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2014 Honor Society Inductees A-C

A-C   D-G   H-M   N-P   Q-S   T-Z

Christopher Adams

Christopher AdamsInspired by his mother, a plant physiologist at Pennsylvania State University, Christopher has always been intrigued by science.  Although originally a biology major at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, he made the switch to biochemistry his junior year to learn the nitty-gritty molecular underpinnings of biological systems.  Christopher is currently a senior and a member of numerous honors societies, including the Paul H. Nitze Scholars group, Phi Beta Kappa, and Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society.  

For his final undergraduate research thesis, he is working on pro-drug synthesis in vivo through experimentation within cell cultures.  Following graduation, he will continue to explore research at the National Institutes of Health within the Undiagnosed Diseases Program for two years.  He plans on attending graduate school to pursue a PhD in a biomedical discipline.

In addition to his scientific interests, Christopher also greatly enjoys studying history, specifically Russian and American history.  Involved in several extracurricular activities, he served as captain of the St. Mary’s varsity soccer team.  He is also an avid Frisbee golfer and board game enthusiast.  

Nana Agyepong

Nana AgyepongNana is a senior Biochemistry major with a minor in Chemistry.  She is involved in various extracurricular activities on campus, including dance, Gospel Choir, Student Senate, editor of Harambee Magazine, and a member of the Torch and Key Honor Society.  Nana is currently researching triclosan resistant bacteria in a local watershed with the goal of sequencing the DNA of the resistant strains and gathering metagenomic data.

Her future career goal is to work in the medical field as a physician.  After graduation, Nana will be applying to medical school while continuing her community service and gaining experience in the workforce.  Her hobbies include singing, reading novels, cooking, and riding roller coasters.

John Bettinger

John’s interests in a career in scientific academia developed throughout his undergraduate career after he joined Dr. Lea Vacca Michel’s lab at RIT in the fall of 2010. Over the years, John has been responsible for several different projects, many of them being intimately related to structural biology and biomolecular dynamics. One of the goals of the Michel lab is to develop an effective vaccine against the pathogenic bacterium nontypable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi). The goal of his first project was to determine the most immunogenic region in one of the leading vaccine candidates against NTHi, outer membrane protein P6.  His current project is a collaborative effort with Dr. George Thurston (Physics) at RIT. The ultimate goal of this project is to create a mathematical model for the liquid-liquid phase separation of eye lens proteins involved in cataracts.  

Being a part of the UAN has helped John greatly in his current research by giving him the opportunity to discuss his research and career goals with others in his field. Having found substantial success and enjoyment in his current research projects and activities, including the opportunity to present his research at several national and local conferences, John is convinced that pursuing a career in scientific research is truly what he wants to do with his life. He plans on pursuing his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Toronto in the fall.

Kimbria Blake

Kimbria BlakeKimbria has been interested in science for as long as she can remember.  Part of this was due to her parents who always came up with different experiments to test at home, answered her questions about the world, and helped her with science fair projects.   The other part was due to her need to understand the details behind everything, especially science-related problems.  Taking a variety of science classes in high school, especially chemistry, microbiology, and anatomy, cemented Kimbria’s interest in science.  She decided to pursue a biochemistry degree at Rochester Institute of Technology and is planning on attending graduate school to earn a PhD in microbiology studying host-pathogen interactions.  

 Kimbria started research in Dr. Suzanne O’Handley’s lab the summer before her freshman year at RIT.  She is currently researching a protein from S. cerevisiae, known as Pho13.  What is interesting about Pho13 is that it is similar to a virulence factor in S. aureus.  Her lab hopes that by better understanding Pho13, they can elucidate the possible function of the virulence factor from S. aureus (and in turn unearth a potential novel antibiotic target).  As a member of the UAN, Kimbria has had the opportunity to attend two ASBMB national meetings to present this research. 

Kimbria also loves to knit, cook, and participate in many of the activities that her ASBMB club hosts during the year (Departmental BBQ’s, outreach at the science museum, and selling Giant Microbes). 

Adele Bubnys

Wesleyan University 

Wesley Cai

Wesley CaiWesley first became interested in science during his junior year of high school. His father had bought him a chemistry set, and Wesley built a small table out of plywood to use as his lab space (which definitely would not have passed safety inspections). He performed all of the experiments that came in the set, keeping a notebook with his observations and results. This early scientific exploration led Wesley down the path towards research. He attained a position in a pharmacology lab during his high school senior year, which in turn led him to seek out a pharmacology lab during his freshman year at the University of Arizona. Ever since then, he has been elucidating the mechanism of action by which a potential anti-cancer drug exhibits its effects in renal cell carcinoma cell models. 

Outside of research, Wesley has been the Colleges Against Cancer Chair of the Relay for Life Committee, Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Ambassador, mentor to several high school and undergraduate students, and President of the Arizona UAN chapter. This fall, he will begin his PhD studies in Yale's Biological and Biomedical Sciences program, with a focus on pharmacology. After receiving a PhD, Wesley hopes to enter academia and one day become a professor, so that he can fulfill his goals of both research and outreach. Being a member of UAN and the president of the Arizona UAN chapter has enabled him to lead the various scientific outreach endeavors his chapter undertakes, enriching his life outside of research.