Biology Majors Receive Fellowships from American Society for Microbiology

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (December 14, 2016) — Saint Joseph’s University biology majors Vincent Pepe ’17 and Marisa Egan ’18 have been named recipients of American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Fellowships.

Each fellow receives up to a $4,000 stipend and funding for travel expenses to the ASM Microbe Meeting next June in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers in microbiology. Fellows conduct full-time summer research at their home institution with faculty mentors and have the opportunity to submit their research for consideration to be presented at the Microbe Meeting.

Both Pepe and Egan, as Summer Scholars, have conducted ongoing research with faculty.

Pepe, who is from East Norriton, Pennsylvania, is mentored by Catalina Arango, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, for his research project, titled “Identifying possible activators or repressors of the agp-melA operon in Sinorhizobium meliloti via affinity chromatography.”

“The ASM Research Fellowship has allowed me to hone my research skills while simultaneously taking great strides in the advancement of my lab research,” Pepe says. “This opportunity to work over the summer has bolstered my passion for research and has given me a glimpse into what life might be like as a full-time investigator.”

“I am delighted that Vince was awarded this fellowship,” Arango says. “He is a smart and dedicated student-researcher who has a talent for laboratory work. He has contributed substantially to my work.”

Egan, who is from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is mentored by Shantanu Bhatt, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, for her project, “Investigation of the Regulatory Roles of Hfq and the sRNA RyhB in the Virulence Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and Escherichia albertii.”

“I am truly honored to have been selected for this fellowship,” Egan says. “It is so empowering to know that the research I work on under the mentorship of Dr. Bhatt is seen as meaningful by the scientific community. I feel very thankful for this award and the opportunities that accompany it.”

“Academically, Marisa is one of the most gifted students to have ever graced my classroom,” Bhatt says. “She has a remarkable ability to synthesize abstract concepts from disciplines as diverse as Math and Biology, and integrate them, to address challenging questions in research. She is extraordinarily deserving of this award.”

About ASM: The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 48,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences. 

Media Contact

Jeffrey Martin '04, '05 (M.A.), Senior Associate DIrector, University Communications, 610-660-3223,


Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni — over 68,000 strong — provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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