University of Maryland senior Evguenia “Eva” Morgun, who is majoring in biological sciences and is a member of the Integrated Life Sciences program in the university’s Honors College, has been awarded a 2015-16 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Study Scholarship to conduct research in Germany.
Morgun will work with Stefan Kochanek at the University of Ulm’s Department of Gene Therapy to develop a gene therapy approach for the treatment of Nienmann-Pick disease type C, a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Kochanek's laboratory specializes in gene therapy vector research.
Since 2013, Morgun has participated in the university’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute undergraduate research fellowship program. She has been a researcher in the laboratory of Najib El-Sayed, associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, conducting ribosome profiling of Leishmania major, the causative agent of the parasitic disease called leishmaniasis. Ribosome profiling allows researchers to quantify actively translated genes in a cell through extraction and high-throughput sequencing of ribosome-bound RNA. The profiling produces a global snapshot of all the ribosomes active in a cell at a particular moment.
Following a summer internship in 2012 with Valerian Dolja of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University, Morgun co-authored a paper that was published in the journal Plant Cell on myosin receptors in the Arabidopsis plant.
As a high school student, Morgun conducted obesity research at the National Institutes of Health under the supervision of Joan Han.
After returning from her year in Germany, Morgun plans to enter an M.D./Ph.D. program in the United States and conduct translational research.
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