Student receives research fellowship

first_imgLike most college freshmen, senior Matt Sarna entered Notre Dame three years ago looking for direction in terms of his future career. He found it in laboratory work. “When I started freshman year, I didn’t know what career trajectory I wanted to take. I was thinking about graduate school, so I thought it would be a really good experience to get involved in research,” Sarna said. “It’s been a really cool way to do science in a hands-on way.” Taking the initiative freshman year, Sarna, a biological sciences and anthropology major, began researching in professor Joshua Shrout’s applied microbiology research lab. His work culminated when he recently won the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship for his research on bacteria motility. The oldest and largest biological membership organization with 40,000 members worldwide, ASM chose Sarna and Shrout’s joint application from a pool of 122 applicants. The pair will receive up to $4,000, as well as funds to travel to Denver in May to present their research. Their project sought to discover the genetic factors behind the regulation of bacterial swarm motility. “I was actually able to publish a model of bacterial growth I worked on with a graduate student last summer,” Sarna said. “Now my current project is to figure out the underlying genetic molecular mechanisms that describe our growth model.” Shrout said the bacterium he and Sarna researched is found everywhere in the environment and sometimes causes infections in human tissues such as lung, intestine and skin cells. “Among the things that we don’t understand is how it sticks to surfaces and how it knows what kind of surface its on,” Shrout said. “We use motility, how it moves around, as a way to study its behavior. [In] Matt’s project, we look at bacteria that move more [and] how bacteria know about things about surfaces.” Spending eight to 10 hours in the lab each week helped Sarna decide which career route he wanted to take. “I wanted to have a more interpersonal career, more hands on work with other people,” he said. “I still enjoy the research process, so I’ll probably pursue that in medical school as well.” Shrout has been a valuable mentor throughout Sarna’s research. “He’s a cool guy, really down to earth. He really cares about our project and that I really understand the work I’m doing,” Sarna said. “He’s all about the hands-on.” Shrout, a joint civil engineering and biology professor, said Sarna excels beyond the typical student standard in his enthusiasm and dedication. “I am so pleased and proud of Matt,” he said. “He asks a lot of questions that have allowed him to make progress really quickly from helping people in my lab to doing his own project.” Rather than attending office hours to ask questions, Shrout said Sarna stops by his office frequently to chat about the project. “He’s so competent, he really operates much more like one of my graduate student researchers,” he said. “He has challenged himself to become familiar with the literature and other work that relates to the research that he’s doing and that allows him to move forward rather than repeat work that people have already done.”last_img read more

McDan Open Tennis begins on Tuesday.

first_imgOver 100 tennis players are expected to do battle for honours in the much-awaited McDan Open tennis tournament which begins on Tuesday at the Accra Stadium Tennis Courts.The five-day spectacle which ends on Saturday April 26 will see players 18 years and above battle for honours in the Men’s open singles and ladies Open Singles categories. The tournament sponsored by McDan Shipping Company Limited with support from Rush Energy Drink comes at a time when the local tennis calendar is lacking competitive events. It is for that reason that the Ghana Tennis Federation has sanctioned it as a ranking tournament.   The aim of the tournament is to return Ghana Tennis to its glory days as a Euro Africa Zone 2 of the Davis Cup. The winners of the men’s singles and women’s singles categories pocket GHC 1,000 and a trophy each with the best four players of the tournament getting the rare opportunity to travel to Spain for a training tour. The tour will also be sponsored and facilitated by McDan Shipping Company Limited the headline sponsor.  This is the first of a chain of two tournaments a year for the next five years. The official draw for the tournament will take place at the Accra Stadium Tennis Courts on Monday April 21 at 9 am. Thankslast_img read more