Biology Major Receives National Undergraduate Research Fellowship

A biology major received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship award from the American Society for Microbiology, the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world.

Zachary Resko, a junior working in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph McCormick, associate professor and chair of biological sciences, was recognized as one of the highly competitive students planning to pursue a graduate career in microbiology.

Fewer than half of the 94 applicants received awards, according to the society. The $4,000 fellowship stipend supported Resko working with McCormick full-time over the past summer on the project, Using Bacterial Spores for Vaccine Delivery. Resko also will have the opportunity to present his findings at the 2016 ASM Microbe Meeting in Boston in June.

“It is gratifying to see one of our students compete at the national level to win an award from a prestigious U.S. science society to help provide a solid foundation for a future career in the sciences,” McCormick said. “As part of a talented team of previous and current undergraduates, Resko has continued to significantly add to a novel project that may one day offer an alternative way to vaccinate against human and animal diseases.”

Resko is exploring the types of fusion that can take place when an antigen is attached on the outside of a bacterial spore protein, which could serve as a mechanism that would allow vaccines to be inhaled or taken internasally.