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UIS biology student wins prestigious fellowship

April 7, 2006

SPRINGFIELD – Sara Paver, a student at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been selected by the Education Board of the American Society for Microbiology to participate in the 2006 ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program. Paver is a third-year Capital Scholar majoring in Biology.

The ASM fellowship is a competitive program aimed at students who intend to pursue graduate careers in microbiology. Fellows have the opportunity to conduct full-time research at their home institutions during the summer and to present the results at the ASM General Meeting the following year. Paver's award is for a minimum of 10 weeks of research beginning in June.  She will receive a $4,000 stipend and up to $1,000 for travel to the 2007 general meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Microbiologists study microbes – some of which cause diseases, but many of which contribute to the balance of nature or are otherwise beneficial. Microbiological research encompasses such areas as infectious diseases, recombinant DNA technology, alternative methods of energy production and waste recycling, new sources of food, and new drug development, as well as environmental problems and industrial processes. Paver will be studying how nutrients are regenerated by bacteria in lakes.

The ASM program requires fellows to complete their research with a faculty mentor, in Paver's case Dr. Michael Lemke, associate professor of Biology at UIS, whose research interests focus on microbial ecology. 

Paver has received numerous other awards and honors at UIS, including the Luedke Family Scholarship, a first-place award for her poster presentation in UIS' 2005 Science Research Symposium, the Ann M. and Raymond Pearson Capital Scholars Scholarship, and the Capital Scholarship Provost Award. She has been named to the UIS Deans' List for five consecutive semesters. Paver will also present a paper at the 2006 ASM General Meeting in Orlando, Florida, in May.

Lemke said that part of the fellowship application process requires the student to submit an extensive statement about his or her proposed work. Paver's 20-page proposal was titled "Characterization of the Bacterial Community at the Air-Water Interface of a Freshwater Lake with Special Attention to Hydrophobic Phosphate Nutrient Cycling." 

Lemke explained, "Sara's exploration is an extension of coursework that is showing great promise in defining a more specialized portion of the aquatic bacteria, as well as helping to define a pathway that likely contributes to nutrient cycling in a sustained manner. Her work will take our project back to the field and will help to gain a better understanding of ecology, nutrients, and the role of bacteria in the environment."

The American Society for Microbiology is the oldest and largest single life-science membership organization in the world and represents 25 disciplines of microbiological specialization plus a division for microbiology educators. 

For more information, contact Lemke at 206-7339, or go to the ASM website at www.asm.org.
 

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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