Hamlin Lecture Series Award

Dr. Joyce Hamlin’s many years of service to the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics and her dedication to graduate education are honored through this award to a graduate student.


Dr. Hamlin has made fundamental discoveries in several fields. By devising sophisticated biochemical methods for purifying replication intermediates, her laboratory identified and cloned the first mammalian origin of replication, which resides in the dihydrofolate reductase locus.  They subsequently showed that this origin consists of a zone of redundant, inefficient initiation sites rather than the single sites characteristic of origins in microorganisms.  By developing a powerful method for in loco mutagenesis, her lab demonstrated that initiation is controlled not by classic replicators, but rather by elements that regulate transcription and/or chromatin architecture.  In a recent tour-de-force, her lab devised a strategy for preparing essentially pure and comprehensive libraries of origins from complex genomes.  They have shown that the majority of origins correspond to zones, thus orchestrating an important paradigm shift in the replication field.  Hamlin’s lab also was first to isolate and characterize an entire amplicon from drug-resistant cells and, using single-cell analysis, subsequently showed that amplification is initiated by chromosome breaks.  This important and heterodoxic discovery unified all the gross chromosomal rearrangements in cancer under one mechanistic umbrella.   Her group also identified a novel p53-independent damage-sensing checkpoint that operates at the G1/S boundary.  Her work is characterized by: 1) an acute awareness of the important questions in her fields, 2) an ability to develop novel and simple methods to address these questions, 3) flawless technique, and 4) parsimonious and forthright interpretations of data.
Perhaps Dr. Hamlin’s proudest accomplishments arose from her service as Chair of the Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics Department (1998-2011).  During this interval, she successfully recruited 17 outstanding faculty members, hundreds of graduate students under the auspices of the BMG and CMB Graduate Programs, and counseled scores of postdoctoral fellows – both in her own laboratory and in the Department as a whole.  This dedication helped to shape the BMG “Family” into a vital, interactive, and extremely successful academic unit.  Importantly, she maintained at least two (and sometimes three or four) NIH grants during her entire professional academic career, even after assuming her duties as Departmental Chair.

Prior Recipients

Brian Reon-2017
Adam Mueller-2014

Selection Criteria

1)      Annually, the BMG faculty will consider graduate student nominations for a Hamlin Award carrying a $500 monetary component.
2)      The annual Hamlin Award review will roughly coincide with the evaluation for the annual BMG Outstanding Graduate Student Award.  Only the latter awardee will be forwarded as a nominee for the annual BIMS Peach/Hungerford Awards.
3)      The review committee may exercise any option for the Hamlin award:
  1. No qualifying awardee.
  2. Both Hamlin and Outstanding Graduate Student Awards to the same individual.
  3. Separate award winners for the Hamlin and Outstanding Graduate Student Award.
4)      Eligibility:
  1. Any current BMG student or BMG student who has graduated since the last Hamlin Award was made.
  2. Students must have completed all requirements for advancement to Ph.D. candidacy.
5)      A Web page will be developed to honor Dr. Hamlin and list the award winners.
6)      Nomination Procedures:
  1. Curriculum vitae for the student
  2. Letters of recommendation (3-5 letters, one of which must be from the student’s mentor)
  3. Reprints or preprints of papers/manuscripts, or other documents that provide evidence of scientific productivity and/or leadership. LIMIT = 3 documents
  4. Graduate and undergraduate transcripts
  5. GRE/MCAT scores
7)      Award winners (and hence nominees) must be available for a departmental research seminar.