Blog Archives

Congratulations, Dr. Jonnalagadda

May 14, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Rohan Jonnalagadda on his successful (virtual) thesis defense, May 12.

Congratulations, Dr. Cohen

Apr 20, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Steve Cohen on his successful (virtual) thesis defense, April 17.

Congratulations to Kenny on his Science publication

Apr 6, 2020

Featured in MIT News and ACS’s C&E News: “Structure of a trapped radical transfer pathway within a ribonucleotide reductase holocomplex,” Science eaba6794.

Congratulations to Cathy on the Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award

Mar 23, 2020

Cathy has received the Protein Society’s Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award, granted in recognition of exceptional contributions in protein science which profoundly influence our understanding of biology.

Congratulations to Lindsey & Mary for their eLife publication

Mar 19, 2020

Featured in MIT News: Lindsey & Mary’s “Molecular basis for catabolism of the abundant metabolite trans-4-hydroxy-L-proline by a microbial glycyl radical enzyme,” eLife 9:e51420.

Congratulations to Dr. Dawson!

Mar 17, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Dawson on his successful thesis defense, March 16. We were glad to be able to at least join him virtually.

Congratulations to Abby!

Feb 26, 2020

Congratulations to undergrad Abby Scott for her induction into MIT’s Laureates and Leaders program as a member of the cohort of 2022!

Congratulations to Paty!

Jan 2, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Paty Feliciano for getting the cover of the December 31 issue of Biochemistry. 

Welcome Alison and Gisele!

Dec 4, 2019

The Drennan Lab welcomes first year MIT chemistry graduate students, Alison Biester and Gisele Andree, to the group!

Congratulations to Sheena!

Oct 19, 2019

Congratulations to Sheena Vasquez for successfully completing her PhD candidacy exam!

Cathy Featured on WBUR

Oct 1, 2019

Cathy was recently featured on WBUR as part of the Edify’s Lessons Learned series.  She shared her story of how her experience with dyslexia shaped her career and life. Read the article and listen to the news story here!

Last Starbucks run of summer!

Sep 3, 2019

Last official Starbucks run of the summer term. Best of luck to our summer interns and to Dr. Allena Goren who defended over the summer. The lab won’t be the same without you! 

Congratulations to Steve!

Aug 20, 2019

Congrats to Steve Cohen for receiving an MIT Spot Award for his work on the Chemistry Graduate Student Council (CGSC), including serving as a President of the CGSC. 

Congratulations to Dr. Goren and Dr. Kang!

Aug 16, 2019

Congrats to freshly minted PhD recipients from the Drennan lab:  Dr. Allena Goren and Dr. Gyunghoon Kenny Kang.        

Drennan Lab Family Reunion Celebrating 20 Years at MIT!

Aug 5, 2019

This July marked 20 years since Cathy started her career at MIT. We celebrated by hosting a family reunion, inviting the lab alumni to come back to MIT and reconnect. There were talks about research performed by various alumni after their time in the Drennan lab and updates about the original projects that are the…

Recent paper on spare part proteins featured by MIT Biology!

Jul 22, 2019

Congratulations to former postdoc Sarah Bowman, current lab members–Lindsey Backman, Rebekah Bjork, and Mary Andorfer, and former MSRP summer students, Santiago Yori and Alessio Caruso, for their paper in Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry. Their paper titled, Solution structure and biochemical characterization of a spare part protein that restores activity to an oxygen-damaged glycyl radical…

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Steve !

Jul 22, 2019

Congratulations to Elizabeth Wittenborn and Steve Cohen for their paper, Structural insight into metallocofactor maturation in carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, in the Journal of Biological Chemistry! Read it here!

Congratulations to Steve!

Jul 10, 2019

Congratulations to graduate student Steve Cohen for being selected as a 2019-2020 Martin Family Society of Fellows for Sustainability. Learn more here!

Congratulations to Sheena!

Jul 8, 2019

Congratulations to graduate student Sheena Vasquez for receiving the Teresa Keng Teaching Award for her work in 7.014!

Congratulations to Talya!

Jul 5, 2019

Congratulations to Talya Levitz for successfully completing her PhD candidacy exam!

Congratulations to Percy!

Jul 3, 2019

Congratulations to Percy Yang-Ting Chen on his first author paper, X-ray crystallography–based structural elucidation of enzyme-bound intermediates along the 1‑deoxy‑d‑xylulose 5-phosphate synthase reaction coordinate, in Journal of Biological Chemistry! Read it here!

Congratulations to former UROPPER Anne Ye!

Jun 28, 2019

Congratulations to former Drennan UROPPER Anne Ye on a success PhD defense at Stanford University! 

Congratulations (and Welcome Back), Kiana!

Jun 24, 2019

Congratulations to Drennan Lab EXROP Kiana Williams on her graduation from Drexel University in Philadelphia with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry! Kiana returns to the Drennan Lab summer for an EXROP Capstone experience. Welcome back to the Drennan Lab!

The Drennan Lab welcomes Dr. Squire Booker to campus for the 2019 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony!

Jun 6, 2019

Members of the Drennan Lab were happy to welcome Squire Booker, PhD ’94, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Eberly Family Distinguished Chair in Science at Penn State University, to MIT as he prepared to offer remarks at the 2019 Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral Ceremony. Dr….

Congratulations to Emily on her NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship!

Jun 1, 2019

Congratulations to postdoc Emily Ulrich for her NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded for her project titled “Structural Characterization of AdoMet Radical Enzyme-Catalyzed Posttranslational Modifications in Bacterial Anaerobic Metabolism.“

Welcome Dante and Gerardo!

May 25, 2019

The Drennan lab welcomes first year MIT Biology graduate student Gerardo Perez Goncalves and first year Harvard Biophysics graduate student Dante Avalos!  

Congratulations to Francesca!

May 13, 2019

Congratulations to Francesca Vaccaro for passing her Ph.D. candidacy exam!

Cathy testifies at the MA State House

Mar 29, 2019

On March 28th, Cathy had the opportunity to testify at the MA State House  as part of the “Legislative Briefing about Biomedical Research.” The briefing was organized by the Biophysical Society and hosted by State Representative Mike Connolly.         Cathy explaining the advances in resolution for Cryo-EM          …

Lab outing to see Photograph 51!

Mar 28, 2019

Members of the lab had the opportunity to see Photograph 51 at Central Square Theater. The play recounts the competitive race to solve the structure of the DNA molecule using X-ray crystallography. Learn more about the play here and Central Square Theater here!  

Congratulations to Steve!

Mar 11, 2019

Congratulations to Steve Cohen for his paper in Nature Communications! Read it here!

Congratulations to Cathy!

Feb 6, 2019

Congratulations to Cathy for being named the 2018-2019 King Lecturer Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, the Kenneth L. Rinehart Lecturer at the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, and  the William W. Wells Lecturer at Michigan State University!

Congratulations to Paty!

Jan 30, 2019

Congratulations to Paty Feliciano on her first author paper in ACS Chemical Biology! Read it here!

Congratulations to Percy!

Jan 26, 2019

Congratulations to Percy Yang-Ting Chen for his first author paper in Joule! Read it here!

MIT.nano’s Cryo-EM facility celebrates its opening

Oct 24, 2018

On October 5th, MIT.nano’s Cryo-EM facility celebrated its opening with a day-long symposium hosted by the Department of Biology. The presenters had department affiliations ranging from biology  and chemistry to mathematics to electrical engineering and computer science, highlighting the diverse and exciting research that will now be possible on MIT’s campus. As part of the…

Cathy honored as the 2018 Herschbach teacher/scientist by Harvard University

Oct 17, 2018

Cathy was honored as the 2018 Herschbach teacher/scientist by Harvard University. This lecture series  honors emeritus  professor Dudley Herschbach, a Nobel-prize winning chemist and a devoted educator. For the lecture series Cathy was hosted by the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard Unviersity. Her…

Congratulations to Tsehai Grell!

Oct 10, 2018

Congratulations to Tsehai on her first author paper in Journal of Biology Chemistry. Read it here!

Congratulations to Elizabeth Wittenborn!

Oct 2, 2018

Congratulations to Elizabeth for her first author paper in eLife which is highlighted by MIT News here! Read the paper here.  

Congratulations to Mary on her NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship!

Sep 10, 2018

Congratulations to postdoc Mary Andorfer for her NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship  awarded for her project titled “Taming radical enzymes through directed evolution and structural analysis”

Congratulations to Francesca on her teaching award!

Sep 3, 2018

Congratulations to Francesca on her teaching award for her efforts with 5.111 in Spring 2018!                     Francesca with her fellow recipients of teaching awards for the Department of Chemistry.

Congratulations to Tsehai!

Jul 9, 2018

Congratulations to Tsehai Grell! Her paper was just recommended by the Faculty of 1000 (F1000)! Check out the recommendation on F1000. The paper can be found on JACS.

Congratulations Percy and Michael!

Jul 2, 2018

Congratulations to Percival Yang-Ting Chen and Michael Funk for having their JBC paper selected as a JBC Editor’s Pick with Highlight by Brendon L. Green, Daniel G. Nocera, and JoAnne Stubbe, (2018) Basis of dATP inhibition of RNRs, J. Biol. Chem. 293, 10413-10414. Read the paper at JBC First author profiles for Percy and Michael…

Welcome Sheena and Talya!

Jun 15, 2018

 The Drennan lab welcomes first year MIT Biology graduate students Talya Levitz and Sheena Vasquez.

Congrats to Dr. Tsehai Grell and Dr. David Born

Jun 8, 2018

Congrats to freshly minted PhD recipients from the Drennan lab Dr. Tsehai Grell (PhD in Chemistry from MIT) and Dr. David Born (PhD in Biophysics from Harvard).

Congratulations to Emily Damato!

May 10, 2018

Congratulations to MIT senior Emily Damato, who won the “Audience Choice Award” at the April 26 SuperUROP poster session, with her poster “Applications of Machine Learning for Cryo-EM.”   Emily has been part of the Drennan lab for two years, this past year as a SuperUROP.  Her mentor in the lab, Ed Brignole, who now heads…

Congratulations to Mary for her poster!

Apr 18, 2018

Congratulations to postdoc Mary Andorfer on her prizewinning poster “Taming radical enzymes through directed evolution and structural analysis.”  Mary’s poster received Third Place in the Postdoc Category for Best Poster at the April 10 Annual Poster Session of MIT’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) and Superfund Research Program (SRP).

Welcome to Emily Ulrich!

Apr 10, 2018

A warm welcome to postdoc Emily Ulrich, who joined the Drennan lab on April 2.  Emily will receive her PhD this May from the University of Illinois.  Her thesis, written under the direction of Wilfred van der Donk, is entitled “Diverse Enzyme Reactions in Phosphonate Natural Product Biosynthesis.”    

Congratulations to Percival Yang-Ting Chen on his first author PNAS paper

Apr 6, 2018

Congratulations to Percival Yang-Ting Chen on his first author PNAS paper!  Read it online at PNAS.

Cathy featured at MIT’s MacVicar Day March 9

Apr 4, 2018

MIT celebrated exceptional undergraduate teaching, and honored a new group of MacVicar Faculty Fellows, with a symposium on March 9 titled “Inclusive Pedagogies: Building a Vibrant Community of Learners at MIT.”  Cathy, a 2015 MacVicar Faculty Fellow, kicked off the symposium, speaking about stereotype threat.  Read the MIT News feature.


Mar 30, 2018

Congrats to Dr. Tsehai Grell and Dr. David Born on successfully defending their respective PhD dissertations!

Cathy featured at ImprovBoston

Mar 16, 2018

Cathy (third from the right, with cast members) was the featured guest at ImprovBoston’s Spotlight Series on March 1. To a sold-out house, Cathy and the cast performed im- provised skits, working off a short on-stage interview with her.  This was Cathy’s second appearance with ImprovBoston. ImprovBoston’s Spotlight Series shines a light on Boston-area professionals…

Drennan lab research featured in MIT news

Feb 23, 2018

As reported in MIT News, Drennan lab research has contributed to the discovery of the structure of an important enzyme.  The results were published February 20 in the journal eLife.  Read more in the MIT News article.   

Cathy receives Bicentennial Alumni Award from the University of Michigan

Dec 22, 2017

Cathy was one of ten distinguished University of Michigan alumni who received the University’s Bicentennial Alumni Award at the December 2017 Winter Commencement in Ann Arbor.  University of Michigan Provost Martin Philbert said of the awardees “Their contributions in fields including the arts, health sciences, public policy, entertainment and philanthropy exemplify the university’s commitment to…

Congratulations to David Born on his first author Science paper

Dec 8, 2017

Congratulations to David Born on his first author Science paper.  See MIT News Story.

PhaC is the December Molecule of the Month

Dec 7, 2017

December’s Molecule of the Month is PhaC, which bacteria use to build biodegradable plastic, chosen by RCSB Protein Data Bank (PDB).            

Congratulations to Ed Brignole

Dec 5, 2017

Research scientist Ed Brignole has been appointed to direct the cryogenic electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) facility at MIT.  Ed is excited about developing this research capability that will be housed in the nearly completed MIT.nano building. He looks forward to engaging broadly with scientists and engineers at MIT and continuing to work closely with the Drennan…

Welcome to postdoc Mary Andorfer

Nov 6, 2017

The Drennan lab welcomes Mary Andorfer.  Mary got her PhD in August 2017 from the University of Chicago; her thesis, written under the direction of Professor Jared Lewis, examined the use of halogenases as tunable catalysts for synthetic organic chemistry. Welcome Mary!    

Principles of Chemical Science published on MIT’s OpenCourseWare

Sep 21, 2017

MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) has published Cathy’s 5.111SC Principles of Chemical Science.  The course website includes a number of special features such as lecture notes, instructor insights, and a link to Behind the Scenes at MIT, a collection of short videos of MIT researchers talking about their research as well as their personal stories.  Read more…

Congratulations to Emily Damato

Sep 6, 2017

MIT undergraduate Emily Damato has been chosen as an MIT EECS-Lincoln Laboratory Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar, receiving funding through the prestigious EECS Research and Innovation Scholars Program.  Emily will work in the Drennan lab as a SuperUROP on her project  Automating Electron Microscope (EM) Particle Reconstruction with Machine Learning, under the mentorship of Ed…

Graduate Student Tsehai Grell featured on MIT’s home page

Aug 23, 2017

Nominated by the Chemistry Department, Tsehai Grell was selected to be featured on MIT’s home page.  In her profile she speaks about growing up in the Commonwealth of Dominica, her research in the Drennan lab, and her commitment to making MIT more inclusive for graduate students.       

Drennan Lab welcomes five undergraduates for summer 2017

Aug 4, 2017

Five undergraduates are spending the summer of 2017 in the Drennan lab.  Newcomers are MSRP Bio student Gisele Andree, a rising junior at UMass Amherst majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry; HHMI EXROP student Luis Caldera Guzman, about to begin his senior year at UC Berkeley, where he majors in Bioengineering, and Materials Science & Engineering;…

Congratulations Lindsey, Steve, and Manny!

Jun 29, 2017

Congratulations to Lindsey Backman on receiving a Gilliam Fellowship, Steve Cohen on being selected for the MIT Biotechnology Training Program, and Manuel Ortega on receiving a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Award!

Congratulations to Elizabeth Wittenborn!

Jun 8, 2017

Congratulations to Elizabeth Wittenborn on receiving her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry

Congratulations to Jessica Gable!

May 19, 2017

Congratulations to Jessica Gable on receiving the Department of Chemistry Research Award for outstanding achievement in chemistry research! Jessica is a graduating senior and the Drennan Lab will miss her greatly, but we look forward to hearing about her amazing accomplishments in graduate school!  Read more…

Congratulations to Jen on her Nature paper!

May 1, 2017

Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Bridwell-Rabb on the publication of her Nature paper! Read the paper at Nature!

Cathy’s General Chemistry Course and TA Training Have Been Profiled In Spectrum!

Oct 27, 2016

Cathy’s 5.111 course, an MIT staple, has been highlighted in MIT’s publication Spectrum! The article discusses her innovations and the OpenCourseWare class.

Congratulations to Martin for Being Featured in MIT News!

Aug 8, 2016

Congratulations to Martin McLaughlin for being featured in MIT News! His paper, titled “Crystallographic snapshots of sulfur insertion by lipoyl synthase” was published in PNAS!

Congratulations to Lindsey Backman!

Mar 29, 2016

Congratulations to Lindsey Backman on receiving a 2016 NSF graduate research fellowship!

Congratulations to Christina for Being Featured in MIT News!

Jan 20, 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Christina Zimanyi for her newly published paper in eLife! The paper, titled Molecular basis for allosteric specificity regulation in class Ia ribonucleotide reductase from Escherichia coli, has gotten a lot of press over the past few weeks from MIT News, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, and Science 2.0!

Congratulations to Dr. Marcus Gibson!

Dec 29, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Marcus Gibson for being featured on MIT News! The article highlights his paper One-carbon chemistry of oxalate oxidoreductase captured by X-ray crystallography, published in PNAS, early edition on December 28th, 2015. photo credit: MIT

Welcome Lindsey and Steve!

Nov 13, 2015

The Drennan Lab welcomes Lindsey Beckman and Steve Cohen to the group!

Congratulations to Jessica!

Nov 10, 2015

Congratulations to Jessica Gable for being selected as MIT Chemistry’s nominee for the Goldwater Scholarship!

Congratulations to Dr. Marco Jost!

Nov 6, 2015

Congrats to Marco for Having the JBC Paper of the Week! Paper here.

Congratulations Dr. Michael Funk!

Oct 19, 2015

Congratulations Dr. Michael Funk for being featured on MIT News!

Congrats to Marco Jost!

Oct 8, 2015

Congratulations to Marco Jost on his Nature paper Nature doi:10.1038/nature14950

Congrats to Michael Funk!

Aug 25, 2015

Congratulations to Michael Funk on his JBC paper! doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.670737

Welcome Summer Students!

Jul 8, 2015

The Drennan lab welcomes summer students Alessio Caruso, Lindsey Backman, and Sheena Vasquez!

Welcome Rohan!

Jun 29, 2015

The Drennan lab welcomes Rohan Jonnalagadda!

Congrats to Yang-Ting Chen!

Jun 25, 2015

Congrats to Yang-Ting Chen for receiving a travel grant to ICBIC in Beijing.

Congrats Graduates!

Jun 22, 2015

Congrats to Drennan lab graduates Michael Funk, Marcus Gibson, Marco Jost, and Martin McLaughlin!

Congrats to Kenny, Allena, and David!

Jun 20, 2015

Congrats to Kenny Kang, Allena Goren and David Born on completing their Ph.D. candidacy exams.

Congrats to Martin McLaughlin!

Jun 16, 2015

Congrats to Martin McLaughlin for receiving the 2015 Department of Chemistry Alpha Chi Sigma Award, a 2015 Strem Prize, and for graduating Phi Beta Kappa!

Congrats to Ben and Martin!

Apr 1, 2015

Congrats to Martin McLaughlin and former Drennan lab undergraduate Ben Bell on being selected to receive the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Martin will be graduating from MIT with a BS in Chemistry in May 2015. Ben graduated from MIT in May 2014 and is currently working toward his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Physiology and Stanford.

Congrats to Cathy Drennan on Becoming a MacVicar Fellow

Mar 16, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Cathy Drennan for being named one of four 2015 MacVicar Faculty Fellows. The MacVicar Fellowship was created in honor of the late Margaret MacVicar to honor MIT instructors who have demonstrated outstanding undergraduate education, both in the classroom and outside as a mentor and educational innovator. Cathy was honored last Friday at…

Congrats to Former Graduate Student Peter Goldman

Feb 16, 2015

Congratulations to former graduate student Peter Goldman on getting the cover of JBC!

Congrats to Marco Jost on his paper in PNAS!

Feb 11, 2015

Congratulations to Marco Jost for his paper titled “Visualization of a Radical B12 Enzyme with its G-protein Chaperone” being published by PNAS. The structures of the complex between this G-protein metallochaperone and one of its target proteins, a radical B12 enzyme, reveal the molecular architecture and the pathways that both sense and report on the cofactor loading state….

Congrats to Ben Bell

May 15, 2014

Congrats to Ben Bell (Course 7, Class of 2014) for receiving the 2014 Ned Holt Prize, “For demonstrated excellence in scholarship as well as service to the MIT community”, and for being accepted to graduate school at Stanford University.

Congrats to Aileen Johnson

May 15, 2014

Congrats to Aileen Johnson (Course 5 – Class of 2014) for her acceptance to medical school.

Congrats to Martin McLaughlin

May 15, 2014

Congrats to Martin McLaughlin (Course 5, Class of 2015) on receiving a 2014 Randolph G. Wei UROP Award for outstanding undergraduate research.

Congrats to Dr. Jeremy Setser!

May 2, 2014

Congrats to Dr. Jeremy Setser, who defended his PhD thesis on May 2.

Congrats to Martin McLaughlin

May 1, 2014

Congrats to Martin McLaughlin, recipient of the 2014 Department of Chemistry Junior Analytical Chemist Award!

Congrats to Dan Dowling

Apr 28, 2014

Congrats to Dan Dowling on accepting a position at UMass Boston!

Congrats to former graduate student Christina Zimanyi

Apr 15, 2014

Congrats to former graduate student Christina Zimanyi on receiving a Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship!

Congrats to Samuel Thompson and Anne Ye!

Apr 8, 2014

Lab undergraduate alumni Samuel Thompson and Anne Ye received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. Congratulations!

Congrats to Dan Dowling for getting the February cover of Nature Chemical Biology!

Jan 18, 2014

Congrats to Dan Dowling for getting the February cover of Nature Chemical Biology!

Welcome to our new first year chemistry students!

Nov 13, 2013

The Drennan lab welcomes our new first year students Kenny Kang, Allena Goren, and Yang-Ting Chen!

Congratulations to Peter Goldman on his paper in PNAS

Sep 20, 2013

Congratulations to Peter Goldman for his paper “X-ray analysis of butirosin biosynthetic enzyme BtrN redefines structural motifs for AdoMet radical chemistry” in PNAS.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Wittenborn

Jul 3, 2013

Congratulations to Elizabeth Wittenborn for being selected for the NIH Biotechnology Training Program at MIT.

Congratulations to our graduates! (pictures)

Jun 14, 2013

Congratulations to Drs. Christina Zimanyi and Peter Goldman for receiving their PhDs and Samuel Thompson for receiving his BS.

Congratulations to Peter Goldman on his paper in PNAS

May 14, 2013

Congratulations to Peter Goldman for his paper “X-ray structure of an AdoMet radical activase reveals an anaerobic solution for formylglycine posttranslational modification” in PNAS.

Congratulations to Drs. Peter Goldman and Christina Zimanyi

May 10, 2013

Peter Goldman and Christina Zimanyi successfully defended their PhD theses this week and will receive their diplomas at this year’s Commencement ceremonies on June 6th and 7th.