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April 17, 2017   Inside UGA

Two undergraduates receive 2017 Goldwater Scholarship

Stephanie Schupska

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By Stephanie Schupska | April 17, 2017
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UGA juniors and Honors Program students Morgan Gibbs and Mallory Harris are among 240 students across the nation to be recognized as Barry Goldwater Scholars, earning the highest undergraduate award of its type for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.

Gibbs and Harris are each studying in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Gibbs, from Peachtree City, is majoring in chemistry and minoring in pharmaceutical sciences. Harris, from Dunwoody, is pursuing mathematical sciences with a concentration in computational biology. Both plan to earn doctorates in their ­respective fields.

"Once again, multiple UGA­­ ­students have received the ­­prestigious Goldwater Scholarship—a clear signal of the strength of undergraduate education at this great institution," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "As Morgan and Mallory continue on their academic and career paths, I have no doubt their research discoveries will help to improve lives around the world. The University of Georgia is very proud of them."

Since 1995, 53 UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship, all of whom have been members of the Honors Program.

"I am so pleased for Morgan and Mallory," said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of the Honors Program, who serves as the UGA campus faculty representative for the Goldwater Scholarship. "As individuals, they each richly deserve this recognition. Together, they represent the quality of UGA's undergraduate research program and the strong support that faculty members provide to our students."

Gibbs plans to obtain a doctorate in medicinal chemistry and intends to pursue a career in the interdisciplinary field of drug discovery and design. Her interests span a variety of drug design techniques, and she wants to use these techniques to combat chronic diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

She currently conducts research in assistant professor Arthur Roberts' laboratory in the UGA College of Pharmacy, where they study drug-protein interactions with the multidrug resistance transporter protein P-glycoprotein.

Gibbs is a trombonist in the Redcoat Marching Band, in the UGA trombone choir and for the volleyball and basketball bands; vice president of the UGA chapter of the American Chemical Society; and a two-time CURO Research Assistant. This summer, she will participate in the National Institutes of Health's internship program. She also participated in the pediatric oncology education internship program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Harris, a UGA Foundation Fellow, plans to obtain a doctorate in computational biology and aims to conduct research and teach at the intersection of mathematics and biology. After receiving a Ph.D., she hopes to study disease systems at the biochemical and population levels. Specifically, she wants to develop more accurate diagnostic tests and precisely targeted treatment strategies based on genetic indicators, supporting a shift from reactionary to preventive approaches to epidemiology.

She is working with professor John Drake in the Odum School of Ecology, studying vector-borne disease forecasting. She also conducts research in associate professor Juan Gutierrez's Biomathematics Research Group in the Franklin College, integrating multi-omic data sets to understand the pathways affected by malaria infection and treatment in non-human primates.

UGA also received one honorable mention from the Goldwater Scholarship competition. Sophomore Ruth Schade, a Foundation Fellow from Marlborough, Massachusetts, is majoring in nutritional science and hopes to pursue a doctorate in immunology.