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2018 Reunion

Celebrating 102 Years of Research and Discovery

September 28-29, 2018

Former classmates, current students, and faculty joined us for a weekend of presentations and interactions, as well as an opportunity to celebrate former department chair Roger McMacken.

Current and former BMB department members fill a room, chatting in small groups

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology gathered for a two-day reunion with alumni and friends at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore’s Harbor East.

This reunion was a particularly special event, as the occasion was used to celebrate both 102 years of outstanding scientific research and discovery and to recognize Roger McMacken’s 41 years of service to the School of Public Health, including 18 years as chair of BMB.

More than 40 alums and 60 current BMB trainees, faculty members and friends turned out for the Friday evening keynote address and opening reception.

In the keynote address, Scott Bailey highlighted the seminal role that McMacken played in his recruitment to BMB and his early pursuits to unravel the molecular mysteries of the CRSPR/Cas9 system.

The subsequent reception provided a wonderful opportunity for alums to reunite with old friends and to meet current BMB trainees and faculty. In a sense, the “reunion” was as much a “union” that brought together both present and past members of the department.

Roger McMacken stands holding a microphone, with the Mustang bowling lanes behind

Reunion/union activities resumed on Saturday and were highlighted by presentations from 10 BMB alums who all received PhD thesis training in the McMacken lab. These included talks from five university professors (Marc Wold, Kojo Mensa-Wilmot, Wali Karzai, Rick Russel, and Rob Newman) and three leading biotech scientists (Jon Lebowitz, Kathy Stephens, and Rob Jordan).

Presentations spanned a wide spectrum of scientific inquiry from enzyme kinetics to drug discovery. The breadth and depth of the work from BMB alums, and its importance to improving public health, was remarkable and something to be truly proud of.

Following their presentations, alums presented McMacken with an endowed scholarship established in his name to support future PhD students in the department. Judging from his reaction, McMacken was both surprised and deeply honored by this very special show of appreciation.

Two people sitting at a table, grinning

BMB alums and friends also had an opportunity to learn about current research activities in the department through presentations by six current faculty members (Daniela Drummond-Barbosa, Jiou Wang, Anthony Leung, Fengyi Wan, Phil Jordan, and Jennifer Kavran). In keeping with department tradition, their work is also contributing in significant ways addressing major public health issues that include obesity, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

The scientific sessions ended with a career discussion panel featuring BMB alums Joanne Mallory, Amer Riazuddin, Dominic Esposito, Gromek Smolen, and Jianmei Zhu, who shared their knowledge and experiences as leaders in academia, government and the biotech sector.

The reunion/union culminated with food, drink and bowling at Mustang Alley’s Bar Bowling and Bistro. During the entire event, a great time was had in connecting and reconnecting with new friends and old friends alike, evidenced by the common refrain: “When will we do it again?!"


Photos credit: Dr. Marc Wold.

Visit our Reunion Album for more photos.