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Cedar Crest Graduates Present at ASM Meeting

(From left) Molly McQuilken, Sarah Klein and Kayla Hager

Sarah Klein GET '11, Kayla Hager, GET '11, and Molly McQuilken GET '12 participated in the 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) held in New Orleans from May 21-24. All three attended the conference and presenting posters describing results obtained from the research that they have done in collaboration with André Walther, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biological sciences at Cedar Crest College. The General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology brings in leading researchers from across the globe to share and discuss their ongoing scientific research results related to microbiology.

Sarah Klein and Molly McQuilken were awarded travel grants to attend the meeting as part of the American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowships that they were awarded for the summer of 2010. This fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers (Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.) in microbiology or a related field. All three research projects deal with how cells protect and repair DNA. This award provides fellows with the opportunity to conduct full-time summer research at their institution with an ASM mentor (Walther) and present their research results at the 2011 ASM General Meeting if their abstract is accepted after peer-refereeing. Fellowships were awarded on a competitive basis based on a joint application from both the student and a faculty mentor. The major component of the application was a research grant proposal that was developed by the student and the research mentor.

This year, ASM fellowships were awarded to undergraduate researchers from major research institutions from across the United States including Yale, Princeton, Duke, NYU, and California-Berkeley. This is the second year in a row that ASM has awarded two of these highly competitive fellowships to students in the Walther lab. Last year's fellowship recipients were Sakina Khaku BCH '10, and Christina Matika GET '10.

"We were very excited for Molly and Sarah when they were awarded the summer research fellowships from ASM, and it was very rewarding to have abstracts from Molly, Sarah, and Kayla accepted for presentation at the ASM meeting in New Orleans," said Walther. "The trip to New Orleans was exciting for us because it allowed us to present our research to microbiologists from across the globe. The response to our research findings was overwhelmingly well received, and many scientists indicated that they were very impressed with the level of research being done at Cedar Crest College."