Exceptional Thesis Award

The annual Exceptional Thesis Award honors CMB graduate students who have written and defended outstanding theses. As part of the award, each student will receive $250 and a plaque, and their names will be added to a plaque that will be housed in Bock Laboratories.



Robert Ihry and Saheed Imam both won the inaugural CMB Exceptional Thesis Award. Robert's research focused on understanding how steroid hormones affect a wide variety of developmental processes with exquisite tissue and temporal specificity in the fruit fly. Saheed’s graduate research involved creating and modeling a systems- level map of various metabolic and transcriptional processes in the bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides.




Shang Ma, who won the 2015 Exceptional Thesis Award, worked in the Huang Lab using mouse models to study brain development. He is now working as a post-doc with Dr. Ardem Patapoutian, an HHMI Investigator at the Scripps Research Institute, where he is studying mechanotransduction.




Congratulations to Jae-Sung You and Joseph Bruckner, who have both won the 2016 CMB Exceptional Thesis Award! For his thesis work, Jae-Sung focused on the regulation of skeletal muscle mass by mechanical loading, things like exercise and limb immobilization, and the role of mTOR activity in this process. He also identified and defined a role for a protein called diacylglycerol kinase zeta (DGKζ) in the regulation of anabolic and catabolic events in the muscle. For his thesis project, Joseph examined Fife, a protein in the active zone cytomatrix of the drosophila synapse. This protein served as his starting point for exploring the molecular machinery at the synapse and the dynamic regulation of neurotransmitter release, something that contributes to many different disorders when dysfunctional.



Congratulations to Sarah Neuman, the 2017 Exceptional Thesis Award winner! Sarah carried out her thesis research with Dr. Arash Bashirullah in the School of Pharmacy. Her thesis is titled "Characterization of Hobbit, a novel and conserved regulator of intracellular trafficking during regulated exocytosis." The CMB Awards Committee recognized Sarah for "her bravery in exploring the functionality of several loci that were identified from genetic screens of important physiologies in Drosophila, and for her exceptional scientific perspective.  Her intellectual fearlessness led to several interesting new discoveries, from the endocrinology of cell death during pupation to the implication of a novel subunit of the phosphatase PP2A in a major insulin-stimulated pathway, Akt signaling.  She is also lauded for her outreach, science communication and for her mentoring in didactic activities and independent learning opportunities."