Alum, Students Recognized at Second Annual GMS Distinguished Alumni Awards Event

Graduate Medical Sciences held their second annual PhD Distinguished Alumni Award Reception on May 3. Faculty, staff, current students and alumni gathered in Hiebert Lounge for a late afternoon celebration to honor a GMS alum who has made outstanding contributions to scientific research and medical treatment.

Assistant Dean for GMS Alumni Affairs Barbara M. Schreiber, PhD, introduced this year’s Distinguished Alumnus, Steven Treon, MD, PhD. Dr. Treon is a quadruple terrier – earning a BA in Biology, an MA in biochemistry, a PhD in microbiology and an MD with honors. A professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), he directs the Bing Center for Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia and chairs the Macroglobulinemia Clinical Trials Group at DFCI.

Dr. Treon identified genetic bases for Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia and devised a treatment that resulted in the Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a drug that was the first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency to treat Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia. Dr. Treon described his research and his career trajectory to a packed audience that included his family, his PhD mentor’s (Dr. Selwyn Broitman) daughter and his coworkers (many of whom are BU alumni as well)!

“It is such an honor for me to be back home at BUSM, and to be able to see so many friends and colleagues,” said Dr. Treon, who recently was elected a fellow by the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Last fall, BU’s BEST named a new award in honor of alumna Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle and her efforts in developing Science from Scientists, an organization whose mission is “to teach and inspire the next generation to identify and solve real-world problems by improving STEM literacy.” The awards recognize current predoctoral trainees and postdoctoral scholars actively engaged in STEM community service and/or outreach. Associate Provost Lynda Hyman, PhD, introduced this year’s recipients. “We are delighted to have this award in her honor; she has been a true inspiration to our students.”

Alicia Wooten (L) and Katharine Babcock (R).

Katharine Babcock, a PhD student in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, was awarded first place for her work, “Embedding Brains to Inspire Minds,” a program that will create a permanent collection of normal and pathological brain specimens to use at various outreach events in the community. She was inspired to apply for this award after her experience providing brain demonstrations at the Museum of Science in 2018, where it was clear that members of the public wanted to handle the specimens but were not allowed to because of their fragility.

Alicia Wooten, a PhD candidate in the Molecular & Translational Medicine/Program in Biomedical Sciences was awarded second place for her work with Atomic Hands, an organization she co-founded to bring together the deaf STEM community and showcase the world of science in an entertaining and accessible way. By increasing public accessibility to STEM through American Sign Language, they aim to foster collaborations and networking opportunities among current and future deaf STEMists.

Following the award ceremony, students had the opportunity to network with faculty and alumni in the fields of research, business, communication, law, policy and teaching.

The ceremony was sponsored by BU’s BEST Program.

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