dr. Martin Prlic says he is excited by the possibilities of the unrestricted funding. "Usually you apply for a project and ask for money. All of a sudden it's the other way around. Here's $100,000, come up with the best way to use it. This is money that I want to use well."

Paula Reynolds, Fred Hutch Board of Trustee member and former Board Chair, was the driving force behind the establishment of the President’s Young Investigator Awards. “It was clear that there was a need to help young investigators,” she said. “Private philanthropy is the only way younger researchers can get that support. I talked to Nancy Greenwood Vehrs (Deputy Director of Development), she talked to Gary Gilliland, and we had a program."

For the full article by Hutch staff writer, Sabin Russell, see:

Fred Hutch News Service, June 27, 2016

3 weeks 2 days ago

Top scientists from five research organizations spoke to a sold out crowd about passion, science, and confidence on Wednesday, June 22nd, in Seattle's Town Hall.  Researchers from throughout the Puget Sound region participated in the special community event, which celebrated women in the research lab and clinic. Organized by Fred Hutch, the forum included as panelists, Drs. Tala de los Santos of PATH, Amy Bernard of the Allen Institute, Suman Jayadev of UW Medicine, Bonnie Ramsey of Seattle Children's, and our own Nina Salama of the Hutch.

Several memorable and inspiring quotes from the article include:

  • Science is who you are.
  • As you evovle in what you're doing, you see new doors opening up and you create your new path.
  • And in research it's crucial to stay open not just to various career paths but to the wonder of what the science itself might be teaching you.
  • Your job is to learn. There is a great role for mysticism or spiritualism in science.
  • One of the most difficult things for me to understand [in this field] is that you'll have an idea and you'll pitch it, and people might not bite at first. It was hard to realize that's OK; you have to have a thick skin and you have to go back and try again.
  • You'll have many more failures than successes, but you have to believe in yourself.
  • Yes, you have to make decisions, but just be very careful of false choices. Sometimes people put things in a very binary mode, either this or that, it can't be both. Well, why not?
  • I don't feel like being a woman stopped me. I just did it. Maybe it did in some small ways, maybe my path would have been a little bit different, but I've basically gotten to do what I wanted to do.

Read the article by Fred Hutch statff writer, Rachel Tompa at See live video of the event, Rock Star Women in Science Panel, on Facebook.