BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo senior Courtney Szyjka
has been awarded the American Society for Microbiology's 2012
Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
The award is made to highly competitive students who wish to
pursue graduate careers in microbiology. Szyjka is one of 56
fellows selected from a field of 122 applications.
Fellows receive a $4,000 stipend and an opportunity to conduct
full-time summer research with an American Society for Microbiology
(ASM) mentor. In addition to the stipend, fellowship recipients
receive a two-year American Society of Microbiology student
membership and funding for travel expenses to the society's
Presentation Institute and to present their research results at the
society's 113th General Meeting in Denver, Colo. in May 2013.
Szyjka, who studies biological sciences at UB, is conducting
research with Gerald Koudelka, professor and chair of UB's
Department of Biological Sciences. The focus of the research
project, "Characterization of the DNA Binding and Gene Regulatory
Activities of Bacteriophage VT2 phi_272 Repressor," is to
understand the regulatory mechanisms that underlie production of
Shiga toxin by the E. coli O104:H4 strain that caused a serious
outbreak of foodborne illness in summer 2011.
Commenting on the significance of this award to Szyjka's
research and career plans, Koudelka said, "The fellowship award to
Courtney Szyjka is well-deserved. Courtney is a dedicated,
enthusiastic and extremely talented researcher and student. The
funds provided by this fellowship will allow Courtney to not have
to work during the semester to cover the costs of school, as has
been true in the past. With that, she can focus her attention on
this highly significant research project. The opportunity for her
to present at the ASM General Meeting will allow her to showcase
her results and hone her communications skills at an international
The American Society for Microbiology, headquartered in
Washington, D.C., has more than 40,000 members worldwide. For more
information on the fellowship, visit http://www.asm.org/students.