Student Spotlight: Ben Evans

Headshot of Ben EvansHometown:

Fishers, Indiana

Year entered CMB program:



Rotating Student


Brief Summary of Research:

The labs I am rotating in are focused on gene regulation/transcription in early development and/or disease progression.

Awards and Publications:

Ball State University’s Graduate ASPiRE grant

Evans, B. A., & Bernstein, D. A. (2021). SpRY Cas9 Can Utilize a Variety of Protospacer Adjacent Motif Site Sequences To Edit the Candida albicans Genome. mSphere, 6(3), e00303-21.

Evans, B. A., Pickerill, E. S., & Bernstein, D. A. (2021). Stay-on-Task Exercises as a Tool To Maintain Focus during a CRISPR CURE. Journal of microbiology & biology education, 22(2), e00114-21.

Evans, B. A., Pickerill, E. S., Vyas, V. K., & Bernstein, D. A. (2018). CRISPR-mediated Genome Editing of the Human Fungal Pathogen Candida albicans. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, (141), 10.3791/58764.

Evans, B. A., Smith, O. L., Pickerill, E. S., York, M. K., Buenconsejo, K., Chambers, A. E., & Bernstein, D. A. (2018). Restriction digest screening facilitates efficient detection of site-directed mutations introduced by CRISPR in C. albicans UME6. PeerJ, 6, e4920.

Pickerill, E. S., Embree, C. M., Evans, B. A., North, E. R., Mager, G. M., & Bernstein, D. A. (2019). How CRISPR-mediated genome editing is affecting undergraduate biology education. Fine Focus, 5(1), 23-34.

Why did you decide to attend graduate school?

I decided to attend graduate school because I knew early on that I had a passion for research. I enjoy asking important questions and designing relevant projects to help find answers. Going to graduate school will help me to become proficient in fields that specifically interest me and will give me the training needed to contribute novel findings. I also wanted to gain experience in several fields and collaborating with other labs in graduate school allows me to do that.

Why did you choose UW-Madison’s CMB Program?

UW was first recommended to me by my previous PI, who is a UW alumni. He boasted about what a great campus UW has and highlighted that the researchers here were doing important work in their fields. I chose CMB specifically because of my interest in molecular biology and then seeing the array of molecular biology being performed here. A very appealing factor was that CMB has over 200 faculty trainers, which allows for many connections and potential collaborations to be made.

What advice would you give to a student applying to graduate school?

When applying to graduate school you should make sure the labs on campus are doing research in the fields that interest you. You should also ensure that the program will have a good support system for you to help you do the best work you can.

What are your long-term career goals?

I want to perform research focusing on transcriptional differences affecting disease progression at a university. Ideally, I would like to run a lab and give undergraduate researchers the same opportunities I had.

What is your favorite memory so far in the CMB Program?

My favorite memory in CMB so far was meeting other students at social events during orientation. This helped me to form connections and learn more about the program before diving into classes and rotations.