Grad student, Alyssa Preiser, receives Barnett Rosenberg Assistantship

  • Jun 28, 2018
  • Sharkey lab, awards
  • Homepage Non-Feature News, Future Scientists
  • By Igor Houwat

Alyssa Preiser, a Ph.D. student in the lab of MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL) scientist Thomas Sharkey, is a recipient of the Barnett Rosenberg Assistantship in Biological Sciences.

The pre-doctoral assistantship is sponsored by the College of Natural Sciences. It is geared towards advanced students who have shown a distinguished record of accomplishment. Awardees receive a stipend of $30,000 plus health insurance and tuition waver for one year.

Alyssa, who is in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, studies the Calvin-Benson cycle, a photosynthetic mechanism that provides the majority of carbon for plant growth, development, and defense.

“Many global issues, such as climate change, food supply, energy sources, and agriculture, rely on an understanding of this basic plant cycle,” Alyssa says. "The Calvin cycle has been common knowledge for decades, but the Sharkey lab has recently proposed an alternative pathway that works in parallel with the cycle."

The extra pathway seems to stabilize the cycle during certain conditions. Alyssa’s research is to tease out this pathway’s regulation and impact.

Alyssa says, “I am extremely grateful to be recognized with this award. I’ve received so much encouragement from peers and my mentors, especially Dr. Sharkey, that have helped me get to where I am today. They are always motivating me to do my best in my work- whether at the bench or in the community. It’s exciting to have the work that I’m doing be recognized.”

Tom Sharkey, Alyssa’s mentor, says, “I am very happy to see Alyssa’s great work recognized by this award. She has made a significant contribution to our understanding of one of the most important biochemical pathways that is the source for all plant-based products.”

The award celebrates Barnett Rosenberg, a former MSU faculty member who discovered the cancer drug, Cisplatin. The royalties from that work helps finance the research assistantship fund.