April 19th – Douglas Baumann, a recent graduate of Penn State’s Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology Program at Penn State, was honored with the 2018 Fred Wedler Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Baumann is also a member of Gilmour Lab in the Center for Eukaryotic Gene Regulation (CEGR).  He describes being surprised when he received notice on April 6th 2018 along with the rest of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB).

Every student defending a doctoral dissertation is considered for this prestigious award. Each year, the BMB Department selects a single doctoral student to receive it. The award is granted to a student whose dissertation is judged to be outstanding based on evaluation criteria provided for the student’s committee.

Baumann came to Penn State to pursue his graduate studies after attending and earning a Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University (BYU). He was especially interested in Penn State for the benefits of being in a CEGR affiliated lab. During his first year with Penn State, Baumann rotated in two CEGR associated labs – Dr. Joe Reese and Dr. David Gilmour. Ultimately Baumann performed his research in Gilmour Lab.

Dr. David Gilmour studies mechanisms of transcriptional control in eukaryotes, specifically the function and mechanism of promoter proximal pausing. His lab utilizes Drosophila as a model system and combines biochemical, molecular genetic, and cytological methods to achieve a comprehensive method to the study of promoter proximal pausing. Doug Baumann was particularly attracted to a former Gilmour lab members’ discovery of the binding protein M1BP, which controls thousands of drosophila genes. Baumann’s research focused on understanding transcription regulation of M1BP bound genes. Dr. Gilmour provided Baumann with an environment that allowed him the freedom to explore his ideas with full encouragement and support.

While working on his doctorate Baumann utilized CEGR to enrich his research.  He valued the access CEGRs’ collaborative environment gave him to individuals of different expertise. CEGR’s weekly research forums, where the latest scientific work of our graduate students and postdocs are shared and discussed, allowed Baumann to broaden his knowledge of gene regulation and apply what he learned to his own research. Baumann was also a regular presenter at these meetings and gained valuable feedback on his research from fellow students and other Principle Investigators. Baumann would like to thank CEGR and Dr. Gilmour for contributing to his great success at Penn State

Although the research interests of all CEGR members are focused on understanding the mechanisms of gene regulation, the ultimate ambition is to provide knowledge necessary to improve human health. Doug Baumann will be doing just that as he continues on to research the mechanics of drug resistance in cancer cells as a Post-Doc at the University of Michigan. We wish him continued excellence in all his endeavors.