Memorial Sloan Kettering's 30th Annual Academic Convocation

Faculty mentor Joan Massagué (center) with PhD recipients Claudio Alarcon (left) and David Miguel Padua Faculty mentor Joan Massagué (center) with PhD recipients Claudio Alarcon (left) and David Miguel Padua
(From left) Memorial Sloan Kettering President Harold Varmus; Convocation keynote speaker Freeman Hrabowski; and Chairman of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Boards of Overseers and Managers Douglas Warner (From left) Memorial Sloan Kettering President Harold Varmus; Convocation keynote speaker Freeman Hrabowski; and Chairman of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Boards of Overseers and Managers Douglas Warner
Postdoctoral Research Award winner Agnidipta Ghosh (left) with SKI Director Thomas Kelly Postdoctoral Research Award winner Agnidipta Ghosh (left) with SKI Director Thomas Kelly
Memorial Sloan Kettering Physician-in-Chief Robert Wittes presents Memorial Sloan Kettering surgeon Larissa Temple with the Boyer Clinical Research Award Memorial Sloan Kettering Physician-in-Chief Robert Wittes presents Memorial Sloan Kettering surgeon Larissa Temple with the Boyer Clinical Research Award
Developmental biologist Eric Lai, winner of the Boyer Basic Research Award, with Molecular Biology Program Chair and Director of Graduate Studies Kenneth Marians Developmental biologist Eric Lai, winner of the Boyer Basic Research Award, with Molecular Biology Program Chair and Director of Graduate Studies Kenneth Marians
(From left) PhD recipient Olimsambu Uche, SKI Director Thomas Kelly, and faculty mentor Derek Sant'Angelo (From left) PhD recipient Olimsambu Uche, SKI Director Thomas Kelly, and faculty mentor Derek Sant'Angelo "Olisambu Uche, better known as Bobu to his friends and family, worked on innate T cells. Innate T cells are essentially bigger, better, faster versions of our regular T cells. Bobu identified the transcription factor that's necessary - that makes these cells bigger, faster, and better. It certainly changed the direction of my lab, my research, and it's changed the direction of the research of labs around the world." -- Immunologist Derek Sant'Angelo on Olisambu Uche
PhD recipient Server Etem (left) with faculty mentor Malcolm Moore PhD recipient Server Etem (left) with faculty mentor Malcolm Moore "As occasionally happens, Server made a serendipitous observation that turned the course of his research to a rather different project, which was trying to understand the cancer stem cell. He identified a unique biological entity, a chain of cells composed of ovarian cancer stem cells that he termed a catena, from the Latin for chain. I would like to clone him, but in the absence of the technology to do so, I've kept him on as a postdoc at least until he can reap the rewards of his very exciting observation." -- Cell biologist Malcolm Moore on Server Adil Ertem
PhD recipient Ting Jia (left) with faculty mentor Eric Pamer PhD recipient Ting Jia (left) with faculty mentor Eric Pamer "There are certain infections that can't be survived unless you send your monocytes from your bone marrow to wherever the infection is occurring. And we've been plagued by the question of how do cells in the bone marrow know to leave, and how do they know where to go? Ting thought it might be useful to make a mouse where we could see the cells as they were going through this process. He then began infiltrating labs throughout New York City and learning from others how to do this. He imported the technology to my laboratory, and we are now making reporter mice left and right and learning enormous amounts. I can say with confidence that there's nobody at this moment anywhere who knows more than Ting about how monocytes can move from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, that one critical step in defense against infection." -- Immunologist Eric Pamer on Ting Jia
Faculty mentor Prasad Jallepalli with PhD recipient Catherine Randall Faculty mentor Prasad Jallepalli with PhD recipient Catherine Randall "Cate was tireless in studying a really interesting but somewhat mysterious regulator of cell division that we study in my lab called Polo kinase. It has attracted a lot of attention because it's dysregulated in a number of cancer cells. Cate undertook a very precise and insightful genetic dissection of how Polo works in human cells, and in the process developed a number of powerful tools that combine genetics and chemistry and was able to use those to illuminate functions of Polo we really didn't understand well." -- Molecular biologist Prasad Jallepalli on Catherine Leah Randall
(From left) PhD recipient Brian Edward Richardson, SKI Director Thomas Kelly, Memorial Sloan Kettering President Harold Varmus, and faculty mentor Mary Baylies (From left) PhD recipient Brian Edward Richardson, SKI Director Thomas Kelly, Memorial Sloan Kettering President Harold Varmus, and faculty mentor Mary Baylies "Brian's work has changed our understanding of how undifferentiated muscle cells called myoblasts fuse with each other. This process is essential for the formation and repair of muscles. He has identified the site of myoblast fusion, a particular subcellular structure at this site, and several genes that regulate the fusion process." -- Developmental biologist Mary Baylies on Brian Edward Richardson