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Fellowship Funds Undergrad’s Research on Biofilms

October 27, 2015
UC Merced undergraduate students can find opportunities to conduct research in a lab as early as their freshman year — what’s less common is getting that research funded.
 
Fourth-year biology major Adam Fishburn caught the eye of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which awarded him a $4,000 fellowship to help continue his work with Professor Clarissa Nobile on the study of biofilms, microbial communities that are notoriously resistant to antimicrobial treatments.
 
“Being chosen as an ASM fellow is an immense honor,” Fishburn said. “It provided me with a stipend to conduct my research over last summer and will also pay for my travel in June to present my research at the ASM General Meeting in Boston in June 2016.”
 
Fishburn will also receive a two-year ASM student membership and travel expenses to the ASM Undergraduate Research Capstone Program. The fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers in microbiology.
 
With Nobile, Fishburn investigates the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans and its ability to form biofilms, a resilient aggregation of cells that secrete an extracellular matrix that protects them from immune cells or drugs. His project, titled “Interspecies Interactions between Streptococcus and Candida in Biofilms,” earned him one of the 43 fellowships awarded from 94 total applications.
 
“Adam is very bright and is able to grasp complex concepts quickly, even when they are new to him,” Nobile said. “This really sets him apart from other undergrads. Overall, I truly admire Adam’s intellectual abilities, motivation, independence and ambition.”