Graduate School News

Discoveries: The sweet science behind mending muscle

IMG 0174Rylie Hightower, a third-year graduate student in the Graduate Biomedial Sciences neuroscience program, studies proteins and other factors that contribute to the progression of muscular dystrophy. 

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Link to Leadership: Dr. Lisa Schwiebert, Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs

GRAD logo without taglineEmbarking on the graduate school journey can be a challenging experience, but it helps if you understand the major players involved in that experience. This new series, "Link to Leadership," features Q&As with UAB's Graduate School leaders and an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to get to know these leaders on a deeper level.
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Graduate Student Organization Spotlight: Graduate Student Government

Grad Student Organization Spotlight graphicThe University of Alabama at Birmingham offers numerous ways for graduate students to enhance their leadership skills, one of which is joining a student organization. But how do you decide which organization is the right fit for you? This Spotlight series will highlight all of UAB's graduate student organizations, as well as the benefits of joining each one.  Read more ...

Upcoming Events

Blazer Spotlights

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Jacqueline Vo

Jacqueline Vo

Kendra Royston

Kendra Royston

Samir Rana

Samir Rana


UAB Graduate Student Elected to AACR Associate Member Council

Angelina Londoño Joshi, a UAB doctoral candidate in molecular and cellular pathology and a Howard Hughes Med to Grad fellow, was elected to the Associate Member Council, which serves as the leadership body of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The position carries a three-year term beginning in 2011.

Born of Colombian parents in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Angelina chose UAB for her graduate studies because of its outstanding collaborative environment and incredible opportunity to do genuine translational research. Mrs. Londoño Joshi’s research in Dr. Donald Buchsbaum’s laboratory focuses on the treatment of solid tumors using a novel monoclonal anti-DR5 antibody TRA-8. She explains, “This antibody functions by binding to TRAIL death receptor 5 (DR5) to induce cell death through the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. My specific focus is on the investigation of TRA-8 as targeted therapy to basal-like breast cancer stem cells (BLBrCSC) alone or in combination with chemotherapy and inhibitors of the NOTCH pathway. This project is significant because BLBrCSC are thought to be responsible for initiation of tumorigenesis, maintain tumor progression, cause chemoresistant, and recurrent and/or metastatic disease in BLBrC patients.”

The AACR complements Angelina’s research here at UAB by organizing comprehensive cancer research meetings where she can present her research to an international audience, while learning and networking with leading scientists, doctors and advocates that are making important developments in her field. After obtaining her PhD (expected graduation 2013), Angelina plans to pursue a postdoctoral position in cancer research. She adds, “Following the completion of my postdoctoral fellowship, I will be looking for the opportunity to join a biomedical research group that could integrate research, teaching, and clinical care with the main aim to improve patient outcomes.”


GSRD 2011

Graduate Student Research Days 2011: CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Each spring semester, the Graduate School hosts its annual Graduate Student Research Days competition in which eligible UAB graduate students present their research in an open forum judged by UAB faculty members. Any graduate student who is interested in participating should read the competition rules and complete the abstract form and submit it online. Deadline dates for the competition are listed below.  

January 28, 2011, 12:00 Noon: Deadline for Abstracts

February 23: GSRD Competition for Master's students, HUC Great Hall

February 24 & 25: GSRD Competition for Doctoral students, HUC Great Hall

March 4, 2010: Awards Luncheon

To ensure a diverse judging panel, graduate students are asked to encourage the faculty from their departments to serve as judges in the competition.

For more information regarding the event, visit


Graduate Students in the Spotlight



Two graduate students are featured in the January/February Graduate Student Spotlight. Kaye Nail, a master's graduate from the History program, researches Birmingham Jewish women and their role in the Civil Rights Movement. Kaye chose UAB for her academic studies because of the History graduate program's excellent reputation amng students.

Dil Uswatte is in her second year of the doctoral program in Educational Leadership here at UAB. She believes that she is a life-long learner: "I want to continue my journey of deveoping my own leadership skills AND inspire leadership in my students and colleagues."

For more information about Kaye and Dil or to access other students who have been featured in the Spotlight, visit the Graduate School’s homepage at



Call for Nominations (DEADLINE EXTENDED): Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentorship

The Graduate Dean's Mentorship Awards are given to those mentors who inspire and motivate, promote ethical and professional values, create a collaborative and constructive atmosphere for training, and serve as outstanding role models for students and fellows in their performance of scholarly activities and service.

Full-time regular UAB faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments as mentors of graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows are eligible for the award.

For a list of the 2008, 2009, and 2010 recipients and a nomination form for the 2011 awards, visit the Mentorship Award website. The deadline to receive nominations and all accompanying materials HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO Friday January 21, 2011.

Writing and Publishing Research: Learn from the Pros

UAB graduate students and researchers have two chances – a 10-week course and a one-day workshop -- in Spring 2011 to update their writing skills, learn the “ins and outs” of publishing, and earn elective graduate credit. The first is a 3-credit hour course, GRD 728, Academic Writing and Publishing, beginning Tuesday, Jan. 25, and meeting once a week for 10 weeks from 6 to 9 p.m. through April 5 the Education Building, EB 238T2. GRD 728 features panel discussions with experts and guided instruction and practice in all aspects of research writing – from project planning to manuscript submission.  In addition, a one day, 1 credit-hour workshop, GRD 708, Writing Successfully, will be offered Saturday, Feb. 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Campbell Hall 204. The workshop includes interactive sessions as well as discussions with professionals, along with lunch. Both are pass/no pass courses offered through the Professional Development Program of The UAB Graduate School. Under the direction of Dr. Julia S. Austin, the Program is in its 20th year of helping graduate students and research professionals prepare for career success in a variety of writing, speaking, researching, and communication areas. To register for GRD 728 or GRD 708, contact Jennifer L. Greer at or call 996-6355.


hooding pic

Graduation News

The graduates of UAB's Graduate School take part in two ceremonies: The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony and the Commencement are held each May and December. August graduates may attend the December commencement. The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony is the commencement for doctoral candidates receiving PhD, DrPH, and EdD degrees. Both ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 7. All other doctoral candidates should check with your program or school for graduation ceremony information. 

If you are a receiving a PhD, DrPH, or EdD in May 2011, you must fill out the commencement form by April 22 in order to participate in this ceremony. Simply showing up for the ceremony is not an option. The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony will be held in the Alys Stephens Center at 12:00 p.m.

The commencement ceremonies for master's, Ed.S. and undergraduate students will be held in Bartow Arena at 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., according to school.

Don't Forget your Deadlines!

When a candidate is nearing graduation, she or he must pay close attention to Graduate School deadlines, which are posted online. Important dates include the following Spring and Summer semester deadlines:

Spring 2011 Deadlines

  • ·      Application for Degree              January 21, 2011
  • ·      Defense Deadline                      March 25, 2011
  • ·      Admission to Candidacy          January 3, 2011
  • ·      Change of Residencey             January 3, 2011  

Summer 2011 deadlines

  • ·      Application for Degree              June 3, 2011
  • ·      Defense Deadline                      July 8, 2011
  • ·      Admission to Candidacy           May 9/May 31, 2011 
  • ·      Change of Residency                May 9, 2011 

Completing all paper work and final payments by the posted deadlines will ensure that a candidate will graduate by the expected date.


EndNote Web Workshops

Mervyn Sterne Library is offering EndNote Web workshops during the Spring semester. EndNote Web is a citation manager designed to help users collect, organize, and format sources for citing in research papers. It is available for free to all UAB students, faculty, and staff through a site license.

The Getting Started workshop covers creating an account and the basic functions of collecting references from a library database, organizing and sharing references in a group, generating a bibliography in a citation style, and inserting a reference in a paper using Microsoft Word. 

The Collecting References workshop covers several methods of importing references, including using a connection file, a database filter, and a browser toolbar, as well as creating references manually.

The Formatting References workshop covers formatting references using bibliographies and annotated bibliographies, temporary citations, and Cite While You Write for Microsoft Word. 

Watch the Sterne Library Website for registration to begin early in February.  If you are unable to attend or would like to get started on your own, the EndNote Web research guide gives instructions and links to the workshop handouts.  Feel free to contact Imelda Vetter or Jennifer Long, for questions about the workshops or the research guide.



Graduate Nursing Students Get Online Writing Help

Nurses who enroll in graduate school after 10 to 20 years in clinical practice may face a learning curve when it comes to academic writing, says Penni Watts, Director of UAB’s Clinical Simulation & Training in the School of Nursing’s Learning Resources Center. Watts understands this learning curve because she is also a doctoral student working on a dissertation proposal.

“I am sure that I learned to write over the years, but never at such a level related to academic or scientific writing,” explains Watts, who was more accustomed to jotting notes on charts or entering text into databases. “For example, I used to think that when I write for research purposes, it should be perfect the first time. I didn’t know how to edit and make it better.”

That’s why she recently came to the UAB Graduate School Professional Development Program to take elective courses in academic writing. This Spring, to meet the needs of nursing students like Watts, the Graduate School will launch an online section of its most popular writing course, GRD 727 QN, Writing and Reviewing Research, for nursing students only.

 “We have seen a gradual increase in graduate nursing students taking our academic writing courses,” says Dr. Jeffrey A. Engler, Associated Dean of the UAB Graduate School. “We created this online course for them after discussions with nursing faculty about the writing demands faced by students pursuing a doctorate and doctor of nursing practice (DNP). “

Engler says the Professional Development Program has also seen increases in writing courses by students in the fields of public health and education. “In many professional schools today, the ability to write is viewed as a leadership skill. We agree, and we see it as part of our overall mission of helping graduate students become prominent scholars and societal leaders.”

Taught by author and editor, Dr. Jan Jenner, the 10-week online writing course will run from Jan 25, 2011, through Monday April 4.  It’s a 3-credit hour, pass-no pass elective tailored to nursing students who are writing scholarly review papers, article critiques, and journal articles, explains Jenner, who has taught biology and writing, and won awards for her teaching at New York University (NYU).

“I think nurses like Penni Watts are learning that writing is a natural extension of what they do every day,” says Jenner. “Whether they are writing a policy paper, a public health campaign, or patient educational materials, they are still caring for patients.”

In GRD 727 QN, students will work on real writing projects, engage in critical thinking about research, and give and receive peer review, she explains. “In the process, they become part of UAB’s professional writing community. This is the kind of experience that empowers them to succeed in graduate school and beyond.”

Watts, who has taken two academic writing courses from the Graduate School, recommends the program. “I really appreciate the useful new tools and techniques. For example, I had never heard of a freewrite, which encourages you to write daily. I have always been a binge writer, but I am trying to convert. Recently, I wrote a journal article after freewriting while waiting for an eye appointment. It’s been accepted for publication. It was great to see how I could boost my productivity by trying one simple new strategy.”

To register for GRD 727 QN, go to BlazerNet. Questions? Contact the Graduate School’s Jennifer Greer at For more information about other academic writing courses offered through the Professional Development Program, and for Spring 2011 offerings, see the course listings below.