News and Publications
Graduate Studies Program
Jeffery W. Kelly, Ph.D.
At the annual Board of Trustees meeting, Jeffery W. Kelly was named dean of the Graduate Studies Program. Jeff had been named acting dean in September when Bernie Gilula passed away.
This year marks the 12th year of the Graduate Studies Program at TSRI and the conferral of the 100th doctoral degree. We continue to exceed the goals that were set at the inception of the program and to enrich the quality of the program through integration into the scientific growth of TSRI. This interconnection between the graduate program and the Institute provides the program's strength and is one of the true measures of its success.
To make classes more rewarding to students, the course directors reorganized the course content. In addition, some of the elective courses in the macromolecular and cellular structure and chemistry (MCSC) program were integrated into the core curriculum, a step that resulted in a more inclusive curriculum. To further diversify the course offerings, the directors decided to allow students to receive credits for units taken from the curriculum of either the MCSC program or the chemistry program. Thus, students can benefit from developing a more interdisciplinary background. We strongly encourage first-year students to take advantage of this restructuring.
Although research is the major component of Ph.D. programs at other institutions, the emphasis on research at TSRI is unusually strong, underscoring the synergy between the missions of both TSRI and the graduate program. Students in the MCSC program complete the program as well-equipped problem solvers; nearly 70% enter academia upon graduation, and 30% are recruited to work in industry. Students on the chemistry track graduate with the skills to become bioorganic or synthetic chemists in academia. Approximately 40% of the chemistry program's graduates obtain positions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries; the remaining graduates become involved in academic research. Irrespective of the environment they choose, TSRI graduates are recruited to fill highly competitive positions in academia, government, and industry.
Over the years, the Graduate Studies Program has enhanced its competitive edge by recruiting highly qualified students from various disciplines and with diverse scientific interests. What was once considered unique to TSRI, interdisciplinary training, is now commonplace at most other institutions, thereby challenging our recruitment efforts. As a result of previous suggestions, marked changes were made to the recruitment process this year to ensure that TSRI recruits only the best students. These modifications were well received and produced significant results. We recruited 24 chemistry students and 14 MCSC students from a wide range of undergraduate universities.
At commencement ceremonies held in May, TSRI conferred doctoral degrees on 21 students. Christopher N.C. Boddy, Dennis T.Y. Bong, Steven L. Castle, Joel Goldberg, Kathryn M. Koeller, H. Michael Petrassi, Allen A. Thomas, Jonathan D. Toker, and Yohei Yokobayashi received degrees in chemistry. Danuta Balicki, Phyllis Frosst, David J. Hosfield, Kinya Hotta, Nicole Kresge, Ryan S. Littlefield, Satchidananda Panda, Matthew P. Matricelli, Christopher D. Putnam, Erica Ollmann Saphire, Vickie Tsui, and Jacques T. Weissman were granted a degree in macromolecular and cellular structure and chemistry. Joseph Graham Davis, Jr., governor of the State of California, received an honorary doctor of science degree.
As in years past, students obtained financial support from a broad range of prestigious sources, including the Skaggs Institute for Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Science Foundation, La Jolla Interfaces in Science, Medical Research Council of Canada, American Heart Association, American Chemical Society, United Negro College Fund, National Institutes of Health, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Roche Award, and the Hewitt Award.
We are also grateful to our generous donors: the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation, Inc., the Sharon & William Bauce Foundation, the Norton B. Gilula Graduate Student Fellowship, David and Ursula Fairchild, the Fletcher-Jones Foundation, and the Louis R. Jabinson Investigatorship Fund for Graduate Education. Their contributions to the Graduate Studies Program enhanced our commitment to scientific excellence.
Each year, students from both the chemistry program and the MCSC program invite prominent researchers at the forefront of the biological and chemical sciences to participate in the graduate program's Distinguished Lecturer Series. In addition to attending each scientist's formal presentation to the Institute, students meet with the scientist on an informal basis, in small group settings, at various intervals throughout the visit. Speakers who participated in the series this year included Stephen L. Buchwald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Chaitan Khosla, Stanford University; Ignacio Tinoco, University of California, Berkeley; Michael Rossmann, Purdue University; Lynne Regan, Yale University; Philip Sharp, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Joanne Stubbe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Samuel I. Stupp, Northwestern University; and John Wood, Yale University.
To address the needs of the community, a highly motivated group of graduate students continue to enhance the curriculum for high school science teachers. The enhancements include hands-on experiments that can be used in the classroom and didactic presentations on state-of-the art research topics and techniques for TSRI's Science Partnership Scholars Program. In addition, several graduate students serve as mentors to high school students through TSRI's Research Education Program, which was created to expose students to a variety of contemporary issues in basic biomedical research, provide hands-on laboratory experience, and motivate and prepare students for continuing education in the sciences.
The graduate program held its annual retreat in September at the Shelter Pointe Hotel and Marina. The retreat included 2 poster sessions and a series of 15-minute presentations by students. In order to further the interdisciplinary nature of the graduate program, presentations by the MCSC and the chemistry students were combined. The objectives of the retreat are to encourage scientific discussion among students and faculty, provide a forum for presentation of a broad range of research topics by students, and serve as a measure of the scientific excellence of graduate students at TSRI. Each of the following students received a $300 academic allowance: Nadim Jessani, for best MCSC poster; Jawdat Al-Bassam, for best MCSC presentation; Songpon Deechongkit, for best chemistry poster; and Federico Bernal, for best chemistry presentation. The event was attended by approximately 175 students and 30 faculty members.
In addition, Ian Wilson announced the recipient of this year's Jairo H. Arèvalo Award: fourth-year chemistry student Fraser Hof. The graduate program established the Jairo H. Arèvalo fellowship to be awarded to a student in his or her second year or beyond in memory of Jairo H. Arèvalo, TSRI's first recipient of a doctoral degree. The award is in the amount of $3000 for 1 year. The criteria for selection are the qualities of academic scholarship, achievement, enthusiasm, motivation, commitment, and thirst for knowledge that were so apparent in Arèvalo.
TSRI faculty members have a strong commitment to the graduate program; more than 100 professors provide instruction to 78 students in the chemistry program and 73 students in the MCSC program. We are grateful to all of our senior scientific staff for volunteering to provide the leadership and expertise necessary to maintain and enhance this program that serves as a reflection of the Institute's standard for scientific excellence.