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BBMB Graduate Learning Community (GLC)




2023-2024 GLC Student Peer Leaders and Coordinators (Bios Below)


In 2012, two graduate students noticed the need for a graduate student club to promote professional development and career preparation in the area of biochemistry and biophysics. The Graduate College approved the formation of the GLC in fall of 2013. The BBMB GLC is supported by funding from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust award to the Department.

Purpose and Goals

The perception of most graduate students in BBMB is that they have two career options, academia or industry, and that jobs in these areas are highly competitive. This is incorrect, and there are many career paths for BBMB graduates outside of traditional academia and industry jobs. The main challenge for a graduate student is to discover what career options there are and how to best prepare for a future career where their advanced degree is useful.

The BBMB Graduate Learning Community (GLC) is led by graduate students and overseen by a faculty mentor. The GLC strives to prepare graduate students by exploring professional development opportunities and career planning. Results from the student's Individual Development Plan (IDP) are used to guide meeting topics. Additionally, the GLC incorporates graduate student wellness, education outreach, and social events throughout the year to promote community engagement and wellbeing.

BBMB Faculty Mentor

Reuben Peters, Roy J. Carver Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 4216 MBB, Phone: 515-294-8580. Professor Peters is the recipient of the LAS Excellence in Graduate Mentoring award, which is to recognize the effectiveness of major professors who serve as mentors and who enrich the student-professor relationship by support and attention to detail which enables students to finish their work in a timely and scholarly manner.

BBMB Student Peer Leaders and Coordinators

Abbigale Brown is the WIP Seminar peer coordinator.  Abbigale is an Immunobiology student in the lab of Professor Stone Chen.  In this newly created peer coordinator role, Abbigale assists Professor Chen to organize the BBMB Works in Progress (WIP) seminars during the academic year.

Nipunika Rupasinghe is the GPSS senator for BBMB and peer coordinator for the monthly breakfast.  She is a biophysics PhD student in the lab of Professor Chen.  

Rachel Murphy, is the peer coordinator for education outreach.  She is a PhD student in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology program.

Alexzandrea Woudenberg is the peer coordinator for social events. She is a biochemistry PhD candidate in the lab of Professor Underbakke.  

Russell Greene is the peer coordinator for workshops and seminars with outside speakers based on IDP results. He is a biochemistry PhD candidate in the lab of Professor Sashital. 

Jake Peterson is the peer coordinator for recruiting, orientation and IDP Meetings. He is a biochemistry PhD student in the lab of Professor Moss.

Warren Rouse is the peer coordinator for meetings and seminars with internal speakers as needed (i.e., IT updates, diversity training, etc.). He is a biochemistry PhD student in the lab of Professor Moss.

Students involved in the GLC find their service to be fun and rewarding. Members continually rotate in and out of the GLC, based on the commitment of graduate school, but most participate for at least one academic year.  Please contact Professor Reuben Peters if you are interested in more information about becoming a BBMB Student Peer Leader and Coordinator.

See the BBMB Graduate Learning Community Blog for more information about GLC community events.

Spring 2024


Monday, May 6th. Career Alternatives Seminar. Guru Rao and Kris Johansen presented on Iowa State’s I-Corps program. The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program uses experiential education to help researchers gain valuable insight into entrepreneurship, starting a business, or industry requirements and challenges to increase the impact of their work.  Learn how you can take advantage of I-Corps to determine the commercial viability of your research innovation, develop a business case to secure additional R & D funding, develop new ways to think about your research, and grow your professional network. Russell Greene, Host, 12:00pm.


Tuesday, February 27th. Career Alternatives Seminar. Jim Schreitmueller from the Office of Student Financial Aid at Iowa State University. Jim is a Financial Aid Advisor who will be speaking about how to achieve financial success upon graduation. He will cover understanding benefits packages, comparing job offers, and weighing cost-of-living differences with the overall goal to provide tools to make smart financial decisions after receiving job offers. Russell Greene, Host, 12:00 noon

Fall 2023

Monday, September 25th. Career Alternatives Seminar. Dr. Karin Lawton-Dunn, Director and Senior Graduate Career Services Specialist for the Graduate College Career Services Office. She provides graduate students with professional resources outside of their thesis research. Her office also provides workshops in topics such as networking/LinkedIn, interviewing, resume/CV development, etc. all of which are tailored towards helping graduate students improve their professional skills. Russell Greene, Host, 12:00 noon

Spring 2022

Wednesday, February 2nd. Career Alternatives Seminar. Dr. Nadilia Gomez, (CTO) for the Digital and Precision Agriculture research and innovation platform. Dr. Gomez has served as executive director for the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator before joining Iowa State University and served Corteva Agriscience and DuPont Pioneer as Research Scientist and various other roles along the years.  Gomez’s educational path includes a PhD in Plant Breeding and genetics from University of Minnesota in 2005, a Postdoctoral in development of risk assessment and decison support tools for ecosystem management from the same University. In 2023, Gomez concluded her Executive MBA in Agriculture Operations and related Sciences from ISU. Tania Palhano, Host, 12:00 noon

Nadilia Gomez

Fall 2021

Wednesday, December 1. Career Alternatives Seminar.  Dr. Lana Saleh, Senior Scientist at New England Biolabs (NEB). Dr. Lana Saleh started at NEB as a postdoctoral fellow and today is the group leader of the Molecular Enzymology Division. Dr. Saleh is also the Chair of M.B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates and Deputy Chair of the Minority Affairs Committee -ASBMB. Dr. Saleh will talk about her career journey and current role overseeing the Molecular Enzymology research group at NEB. Tania P. Zanela, Host. 12:00 noon 

Lana Saleh

Spring 2021

Wednesday, February 17. Career Alternatives Seminar. Dr. Sannie Culbertson, Alumni Guest Speaker. Sannie graduated with her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from ISU in 2018 and is currently an editor at Cell Press-- Trends in Biochemical Sciences. Her Cell Press bio summary says, "After growing up and receiving her education in the American Midwest, Sannie joined the Cell Press team as the Editor for Trends in Biochemical Sciences. She has a passion for science communication and advocacy, both of which ultimately drove her from the bench to her current position. She also enjoys being active, loves her dog, and can almost always be found with a book near at hand." Jacques Lowe, Host. 12:00 noon (Recorded in two parts: 1 and 2)

Sannie Culbertson

Thursday, March 11. Career Alternatives Seminar. Radford Davis, Associate Professor, Veterinary Microbiology & Preventive Medicine, ISU College of Veterninary Medicine. By day, Dr. Radford Davis is a prominent public health scientist. He has traveled the world working on global health issues with a stated goal of improving veterinary health in developing countries. In recent years, Davis has added a new tool to his teaching arsenal. He now uses still photography to bridge art and science. Warren Rouse, Host. 12:00 noon (Webex link)

Radford Davis

Tuesday, April 6-Thursday, April 8. GLC Education Outreach: Virtual Go Further for students in grades 8th-10th who want to learn about various STEM fields.  GLC to participate as part of a BBMB GLC education outreach activity. Yukti Dhingra and Hannah Piper, Presenters (online)

Go Further Logo

Wednesday, May 5. Career Alternatives Seminar.  Dr. Ann Lichens-Park, National Program Leader for Microbial Genomics in the Institute of Food Production and Sustainability of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA.  Dr. Lichens-Park will talk about her role overseeing the research grant programs at and for the USDA. Jacques Lowe, Host. 12:00 noon (Recording)

Dr. Ann Lichens-Park

Past Meetings and Events