Congratulations to microbiology graduate students Sreemoye Nath and Spencer Lee for receiving poster awards while representing UNT at the 2023 Texas American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Meeting last fall. For Sreemoye, who received the Samuel Kaplan Award for her research on the impact of CO2 in certain bacteria, it was the first time she had a chance to attend the meeting in-person.
"There were multiple talks that were interesting and intriguing. I learned how simple microbiology and molecular biology techniques can be used to answer critical scientific questions," she said. "The poster competition was competitive. So of course, it felt good to receive an award. It was very confidence boosting."
Spencer said it was also his first time attending a meeting focused specifically on microbiology. He enjoyed connecting with faculty and other graduate students from universities around the state and left feeling inspired by the research that was shared.
"I was both proud and humbled to receive the Sam Kaplan Graduate Award for outstanding poster presentation in General Microbiology," said Spencer. "The work that I presented was heavily dependent on my fellow lab members who each made significant contributions both to the work presented and to my own development in the lab. And of course, I could not have done any of my work without the guidance of my graduate advisor Dr. Calvin Henard."
"Sree was my first student after joining UNT and previously earned an M.S. in genetics from the University of West Florida; Spencer was an undergraduate researcher in my laboratory prior to officially joining as a Ph.D. student in 2022," said Dr. Calvin Henard, UNT assistant professor of microbiology and researcher at the BioDiscovery Institute, where Sreemoye and Spencer are members of his lab. "I was immensely proud and delighted that the faculty judges at the meeting recognized the effort they had each dedicated to their presentations, as well as the quality and impact of their respective research projects."
"My current research focuses on CH4 utilization and could help impact global warming," said Sreemoye. "I feel this is a novel cause and there are a lot of meaningful opportunities to affect change with this career path, which is why I want to invest my time and energy in this research field."
Both Sreemoye and Spencer are preparing manuscripts for publication detailing the research studies that were presented at the meeting.
"I expect that Sree will begin writing her dissertation soon and could finish her Ph.D. requirements in 2024," said Dr. Henard. "In contrast, Spencer has several years left in the Ph.D. program, but given his early productivity, I expect we will see many impactful outcomes from his research over the next few years."
"I am very thankful to Dr. Calvin Henard for his patience and trust in me, and for being such a wonderful guide for my PhD program," said Sreemoye. "I am also thankful to UNT for giving me such opportunities for my higher education."