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Two UIS students receive prestigious science research grants

February 27, 2004

Tracy DiMezzo and Timothy Goode might have thought their chances of winning were microscopic when they entered the worldwide competition for Sigma Xi science research grants. But to their great surprise, both of the biology majors won Grants-In-Aid of Research from the prestigious scientific research society.

“To win [this grant] is a very big honor, but for both of us to win at the same time is huge,” said Goode.  Both graduate students received fully funded grants totaling more than $1,500 to work on their research under Michael Lemke, associate professor of Biology. DiMezzo said the grant will allow her to continue her research in the investigation of a novel phosphate uptake pathway in aquatic bacteria using fluorescently labeled compounds. Goode is applying molecular techniques to better understand the abundance and distribution of nitrogen processing bacteria in Illinois River floodplains.

Both students are members of Dr. Lemke’s team that is doing research in the UIS microbial ecology laboratory.

Following graduation in May, DiMezzo may pursue a Ph.D. toward fulfilling her long-term goal of working for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.  Goode, who is interested in ecosystems and animal research, will pursue a career in research.

DiMezzo received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Albright College in Redding, Pennsylvania. Goode graduated from the University of West Alabama in Livingston with a bachelor’s degree in biology.  

SPRINGFIELD - Two University of Illinois at Springfield graduate students majoring in biology have received Grants-In-Aid of Research from Sigma Xi, the prestigious scientific research society.  The applications of Tracy DiMezzo and Timothy Goode were selected along with 300 out of 1,300 applications submitted from North America and abroad. 

“This is a highly competitive process, and it is very unusual to receive two fully funded grants at the same time such as those that Tracy and Tim have received,” said UIS Associate Professor of Biology Michael Lemke.  DiMezzo and Goode are members of Dr. Lemke’s team that is doing research in the UIS microbial ecology laboratory.

They will use their grants totaling more than $1,500 to work on their research, which, in the case of DiMezzo, is in the investigation of a novel phosphate uptake pathway in aquatic bacteria using fluorescently labeled compounds.  Her application of technique and preliminary results are very promising.  Goode is applying molecular techniques to better understand the abundance and distribution of nitrogen processing bacteria in Illinois River floodplains. His work will aid in the understanding of bacterial dynamics in the nitrogen cycle.

The Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research program has been providing undergraduate and graduate students with valuable educational experiences for more than 80 years.  By encouraging close working relationships between students and faculty, the program promotes scientific excellence and achievement through hands-on learning.

Sigma Xi is a non-profit membership society of approximately 75,000 scientists and engineers, including almost 200 Nobel Laureates.  Members are elected to the society because of their research achievements or potential.

The microbial ecology laboratory at UIS uses traditional and molecular techniques to investigate bacterial processes in the Illinois River floodplain, with special attention to nutrient cycling.  Related studies include description of bacterial diversity in nature, bacterial chemotaxis, and documentation of seasonal abundance.  Lemke said that so far this year the lab has submitted five abstracts for presentations to national and international scientific meetings.  Three are slated for the American Society of Microbiology in New Orleans and two for the North American Benthological Society in Vancouver, British Columbia.  At least six of his students will present their work at the Fourth Annual Science Symposium that will be held at UIS in April.  The guest speaker for the event will be Dr. Rob DeSalle from the American Museum of Natural History, who collaborates with Lemke on several projects and serves as a committee member on Goode’s research.

 

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 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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