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Graduate student awarded prestigious fellowship from National Science Foundation

Paige (Elizabeth) Bond, a doctoral student in the biomedical sciences graduate program at Penn State College of Medicine, has been selected as a fellow for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) in 2024. Bond is the first student from the College of Medicine to be selected for this fellowship.

The GRFP recognizes graduate students who are advancing research and teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Bond, whose background is in biochemistry, is one of the 1,500 fellows selected from over 12,000 applicants.

For the five-year fellowship, Bond will focus on identifying deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) changes that influence traits and disorders more prevalent in women than men, such as many autoimmune diseases. She is particularly interested in finding genes on the sex chromosomes since role of these gender determinants in human genetic disorders is often ignored.

Under the joint supervision of Laura Carrel, PhD, and Dajiang Liu, PhD, Bond will use a combination of experimental and computational approaches to link DNA alterations to genes that are disrupted in autoimmune disorders to better understand disease mechanisms and find people who are at highest risk.

“Paige is a very worthy recipient of this award,” Liu said. “Her science is at the forefront of human genetics. Her ability and interest in utilizing multiple approaches will be key for understanding the molecular basis of autoimmune disorders.”

NSF fellows are required to translate their scientific knowledge and findings to the general public. Bond is building a website that will describe what her studies find on the X chromosome. This site will include information of interest to high school and college students and clinical geneticists alike.

“It is a great honor to receive this award,” Bond said. “In our increasingly interconnected world, it is imperative that we conduct interdisciplinary research to tackle complex problems from multiple angles. I am excited to see what we can accomplish through the blending of data science, genomics and molecular genetics to improve patient outcomes.”

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