Check out our Newsletters to learn more about our fellows, partners, and inspiring visitors!

2022-2023 Newsletter

Fall 2023 Newsletter

Congratulations to PennFERBS Fellow Kevin Huang ’24 on recieving the Penn First Plus Alumni Leadership Award! This award was announced at the James Brister Society Leadership Award Ceremony where Kevin celebrated with his PennFERBS peer, Amy Vidal, and FERBS first-year mentees Hannah and Brooke!

FERBS fellow Prabh Kaur ’26 was featured in Penn Today! Prabh describes her early days at Penn, balancing time spent in the lab with classes and other academic responsibilities that presented challenges for dedicating herself to the lab work. During the Summer 2023 semester, Prabh was able to work full-time within her lab and saw herself grow into a knowledgable and skilled scientist! Read more about Prabh’s journey into taking on her own project within the Wagner lab here!

FERBS fellow Jorge Rodriguez ’26 was featured in Penn Today! During the Summer 2023 semester, Jorge began work full-time in the Brady Lab within the Cancer Biology Department of PSOM. During this time spent in the lab Jorge learned valuable skills in the sciences that he had not yet encountered in his classes, as well as priceless life skills when it comes to working with fellow scientists within the lab. Read more about Jorge’s time in the Brady lab here!

FERBS Fellow Kehinde Adeaga was selected as one of the ARO Scholars Winners. This award was presented during the Association for Research in Otolaryngology Mid-Winter Meeting. Congratulations Kehinde!

The FERBS fellows enjoyed a visit from Maiken Scott, podcast host and creative director of WHYY’S weekly health and science show, The Pulse. The Workshop’s focus was on the importance of communication of science among fellow sciencets and members of non-science communities. Scott’s weekly show highlights different aspects of science and healthcare throughout the country, how different aspects of healthcare effect us and the people involved that work to keep us healthy.

Seven FERBS fellows, Amy Fernandez, Amy Vidal, Anisa Robinson, Diego Barragan, Marco Garcia, Peace Oloko, and Ummayh Siddiqua presented at ABRCMS in Phoenix, Arizona, all of them receiving partial or full travel scholarships. Congratulations to Marco, Peace, and Ummayh for receiving poster awards in the Microbiology, Cell Biology, and Cancer Biology categories, respectively!! (November, 2023)

FERBS Fellows presented their research at Penn’s annual Center For Undergraduate Research CURF, Research Symposium. From Left to right fellows pictured, Kehinde Adeaga, Celine Adomakoh, Ivy Liu, Alondra Betancourt, Klarissa Isabela Diaz, Prabh Preet Kaur. Fellows not depicted here but who presented their work included: Winson Liu, Arianna Mejia, Abetzi Vazquez Ochoa, Amy Vidal, Aleena Alex, Isabela Contreras, Maricela Guzman, and Xoshill Saldana Gamez. Congratulations to all the fellows on excellent work and scientific communication!!

FERBS fellows met with visiting professor Shane Campbell-Staton, assistant professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, who most recently starred in a six-part PBS documentary called “Human Footprint”, where he explores and discusses ways in which humans have transformed the planet. Dr. Campbell shared his perspective on education, graduate school, biology, and how he followed his passions. We thank Dr. Campbell-Staton for a memorable visit.

FERBS fellows Anisa Robinson was interviewed in a youtube series “Dear Future” hosted by the New Jersey Based organization, Women’s Alliance in STEM & Humanities (WASH). Anisa talked about her experiences in highschool, here at Penn, and her recent summer studying at Harvard. Check it out here!

FERBS fellows welcomed Dr. Bil Clemons (Pictured center back of photo), professor in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at California Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences. He shared his academic trajectory and connected with students about his experiences in STEM and beyond.

FERBS Fellow Criston Young Graduates!! Pictured here with PhD student and FERBS mentor Dr. Heather Schiller (who also graduated with her PhD!). Criston worked in the Pohlschroder lab for three years, graduated with honors and co-authored two publications. While at Penn Criston was involved in Penn Band, New Spirit of Penn Gospel choir, Alpha Chi Rho fraternity, and was an invaluable mentor and leader in FERBS. We are excited for his future and are grateful for his contributions to our program and Penn.

FERBS sat down with Dr. Ala Standford, the former Region III Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Founder of the Black Doctors consortium and the Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity , to discuss health equity, research, scientific communication and more. We were grateful to welcome such an accomplished and inspiring medical professional and leader!

FERBS Fellow Sean Hilgendorf, ’24 is featured in Penn Today! Take a look here. Sean was apart of the inaugural cohort of FERBS fellows and is a valued member of the FERBS family. He has been working in the Gregory lab studying post-transcriptional gene regulation through mRNA modification for the last three years. Great job Sean !

Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA Donates over $500,000 to the scholarship of our fellows! Merck has pledged a generous yearly renewable scholarship grant of 520.000 USD to support the retention, education and training of our fellows. Thank you to Merck & Co.,!!!

Fellow Amy Vidal Presenting her work at the Discover BMB 2023 conference! Amy presented ‘Chemical Biology Approaches to mapping the PRMT1 Interactome’ a project she has been developing in the Burslem lab with PhD student and mentor Jenna Beyer. Amy is spending her summer at Harvard in the Amgen Scholars Summer Research Program

Fellow Amy Fernandez Enjoying Picasso While Abroad in Spain. Third year fellow Amy Fernandez is abroad in Madrid with the Penn in Madrid Program, working with Dr. Alejandro Couce at The Polytechnic University of Madrid, working on experimental evolution and learning CRISPR!

Check out PennFERBS Fellow Diego Barragan’s feature in Penn Today here! Diego joined the program in 2021 and has been working in the Lab of Dr. David Cormode Diego has been focused on projected aimed towards creating and testing better contrast agents for breast cancer imaging. Diego discusses his research and time at Penn in the feature.

FERBS was honored to welcome Dr. Katalin Karikó who met and discussed with our current fellows. Dr. Karikó, a First Generation student herself, shared her inspiring story and perspective on life, science, success and failure. Dr. Karikó’s humble and genuine nature was inspiring, resonating with our fellows. Here we highlight reactions from current fellows:
“After hearing Dr. Kariko’s story, I felt deeply inspired, moved by her perseverance, bravery, and
utmost humility. “
“She reminded me of why I am a scientist: to
understand nature, to help others, and to inspire the next generation of scientists and educators.”

FERBS Fellow Anisa Robinson was featured in Penn Today! Take a look here where she discusses her research experiences at Penn. Anisa is apart of Dr. Corlett Woods Lab in the Biology department and is focused on understanding genetic tradeoffs underlying mutualistic and parasitic relationships in legumes. Anisa is in her second year at Penn and we are excited to see where her research takes her!

Check out PennFERBS Fellow Abetzi Vazquez Ochoa’s feature in Penn Today here! Abetzi who joined the program in 2021 joined the Lab of Dr. Mickey Marks and has been working on melanosomal proteins, specifically interested in understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying pigmentation of melanosomes. Abetzi is a valued member of the FERBS scholars family and we are excited to see what she will achieve next!

FERBS fellows from 2020 and 2021 Cohorts presenting their research at this years 2022 Penn CURFs Fall Research Expo. Fellows Peace Oloko, David Kedeme, Amy Vidal, Olivia Howard, Kevin Huang, Arianna Mejia, Marco Garcia, Brian Dinh, Reginald Kwarteng, Amy Fernandez, Anisa Robinson, Sarah O’Konski, Ummayh Siddiqua, and Sean Hilgendorf are highlighted presenting their work. Congratulations on some of your first scientific presentations!

FERBS welcomes this years cohort of fellows! Congratulations to our new incoming scholars as we welcome them to the FERBS Family. With the matching process underway, each fellow will begin working with their mentor in lab starting in October! We are excited for another great year!

FERBS Fellow Aleena Alex was featured in Penn today here and on Penns Center For Undergraduate Research website here! Aleena was apart of the inaugural cohort of FERBS Fellows in 2020. She started her research experiences at Penn in the Sallan Lab, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, learning about the evolution of fish through fossil records. She has since joined the Paralkar Lab in the School of Medicine and has been investing how transcription factors and other related proteins affect normal hematopoiesis or blood cell development.

FERBS fellows hard at work this summer conducting full-time research in the Biology Department. Winson Liu (2022 fellow) and Sekia Phillips (2021 fellow). They conducted summer research focused on fruit fly evolution in Dr. Paul Schmidt’s Pennovation Orchard in Philadelphia! 

FERBS fellows meeting this years incoming Penn First Plus students during a summer panel session to welcome them to Penn and discuss research opportunities and the FERBS program.

This years spring 2022 course supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Paideia Program was discussed in this article. FERBS fellows were paired with various organizations in the greater Philadelphia area to develop a relationship, identify the needs of the community, and develop a project in response to the input they received from the non-Penn collaborators. This was the first year of this course and we are excited to continue to build it out and strengthen the relationship with the collaborators and community.

FERBS fellows attending their summer journal club series. Here, Biology Department graduate students Heather Schiller and Yirui Hong lead discussion about tubulin-like proteins controlling archael cell shape.

FERBS fellows engaging with members of the community. Pictured here fellows David Kedeme, Brian Dinh, Winson Liu, Rhoda Kaddu, and Peace Oloko, talking with Philadelphia School District teachers about the psychological and biological impacts the pandemic has had on students.

FERBS fellow hard at work in the greenhouse featured in ‘Life-at-Penn’ check it out here. Fellow Anisa Robinson working with her mentor McCall Calvert. Anisa is working in Dr. Wood’s lab in the Department of Biology using Medicago, nematodes, and mutalistic root bacteria studying mutualisms.

FERBS officially welcomes this years cohort of FERBS fellows at our welcome picnic in Kaskey Park! Fellows had a chance to meet with their matched mentors and PIs in the Biology Departments garden for a celebration. Congratulations to this years 2021-22 FERBS fellows!

FERBS Fellow Criston Young presenting his work at an international conference! Criston is currently working in Dr. Pohlschroder’s Lab in the Department of Biology using Archaea as a model organism. Criston joined the FERBS program in 2020. Great work Criston!

FERBS fellows as panelists for Penn LENS students this past summer. FERBS fellows from left to right, Olivia HowardRuqaiyyah Lucas-CaldwellCriston Young, and Kevin Huang. Students from Philadelphia’s school districts engaged in an immersive science summer program at Penn were able to ask current fellows about their experiences applying to and attending college. 

First-year research is hands-on from the start. Penn Today article featuring PennFerbs.