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Biochemistry Student Association

Mission Statement

The Biochemistry Student Association (BSA) strives to create an environment where both graduate students and post-doctoral fellows have a base of support within the department. We hope to accomplish this by enhancing the academic experience of graduate school/post-doc fellowships with opportunities for exchanging scientific thought in a supportive environment, participating in public speaking/presenting events at our bi-monthly colloquium and annual student symposium, and networking through seminar presentations and small group interactions with invited guests. Additionally, we seek to promote a collaborative environment among members of the department (students, fellows, and faculty) with a variety of social events. We also provide academic support for younger graduate students by helping them prepare for their qualifying exams by setting up mock exams. Overall, the BSA seeks to expand the experiences of students, fellows, and even the faculty in our department.

View the Biochemistry Student Association’s Constitution

Departmental statement and initiatives to combat racial injustice


President: Tyler Hansen
Vice-President: Tamar (Tata) Kavlashvili
Post-doc Liaison: Lillian Campos
Colloquium Committee: Sam Lisy, Kaitlin Browning
Qualifying Exam Committee: Jessica Hill, Jeff Jian, Emilio Rivera
Social Committee: Tata Kavlashvili, Katherine Clowes, Jessica Collins, Kateryna Nabukhotna
Retreat Committee: Lindsey Guerin, Yelena (Elena) Perevalova, Samika Joshi
Social Media Committee: Nicole Kendrick, Sarah Glass
Wellness Committee: Esha Dalvie, Verda Agan, Hillary Layden, Sabrina Van Ravenstein


  • Assist with qualifying exam preparation for second years in the department, including organizing mock qualifying exams
  • Host a bi-weekly colloquium series
  • Provide a variety of social events
  • Help organize Biochemistry Department retreats
  • Author a monthly BSA newsletter
  • Support and advocate for biochemistry grad students and postdocs


Social Issues in STEM

The Biochemistry Student Association is excited to announce that for our second Social Issues in STEM discussion series, we will watch and discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks film. We have received special access to view this film for free through the VU Library, so you can watch it at your leisure prior to the discussion, which will be held April 8th at 11am via Zoom. You are required to register for the discussion event. We invite you to watch the film without attending the discussion, but we hope you chose to do both. Additionally, you may share this film link to other members of the Vanderbilt community.

To watch the film:
To sign up for the discussion:

If you have any questions, please contact

Biweekly Colloquium

The Biochemistry Student Colloquium takes place every other Tuesday, 4:00-5:00 PM in room 512 Light Hall. This seminar series is designed to allow students and post-docs to present their research to a group of students, post-docs, and faculty in a relaxed environment (complete with food and beverages). The BSA board presents updates at the start of each colloquium.

Click here to view the Biochemistry Student Colloquium schedule.

“Whine and Cheese” Happy Hours

These happy hours take place (roughly) the last Friday of every month, and are designed to give every member of the department a chance to relax and socialize, to vent and rant over their scientific endeavors if they so choose.

Coffee & Conversations

This series takes place a few times every semester and is designed to facilitate discussions between faculty and trainees on various topics in an informal setting (coffee and a light breakfast are provided). During the COVID-19 pandemic this event has moved to a virtual format.

BSA Book Club

The aim of BSA Book Club is to discuss current social issues in science and potential improvements that can be made in scientific culture. We choose and announce certain material (book/article/movie) that brings up these important topics about one month prior to the event. You will then have an opportunity to sign up, become familiar with the material, and finally participate in the event. If our discussions are based on books, the Biochemistry Department will provide a physical copy of a book to those who would like to participate, but you must commit to attend. All members of the Biochemistry Department are encouraged to attend. During the COVID-19 pandemic this event has moved to a virtual format.


The BSA hosts virtual trivia with Seth from “Talk Nerdy To Me” Trivia. This virtual event takes place once every other month, typically on the last Friday of the month at 4pm. We encourage participants to enjoy their own snacks and beverages while playing, and the winner will be awarded pizza and an adult beverage to be picked up at their leisure. All members of the Biochemistry Department are encouraged to attend.

The next trivia dates are: March 26 and May 14 at 4pm

For dates and locations of these events, see the BSA calendar here. Also click here to add to your own.

Useful Links

Anonymous Google Survey
We have a google survey where you can submit a question to the BSA anonymously. We monitor this frequently and will try to answer all of your questions. To ask a question go to the link here.

Student of the Month Nominations
Send your nominations to Nicole Kendrick:

Colloquium Sign-up
Sign-up to give colloquium here!


All BSA events are kindly sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry.

BSA Google Calendar

View the BSA Google Calendar.