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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Achievement Awards for PhD and Postdoctoral Trainees in BMB

PhD doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows are the engines driving laboratory research and discovery in a department like ours.

To recognize and celebrate excellence on the part of our PhD and postdoctoral trainees, the department has instituted three prizes named after three of its past pioneers, John Scocca, Lawrence (Larry) Grossman and Sharon Krag.


Attracting the best PhD candidates, from all over the United States and beyond, is a priority for BMB. With the recent recruitment of several junior faculty among our ranks, and exciting new opportunities for careers in public health, we are seeking to grow the BMB PhD graduate training program in the years ahead. The success of our PhD training program is reflected in the existence of two long-standing T32 training programs from the National Institutes of Health, with one focused on reproductive biology and the other on cancer biology.

We typically set out to recruit 8-10 new PhD candidates to BMB each year. In doing so, we compete with other premier graduate training programs throughout the United States to attract outstanding PhD candidates. We have recently set up the PhD Scholastic Awards in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to compete more effectively.

ScoccaThe John Scocca Achievement Award recognizes excellence in laboratory research on the part of a PhD graduate student.

John Scocca – Dr. Scocca joined the department faculty in 1968 and had a storied career until his retirement, as emeritus professor, in 2008. Dr. Scocca’s research on bacterial transformation greatly illuminated the process by which antibiotic resistance is spread between bacterial species. He led many important committees within the Bloomberg School, and was a very dedicated teacher to both doctoral and masters’ students. He is fondly remembered for “guiding” first year PhD students toward giving effective and appropriately short presentations about their laboratory research rotations. Dr. Scocca passed away in 2012.


GrossmanThe Lawrence Grossman Achievement Award recognizes excellence in laboratory research on the part of a postdoctoral fellow.

Lawrence (Larry) Grossman – Dr. Grossman served as the E.V. McCollum Professor and Chair of the Department between 1975 and 1990. Some of the major contributions that he made include the introduction of DNA repair research and its significance towards establishing cancer risk, the development of a clever molecular epidemiology test to assess, from a blood sample, an individual’s risk of developing UV-induced skin cancer, and the recruitment and mentoring of junior faculty. Dr. Grossman had a special fondness for trainees, and had the wonderful habit of joining them for lunch and discussion in the McCollum library on a frequent basis. Dr. Grossman passed away in 2006. 



The Sharon Krag Achievement Award recognizes outstanding and impactful leadership on the part of a PhD graduate student or postdoctoral fellow.

Sharon Krag – Dr. Sharon Krag, a PhD graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, joined the faculty in 1976 and had a profound impact in the department and throughout the School. Dr. Krag served as Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research at our School the time of her retirement in 2007. Dr. Krag's research program was centered on the mechanisms of N-linked (complex) glycosylation and their role in the regulation of protein function. Dr. Krag is (technically!) retired but currently enjoys an emeritus faculty status and still teaches our students about good laboratory practices and ethics in research. 


Each award is in the amount of $1500, and is given annually for accomplishments that have come to the fore during that calendar year. Deserving PhD students and postdoctoral fellow are nominated by their advisor. Selection of awardees is carried out by a committee of senior BMB faculty.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is very grateful to the Scocca family, and to its faculty, for making this award program possible through generous donations and support.

2014 Achievement Award Winners