News and Awards

40th Annual Nominata Award

Mingjian Du
Mingjian Du

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences congratulates Mingjian Du of the Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program as the 2019 recipient of the Nominata Award, the highest honor for academic and research accomplishment bestowed by the graduate school to an advanced graduate student. Mingjian is a 5th year student in the laboratory of Zhijian “James” Chen, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology and HHMI Investigator. Mingjian's thesis work focuses on aspects of innate immunity, most notably the activation of innate immune signaling by DNA-induced liquid phase condensation of cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS).

Mingjian has demonstrated academic excellence and an exceptional level of research achievement. His accomplishments serve as an outstanding example for all graduate students of UT Southwestern.

In addition, Nominata finalist Bishakha Mona of the Genetics, Development, and Disease Graduate Program will receive a Dean’s Discretionary Award for research excellence and superior ability to communicate her science. Bishakha, who also received the 2019 Ida M. Green Award, recently completed her PhD in the lab of Jane Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience. 


The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) created the Nominata Award in 1980 to stimulate academic excellence and research achievement among advanced graduate students. The award consisted of a $2,000 prize and a $100 gift certificate from Majors Scientific Books. 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 graduate faculty, judges the nominees. The recipient receives a monetary award and is granted the honor of presenting their research to the UT Southwestern community within the forum of the University Lecture Series.

Winner of the 2019 Nominata Award

Please join us in congratulating Mingjian Du, Bishakha Mona and the other nominees for their dedication and impressive research accomplishments.

New Proposed Call for Nominations Date: TBD
Deadline to Submit Nominations: TBD

Complete list of Nominata Award Recipients 

Brown-Goldstein Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research

Anju Sreelatha, Ph.D
Anju Sreelatha, Ph.D

Anju Sreelatha, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Molecular Biology, is the 2019 recipient of the Brown-Goldstein Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research. Honoring the contributions of Drs. Brown and Goldstein to the training of the next generation of scientists, this award is the highest honor for research accomplishment bestowed by the Graduate School on a postdoctoral trainee. Chosen by a committee of graduate school faculty members, the winner receives a monetary prize as well as the opportunity to give the University Lecture.

Dr. Sreelatha is a graduate of UT Southwestern Graduate School and an alumnus of the UTD Green Fellows program. Along with her mentor, Dr. Vincent Tagliabracci, Assistant Professor in Molecular Biology, Anju discovered two novel kinase families that have expanded the diversity and catalytic versatility of the protein kinase superfamily. She discovered a new enzymatic activity for a predicted inactive pseudokinase, Selenoprotein O (SelO) revealing the first member of the protein kinase superfamily that catalyzes a post-translational modification known as AMPylation.  These results have important implications not only in the protein kinase research field, but also in disease states where oxidative stress is an important factor, such as cancer, neurodegeneration and aging.

In addition, finalists Brandon Faubert, Ph.D., Catherine Makarewich, Ph.D., and Cunqi Ye, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholars in the Children’s Research Institute, Department of Molecular Biology, and Department of Biochemistry respectively, will receive Dean’s Discretionary Awards.

New Proposed Call for Nominations Date: September 23, 2019
Deadline to Submit Nominations: November 8, 2019
Send an email to learn more about the competition to email

33nd Annual Ida M. Green Award

Ida M Green Award Bishakha Mona
Bishakha Mona

Please join the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in congratulating Bishakha Mona as the 33rd Annual Ida M. Green Award recipient

Ms. Mona is a student in the Genetics, Development and Disease Program graduate program under the mentorship of Professor Jane Johnson, Ph.D,. Her dissertation research in the lab of Professor Jane Johnson, Ph.D. in Department of Neuroscience, uncovered developmental mechanisms of neuronal cell fate specification in spinal cord circuit formation. Her discoveries are reported in a first-author publication in Developmental Biology, a co-first author publication in eLife, and two additional manuscripts in preparation and/or submission. At the same time, Ms. Mona helped found the Science Policy, Education and Communication Club in 2014 and oversaw explosive growth of this organization as president since 2016. She has also assisted the Graduate Career Development Office with peer advising, mentoring, and science communication and interview training activities for fellow graduate students. Additionally, Ms. Mona has worked with the Office for Technology Development to help represent UT Southwestern in the biotech/healthcare industry and expose UT Southwestern trainees to job opportunities in this sector, represented UT Southwestern science at numerous community outreach events, and volunteered as a STEM mentor for local middle and high school girls.

The establishment of the Ida M. Green Award began in 1987 with a bequest from Mrs. Green to Southwestern Medical Foundation. With the encouragement of her husband, Cecil Green, the award was created to acknowledge a female graduate student 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 in Science and Medicine Advisory Committee (WISMAC) and Southwestern Medical Foundation.

Complete list of Ida M. Green Award Recipients

New Proposed Call for Nominations Date: Dec. 5, 2019
Deadline to Submit Nominations: January, 2020
Send an email to learn more about the competition to email

William F. and Grace H. Kirkpatrick Award

Elyza H. Kelly
Elyza H. Kelly

On behalf of the Graduate School Awards Committee, we are pleased to announce the recipient of the William F. and Grace H. Kirkpatrick Award is Elyza H. Kelly.

The Kirkpatrick award supports the most scientifically meritorious proposals submitted as an NIH F31 or equivalent individual predoctoral fellowship application by a graduate student during the previous year.  The award provides $25,000 to support the proposed research, titled “Investigating the Cerebellar Circuit Substrate for Modulating ASD Core Diagnostic Behaviors”.

Elyza, is now in the fourth year of her dissertation research in the Neuroscience graduate program under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Tsai.


Funds distributed will be used to provide seed grants to promising investigators who are to be selected on an annual basis by the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs(or his equivalent) in concert with the Dean of Southwestern Medical School and the Dean of Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 

New Proposed Call for Nominations Date: September 12, 2019
Deadline to Submit Nominations: October 10, 2019
Send an email to learn more about the competition to email