Broughton Awarded Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal

Recent graduate recognized for outstanding PhD research

July 21, 2017

By Mario C. Aguilera

Photo of James Broughton

James Broughton

UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences alumnus James Broughton has received the Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal for excellence in research during his graduate studies in Professor Amy Pasquinelli’s laboratory.

Broughton, who defended his thesis in August 2016, was honored for groundbreaking research on tiny RNA molecules that regulate gene expression, detailed in his thesis “Beyond the Seed: the Identification of MicroRNA Target Sites in Caenorhabditis elegans.”

Broughton and five others in divisions across campus were celebrated at a June event for the medal, which was created to recognize outstanding PhD research.

“James Broughton stands out as an exceptional candidate for this award because of the innovative, high quality and impactful research he carried out during his PhD in my lab at UC San Diego,” said Pasquinelli, a professor in the Division’s Molecular Biology Section.

As a graduate student, Broughton was first author on three papers and received multiple independent funding awards, including the highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. He is now conducting postdoctoral research at Stanford University.

Criteria used by a faculty Dissertation Medal selection committee included: impact (the importance/impact of the research to the field and/or the department); originality (the insight, originality and creativity shown by the author); presentation (the effectiveness of the writing, clarity and organization of the thesis) and quality (the soundness of the methodology and the quality of the data).