Genetics Students Jonathan Crandall and Christopher McAllester Awarded the Schlimgen and Impact Awards

Two genetics students received prestigious awards during the 2023 Genetics Graduate Program Annual Retreat: Jonathan Crandall and Christopher McAllester. They were awarded the Schlimgen Award and the Chair’s Broader Impact Award, respectively.

The Schlimgen Award is awarded annually to recognize outstanding scholarship and exceptional research performance in the Genetics program.  The award was established in memory of Genetics graduate student Katie Schlimgen, PhD 1999, by her family. During her time in the Genetics program, Katie is described as having been fiercely determined and exceptionally innovative while demonstrating an intense commitment to excellence.  Her work in Professor Emeritus Dr. Barry Ganetzky’s lab was both complex and influential and she had high expectations for the output of the lab.

John Crandall

John received the award based on his outstanding scholarship and productivity amidst the disruptions of the pandemic and twists and turns on his projects, which seemed straightforward until data overthrew the simplest models and forced him to recalibrate approaches to overcome unexpected challenges. John is on track to graduate with 3 great first-author papers in the next 6-12 months, all of which have biotechnological applications in sustainable brewing. At least 2 twists in the projects have led to considerable implications for how we think about the molecular mechanisms that underpin the evolution of protein structure, fungal mating types, and ploidy.


Chris McAllester

The Chair’s Broader Impact Award is awarded annually to recognize outstanding service to the program, department, and/or outreach to the community. Chris received the award based on various services and outreach activities he participated in: he led the Laboratory of Genetics’ efforts to uncover and publicly reconcile with its own history of eugenics, played key roles on the Lab of Genetics Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and its Scientific Accountability Group, chaired the committee organizing Wisconsin Evolution’s annual Darwin Day outreach and scientific activities, served on the Evolution Coordinating Committee, and organized community-building events for the evolution community.

Chris is also highlighted for the intelligent questions he consistently asks at seminars – regardless of whether the topic is remotely close to his own area of research. This demonstration of genuine and broad curiosity has elevated the scientific dialogue and student culture within the department.