Anisha Hundal

Anisha Hundal Wins 2021 Dean's Excellence Award in Writing Excellence

Friday, June 11, 2021 - 11:04am

Anisha Hundal wins 2020-2021 Dean's Excellence Award for Writing Excellence with BIO417H5 technical essay “Inside the Nucleus—the World of Nuclear Bodies”. She was  nominated by Assistant Professor Katharina Braeutigam.

I am honored to be the recipient of the Dean’s Excellence Award in Writing Excellence. It is very fulfilling to know that my work was recommended by my instructor and was read and selected by the Committee despite strong competition. Recognition of my writing through this award has given me the confidence and drive to further develop my scientific writing skills and share my writing with others.

I received the award for a research paper titled Inside the Nucleus—the World of Nuclear Bodies. Compartmentalization in eukaryotic cells has traditionally focused on membrane-bound organelles; however, cells also contain a diverse range of membraneless bodies. Investigation into the mechanisms of formation and function of membraneless bodies—also called ‘biomolecular condensates’—has been of great interest in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics. The nucleus, while itself a membrane-bound organelle, houses a diverse range of dynamic condensates that often form through phase separation governed, in part, by how proteins and nucleic acids can form numerous weak interactions with each other. These condensates play important roles in the nucleus, including the concentration, selective partitioning, and sequestration of biomolecules, as well as important structural roles in genome organization. My paper focused on the biophysical and biochemical mechanisms involved in condensate formation within the nucleus, their diverse roles in nuclear function, and the application of condensate biology to better understand diseases like cancer and neurodegeneration and to potentially uncover new therapeutic avenues.

This project would not have come to be without the help and guidance received from Dr. Katharina Braeutigam in BIO417 (Molecular and Structural Genomics). Dr. Braeutigam encouraged an approach to writing that had students reflect on the relevance of their topic, explore the literature critically, organize their thoughts and supporting evidence, and understand how writing can be a very dynamic process. I appreciate the time she took to give each student individualized feedback and to provide students with a wealth of writing resources. I am grateful for the mentorship I received from Dr. Katharina Braeutigam, as I am more confident in my writing and I am now well-equipped to tackle new research projects. (Anisha Hundal)


Dr. Katharina Braeutigam wrote that:

"Anisha takes the reader on a journey to discover the “the physics of genomics”. She expertly communicates that the traditional idea - the genome is defined exclusively by its information content - is currently being challenged. Modern findings indicate that genome organization also occurs through purely physical processes that can act independent from or on top of the actual information it encodes.

Anisha created a remarkable piece of writing based on her own literature research, synthesis of ideas, and impressively, original thoughts and artwork -  in short, a paper that is simply a joy to read. "