Excellence in research, scholarship earns entomology graduate student 2017 Bonebrake award
Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017
Anastasia Cooper | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — A doctoral student in entomology is the 2017 recipient of Kansas State University's Marie R. Bonebrake Graduate Award.
The $3,500 award is being presented to Anastasia Cooper, Manhattan. The award recognizes graduate students based on academic merit and financial need. The student must demonstrate excellence in research, scholarship and creative inquiry appropriate for his or her academic field. The Kansas State University Graduate School has established a set of guidelines and criteria for the evaluation and selection of the candidate.
"I am so grateful and honored to have received the Bonebrake award," Cooper said. "It is wonderful to know that my hard work and service are appreciated, and that the award committee feels that my career goals are worth funding. To me, receiving this award means that I am on the right track."
Cooper's major professor is Kun Yan Zhu, professor of entomology. Her research focuses on studying a new type of pesticide called RNA interference, or RNAi. The new pesticide is designed to target specific pest species rather than good insects like pollinators. Cooper is testing different strategies to protect the RNAi pesticide inside the gut, so RNAi can be used to combat a wider range of insect pests.
"RNAi only works on certain types of insects, like beetles, but not all of them; caterpillars, for instance, do not die from RNAi," Cooper said. "My goal is to figure out how to make RNAi work for the European corn borer, a notorious caterpillar pest."
Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Cooper plans to pursue a career as a postdoctoral researcher in Zhu's lab, with the goal of ultimately becoming a professor. Cooper earned her master's degree from Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas.
The Marie R. Bonebrake Graduate Award was established to honor Case Bonebrake's late wife, who received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University.