Alumni Newsletter

Fall 2022 Issue

Table of Contents

Message from the Chair

The campus is full of students enjoying the crisp fall weather in St. Louis. As the leaves changed color, the university underwent its own transformation. In early October, Washington University in St. Louis unveiled its strategic plan, an 18-month effort to map out the university's path for the next decade. The plan, "Here and Next", aims to advance our community's education, research, and patient care efforts. 

Consistent with plans to elevate education and research, the Department of Biology was identified as a unit of strategic opportunity. Our vision is to see the department ranked in the Top-10 of all biology programs in the nation. However, with nearly 600 undergraduate biology majors, we need more teaching laboratories and faculty members to reduce class sizes. We are thrilled to announce that nine new modern teaching lab spaces are coming for Biology by the fall of 2024 to support the enthusiasm for research among our biology majors. The teaching labs will move to a different building, opening up substantial research space for six to eight new faculty hires. We hope that every student who comes through the department has the opportunity to engage in research -  this sets the WashU Biology experience apart from other schools. 

Biology has prioritized scientific research experiences for undergraduate biology majors for years and, as alums, many of you were shared in these experiences across WashU.

  • Nearly all of our advanced lab electives are course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) that provide students with hands-on research experiences in the classroom.  
  • Students also have the opportunity to work in a research lab during the academic year while receiving credit toward their major (read about the research our undergraduates are conducting).
  • Competitive summer programs offer students the opportunity to continue developing their research skills without combining their research experience with employment to cover living costs.
  • Biology has further committed to making undergraduate research accessible to all students with the hire of faculty member Dr. Janet Goins (learn more about Dr. Goins). In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she is charged with creating programmatic activities to support research opportunities for students at all levels and with diverse backgrounds.
  • Finally, we are committed to ensuring no student has to abandon a scientific research experience to prioritize employment to pay for school and living expenses. You can help us in this effort by contributing to the new Department of Biology Undergraduate Research Fund, where your contribution will help fund our students' research experiences. 

Looking ahead, Biology will be growing and changing in the next few years - there's a lot more to come! But, providing our students opportunities to make personal and professional discoveries and to go beyond what's in textbooks remains at the heart of our mission. 


We hope you can take a minute to update us on your personal and professional accomplishments. We also welcome you to share your memories of your time spent at Washington University. 

Connect with Biology 

Ryan Emenecker, PhD 2021

Ryan Emenecker won the 2022 Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation. The $50,000 prize recognizes excellence and creativity in young biomedical scientists who have potential to make scientific breakthroughs.

Read more

Amelia Nguyen, PhD 2016

Amelia Nguyen sat down for an interview to discuss her transition from being a graduate student in academia to a biologist at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Read more

Awards & Notables

Joe Jez

Professor and Chair of Biology Joe Jez received the David Hadas Teaching Award from Arts & Sciences.

Read the Story

Yehuda Ben-Shahar

Professor Yehuda Ben-Shahar was recognized by the Neuroscience Program Steering Committee for his outstanding commitment to teaching in the neuroscience community with an Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Read the Story

Adalee Lube

Graduate student Adalee Lube was recognized by the Neuroscience Program Steering Committee for her outstanding commitment to teaching in the neuroscience community with an Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Read the Story

Ryan Calcutt & Kari Miller

Graduate student Ryan Calcutt is a finalist for the Dean’s Award for Graduate Research Excellence. Graduate student Kari Miller is a semi-finalist for the award.

Read the Story

Ivan Radin

Postdoctoral fellow Ivan Radin wins Olympus Image of the Year award for the region of Americas.

Read the Story

Erik Herzog

Professor Erik Herzog was promoted to the Viktor Hamburger Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences.

“I ran a CAMP program which stands for “California Alliance for Minority Participation”. I would tell those students, and feel the same way about all my students, that my door is always open and they should never hesitate to reach out to me. Once a CAMPer, always a CAMPer."

Janet Goins

Biology Lecturer & Coordinator of Undergraduate Research Experiences

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