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This Year



UIS graduate wins distinguished thesis award

March 31, 2005

SPRINGFIELD - Tracy DiMezzo, who graduated from the University of Illinois at Springfield in May 2004 with a master of science degree in Biology, has received a 2005 MAGS Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award from the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools.

DiMezzo’s thesis, titled “Uptake Analysis of Fluorescently-Labeled Hydrophobic Organic Phosphate Substrates by Aquatic Hydrophobic Bacteria,” had previously been chosen Outstanding Master’s Thesis for the 2003-04 academic year at UIS.

The award was presented on March 30 at the MAGS annual meeting in Kansas City before an audience of graduate school deans from throughout the Midwest. Michael Lemke, UIS associate professor of Biology who served as DiMezzo’s thesis adviser, was also recognized at the meeting.

Lemke called DiMezzo’s accomplishments “an impressive piece of research.”

“Tracy obtained funding from Sigma Xi Scientific Research Organization for her work, which is itself a distinction of quality,” he said. “When she presented her results at the 2004 General Meeting of the American Society of Microbiology in New Orleans, the general response was ‘When will this be published?’” 

Lemke explained that DiMezzo’s work was built on characteristics of microbial communities seldom investigated by researchers. “Tracy’s work focused on non-polar compounds found in every cell of every organism and how they may present a steady source of phosphate as a nutrient, how they may represent a novel uptake and utilization nutrient pathway, and how some bacteria may have adaptations to better take advantage of this resource. Her work could significantly contribute to our understanding of aquatic microbial ecology.” Lemke also noted that following graduation, DiMezzo was immediately employed by a research lab in Maryland.

UIS Interim Provost Harry Berman noted, “This award is a great honor for Ms. DiMezzo, for Professor Lemke, and UIS. It demonstrates recognition from our peers in the graduate education community for the caliber of scholarship taking place in graduate programs at UIS.” Berman also expressed his appreciation for the work of the UIS Research Board, which identified DiMezzo’s thesis as the campus winner last fall.

DiMezzo’s thesis was one of three winners chosen from among 56 nominations. The other winners were Daniel R. Neises, University of Cincinnati, “The State of Liturgical Chant Tradition in the Late 17th Century: A Manuscript Study of a Hymnal from Paczkow, Poland,” and Michael David Nichols, Miami University, “Malleable Mara: The Transformations of a Buddhist Symbol of Evil.” DiMezzo, Neises, and Nichols will each receive a $500 award sponsored by ProQuest UMI, publishers of Dissertation abstracts.



    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.