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MSU Faculty, Student Receive ASM Research Awards

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A Michigan State molecular biologist and a doctoral student in her lab have received awards from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

Kristin Parent, assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB), received the 2017 ASM Young Investigator Award, which recognizes early career scientists for research excellence and potential in microbiology and infectious diseases. Natalia Porcek-Hubbs, a Ph.D. student in Parent’s lab who is also affiliated with the MSU Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, received the 2017 ASM Raymond W. Sarber Award, which recognizes undergraduate and predoctoral students for research excellence and potential.

Parent’s research at MSU focuses on a correlated approach to deciphering the processes of virus assembly and infection via a combination of biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics and structural biology. The main project in her laboratory involves understanding assembly and host-recognition mechanisms in dsDNA-containing bacteriophage (family Podoviridae).

Kristin Parent (left) and Natalia Porcek-Hubbs

Kristin Parent (left) and Natalia Porcek-Hubbs

“I feel extremely honored to have received this award from ASM, and even more proud that my student, Natalia, is being recognized for her efforts,” Parent said. “MSU is great place to be and I feel very lucky to have the mentoring from the BMB department—by the chair, Tom Sharkey; Lee Kroos, my faculty mentor; and many other faculty members and friends.”

“Professor Parent is one of our outstanding junior professors,” Sharkey said. “She is one of three professors hired as a cluster of experts in protein structure related to membranes. She studies virus structure and how they interact with cell membranes, the first step in disease. Professor Parent has received numerous awards for her exciting research, but this one is a special recognition by the microbiology community of the importance of her work.”

Sharkey also points out that in addition to Parent’s tireless work within the university, she is an outstanding mentor.

“Natalia Porcek-Hubbs is a gifted graduate student who looks to be following in Kristin’s footsteps to a great career of finding new information to help understand how viruses work so that we might be able to combat the diseases they cause,” Sharkey said.

“Receiving the Raymond Sarber award paves the way for my continued scientific endeavors,” Porcek-Hubbs said. “I feel honored to have the merit of my scientific achievements recognized at the national level. I am grateful and appreciative to have such a profound network of support from mentors across the country.”

Parent and Porcek-Hubbs will receive their awards at ASM Microbe 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana, next June.

– via College of Natural Science website

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