Art History Major, Brandon Smalec Receives National Science Foundation Fellowship

Our very own Brendan Smalec was one of ten UConn students and alumni to receive a fellowship from the National Science Foundation. UConn Today writes this about the award,

Regarded as one of the premier awards in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines, the NSF awarded 2,000 fellowships this year to support students in the early stages of their research-based master’s or doctoral careers. The fellows will receive an annual stipend of $34,000 for three years and $12,000 support for tuition and fees. The awardees also qualify for international research and professional development opportunities. The total value of the fellowship exceeds $138,000.
For this highly competitive award, applicants must submit research proposals, which are reviewed by expert scientists in their field. NSF fellowship recipients, as well as honorable mentions, represent the most promising young scientists in the nation, and the awards are seen as “investments that will help propel this country’s future innovations and economic growth,” according to a statement released by the agency.

Brendan’s research consists of examining cancer susceptibility and progression in a non-traditional mammalian model, specifically, the Peromyscus leucopus, or white-footed mouse. Working with an inbred line of P. leucopus found to be highly susceptible to developing an adenocarcinoma (cancer from a glandular origin) of the Harderian gland, the project seeks to determine what genetic signatures are present in the inbred mice line that predispose them to developing this cancer, and also what makes it so highly metastatic, since metastasis is usually the cause of death in most cancer-related fatalities.

Along with a BA and MA in Biology, Brendan is also receiving a second degree in Art History from the UConn School of Fine Arts.

See the full story in UConn Today