The start of a new academic year is always a time of excitement and change. This year is no exception, though it is more than what we typically experience.
First, I am replacing the esteemed Professor Dan Roberts at the helm of the department. Dan is returning to the faculty after five years of dedicated service to the BCMB department as head. Having worked with him, I know how much he is dedicated to BCMB students and faculty! For those who are not familiar with me, I am a microbial cell biologist interested in deciphering how cells, specifically bacteria, make decisions. My research is relevant for agriculture, medicine, and the environment. For example, research from my lab has potential for designing novel antimicrobial drugs and new biofertilizers for economically important crops. I have a passion for undergraduate teaching. As an instructor of 100-level biology courses for more than a decade, I have witnessed the change in students’ attitudes toward higher education. Students now look for more experiential learning and for opportunities to build professional skills for a variety of potential careers during their education. These changes require a thoughtful redesign of the curriculum – a project I foresee the department embarking on in the near future.
In addition to the change in leadership, roughly 70 percent of BCMB faculty members have moved to the new Ken and Blaire Mossman Building. All faculty located in Walters Life Sciences were relocated to Mossman between June and August of 2018. The new Mossman building is a masterpiece. It is a 21st century building that boasts collaborative study and research spaces. I invite each and every one of you to come and visit our new workplace. We are also welcoming Rajan Lamicchane, a new assistant professor. Lamicchane’s research focuses on elucidating how single molecule dynamics contribute to function and organization of complex biomolecular systems. His research will bring new expertise to the BCMB research portfolio while synergizing with ongoing research in the department.
BCMB is constantly evolving and in this issue of our annual newsletter, you will learn about the cutting-edge research conducted by Keerthi Krishnan, a neuroscientist whose work focuses on Rett syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disease. Research into this type of disease provides an opportunity to learn how the brain works. I also invite you to read about some of our undergraduate and graduate students and their achievements. The BCMB Graduate Student Organization, led and run graduate students, hosts regular events and engages in outreach activities, which are spotlighted in this issue as well.
Professor and Department Head