"The Beckman Scholars Program is precisely in line with the initiatives we have undertaken to expand the laboratory research experience of our undergraduates in the sciences. This award creates a superb opportunity for undergraduate science majors in chemistry and biochemistry and the biological sciences to receive what amounts to graduate training in laboratory research methods."
-- Lee T. Todd Jr.,
president, University of Kentucky
Elizabeth Megan Flynn
Anna Margaret Rothert
April 15, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Two University of Kentucky undergraduate science majors will have an opportunity to develop their research expertise under a grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.
"The Beckman Scholars Program is precisely in line with the initiatives we have undertaken to expand the laboratory research experience of our undergraduates in the sciences," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. "This award creates a superb opportunity for undergraduate science majors in chemistry and biochemistry and the biological sciences to receive what amounts to graduate training in laboratory research methods."
Elizabeth Megan Flynn and Anna Margaret Rothert are UK’s 2003-2004 Beckman Scholars. Flynn will work in the lab of horticulture professor Robert L. Houtz, Rothert in the lab of chemistry professor Sylvia Daunert.
Flynn, a native of Somerset, Ky., is majoring in Spanish and agricultural biotechnology. Her research, which represents collaboration between laboratories at the National Institutes of Health and the UK Department of Horticulture, targets an understanding of relationships in a new group of proteins that influence gene expression in plants and animals. Since their discovery in 2000, more than 13 of these proteins have been implicated in both positive and negative roles in cancer. First discovered in plants, the proteins have potential in the development of anticancer drugs. Additionally, plant forms of these proteins are intricately associated with the process of carbon dioxide fixation in plants, one of the most important processes in photosynthesis.
Rothert, of Covington, Ky., is majoring in biology and chemistry. Her research, performed in collaboration with the University of California, Irvine and partially funded by NASA, involves developing an instrument that uses genetically engineered cells that emit light in the presence of toxic compounds in the environment. The portable instrument, approximately the size of a compact disk, could be taken into the field to test for contaminated samples from the environment in a quick and sensitive manner. NASA’s interest in funding is due to the CD platform’s potential use as a monitor for health parameters of astronauts in space as well as in the environmental monitoring of spacecraft.
The Beckman Scholars Program of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation evaluates institutions on such areas as historical and current commitment to high-quality undergraduate research programs and the institution's record of student admissions to highly rated graduate and professional schools. It also considers the scholarly accomplishments and educational background of faculty and the experience of faculty as undergraduate research mentors.
In 2002, UK was selected, along with 12 other research colleges and universities to participate in the Beckman Scholars Program. The other schools were Boston University; California State University, Los Angeles; Duke University; Furman University; Haverford College; Hope College; San Francisco State University; Smith College; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Delaware; Washington University; and Wellesley College.
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation is an independent, nonprofit foundation established in 1977 to support basic scientific research, primarily in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, and medicine.
Arnold O. Beckman is the founder and chairman emeritus of Beckman Instruments, Inc., one of the world's leading suppliers of instruments and related products for the health care and life sciences markets. Considered one of the nation's leading philanthropists, Beckman and his late wife, Mabel, have contributed approximately $350 million to the advancement of research.