• Title Associate Professor
    Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
  • Education PhD: National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, UK
  • Office K618
  • Phone 617-638-4077 (M, T, Th); 617-638-4196 (W, F)
  • Area of Interest graduate science and medical education, advising and mentoring, developmental biology and signaling

I lead the educational mission of the Department of Biochemistry and have major roles in curriculum design, development and implementation in the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS) and in the Medical School. As co-director of Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (FiBS), I helped to lead the integration of the first year Ph.D. curriculum and currently serve to provide oversight and evaluation of its courses. In line with my interests as a former Principal Investigator whose laboratory focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of cell motility, an essential component of normal biological processes such as embryonic development and wound healing, as well as critical in disease development and progression, I am also co-director of the fourth FiBS module, Mechanisms in Cell Communication. The FiBS educational structure encourages students to think in a rigorous and interdisciplinary fashion, incorporating weekly small group discussions to critically evaluate scientific literature. Small break-out groups are “near-peer” facilitated and are comprised of students with differing scientific interests to encompass a range of perspectives and to promote collegiality among doctoral students. In addition, to provide essential foundational skills required for lifelong learning and career development, critical thinking, problem solving, class participation and scientific writing are included in the evaluation process. Individualized oversight and help for students is provided through faculty accessibility, monitoring of performance, and tutoring. I am also a member of the team charged with restructuring the MD curriculum. As someone who has long been involved teaching and mentoring MD students, as well as in curriculum reform and development of the MD courses, this is an exciting challenge that will see a greater integration of basic science and clinical medicine throughout the curriculum.

As Assistant Dean of Student Affairs I am involved in personal and professional student support including academic enhancement, career guidance, personal counseling, referrals, advocacy, letters of recommendation, and emergency response for students facing personal and family crises. In this role I work with offices across the University including with Diversity and Inclusion, Disability Services, Enrichment, Academic Affairs, Financial Affairs, Housing Resources, Campus Police, Occupational Health. I also provide mentorship for individual students and student organizations.

  1. Dasgupta S, Symes K, Hyman L. Leading change: curriculum reform in graduate education in the biomedical sciences. Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2015 Mar-Apr; 43(2):126-32. PMID: 25735833.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Abali EE, Osheroff N, Buxbaum E, Niederhoffer EC, Symes K, Sanders M. Evolving Role of the Basic Science Course Director in an Integrated Curriculum. Medical Science Educator. 2014.
  3. Liu KW, Feng H, Bachoo R, Kazlauskas A, Smith EM, Symes K, Hamilton RL, Nagane M, Nishikawa R, Hu B, Cheng SY. SHP-2/PTPN11 mediates gliomagenesis driven by PDGFRA and INK4A/ARF aberrations in mice and humans. J Clin Invest. 2011 Mar; 121(3):905-17. PMID: 21393858.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Symes K, Smith EM, Mitsi M, Nugent MA. Sweet cues: How heparan sulfate modification of fibronectin enables growth factor guided migration of embryonic cells. Cell Adh Migr. 2010 Oct-Dec; 4(4):507-10. PMID: 20562530.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Smith EM, Mitsi M, Nugent MA, Symes K. PDGF-A interactions with fibronectin reveal a critical role for heparan sulfate in directed cell migration during Xenopus gastrulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Dec 22; 106(51):21683-8. PMID: 19966216.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Wu H, Symes K, Seldin DC, Dominguez I. Threonine 393 of beta-catenin regulates interaction with Axin. J Cell Biochem. 2009 Sep 1; 108(1):52-63. PMID: 19565571.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Malikova MA, Van Stry M, Symes K. Apoptosis regulates notochord development in Xenopus. Dev Biol. 2007 Nov 15; 311(2):434-48. PMID: 17920580.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Symes K. Analysis of Growth Factor Signaling in Xenopus. Whitman M and Sater AK eds. Investigating Gastrulation. CRC Press. Boca Raton. 2007; 339-368.
  9. Ren R, Nagel M, Tahinci E, Winklbauer R, Symes K. Migrating anterior mesoderm cells and intercalating trunk mesoderm cells have distinct responses to Rho and Rac during Xenopus gastrulation. Dev Dyn. 2006 Apr; 235(4):1090-9. PMID: 16493692.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Dominguez I, Mizuno J, Wu H, Imbrie GA, Symes K, Seldin DC. A role for CK2alpha/beta in Xenopus early embryonic development. Mol Cell Biochem. 2005 Jun; 274(1-2):125-31. PMID: 16342412.
    View in: PubMed

Complete list can be found at BU Profiles

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