This April, at the annual meeting for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in Chicago, University seniors Jennifer Cascino, Kaileen Fei, Julianne Riggs, Rachel Savage, and Stacy Uchendu were inducted into the ASBMB Honor Society.

“The ASBMB Honor Society (ΧΩΛ) recognizes exceptional undergraduate juniors and seniors pursuing degrees in the molecular life sciences at colleges or universities with ASBMB Student Chapters,” the society’s website reads. “Students are recognized for their scholarly achievement, research accomplishments, and outreach activities.”

In order to be nominated for the honor society, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.4, conduct extensive research, and receive several recommendations from professors or advisors. Riggs and Cascino were eligible for induction, in part, due to their work in Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Scott Holmes.

“We [studied] organization of DNA in the yeast genome, specifically the role of proteins known as histones in gene expression and genomic stability,” Riggs explained in an email to The Argus. “I stayed the summers of 2015 and 2016, which were super fun and productive times. I got the ASBMB Undergraduate Research award the spring of my junior year and that helped fund me to attend the Genetics Society of America conference in Orlando in the summer of 2016 and the ASBMB Experimental Biology meeting this April in Chicago.”

Along with working in Professor Holmes’ lab, Cascino spent a summer at the National Cancer Institute researching the genetics of viral control of host physiology in E. coli. Despite her various interesting experiences, Cascino says she most enjoyed the time she has spent working with younger students.

“I was a course assistant for Intro Biology Lab and had a class of 14 students that I got to teach and lead through what was most of their first laboratory experiences,” Cascino said. “This year I have also been participating in Wesleyan Science Outreach, which is a club that coordinates volunteers to give science demonstrations at local elementary schools. I absolutely love working with the kids and seeing those moments when they start to think critically about the world around them and to get curious about exploring its limits.”

Her work has opened the door to future career opportunities as well; after graduation, she is headed to Spain on a Fulbright Grant that will allow her to work at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO), or National Cancer Research Center.

Both students said that it was an honor to be inducted. This year, membership was only extended to 41 students.

Along with the honor society inductees, two other students from the University, juniors Christine Little and Cody Hecht, were honored, receiving research grants of $1,000 each. These awards will help their fund summer research.

For more information about the inductees, visit

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