Gustavus Honors First Decade Award Winners

Posted on October 22nd, 2009 by

Gustavus Adolphus College recently recognized Brian North ’99 and Tammy Williams VanDeGrift ’99 as its First Decade Award winners for 2009. The award is presented annually to one male and one female from the 10th anniversary class for early professional development.

Brian North

After graduating from Gustavus magna cum laude, North went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco where he studied the sirtuin gene family in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Verdin.

Brian North '99

Brian North '99

With Dr. Verdin, North characterized an involvement for these genes in regulating cellular proliferation and ensuring proper segregation of the cellular genetic material during division. At the same time, studies on these genes were being initiated in research labs elsewhere for their role in regulating the process of aging and their involvement in protection from age-related diseases.

Following the completion of his Ph.D., North transitioned more deeply into the molecular biology of the aging research field. He was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and jointly became a research fellow in pathology at the Paul F. Glenn Labs for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard Medical School. Currently, he is trying to elucidate the connection between aging and genetic stability in both the model organism yeast and mouse models of aging and colon cancer.

Over the last 10 years, North has published 14 papers in prestigious journals such as the American Journal of Pathology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Journal of Cell Biology. He holds two patents for methods of modulating mitochondrial DNA-dependent and tubulin deacetylase activity. He has also co-authored a chapter in a book titled Histone Deacetylases: Transcriptional Regulation and Other Cellular Functions.

Tammy Williams VanDeGrift

Tammy Williams VanDeGrift '99

Tammy Williams VanDeGrift '99

After receiving a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, VanDeGrift studied computer science and engineering at the University of Washington where she earned her M.S. in 2001 and her Ph.D. in 2005. While at Washington, she earned the American Society for Engineering Education Apprentice Faculty Grant, which is awarded to only four doctoral students or pre-tenured faculty in engineering nationally.

VanDeGrift is currently an assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Portland. She has published numerous articles that center mostly on teaching methods and approaches.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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