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McMurray Named Associate Director of Pathology Graduate Program


Helene McMurrayHelene McMurray, Ph.D., has been named the new associate director of the Cell Biology of Disease (Pathology) Graduate Program at the University of Rochester, which became effective in March.

Dr. McMurray is a clinical assistant professor with a primary appointment in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. She currently serves as the Director-in-Training in the Tissue Typing/Histocompatibility Laboratory at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Her research collaborations with scientists in the Department of Biomedical Genetics focus on identification of vulnerabilities in cancer cells, and utilize approaches in genomics, bioinformatics, biostatistics, and genetics. As an educator, Dr. McMurray works to introduce students to these modern techniques in biomedicine.

Dr. McMurray will join Dr. Richard Libby (Opthalmology) who directs the program.

“Mentors and advisors have helped me imagine new possibilities in my science and in my career," said McMurray. "I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without guidance from others. I am excited to take on this new role in the Cell Biology of Disease Graduate Program to try to share what I have learned with the next generation of scientists.”

Pathology Graduate Student Wins Travel Award for Research Project


Madison DoolittleSecond-year Pathology graduate student Madison Doolittle won second place in the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s graduate student poster competition on May 17.

The annual event, hosted by the Graduate Student Society, includes entries from graduate students across disciplines as an opportunity to showcase their research in their respective fields.

Madison was the lead author the abstract titled, “Investigating the Role of Zbtb40 in the Genetic Regulation of Osteoporosis” in which he and fellow researchers examined the genetic determinants of bone mineral density used to diagnose osteoporosis.

He was awarded a $300 travel scholarship.

Pathology Graduate Student Awarded in Three-Minute Thesis Event


Sarah CathelineCongratulations to Sarah Catheline for winning the People’s Choice Award at the University of Rochester’s Three Minute Thesis public competition held on May 11 at URMC.

Sarah is a fourth-year graduate student in the Pathways of Human Disease Ph.D. program and works in the lab of Dr. Jennifer Jonason. Her presentation, “Inhibiting Inflammaging to Treat Osteoarthritis (OA),” was one of eight to be accepted into the final round.

This year marks the second annual Three Minute Thesis public competition at the University of Rochester, which encourages participants to share their research in simple language that's both persuasive and easy for the average person to understand. 

The event is open to current Ph.D. and professional doctorate (research) candidates in or beyond their third year of study. It’s also open to postdoctoral researchers. Winners receive travel awards ranging from $250-750.

The event is sponsored by the School of Medicine and Dentistry Center for Professional Development, the School of Arts, Science and Engineering Graduate Studies Office, the Graduate Student Society, and Graduate Student Association.

Three Minute Thesis Awards: 

  • Judge’s Winner: Thuy-vy Nguyen (Runner Up: Scott Friedland)
  • People's Choice Award: Sarah Catheline 


  • Stephanie Carpenter: Solving the Mystery of Iron Chemistry
  • Scott Friedland: Pancreatic Cancer and the Tale of the Broken Librarian
  • Sarah Catheline: Inhibiting Inflammaging to Treat Osteoarthritis (OA)​
  • Claire McCarthy: Investigating the Toxicological Effects of Dung Biomass Smoke Exposure
  • Taylor Moon: The New Epidemic
  • Thuy-vy Nguyen: Solitude
  • Manisha Taya: Understanding Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM): The “Other” Steroid-Dependent Cancer From Bed-Side to Bench and Back Again
  • Janelle Veazey: Role of Protein Kinase D in Epithelial Cells During Respiratory Infection



Libby New Co-Director of Pathology Ph.D. Program at UR


Dr. Richard Libby is the new co-director of the Pathology Ph.D. program. Libby is co-director with Dr. Lianping Xing and will replace former co-chair, Dr. Robert Mooney, who will transition to part-time on Jan. 1, 2017.


When did you join the university?

I joined the University in 2006.  Prior to joining the university, I did postdoctoral fellowships at The Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, Maine) and The MRC Institute for Hearing Research (Nottingham, United Kingdom). 

What are your research interests?

My laboratory focuses on understanding cell death pathways in neurodegenerative disease. We are particularly interested in understanding neurodegenerative pathways in diseases of the retina, such as glaucoma and other optic neuropathies.

What are you looking forward to most in this new position?

Over the last 19 years Bob Mooney built a very strong program. Importantly, Bob focused the program on understanding the pathophysiology of human disease, aligning the program perfectly with the University’s and NIH’s interest in understanding human disease. 

Several years ago, Dr. Lianping Xing joined Bob as co-director of the program. Lian’s efforts have significantly strengthened the program, particularly in modernizing the course work and preparing our new students for the challenges of graduate study. 

I am looking forward to working with Lian and Donna Shannon (the program coordinator) to continue to enhance the program, focusing on training our students for the challenges of studying complex human diseases. Also, I am looking forward to working with our students to help them on their way toward establishing fulfilling careers.



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