Alumna Profile: Dr. Kara Cerveny, Assistant Professor of Biology, Reed College

Kara Cerveny performed her thesis work in Robert Jensen’s lab in the Department of Cell Biology in 2005.  In the short time since, she has completed a post-doc in London, worked as an editor for Cell, and recently joined the faculty of the Biology Department of Reed College in Portland, Oregon.  Below, Kara details her transitions between fields and how her motivations have ultimately carried her to Reed, shares some wisdom about how science compares between the US and the UK, and talks about life as a new faculty member at a small liberal arts college.

At Hopkins 

Upon completing her undergraduate program at Duke, Cerveny knew from volunteer work at a local hospital and at the Duke Marine Lab that she wanted to pursue a career in science.  “[I] decided that I really liked sharing my knowledge and exciting others about science, so I applied for several different teaching jobs and landed a great position at Friends Select School in Philadelphia.”  During the following two years, she gained experience in designing and teaching several science courses.  Kara’s curiosity, inspired during various volunteer positions in labs at Duke and elsewhere, soon prompted her to apply to graduate school.  “I decided that I really liked asking questions and doing experiments to answer them.”

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Add the BCMB Google Calender

Did you know that BCMB News has a Google calender?  That’s right – all of your BCMB events, pre-packaged and in a convenient format that will sync with your Google account.

The calender has special events, BCMB Friday Seminars, BCMB thesis seminars, and all-important happy hours!  Click here to access the BCMB Calendar, or visit our Upcoming Events page.

In case you missed the skit…

The second year class put together an awesome skit this year, which garnered quite a bit of laughter when it was played during the BCMB Retreat.  An unprecedented amount of faculty participated in the skit, which was pre-recorded, edited, and polished into a 20-minute movie.

In case you missed the inaugural showing, check out the YouTube posted version:

Question of the Month

The major highlight of last month was the BCMB retreat. On the first day, we had an informative and inspiring keynote lecture delivered by BCMB alumnus Dr. Enrique De La Cruz of Yale University. The second-year skit was a blast! It showed the first years how great life as a graduate student in BCMB will be! A special thanks to Mark Zbinden, Jarrett Smith, BCMB News’ very own Tom Schaffer, and the rest of the second years for the skit. Finally, everyone enjoyed the science themed relay race that followed, including those who could not assemble a biohazard box in less than 5 seconds.

The next day consisted of oral presentations and poster sessions, mostly by students. Congratulations to the oral presentation and poster prize winners; their prizes may have been slightly different, but they each received a “certificate of awesomeness” signed by Dr. Steven Claypool himself.

Question of the month: What was the highlight of this years retreat, in your opinion? Feel free to choose more than one of the choices below, or add your own!

Last month, the question asked was “Where do you prefer having the retreat?”  Amongst those that entered their own answer, one of them suggested “Hawaii”! – feel free to contact me if you do not want to remain anonymous. It is safe to say, however, that the majority of responders prefer to have the retreat out of town, or at least off-campus.

-Saif Al Qassim

Recent Job Postings

BCMB News wants to help with your professional development!  Each month, we’ll post a handful of job postings to keep you in the loop.  You can also check out job postings from the Professional Development Office by visiting their website or signing up for their weekly email newsletter (email for more details).


Job Posting from ASBMB on LinkedIn:

Biochemist/Scientist, Coagulation at Seimens in Greater Boston Area.  (click link for more details)

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An Enduring Accomplishment: The Founding of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

This article is the first in a three-part series on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).  The series will cover the history of HHMI, the careers of some awardees at Johns Hopkins, and the nature and scope of the awards offered by HHMI.  Look for part two and three of the series in forthcoming issues of BCMB News.  This month, we bring you the storied history of the HHMI, and a glimpse of some of the people who have made this institute successful over the last 60 years.  

Howard Robard Hughes, Jr., in his day, was a man known for his sense of adventure and mystery.  A successful film producer and businessman, Hughes accomplished much throughout his lifetime.  Perhaps his most well-known and enduring accomplishment, the one most recognized in the current times, was the creation of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Howard Hughes. Image courtesy of the HHMI website.

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November Lab Spotlight – Pevsner Lab

Lab Stats

PI Name: Jonathan Pevsner
Number of Years in BCMB: >12
Model System(s): Human genome, mammalian cell culture
Research Area: Genomics of childhood and rare diseases, relatedness and inbreeding within human populations.
Lab Website
Lab Personnel:
Joseph Baugher – BCMB student
Eric Stevens – Human Genetics student
Matt Shirley – BCMB student
Larry Frelin – Research Technician

Dr. Pevsner splits his work day between the lab and his office.

BCMBNews (BN): You wrote a very successful bioinformatics textbook. What motivated you to do this?

JP: I’m dedicated to teaching—including a BCMB core course—and the book is an extension of the teaching. Writing it has helped me become a better teacher.

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