Biochemistry PhD student Gus Lowry was awarded a prestigious three-year Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Two other Duke Biochemistry students, Emily Cannistraci and Alex Hofler, received honorable mentions. The award financially supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines. Past recipients have contributed to research, teaching, and innovation in their areas of expertise; while the fellowship recognition has helped them become successful leaders in their academic and professional careers. Fellows have included numerous Nobel Prize winners and National Academy of Science members.
Regarding his fellowship, Gus notes, “We know that the asymmetric distribution of ions across the membrane underlies electrical signaling, but lipids are also asymmetrically distributed and the consequences are poorly understood. One reason is that there are not many tools to study lipid asymmetry, so my proposal focuses on designing new technology.”
Gus hopes these novel tools will help researchers reveal how dynamic changes in lipid asymmetry mediate processes such as blood clotting, viral infection, reproduction, degeneration, and development.