Co-Terminal Biology/CS Student Iva Veseli Wins ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Iva Veseli (2nd year BS Biology/MS CS) was awarded an American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship. With the fellowship, she will work this summer in the laboratory of Jean-Francois Pombert, assistant professor of biology, to sequence and analyze the genomes of six Neisseria species to help clarify the evolution of pathogenicity in these prokaryotes.

Each year, the ASM-URF awards around 40 fellowships to talented students who wish to pursue graduate studies in microbiology. The selected students are awarded up to $4,000 to conduct full-time research at their home institutions with an ASM member, and an additional $1,000 for travel expenses to attend and present research results at ASM’s yearly conference the following year.

Of Veseli’s research, Pombert said, “When people think about Neisseria, they usually think about gonorrhoeae infections and meningococcal diseases caused by two of the many species composing this group of bacteria. But most of these bacteria are not dangerous and are either neutral or even beneficial to human health. In fact, we still know very little about what these bacteria can or cannot do as a group since a number of species remain uninvestigated. Iva’s work in my lab this summer will help to improve our understanding of these organisms and how pathogenicity evolved in the few species that cause concern for human health.”