November 2022 Updates from MUSC College of Graduate Studies

Dean Paula Traktman
November 01, 2022
MUSC College of Graduate Studies Dean, Paula Traktman, Ph.D.

Dear alums,

It's that time again – our early fall alumni eNewsletter. Here in Charleston, the weather is beautiful, and it's a perfect time to enjoy the beauty of the city and the Lowcountry. This newsletter features a recent alumnus, Dr. John Barrows, and a current Ph.D. student, Denys Rujchanarong.

Both John and Denys have great stories to tell – despite their differences, there is a common thread. John was very successful in his Ph.D. studies, where his research in Dr. David Long's lab focused on biochemical analyses of cellular proteins involved in genomic integrity. He chose to continue his focus on proteins that recognize and regulate DNA after graduation. Intentionally, John chose to pursue his postdoctoral work at Kennesaw State – where he felt that three key elements fit his objectives: excellent research, an opportunity for excellent work/life harmony, and the ability to mentor undergraduates and help them see the opportunities in biomedical research. He is thriving at Kennesaw State and was just awarded a prestigious fellowship from the National Science Foundation. I am confident that John will continue to excel as he builds his academic career.

As a Latina woman who is the first in her family to attend college, Denys is appreciative of the mentoring programs that helped bring her to join MUSC's Ph.D. program. She also feels a strong commitment to addressing health disparities while pursuing fundamental research. As a result, she joined the laboratory of Dr. Peggi Angel, where she is identifying N-glycan molecular signatures (primarily in collagen) that are associated with breast cancer risk in populations of different socioeconomic status and ancestry. It is gratifying that Denys has found a successful way to align her biomedical studies with her commitment to "giving back" to underserved communities.

There are so many different ways to navigate the development of a career in academic science. Self-knowledge and a thoughtful approach can ensure that students and postdocs are indeed following their dream.

As always, enjoy the newsletter,

Dean Traktman