Supriya Trika, Young Scientist Research Grant, YS Grant, 02/22
Life Science Grants

Young Scientist Research Grant

Our Young Scientist Research Grants support MSc and PhD students to explore their exciting research ideas in cancer, microbiome/microbiology and sustainability. We also offer grant recipients the chance to showcase their research on our website and social media channels.

The grant comprises US$10,000 in consumables and a one-year license for CLC Workbench Premium worth more than US$5,000. The grant is currently closed, but we plan to reopen the grant in future.

*Please see the full terms and conditions for more information.

Daniela Rothschild Rodriguez

Finding the next generation of diagnostics for inflammatory bowel disease

Daniela Rothschild Rodriguez is a PhD student at the University of Southampton, UK. Her PhD project focuses on the role of bacteria and bacteriophages in the progression of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. The cause of IBD is still unknown, but emerging evidence indicates a role of the intestinal microbiome. Daniela aims to characterize the microbial composition of colonoscopy biopsies and stool samples from IBD patients and healthy participants. The findings will help characterize the IBD gut in terms of microbial spatial distribution along the gastrointestinal tract and aid in developing the next generation of diagnostics for IBD sufferers.


Rachel Golonka

Discovering the role of gut microbiota and metabolites in liver cancer 

Rachel Golonka is a PhD student at The University of Toledo, USA, investigating the role of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The gut microbiota is sensitive to genetic and environmental factors, which can cause them to switch from homeostatic eubiosis to pathological dysbiosis. However, it is unclear whether dysbiosis is an instigator or a bystander in HCC. To better understand this and determine whether gut microbiota dysbiosis has diagnostic potential for HCC, Rachel will use a mouse model and healthy and cancerous tissues to assess which intestinal bacteria could be pathogenic in HCC, which gut metabolites aggravate HCC, and how those microbial products could potentiate hepatocarcinogenesis.


Giusy Zuna

Uncovering non-invasive miRNA biomarkers for glioma pathogenesis 

Giusy Zuna is an MSc student at the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Italy, exploring the role of miRNAs in glioma pathogenesis. Gliomas are diffusely growing brain tumors that are challenging to diagnose and treat. miRNAs play a crucial role in glioma pathogenesis, and altered profiles have been observed in patient tumors and biofluids. Giusy and her coworkers recently identified a circulating-miRNA signature that can accurately stratify glioma patients according to the mutational status of IDH genes, which are among the primary molecular markers for glioma subtyping. They also found that the expression of this miRNA affects several glioma biological functions. Giusy aims to further validate this miRNA signature as a diagnostic and prognostic non-invasive biomarker.

Giusy Zuna

Ross Klauer

Tackling plastic waste using the mealworm microbiota 

Ross Klauer is a PhD student at the University of Delaware, USA, studying the mechanisms of plastic degradation by the yellow mealworm. Our reliance on low-cost and high-durability plastics has made plastic waste a pressing environmental issue. Biodegradation presents a sustainable and economic upcycling solution. The microbiota of insect larvae, namely the yellow mealworm (T. molitor), has been identified as a potential candidate for plastic biodegradation. Ross aims to determine the microorganisms associated with plastic degradation in the mealworm gut microbiome and isolate and purify enzymes that can break down common plastics.

Ross Klauer

Tanner Waters

What's the impact of coastal restoration and conservation on biodiversity in California?

Tanner Waters is a PhD student at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA. Tanner is researching the impacts of coastal restoration and conservation efforts on biodiversity. Thanks to environmental DNA, he can answer these pressing ocean sustainability questions by harnessing the power of molecular biology. His research looks at the impact of marine protected areas on fish and invertebrate diversity in Southern California. Tanner and his coworkers have collected samples at two marine protected areas and two adjacent non-protected regions for analysis. As California's marine protected areas enter their 10th anniversary this year, this project aims to see if protected areas help increase the number of organisms and species diversity.