Molecular Biosciences Symposium returns to campus Oct. 21

After a year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Molecular Biosciences Symposium is back! WWU Associate Professor of Chemistry Jeanine Amacher developed the symposium in 2019 in order to bring together Western students and faculty with other academics (faculty, doctoral students, and postdocs) in Western Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. The main goals of this biennial symposium are to: (1) Unite biochemistry, molecular biology, and other molecular biosciences programs (e.g., behavioral neuroscience) at Western, (2) Provide access and networking opportunities for students at Western to current doctoral students and postdocs in biomedical and life sciences, (3) Allow doctoral students and postdocs to give research talks at an outside institution, as well as to reflect on their own undergraduate experiences as they develop into teacher-scholars themselves, and (4) Bring together biomedical and life sciences research in the Pacific Northwest.

The 2022 Molecular Biosciences symposium will be held on Friday, Oct.21 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; see schedule below. There are 10 doctoral students and two postdocs from the Seattle area giving research talks (University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute), as well as speakers from the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. The UW Graduate School Associate Dean of Students and Postdoctoral Affairs, Bill Mahoney, will be leading a session on “Getting into Graduate School,” which will include a PhD student panel. The UW doctoral program in Pharmacology is also sending representatives to attend the event. The symposium will culminate in a keynote seminar, sponsored by the WWU Fraser Lecture Series (Provost’s Office), by Janet Iwasa from the University of Utah. Iwasa is the director of the Animation Lab, which aims to use current hypotheses in scientific research to create visually compelling animations on diverse molecular and cellular processes (

Other funding for the Molecular Biosciences Symposium is provided by the NSF CAREER and Cottrell Scholar grants awarded to Amacher.

During the inaugural event in 2019, Western hosted 7 doctoral students, 6 postdoctoral fellows, and 1 research scientist from the Pacific Northwest, including from the University of Washington, Institute for Protein Design, Allen Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the University of Oregon in a 1-day symposium that was attended by over 80 students and faculty (Fig. 1).

Attendees are encouraged to register (although it is not required) and registration is free. Registering helps keep track of participants for provided food and allows for communication from Associate Professor Amacher, including abstracts of the research talks.

Molecular Biosciences Symposium tentative schedule:

8:30-9 a.m.: Breakfast & coffee (outside AH 004)

9-10 a.m.: Research talk session 1 (AH 004)

10 a.m.-12 p.m.: Research talk session 2 (SL 140)

12-1:30 p.m.: Lunch & professional development roundtables (CF 120)

1:30-3 p.m.: How to get into grad school / PhD student panel (PH 146)

3-4:30 p.m.: Keynote Seminar (Janet Iwasa, University of Utah) (SL 110)

Interested students and faculty can register at:

See you on Oct. 21!

Jeanine Amacher writes in a white board during class