Three graduate students earn Sarachek fellowship, travel awards
Friday, April 21, 2017
MANHATTAN — Three Kansas State University doctoral candidates are receiving Sarachek awards for their academic and research achievements.
Kirsten Grond, doctoral candidate in biology, Netherlands, was awarded the $17,000 Alvin and RosaLee Sarachek Predoctoral Honors Fellowship in Molecular Biology. Awarded the $2,000 Sarachek Scientific Travel Award were Nicole Green, doctoral candidate in biochemistry, Newton, Illinois, and Ananda Bandara, doctoral candidate in plant pathology, Sri Lanka.
Alvin and RosaLee Sarachek, Wichita, established the fellowship and travel awards to recognize resident graduate students enrolled in a doctoral program at Kansas State University who have demonstrated exceptional research and scholastic accomplishments. An interdisciplinary faculty selection committee determines the fellowship and award recipients. The awards program is offered through the university's Graduate School.
Grond received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She will receive her doctorate in May. Grond's research focuses on linking gut microbiota composition to development and life history traits in migratory shorebirds. Brett Sandercock, professor of biology, is Grond's major professor.
Grond will use the fellowship to relocate to Connecticut to work as a postdoc in Sarah Hird's lab at the University of Connecticut. In Hird's lab, Grond will focus on unraveling the next step in bird microbiome research. She will investigate the interactions between birds and their gut microbiomes through studying microbial function under varying environmental conditions.
Green will use the travel award to attend the 2017 American Society for Cell Biology-European Molecular Biology Organization joint meeting in Philadelphia in December. Green's research focuses on how contractile muscles — the muscles that make up the heart and body muscles — can resist mechanical stress as we grow and age. She will present results of her research at the conference and attend professional development workshops that will enhance her doctoral experience and prepare her for her future career in science.
Green received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in Edwardsville, Illinois. She plans to graduate in December and obtain a postdoctoral position to continue her research.
Bandara will use the travel award to travel to San Antonio to attend and present at the American Phytopathological Society annual meeting in August. Bandara will present his recent research findings on sorghum-Macrophominaphaseolina interaction and interact with scientists in the field. Upon completion of his graduate program in August, Bandara plans to return to Sri Lanka and become a faculty member at the University of Peradeniya.
Bandara received his bachelor's and master's degrees in agriculture and molecular and applied microbiology from the University of Peradeniya.
Alvin Sarachek received his doctorate in genetics from K-State in 1957. He and his wife created the fellowship and travel awards because he values the university's tradition of offering a broad array of quality programs in the life sciences, many with outstanding national reputations. The Saracheks wanted to contribute to the tradition of excellence by recognizing students who have demonstrated exceptional research accomplishments involving molecular approaches to biological problems.
More information on the Sarachek awards is available at kstate.edu/grad/financing/sarachek/.