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TWO STUDENTS WIN GOLDWATER SCHOLARSHIPS

Two Haverford students, Anna Klales ’09 and Justin Meyerowitz ’09, are the recipients of Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, awarded annually to undergraduates who plan to pursue careers in science and mathematics. A current Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar, Anna Klales has been working with Associate Professor of Physics Suzanne Amador Kane on a computer simulation of endosymbiotic evolution, a hypothesis in evolutionary biology; it occurs when two organisms—one living inside the other—are totally incorporated and can no longer live independently, meshing into a single organism. “Because geothermal hotsprings, such as those in Yellowstone National Park, are similar to conditions on early earth in which endosymbiosis may have occurred,” she says, “we are studying populations of bacteria along a thermal gradient in these systems in order to create our model.” Last summer, Klales participated in an REU program at Harvard University where she studied the physics of curling ribbons—“in other words, the physics behind helix formation,” she says. “Because of the ubiquitous nature of the helix, this type of work could be related to everything from the creation of nanostructures to molecules like DNA and protein.” Klales, who will use her scholarship toward tuition, has enjoyed her projects because they have the potential to span many scientific disciplines. “I am very interested in this type of work because I believe it is essential for scientists from different disciplines to be able to communicate with each other in order to solve problems,” she says.  “Since each discipline brings a slightly different mode of thinking to the table, it is only in this manner that we will be able to maximize our resources.” She is considering possible graduate programs in teaching, engineering, or medical physics.

Justin Meyerowitz has been actively involved in scientific research since he graduated from high school. The summer before his freshman year of college, he was an assistant in a gastroenterology laboratory, working on a project that provided insight into the mechanism of acid absorption in the duodenum. Since arriving at Haverford, Meyerowitz has worked in the lab of Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology John Wagner.

Last summer, a research fellowship allowed him to remain in Wagner’s lab and pursue a project focusing on signal transduction and growth pathways in yeast. “There is a protein in yeast that is responsible for some important growth-related properties such as longevity, yet nearly nothing is known about how this protein (Sch9) controls this,” he says. “My goal last summer was to find a protein that Sch9 controls in an effort to illuminate this pathway, so I screened about 100 proteins and found one that is controlled by Sch9. My research over the last two semesters has been investigating this protein.”

With the Goldwater Scholarship, Meyerowitz half-jokes that he hopes to “help pay for my education; it means that I get to pay off my student loans when I'm 54 instead of 55.” Pondering his post-college plans, he’s torn between research and medicine. Right now he's be concentrating on the latter, interning at a hospital in Southeastern India, in the state of Tamil Nadu. In the fall he’ll be studying abroad in the Netherlands at TU Delft, and he’ll also be working in an Industrial Microbiology laboratory at the university on a project investigating penicillin production, with the goal of optimizing production of the antibiotic by Penicillium (a fungus) on the industrial scale.

— Brenna McBride

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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