CRISPR-associated proteins are some of the most promising new tools providing a way to make gene deletions, corrections of mutations and additions of new genes in any genome. Outstanding undergraduate researcher Erin Hollander, a junior Honors student majoring in biochemistry and genetics, was one of 60 presenters selected out of hundreds of applicants from institutions across the country to present her research at the nation's capital during the 20th annual Posters on the Hill event held in Washington, D.C., on April 19-20.
Posters on the Hill highlights exceptional undergraduate research by allowing students the opportunity to showcase their work and advocate for undergraduate research to congressional representatives. Each year, hundreds of attendees, including legislators, their staffers and federal program representatives, view the presentations.
Hollander has been a recipient of the university's Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Research Assistantship and recently received a CURO Summer Fellowship. Her research and presentation in Washington, D.C., focus on the system of genes within bacteria known as the CRISPR-Cas system and analyzes how these genes, specifically the Cas portion, interact to protect bacteria, similar to how the immune system protects a human. She works with Streptococcus thermophilus, a bacterium that is especially important to the dairy industry.
"It seemed like a very cool opportunity to go to Capitol Hill and talk with politicians about science and to share the real advances that are being made and how they can translate into benefits for everyone." said Hollander, a Franklin College of Arts and Sciences student who in 2015 received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.
Congratulations to Hollander, her parents and her faculty mentors on this extraordinary recognition and achievement. That she - and many other UGA students - have the opportunity to work with some of the leading researchers in the world is a defining feature of UGA. And one that is opening doors both to careers and to new advances in medical science.
Image: Erin Hollander, a junior Honors student majoring in biochemistry and genetics, studies a system of genes within bacteria known as the CRISPR-Cas system (Credit: Elizabeth Fite/UGA)