Student Awarded Two National Research Fellowships

Friday, April 29, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (April 29, 2011) - Lena Lupey, a junior biology major from Harrisburg, Pa., has been awarded a $7,500 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year. The scholarship program, created to encourage academically outstanding students to enter the science and mathematics fields, awards rising juniors and seniors coverage of undergraduate tuition, room and board, books and fees. Each year, up to 300 Goldwater Scholars are named nationally; Lupey is one of 17 in Pennsylvania.

In addition, Lupey has been awarded an American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship for $4,000 to help fund summer research in the lab of John Tudor, Ph.D., professor of biology. A competitive national program, recipients are chosen for their academic and research achievement, career goals, leadership skills and personal motivation.

Tudor, Lupey’s research mentor, says the scholarships will enable the young scientist to achieve the goal she has set: to obtain an M.D./Ph.D. in neurobiology.

“I have been mentoring undergraduate students for over 30 years, many of whom have gone on to obtain M.D. and Ph.D. degrees,” Tudor says. “I believe that Lena exhibits the interest, initiative, work ethic, and intellectual tools necessary to pursue that goal with a high expectation for success.”

A student of the University honors program, president of the Honors Student Council and a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national health professional honor society, Lupey was nominated for the Goldwater award by Tudor and Christina King Smith, Ph.D., professor of biology. In the summer of 2010, Lupey performed research through SJU’s Summer Scholars program under the direction of Tudor, exploring the nature of predatory gene expression in Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus, bacteria that prey on other bacteria.  This summer she will continue her research through a second Summer Scholars position, eventually extending it into her departmental honors thesis.

After graduation in 2012, Lupey plans to pursue further education in neurobiology after medical school, hoping, in the future, to conduct laboratory research on the brain and its biological functions.

“I want to integrate my love for the brain, medicine and research by pursuing a career in neurobiology,” says Lupey. “In particular, I’m interested in the chemical and genetic foundations of schizophrenia and how that information can be used as the basis for new patient therapies.”

A motivated, hardworking student, Lupey feels it is her own responsibility to pursue and realize her goals. She says that her family and friends are her biggest support system, and that without them and her faculty mentors, she would not be where she is today.

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