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2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards

One of the largest academic units on campus, SBS is fortunate to have an alumni family of increasing accomplishment in academia, health care, private industry and elsewhere. Each year a committee selects alumni for the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards, which includes the Distinguished Lab Alumni Award.  An event to celebrate will occur April 27th in-person […]

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Early Riser: George Riser, Distinguished Alumnus

In 2017 George R. Riser, BS’47, received the first Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Biological Sciences. It is an auspicious award for a truly auspicious man in part because of Mr. Riser’s sustained funding of the Riser Endowed Scholarship Fund which has provided annual scholarships to thousands of graduate and undergraduate students in […]

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T. Mitchell Aide, PhD’89

Distinguished Alumnus   Following his graduation with a bachelor’s from University of Texas – San Antonio, California native T. Mitchell (Mitch) Aide ended up in Utah … but via Panama. It was in Central America where he first met School of Biological Sciences (SBS) professors Lissy Coley and Tom Kursar doing tropical forest research. Aide […]

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A Glimpse of the Startup Life

Reshma Shetty Distinguished Lab Alumna   It all started with venomous snails. University of Utah alumna Reshma Shetty, BS’02, Computer Science, is now an executive of growing Boston biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc., which she co-founded in 2008. Ginkgo Bioworks engineers biological organisms for a variety of commercial and industrial uses, including engineering organisms to […]

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Fast Track Designation for Denali Diagnostics

March 22, 2021 – When Ryan Watts, BS’00, steps into the classroom at the University of Utah to discuss with students the opportunities they have in bio-tech, the founder/CEO of San Francisco-based Denali Therapeutics speaks from deep experience. His knowledge of the subject is unfolding in real-time, including earlier this month when Denali announced that […]

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The Gandhi Effect

The Gandhi Effect Distinguished Alumni Awards Rajesh Gandhi, BS’86 Monica Gandhi, BS’91    Leena Gandhi, BS’92 Last December, when the three Gandhi children, Rajesh BS’86, Monica BS’91 and Leena BS’92 returned home to Salt Lake City—two from one coast, and one from the other—they celebrated their parents fifty-fifth wedding anniversary. As alumni, all three, from […]

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Jeanne Novak, BS’87

Jeanne Novak Distinguished Alumna 2020 In 2014 alumna Jeanne Novak found herself at Ebola ground zero. She was ready. The Ebola outbreak in the summer of 2014 was a long way from CBR International (CBR) in Boulder, Colorado. But for several weeks the Company, which helps clients research new drugs and navigate U.S. Food and […]

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Julia Bailey-Serres, BS’81

SBS Distinguished Alumna 2020 Julia Bailey-Serres, BS’81, is known for her research on mechanisms of plant adaptive responses to environmental stresses. She remembers enrolling in “a lot of lab classes in genetics, animal physiology and chemistry” at the U. And she fondly recalls a team-taught lab with now Nobel laureate Mario Capecchi. Other teachers and […]

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Ryan Watts, BS’00

Ryan Watts Distinguished Alumnus   Dr. Ryan Watts, BS’00 in Biology, is the CEO and Co-Founder of Denali Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on finding treatments and cures for neurodegenerative illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Watts and his colleagues at Denali are passionate about discovering drug therapies to help over 22 million people […]

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Science Alumni vs Coronavirus

Utah Biotech Companies Rally to fight the Coronavirus – by Kelsie Foreman, in Utah Business Magazine, April 13, 2020 SBS alumni Randy Rasmussen is the founder of BioFire Diagnostics which, along with ARUP and other Utah biotech companies, is making a difference in fighting the coronavirus.   After a new virus, COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) was deemed a pandemic by the World Health […]

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Distinguished Alumnus Randy Rasmussen, PhD’98

Many of today’s most successful companies were created by groups of friends: Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started Hewlett-Packard in a garage in Palo Alto, California; Bill Gates and Paul Allen, childhood friends from Lakewood, Washington co-founded Microsoft; and Larry Page, Sergey Brin, part of the same PhD cohort at Stanford University founded Google. The […]

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