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News / 06.14.06

The Broad honor roll

By Nicole Davis, Communications
MIT commencement held on June 9 in Killian Court.
MIT commencement held on June 9 in Killian Court
Photo courtesy of Donna Coveney/MIT

Despite the recent spate of cool, rainy weather, the summer season is, in fact, right around the corner, signaling the end of the academic year. As ceremonies of celebration and commendation mark the occasion, several students affiliated with the Broad Institute have received awards that recognize their research contributions.

Two MIT graduate students working with Manolis Kellis, an assistant professor of computer science at MIT and a Broad associate member, earned recognition for their master's theses. Mike Lin won the Charles and Jennifer Johnson Award for outstanding Master of Engineering thesis in computer science. His thesis, entitled “Comparative Gene Identification in Mammalian, Fly, and Fungal Genomes,” describes new computational approaches for comparing full genome sequences to each other to identify evolutionarily conserved protein-coding genes. Matt Rasmussen's master's thesis, “Probabilistic Framework for Genome-wide Phylogeny and Orthology Determination,” was awarded the William A. Martin Memorial Thesis Award for outstanding Master of Science thesis in computer science. It describes new methods for analyzing complete genome sequences that trace the evolutionary history of thousands of genes across dozens of related species.

Philip Dreyfuss, a Harvard undergraduate who worked in the Broad's Chemical Biology Program, earned the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for his undergraduate thesis, “Exploring Chemical Diversity through Silyl Functionalized Small Molecules.” It describes his efforts to synthesize new chemical compounds that contain silicon and to develop efficient methods to make these molecules more structurally complex. This research was conducted under the guidance of Annaliese Franz, who is a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Stuart Schreiber, the director of the Chemical Biology Program. Franz is working to marry silicon-containing motifs with the chemical structures of naturally occurring compounds, in the hope that novel biological probes will emerge from the union.