MCB undergraduates receive awards from the Beckman Institute

Left to Right: MCB undergraduate students Niraj Lawande, Carolyn Oh, and Erin Sahm

Three undergraduate students in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology were among the recipients of the 2020 Beckman Institute student awards and fellowships, which provide research experience. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, as well as other scholarship and memorial funds provided by generous donors, support these programs.


Beckman Institute Undergraduate Fellowship

Supported by funding from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the fellowship offers University of Illinois undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research during the summer.

Niraj Lawande is a sophomore studying molecular and cellular biology. He conducts research with Catherine Christian, an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology. His project is aimed at localizing neurological differences underlying reduced social interest in mice genetically lacking the diazepam binding inhibitor (DBI) peptide. Recent clinical studies have begun to link DBI dysfunction and certain forms of autism in humans. These studies may provide new clues toward novel therapies for social deficits in autism and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

Carolyn Oh, a sophomore studying molecular and cellular biology, conducts research with chemistry Professor Jonathan Sweedler. Her research will apply and optimize a method to analyze the chemical contents of mammalian single neurons. She also will introduce and test a new device to analyze the contents of single cells. The information obtained from these two projects will explain why certain behaviors and functions occur and contribute to neurological conditions and diseases.


Carle Neuroscience Institute Undergraduate Research Award

These awards allow promising undergraduates to pursue research in neuroscience or psychology at the Beckman Institute in collaboration with clinicians in the Neuroscience Institute at Carle Foundation Hospital during the summer.

Erin Sahm is a junior majoring in molecular and cellular biology and minoring in psychology. She will continue her research with Dr. Graham Huesmann, a research assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology and Carle epileptologist. She will try to determine whether magnetic resonance elastography is a viable option for identifying focal cortical dysplasia epilepsy since this defect cannot always be detected through MRI.

Article courtesy of the Beckman Institute.

Read the full article here.

May 11, 2020 All News