News and Awards

Haberecht Wildhare-Idea Research Grant Award – Award Recipients

In April 1994, Rolf R. and Ute S. Haberecht donated funds to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center with the understanding that such funds be used to support academic activities within the Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences under the direction of the Dean. The endowment was designated “The Rolf and Ute Haberecht Deanship of The University of Texas Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, in honor of Olga and Max Haberecht and Anna and Hans Schwarz.”

The Haberechts were interested in research to explore what they termed "wildhare" ideas. A grant was created for support of speculative, innovative research to be administered by the graduate school. Thus, ideas with greater than average risk but great potential for useful outcomes would be the basis for research proposals to be reviewed in competition for these funds. A grant of $10,000 would be awarded for development of the idea.

The first announcement went out in March 1996. Students, postdocs, and junior faculty (Assistant Professor or lower) were eligible to submit a proposal.

Today, the competition is open to students, postdocs, and all levels of faculty at UT Southwestern. A call for proposals is distributed campus wide and selection is based on the judgment of a committee of eminent scientists recruited by Andrew R. Zinn, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of Southwestern Graduate School. The funding period is for one year. A grant of $25,000 has been awarded this year.

Please join the graduate school in congratulating this year’s recipients:

Milo Lin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Green Center for Systems Biology
Project Title: Identifying the Lazarus Molecule Arctic

New Proposal Entry Date: July 5, 2018

Send an email to learn about the competition.

32nd Annual Ida M. Green Award

Please join the Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in congratulating award recipient Cyonna T. Holmes as she has been selected to receive the 32nd Annual Ida M. Green Award.

Cyonna is a student in the Biological Engineering graduate program under the mentorship of Matthias Peltz, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon who is studying ways to improve storage of donor hearts in order to increase the number that are suitable for transplantation. Cyonna is working to optimize chemicals used to perfuse donor hearts, studying a new machine perfusion device, and investigating ways to deliver genetic material to the heart.

 The Ida M. Green Award was established in 1987 with a bequest from Mrs. Green to Southwestern Medical Foundation. With encouragement from her husband, Cecil Green, the award was established to acknowledge a female graduate studying the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the well-being of other students, to research excellence, and to exceptional community service activities.  The honor comes with a monetary award provided by the Women/ Southwestern Medical Foundation.

The award ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 15, 2018, beginning at 2pm. This will be a closed event. Those who attend the award ceremony are guests of the recipient, graduate school faculty and staff, members of WISMAC, representatives of Southwestern Medical Foundation and of the Cecil Green Estate.

New Proposal Call for Nominations Date: December 1, 2018

Deadline to Submit Nominations: TBA

To learn more about this award and completion, please email

New Proposed Call for Nominations Date:  December 1, 2018
Deadline to Submit Nominations: TBA

To learn more about this award and completion, please email

39th Annual Nominata Award

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences congratulates Chelsea Hepler of the Integrative Biology Graduate Program as the 2018 recipient of the Nominata Award, the highest honor for academic and research accomplishment bestowed by the graduate school to an advanced graduate student. Chelsea is a 4th year student in the laboratory of Rana K. Gupta, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine. Her thesis work focuses on how adipocytes develop in the body, with potential therapeutic implications for obesity, diabetes, and associated diseases.

In addition, Nominata finalists Elizabeth Luper-Hughes of the Molecular Microbiology Graduate Program and Yuhao Wang of the Integrative Biology Graduate Program will each receive a Dean’s Discretionary Award for their research excellence and superior ability to communicate their science. Elizabeth Luper-Hughes is a student in the lab of Sebastian Winter, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology. Yuhao Wang received his Ph.D. in December 2017 after completing his dissertation research in the lab of Lora V. Hooper, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Immunology.


The Nominata Award was created by the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) in 1980 to promote academic excellence and research achievement among the advanced graduate students. The award consisted of a monetary prize and gift certificate from Majors Scientific Book Store. The Scholarship Committee, composed of faculty and student representatives, judged the nominees on academic and research performance. Today, the Committee on Graduate School Awards, comprised of faculty representing all graduate programs, judges the nominees. Recipients receive a monetary award and the honor of presenting their research to the UT Southwestern community within the forum of the University Lecture Series. Each graduate program may nominate up to two students for the award.

Please join me in recognizing the dedication, hard work, and success of our 2018 Nominata and Dean’s Discretionary Award winners.

The 2018 Nominata lecture and award presentation will be held Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 4:00 PM in the Excellence in Education Auditorium (NB2.101).

Nominees for the 2018 Nominata Award

Bercin Kutluk Cenik

Genetics, Development and Disease

Eric Olson, Ph.D.

Charles Fermaintt

Biological Chemistry

Nan Yan, Ph.D.

Elisabeth Geyer

Molecular Biophysics

Luke Rice, Ph.D.

Genaro Hernandez

Cell and Molecular Biology

David Mangelsdorf, Ph.D.

Steven Kliewer, Ph.D.

Chelsea Hepler

Integrative Biology

Rana Gupta, Ph.D.

Aakanksha Jain


Chandrashekhar Pasare, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Luper-Hughes

Integrative Biology

Sebastian Winter, Ph.D.

Richard Walsh

Molecular Biophysics

Ryan Hibbs, Ph.D.

Yuhao Wang

Integrative Biology

Lora V. Hooper, Ph.D.

Shuyuan Zhang

Cancer Biology

Hao Zhu, M.D.

Ge Zheng

Cancer Biology

Hongtao Yu, Ph.D. 

Please join us in congratulating Chelsea Hepler, and our nominees for their dedication and great work.

New Proposed Call for Nominations Date:  February 4, 2019

Deadline to Submit Nominations: March 1, 2019

2016 Graduate School Organization Poster Session

Best of Show
Chien-Der Lee – Integrative Biology, Benjamin Tu, Ph.D.

Top Five
Chien-Der Lee – also received Best of Show
Leonardo Estrada – Immunology, David Farrar, Ph.D.
Chelsea Stamm – Molecular Microbiology, Michael Shiloh, M.D., Ph.D.
Elizabeth Aguilera – Molecular MicrobiologyJulie Pfeiffer, Ph.D.
Huanyu Zhou – Genetics, Development and Disease, Eric Olson, Ph.D.

Honorable Mention
Didem Agac – ImmunologyDavid Farrar, Ph.D.
Ashley Hoover – Immunology, Nicolai van Oers, Ph.D.
Ho Yee Joyce Fung – Molecular Biophysics, Yuh Min Chook, Ph.D.
Zhejian Ji – Genetics, Development and Disease, Hongtao Yu, Ph.D.
Hunkar Gizem Yesilyurt – Neuroscience, Jonathan Terman, Ph.D.