Natalie Whitis, an Iowa State alumna, was recently awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which provides three years of full financial support during a five-year fellowship period. The goal of the program is to recognize high-potential, early-career scientists and engineers and support their graduate research training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.
Every year around 2000 awardees are selected from 12,000 applicants. Natalie submitted a research proposal on utilizing host-pathogen interactions to better understand native processes within human cells, specifically using Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). She is currently a first-year graduate student in the Tetrad Ph.D. program at University of California, San Francisco. She is currently rotating through labs, but plans to research host-pathogen interactions and infectious diseases for her Ph.D. Natalie previously worked in Dipali Sashital's lab at ISU studying the CRISPR immune system in E. coli, and completed an Honors Capstone Project on honey bee development and health in Amy Toth's lab. She was also an active member of the BBMB undergraduate community, with roles as Breakfast Club Chair for the BBMB Club and Food Chair for the Stupka Symposium Planning Committee.