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Pomona College Junior Awarded Pfizer Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Pomona College junior Kyle Lancaster has been awarded a Pfizer Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

Lancaster, a molecular biology major, will use the award to conduct laboratory research this summer.

“What I am doing is engineering a pre-existing enzyme to contain selenium, which is a known but uncommon component of select proteins,” said Lancaster. “By doing so I hope to enhance the enzyme’s performance in detoxifying certain species of oxygen, specifically peroxides, that commonly cause cellular damage. I’ll also be looking at some novel enzyme chemistry; specifically I will be searching for a previously unobserved reactive species.”

Initiated in 1989, the Pfizer Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program targets undergraduate science majors in the areas of biochemistry, biology, chemistry, molecular biology, pharmacy, synthetic organic chemistry and computational chemistry. These competitive awards, sponsored by Pfizer Global Research & Development, are granted on the basis of academic merit, recommendations by faculty members, enthusiasm for science, and a proposal describing original research. Recipients dedicate an entire summer conducting laboratory research at their respective institutions based on their submitted proposals.

The program is open to more than 300 colleges and universities. Interested students must be in good academic standing and have a strong interest in research as a career. Applicants must be nominated by their academic department.

Pomona College is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offering a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.