Dr. Allison Abbott, assistant professor of biological sciences, is one of four faculty members honored with the Marquette University 2009 Way Klingler Young Scholar Award. Selected for the research accomplishments Abbott has already achieved, as well as her potential for additional outstanding research, the award provides Abbott with a one-semester sabbatical and operating funds to pursue her research.
Abbott, a Shorewood resident who received her Ph.D. in cell, molecular and developmental biology in 2000 at Tufts University in Boston, focuses on using the roundworm C. elegans to research the functions of small RNAs, known as microRNAs, which regulate gene expression and are important regulators in the roundworm and in humans.
“The goal is to identify specific biological pathways that are regulated by microRNAs,” said Abbott. “If we can understand what microRNAs do in normal animal development, then we can begin to understand what’s happening when they’re misregulated in human cancers.” Abbott will take her sabbatical in spring 2010 to identify the target genes and genetic pathways that are regulated by three microRNAs, as well as identify data necessary for new grant submissions.
“The recipients of the Way Klingler Young Scholars Award are privileged to have a semester sabbatical to pursue their research interests in a concentrated fashion,” said Dr. William Wiener, vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School. “The four individuals who have received this award represent the finest of our new faculty and benefit Marquette University with their knowledge and dedication. Their research and scholarship help create a culture of inquiry on campus and help us reach our goal of sharing knowledge for the betterment of society.”
In addition to the research Abbott will perform during her sabbatical, she has published seven papers, written a chapter on microRNAs for a book to be published later in 2009, given presentations nationally and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for several scientific journals.
The other three recipients of the Young Scholar Award are Dr. Dennis Brylow, mathematics; Dr. Irene Guenther, history; and Dr. Lucas Torres, psychology.
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