CLEMSON — Matt Hapstack of Greenville, a biological sciences student at Clemson University, was awarded a prestigious $4,000 fellowship from the American Society of Microbiology (ASM).

The highly competitive undergraduate research fellowships are awarded each summer for projects spanning 10-12 weeks, giving students the experience of greater independence and responsibility in the lab.

The award allowed him to work on a lab research project titled “The effect of stress on protein translation in Entamoeba histolytica,” a deadly single-cell pathogen responsible for 100,000 annual deaths worldwide, mainly by caused by amoebic dysentery.

“I worked in Dr. (Lesly) Temesvari’s lab this past spring, and she suggested I apply for the fellowship,” said Hapstack. “I was required to submit a formal research project proposal, a personal statement, transcripts and professor recommendations to ASM for their consideration.”

Hapstack is interested in health care and research. He is studying Entamoeba histolytica, which survives attempts by the host to destroy it, but the underlying mechanisms of escape are not clear. As a first step in addressing this problem, Hapstack  examines how the synthesis of the pathogen’s proteins varies during the infection cycle.

In addition to the $4,000 fellowship, the award covers travel expenses to the American Society of Microbiology annual meeting and a two-year gift membership to the society. Hapstack has also been invited to present his research at a Eukaryotic Pathogens Innovation Center (EPIC) symposium in October. Learn more about this project at http://bit.ly/1VYZHCB, EPIC at http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/epic/, or the ASM at http://gm.asm.org.

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