The Byron Prize for Best Ph.D. Dissertation

Photo of Dr. Fred ByronIn 1994, the MCB Program established the Byron Prize in honor of Dr. Fred Byron, Vice Chancellor for Research at UMass Amherst. Dr. Byron was instrumental in establishing the MCB program and showed great vision and support of both research and graduate education throughout his career at UMass. Each summer, students who received PhD degrees in the previous year can be nominated for the prize by their dissertation advisors. The winner presents a talk at the MCB Retreat and receives a cash prize of $1,000. Prize selection is made by the MCB Steering Committee, which has established the following criteria:

  • Originality and creativity of the research
  • Impact: significance in the field
  • Scope of the research project
  • Scope of techniques used to solve the problem
  • Quality of writing
  • Contributions to the MCB program

Previous Prize Winners


Year Name Degree

Samar Mahmoud (Chien Lab)

R&D Senior Scientist at BD


Ph.D 2022

Can Özden (Stratton Lab)

Scientist II, Biophysics & Protein Sciences  - Jnana Therapeutics

Ph.D 2022
2022 Ben Adams (Hebert Lab)
Postdoctoral Associate with Susan Shao and Wade Harper, Harvard Medical School
Ph.D. 2021
2022 Alam García Heredia (Siegrist Lab)
Postdoctoral Associate with Alan Grossman, MIT
Ph.D. 2021
2021 Nils Pilotte (Williams Lab)
Assistant Professor of Biology, Quinnipiac University
Ph.D. 2020
2021 Archit Rastogi (Timme-Laragy Lab)
Assistant Director, Preclinical Development, Ionis Pharmaceuticals
Ph.D. 2020
2021 Rilee Zeinert (Chien Lab)
Postdoctoral Associate, Storz Lab, NIH
Ph.D. 2020
2020 Katherine Zabala Sanidad (Zhang Lab)
Postdoctoral Associate, Zeng Lab, Weill Cornell Medicine
Ph.D. 2019
2020 Alex Wells (Pobezinsky Lab)
Postoctoral Fellow, Belkaid Lab, NIAID/NIH
Ph.D. 2019
2019 Emrah Ilker Ozay (Minter/Tew Labs)
Scientist, SQZ Biotechnologies
Ph.D. 2018
2018 Monifa Fahie (M. Chen Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Lee Lab, Brandeis
Ph.D. 2017
2018 Kamal Joshi (Chien Lab)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Roche/Genentech
Ph.D. 2017
2018 Anna Ye (Maresca Lab)
Postdoctoral Scholar, Drubin/Barnes Lab at UC Berkeley
Ph.D. 2017
2017 Karan Hingorani (Gierasch Lab)
MD/PhD program, BU School of Medicine
Ph.D. 2016
2016 Genevieve Abbruzzese (Alfandari Lab)
Postdoctoral Researcher, Hynes Lab at MIT, Cambridge, MA
Ph.D. 2015
2015 Anushka Dongre (Osborne Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA
Ph.D. 2014
2014 Leslie Conway (Ross Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Tufts/Astra-Zeneca
Ph.D. 2013
2013 Nathaniel E. Clark (Garman Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio
Ph.D. 2012
2012 David F. Bruhn (Klingbeil Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, St. Jude Children's Hospital - Memphis, TN
Ph.D. 2011
2011 Julian Sosnik (Visconti Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Irvine
Ph.D. 2010
2010 Bradley Pearse (Hebert Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School
Ph.D. 2009
2009 David Sharlin (Zoeller Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, NIDDK, NIH
Ph.D. 2008
2008 Robert Daniels (Hebert Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Ph.D. 2007
2007 Kelly Gauger (Zoeller Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, PVLSI (Baystate)
Ph.D. 2006
2006 Nasser Rusan (Wadsworth Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, UNC Chapel Hill
Ph.D. 2005
2005 Jeremy Smyth (Fissore Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow, NIEHS, NIH
Ph.D. 2004
2004 Heather Thompson (Scordilis Lab) Ph.D. 2003
2003 Thomas King (Fournier Lab)
Sequitur, Inc
Ph.D. 2002
2002 John Wing (Nambu Lab)
Principal Research Investigator, OSE Eyetech
Ph.D. 2000
2001 Amy Dowling (Zoeller Lab) Ph.D. 2000
2000 Kevin Keith (Fitzgerald-Hayes Lab) Ph.D. 1999
1999 Marie (Sanchirico) Comeaux (Mason Lab) Ph.D. 1998
1998 Rebecca (Bryant) Roberts (Hansen Lab)
Assistant Professor, Ursinus College
Ph.D. 1998
1997 Wen-Qing Liang (Fournier Lab) Ph.D. 1997
1996 Sam Stoler (Fitzgerald-Hayes Lab) Ph.D. 1995
1995 Chin Pan (Mason Lab) Ph.D. 1994
1994 My Mahoney (Gross & Slakey Labs)
Professor, Thomas Jefferson University
Ph.D. 1993
1994 William Payne (Fitzgerald-Hayes Lab) Ph.D. 1993