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Oct. 15, 2015

MSU scientist receives grant to kick-start her research

Michigan State University assistant professor Kristin Parent is one of four early-career women scientists nationwide who have received $50,000 grants to kick-start their academic research careers. The awards were presented Oct. 15 at a ceremony at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

These grants are the first presentation of the Marion Milligan Mason Awards for women in the chemical sciences administered by AAAS, with $2.2 million in funding from the Marion Milligan Mason Fund.

Parent, a member of MSU’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 2013, focuses her research on an approach to understanding the processes of virus assembly and infection.

“I am honored to be one of the recipients of the AAAS Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences,” Parent said. “Virus structure has always fascinated me, and cryo-electron microscopy has been an interest of mine since the time I was a graduate student. Recent advances in technology finally allow us to glean information for large specimens that were previously outside of the scope of cryo-EM.”

One of the goals of this grant program is to help early-career researchers, like Parent, conduct initial experiments that will make them more competitive for federal and other grants. In addition to research funding, the awards program provides leadership development and mentoring opportunities.

“Professor Parent has made excellent progress in getting her research program established,” said Thomas Sharkey, university distinguished professor and chair of MSU’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “She oversaw the installation of the cryo-electron microscopy at MSU and has begun training students and publishing. The award is great recognition of professor Parent’s accomplishments so far and, even more, a recognition of her great potential for research on how viruses attach to cells.”

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