Medical Guild & Spring Awards

The Medical Guild of the College of Medicine Graduate Student Competitions

There are two competitions for senior  Biomedical Sciences graduate students: the traditional Graduate Research Awards and Advancement to Candidacy Awards.  The Graduate Research Awards are based on research seminar competition from each advanced concentration, and the Advancement to Candidacy Awards are based on performance of third year students after being admitted to candidacy by passing their qualifying examinations.  The instructions for each of these competitions are below.

Graduate Research Awards

The 43rd annual Medical Guild-sponsored graduate student research competition is scheduled for Monday, April 9 from 1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. in the Cancer & Genetics Research Complex (auditorium room 101). Each Biomedical Sciences advanced concentration nominates one graduate student for participation in this competition, which will consist of a 15-minute oral research presentation and a 5-minute Q&A session for each participant.  Presentations will be evaluated by a panel of faculty judges, who will rank them in terms of excellence.  Additionally, the students submit an abstract of their research and curriculum vitae because the awards are also based on the overall research accomplishments including publications, presentations, awards, and academic performance.   All eight students will be recognized and presented an award certificate at the Research Day reception, which begins immediately after the seminar competition.  Each finalist will receive a cash award (electronically deposited into their student accounts) from the UF Medical Guild based on the judges’ final rankings:  one Gold Medal finalist, two Silver Medal finalists, and five Bronze Medal finalists (this is subject to change).




Advanced program directors or their designates will coordinate the selection of the nominee from each advanced program in time for submission of the nominating packets.  Please contact your concentration coordinator or graduate administrator for more information.

Nomination packets should include:

  1. Name of graduate student nominee
  2. Name of the student’s faculty mentor
  3. The exact title of the presentation
  4. An abstract that summarizes the student’s research.  This should be no more than one page in length (single-spaced) and should include the objectives, methods, results and conclusions.
  5. A research article that provides a more detailed report of the student’s research.  This should include the objectives, background, significance, results, and conclusions, and should not exceed 1,500 words double-spaced.  Literature citations and experimental methods should be included as an appendix, and do not count toward the word limitation.  NOTE:  Reprints of published manuscripts that the student has authored should not be submitted in lieu of this description.
  6. An up-to-date CV, including publications, abstracts presented at meetings, honors & awards, and grant funding.

Nomination packets should be submitted as an e-mail attachment (PDF format is fine) to, The packets will be provided to the judges.  Nomination packets must be received no later than Monday, March 19.

Advancement to Candidacy Awards

The Advancement to Candidacy Award is aimed at recognizing outstanding students in their mid-tenure after they have passed their qualifying examination in their third year of study.  A committee composed of faculty members from each concentration will evaluate the concentration nominees and will choose the top three finalists, who will receive monetary awards.  The winners will be announced at the reception following the Graduate Student Research Award competition on April 9.

The Admission to Candidacy Award recognizes both academic and research excellence.  Therefore, the criteria for assessment will include:

  1. The transcript of the student in their studies (Office of Grad Ed will provide).
  2. Publications.
  3. Fellowships, scholarships, and other awards.
  4. Research presentations at regional, national, and international meetings.
  5. A letter of recommendation by the student’s dissertation mentor.

The concentration directors will nominate up to three students from their concentration for this award by March 12. A committee made up of representatives from each concentration will choose the top three by March 23. Nomination packets should be submitted as an e-mail attachment (PDF format is fine) to Completed packets must be received no later than Friday, March 16.

Council of Academic Chairs Scholarship

The Council of Academic Chairs Scholarship is awarded annually to the graduate student who earns top honors in the Advancement to Candidacy Competition.  This scholarship was established in the Fall of 2015 when several College of Medicine basic science chairs made personal gifts and pledges to the University of Florida Foundation to establish, fund, and ultimately to endow a scholarship for the student who earns top honors in the Advancement to Candidacy competition. The scholarship will provides funds so that they may attend a scientific or educational career development course, such as courses offered at Jackson Laboratory in Maine, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory or Woods Hole.

In support of the Council of Academic Chairs Scholarship the University Florida Foundation has established a fund named: Friends of Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences with the fund code: 020269.

Individuals wishing to contributed to this Scholarship may do so online at:

Graduate Student Education Initiative Award

Description:  The UF College of Medicine Graduate Student Education Initiative Award annually honors a current College of Medicine PhD student for excellence in education.  The UF College of Medicine established this award in 2016 in honor of its 60th anniversary, having successfully matriculated over 1,200 PhD graduates since 1960.  These graduates have excelled in positions in research, education, and affiliated careers around the world.

Eligibility:  A nominee must be a PhD candidate (having successfully passed qualifying exam) in good standing in a UF College of Medicine graduate program.

Nomination and Selection Process:

Nominees will submit the following documents (in one pdf file), describing their contributions to the educational mission of the College of Medicine and University, via email to the COM Office of Graduate Education by 5:00 pm on March 16

  • Curriculum vitae including list of educational accomplishments.
  • A personal statement describing the nominee’s dedication and contributions to the educational mission of the College of Medicine and University. This could include: didactic teaching (invited lectures in courses or separate events), small group teaching, student mentoring, laboratory-based teaching, creation of innovative educational/ learning activities/tools, courses and/or workshops related to teaching, and any other efforts to promote educational excellence (formal or informal).  The statement should also describe the nominee’s career plans as they relate to education.

The following should also be submitted directly to the UF-COM Office of Graduate Education ( on behalf of the nominee:

  • Required: at least one letter from a faculty member describing his/her experience with the nominee’s involvement in education, and must include comment as to the quality of the nominee’s teaching efforts.
  • Optional: letter of support from an individual(s) that the nominee instructed/mentored during his/her graduate career.

The Award:

The recipient of the UF College of Medicine Graduate Student Educational Initiative Award will receive an award of $500 and will be recognized during the graduate student awards reception in the Spring.


– Thomas Rowe, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Graduate Education 


2017 Medical Guild Research Competition Winners

Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences Research Competition Winners with College Officials, Michael Good, M.D., Joseph Fantone, M.D., Thomas Rowe, Ph.D. and UF Medical Guild Officers



















Gold Award Winner

Brittney Newby (Immunology & Microbiology)

Mentor: Clayton Mathews, Ph.D.

“Type 1 Interferons Promote Auto-reactive CD8+ T Cell Cytotoxicity in the Islet Microenvironment of Type 1 Diabetes”


Silver Award Winners 

James Thomas (Genetics)

Mentor: Maurice Swanson, Ph.D.

“Disrupted RNA Processing and Myogenesis in Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy”


Sruti Rayaprolu (Neuroscience)

Mentor: Jada Lewis,  Ph.D.

“Two diseases, one gene? The role of ATP13A2 in Parkinson’s disease and Lysosomal Storage Diseases”


Bronze Award Winners

Amani Harrandah (Cancer Biology)

Mentor: Edward Chan, Ph.D.

“Developing Strategies in Tracking Early Oral Cancer Progression “


Rosha Poudyal (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

Mentor: Michael Kladde, Ph.D.

“The Epigenomes of Latent and Lytic Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated



Allyson Shea (Molecular Cell Biology)

Mentor: Yehia Daaka, Ph.D.

“It Takes Two: The Host-Pathogen Relationship In Urinary Tract Infection”


Miguel Zarate (Physiology and Pharmacology)

Mentor: Charles Wood, Ph.D.

“Hypoxia-induced Bacterial Invasion of the Fetal Brian and Placenta”


2017 Advancement to Candidacy Winners

Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences Advancement to Candidacy Winners with College Officials, Michael Good, M.D., Joseph Fantone, M.D., Thomas Rowe, Ph.D. and UF Medical Guild Officers





















Carrie Lomelino (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

Mentor: Robert McKenna, Ph.D.)


Avni Bhatt (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

Mentor: Robert McKenna, Ph.D.


Abigail Hernandez (Neuroscience)

Mentor: Sara Burke, Ph.D.


Iqbal Mahmud (Molecular Cell Biology)

Mentor: Daiqing Liao, Ph.D.

2017 Council of Academic Chairs Scholarship Recipient

Carrie Lomelino (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

Mentor: Robert McKenna, Ph.D.)


Inaugural College of Medicine Education Initiative Award Recipient

Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences Education Initiative Award Winner, Angela McCall, Ph.D. with College Officials, Michael Good, M.D., Joseph Fantone, M.D., and Thomas Rowe, Ph.D.





















Angela McCall (Genetics)

Mentor: Barry Byrne, M.D., Ph.D.


 Past Council of Academic Chairs Scholarship Recipients

  • 2016: Daniel Delitto

Past Medical Guild Research Competition winners

  • 2016: Brian Mahon, Joonseok Cho, Justin Kaspar, Stephen Chrzanowski, Yuan Lu, Danielle Sambo
  • 2015: Douglas Bennion, Rony Francois, Geoffrey Rogers, Fatma Ayhan, Shweta Kailasan, Regina Martuscello
  • 2014: Amanda Sacino, Thomas Biel, Tal Salz, Harald Messer, Mini Manchanda, Kamil Nowicki
  • 2013: Ranjan Batra, Stephan Jahn, Hyun Min Jung, Mayank Aggarwal, Cristina Banuelos, Chao Liu
  • 2012: Serena Giovinazzi, Marci Mitchell, Brandon Sack, Joeva Barrow, Karlie Bonstaff, Nikolett Molnar
  • 2011: Sonisha A. Warren, Chen Ling, Sushama Kamarajugadda, Alex Cuenca, Bing Yao, Sarah E. Mondello
  • 2010: Emily Smith, Sarah Szarowicz, Adam Mecca, William Donelan, Katherine Sippel, Travis Jackson
  • 2009: Sunitha Rangaraju, Songqing Li, Andres Acosta, MD, Brittney L. Gurda, Jihae Shin, Sushrusha Nayak
  • 2008: Allyn Spear, Jason O’Rourke,Jeffrey Brower,Stephen Fernando,Jason Weinstein
  • 2007: Pui Lee, Roxana Coman, Zane Zeier, Kwon-Ho Hong, You-Lin Tain, Kim Van Vliet
  • 2006: Valerie Crusselle Davis, Christina Pacak, Michael Godeny, Amar Singh, Nicole Tester, Bei Wang
  • 2005: Antonio Amelio, Stephanie Amici, Christina Norris, Padraic Levings, Ann Griswold, Sean Kearns
  • 2004: Karen Vieira, Rahul Kanadia, Eric Sandberg, Edgar Rodriguez, Mary Ann Checkley, Alaric Falcon
  • 2003: Stormy Chamberlain, Jared Wilsey, Erin Keen Rhinehart, Chris Williams, Steve Guthrie, Jin He
  • 2002: Angela Starkes, Brian Raisler, Kelly Leach, Mike Thomson, Jason Coleman, Yi Tang
  • 2001: Matthew Simmons, Don Latner, Sung-Hae Lee Kang, Keith Bahjat
  • 2000: Vincent Leveque, Harveen Dhillon, Susan Blaydes, Lingyun Li
  • 1999: Yuan Clare Zhang, Darwin Ang, Kristin B. Moon, Yujiang Shi
  • 1998: Jeff Martens, Jill Miller, Kelly McDonald, Pei Wu
  • 1997: Annette Oberdorf, Stephen T. Nowicki, Mary Catherine Bowman, Miduturu Srinivas
  • 1996: Scott Wilson, Tiffany Alley, Steve Munger, Chris Robinson