Department of Chemistry

541 Mark Jefferson Science Complex

Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197


EMU Biochemistry Major Receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award

Jacquelyn Roberts, an EMU senior majoring in Biochemistry and pursuing Highest Honors, has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship Program award by the National Science Foundation. This prestigious award will provide her three years of support (including an annual stipend) to pursue a graduate degree at an institution of her choice. Jacquelyn has been accepted into the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS) PhD program at the University of Michigan, and plans to begin her studies there in Fall 2020.

Jacquelyn Roberts and Dr. Steven Backues
Jacquelyn Roberts and Dr. Steven Backues


Jacquelyn has been doing mentored research in the lab of Dr. Steven Backues in the Department of Chemistry since Fall 2017. Her research has focused on understanding how proteins control the size and number of specialized structures inside cells called autophagosomes that help keep the cells healthy and help them survive starvation conditions. She is a contributing author to one publication from the Backues lab (Cawthon et. al. 2018 BBRC 503:651), has presented her research at two Undergraduate Symposia, and has completed a senior honors thesis. In addition, she was a Perrigo Fellow at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute during summer 2019, where she did research in the lab of Dr. Melanie Ohi.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is open to applicants in their senior year of undergraduate study or their first year of graduate study. It is a very competitive award, for which applicants submit a personal statement and proposed research plan. Jacquelyn’s experience writing research proposals for EMU awards such as the Undergraduate Research Stimulus Program and Honors Research Fellowships helped to prepare her to compete for this fellowship. Previous EMU alumni who have won this fellowship include Ian Pendelton (Chemistry alumnus; awarded 2014) and Shahana Chumki (Biology alumna, awarded 2017). Read more information about the NSF GRPF program.

Posted 4/1/2020.

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