PASADENA—The California Institute of Technology has been selected for a Beckman Scholars Program Award for the upcoming academic year 1998–99 by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Four scholarships have been awarded, and the recipients will begin their work this summer.
The program, intended to provide unique opportunities for excellence through sustained, in-depth, faculty-mentored undergraduate laboratory research experiences, will be modeled after the existing SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research) program at Caltech. This new program complements the SURF program by extending the research opportunity to the academic year. The Beckman Scholars will be able to take advantage of all the special programming for SURF students in the summer as well as have the ability to participate in research during the academic year.
The 1998–99 Beckman Scholars are as follows
Candace Chang is a junior majoring in chemistry. Candace will work with Professor of Chemistry Nathan Lewis. Her project is entitled, "Sniffing with an Electronic Nose." The "nose" is made up of broadly responsive sensor arrays that produce a distinguishable response pattern when exposed to a chemical. An "electronic nose" that responds to a wide variety of chemicals and chemical mixtures with high accuracy and sensitivity will not only help us better understand how the mammalian olfaction system works, but can also be used in practical applications. For example, the nose sensory array would be useful in detecting trinitroluene in land mines, and other harmful chemicals.
Ming Chen is a junior majoring in chemistry. Ming will work with Professor of Chemistry Barbara Imperiali on "Exploring the Structure of the Eukaryotic Enzyme Oligosaccharyl Transferase via a Localized Cross-Linking Reaction." Ming hopes that better understanding of this enzyme will facilitate the design of better inhibitors as well as reveal clues to how the enzyme oligosaccharyl transferease functions.
Brent Kious is a junior with a double major in biology and science, ethics, and society. Brent will work with Professor of Biology Marianne Bronner-Fraser on "Isolation of Novel Transcripts Involved in Neural Crest Formation and Migration in Avian Embryos." A more complete understanding of the neurogenic processes has profound implications for the identification and prevention of various illnesses and physiological disorders such as spina bifida. Neural crest studies may also yield clues about the causes of neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
Daniel Levy is a sophomore majoring in biology. Dan will work with Professor of Chemistry and Biology Judith Campbell on the "Role of Saccharomyces cerevisiae DNA Polymerase in DNA Replication and Cell-Cycle Regulation." Dan feels this project will give him an excellent opportunity to gain experience in site-directed mutagenesis, baculovirus protein expression, and studies of protein/protein interactions.
The scholars will also participate in the Beckman Scholars Annual Research Symposium, a three-day, two-evening event that will take place at the end of each summer, beginning in 1999. Approximately 60 Beckman Scholars from throughout the nation who have completed their academic year and summer undergraduate research activities will be invited to gather for the annual symposium at either the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, California, or at one of the five Beckman Research Institutes (Caltech, Pasadena, California; the City of Hope Medical Center, Duarte, California; Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; the University of California, Irvine, California; and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois).
The purpose of the Beckman Scholars Program is to help stimulate, encourage, and support research activities by exceptionally talented undergraduate students who are pursuing their studies at accredited universities and four-year colleges located in the United States. These research activities shall be centered in chemistry, biochemistry, the biological and medical sciences, or some combination of these subjects. Founded in 1891, Caltech has an enrollment of some 2,000 students, and a faculty of about 280 professorial members and 284 research members. The Institute has more than 19,000 alumni. Caltech employs a staff of more than 1,700 on campus and 5,300 at JPL.
Over the years, 26 Nobel Prizes and four Crafoord Prizes have been awarded to faculty members and alumni. Forty-three Caltech faculty members and alumni have received the National Medal of Science; and eight alumni (two of whom are also trustees), two additional trustees, and one faculty member have won the National Medal of Technology. Since 1958, 13 faculty members have received the annual California Scientist of the Year award. On the Caltech faculty there are 75 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and on the faculty and Board of Trustees, 68 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 46 members of the National Academy of Engineering.