The 18th Annual Pathology Research Symposium was held on November 15, 2019, at the Kahn Auditorium, A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building. The annual event is organized and hosted by Molecular and Cellular Pathology Graduate Student Council and sponsored by the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan.
This year’s conference followed a similar schedule as years past, geared toward highlighting the innovation and excellence in training and research in the Molecular and Cellular Pathology graduate program.
The morning began with a brief welcome by Director of the Molecular & Cellular Pathology Graduate Program, Zaneta Nikolovska-Coleska, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology, Michigan Medicine, Associate Director of the Program in Biomedical Sciences. This was followed by alternating student and faculty presentations smoothly kept on schedule by the day’s emcee, Ashwin Iyer.
Before the lunch break, keynote speaker Robert G. Roeder, PhD, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Biochemical and Molecular Biology at Rockefeller University, took the stage. Dr. Roeder is a world-reknowned biochemist and molecular biologist, a pioneer in eukaryotic transcription. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, his research over the last 50 years has created, and continues to shape, an entire field of modern biology, the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes. His discoveries of the RNA polymerases and their respective general transcription factors are monumental contributions to our understanding of transcription machinery and of the basic mechanisms of transcription in eukaryotic cells. During his address, he delighted the full auditorium with research that had not been previously presented.
After the enthralling keynote presentation, the crowd gathered for lunch. The students presenting posters held plates of food or drinks in an informal, yet informative poster presentation session that ran throughout the lunch break. The poster presentations were so engaging that the auditorium was slow to fill for the next presentation. Emcee Ashwin Iyer got the afternoon back on schedule without compromising any presentations.
Alumna Rebekah Martin, PhD, MLS (ASCP)cm, from the Department of Pathology, University of Utah, engaged the crowd with “There and Back Again: A Clinical Microbiologist’s Journey” just before the career panel. During said career panel, the students gathered close to the stage to easily ask questions and hear the answers of Dr. Robert Roeder, Dr. Rebekah Martin, Kelly B. Sexton, PhD, Associate Vice President for Research-Technology Transfer and Innovation, University of Michigan and Mark Schultz, PhD, Research Investigator, Department of Pathology, Michigan Medicine.
As daylight began to wane, the students eagerly awaited the awards presentation by Dr. Zaneta Nikolovska-Coleska. Best Poster Awards were presented to Jacqueline Mann and Ashwin Iyer. Best Oral Presentation was awarded to Siva Natarajan. Dr. Nikolovska-Coleska expressed her pride in the Outstanding Research Awardee as she presented this award to Abhijit Parolia, commenting on his bright future.
The last remaining MCP students disbursed at 5:15 pm, making plans to meet up later and celebrate their success, deservedly so. The Molecular and Cellular Pathology Graduate Student Council put on a wonderful symposium that engaged attendees at every level.