Montana State University

Recipients announced for latest Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowships at MSU

July 12, 2011 -- MSU News Service


Alison O'Neil, left, and Amy Servid each received a Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowship.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
BOZEMAN -- Two doctoral students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Montana State University have been awarded 2011 Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowships.

Amy Servid and Alison O'Neil, who both work in Trevor Douglas' lab, will each receive $5,000 to support their research, including expenses such as travel to meetings or for instruction, books, supplies and special research services. Both will give a Kopriva Student Research Lecture during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Servid is part of a team of researchers using protein cage nanoparticles to provide protective immune responses against respiratory viruses. Servid's research focuses on characterizing and modifying these nanoparticles with the goal of understanding how the structure of the nanoparticles relates to their function in vivo. She uses chemical and genetic modifications to design nanoparticles that display antigens or targeting molecules. This research provides a foundation for the design of nanoparticles that offer enhanced protection against influenza and other respiratory viruses.

O'Neil works with protein shells, which are found in diverse organisms and may provide blueprints for functional nano- and biomaterials design. Specifically, her research is focused on the development of a new class of bio-inspired materials that use the directed confinement of enzymes (or other proteins) within viral protein cage assemblies. While the encapsulated enzymes retain their native catalytic activity, the protein cage can be separately optimized as a container. These nano-reactors have varied applications in biomedicine and energy production.

Phil Kopriva, a 1957 microbiology graduate, established an endowment to fund the Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowships, which are awarded to recognize and support the research of outstanding graduate students in the areas of physiology and/or biochemistry. Past recipients include Sunshine Silver and Ramon Tusell (chemistry and biochemistry) in 2008; Travis Harris (chemistry and biochemistry) and Crystal Richards (microbiology) in 2009; and Jonas Mulder-Rosi (cell biology and neuroscience) in 2010.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu