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2014 Honor Society Inductees H-M

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Jakob Hebert

Jakob HebertJakob first became interested in science when he took AP bio his senior year of high school. He plans to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology. Jakob aspires to do research in neuropharmacology and synthetic organic chemistry, either independently or for a pharmaceutical company. He currently does research in synthetic organic chemistry. Jakob currently synthesizes isomeric monofunctionalized thiophenes for application to materials chemistry. However, this project was picked in order to enhance his technical skills in the laboratory and learn advanced synthetic techniques applicable to synthetic drug design.

Jakob’s hobbies include bodybuilding, squash, playing Kan Jam, and reading. He spends a significant amount of his free time browsing the Journal of Biological Chemistry (among other journals, but the JBC is his first choice) researching nutrition, training, and supplementation as it pertains to health and fitness. He is part of the squash team at Siena and is also an avid bodybuilder. Jakob has also been inducted into Phi Lambda Upsilon, the National Chemistry Honor Society and Phi Sigma, the National Society for Excellence in the Biological Sciences.


Samuel Knecht

St Mary's College of Maryland


Allison Liberato

Allison LiberatoDr. Daniel Liberato, Allison’s father, was the Director of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics at Roche and first introduced her to science. As a child, Allison was awed and fascinated by what he did, but fully naive of the actual work. Then, when Allison was 10 years old, her father passed away after a 5-year battle with cancer. More than a decade later, the seed that was planted has blossomed. 

Allison is currently completing her independent study comparing the gut microbiomes of Autistic and Neurotypical strains of mice during early development, a difference that has been documented in some humans. Upon graduating college, she plans to take time off to do research and gain experience, and then hopes to enter a Ph.D. program in molecular biology. Allison has been accepted into NYU’s Master’s program for this fall, so she is also considering that option. After she receives her Ph.D., she hopes to work on something that excites her and can change lives. Both of her parents have had cancer, so that is an area of research she would love to be involved with.

When she is not in the lab, Allison enjoys backpacking, snowboarding, stargazing, and wine tasting. She is involved in Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GS-LSAMP) and helps support research in the mouse lab on her campus. Being a part of the UAN has given Allison access to valuable scientific journals and allowed her to be a part of a group of young people excited about scientific research.


Payton Malone

Payton MalonePayton is a fourth year student at Eastern Kentucky University pursuing a career in pediatric hematology/oncology. Her interest in the biomedical sciences began early in life; she vividly remembers experiencing intense curiosity and interest in the workings of the human body as far back as elementary school. Her fascination with disease and the human body most likely began with her mother’s fight against advanced breast cancer, which only grew as she encountered multiple illnesses within her immediate family and experienced a medical disorder of her own. After moving onto Eastern Kentucky University and forming a connection with a knowledgeable and well respected mentor in the field, Dr. Rebekah Waikel, Payton had the fortunate opportunity to begin her own research project in estrogen mediated cardiac hypertrophy. Her work in the lab involved a membership in ASBMB which has been incredibly beneficial to her, being the first national honor society in which she had exposure to various other researchers and career possibilities in biomedical sciences. It has been advantageous to explore the resources provided and gain experience that many undergraduate pre-med students do not have. 

Outside of school and research, Payton makes family a priority. She is involved in numerous organizations on campus, and plays intramural sports multiple nights weekly. She is currently pursuing personal training certification and makes her overall health and wellness a priority in life. She enjoys cooking, baking, and supporting her favorite sports teams, most important of which are her little brother’s teams. 


Victoria McIlrath

Victoria McIlrathVictoria owes her beginning interests in science and medicine to her parents, both doctors, who filled her childhood with stories of patients, case studies, successful treatments, and “lessons” on health. Her desire to work in medicine, specifically as an MD, is deep-seeded and founded by observations of the medical field and desire to work persistently towards a patient’s recovery. 

Over the last three years at Marymount Manhattan College, Victoria has been a member of the Science Society and Psychology Club. She is President of the Pre-Med Club. Victoria has received academic excellence her freshman and sophomore year, and received the Tamburro Family Endowment for Excellence in the Sciences her Freshman year. In early 2013, she was offered the opportunity to participate in tissue culture research under Dr. Ann Aguanno, a Professor of Science at MMC. Having acclimated to tissue culture techniques, Victoria is currently studying the effects of chemotherapeutic drugs on mouse mammary tumor (MMT) cell lines which serve as analogues to female breast cancer cells. 

Her hobbies outside of school revolve around a full-time job, traveling, photography, and reading. 

Being part of the UAN has opened her eyes to advanced scientific research, a network of undergraduates, and opportunities to strengthen her interests. She was honored to write a piece on MMC’s achievements in organ donation in the Winter 2014 issue of the UAN’s journal, Enzymatic. Victoria is grateful to be a part of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and excited for future endeavors with the UAN. 


Cristina Meehan

University of Richmond