McNulty Scholar Marisa Egan graduated on Saturday with a B.S. in Biology, and minors in Mathematics, Philosophy and Chemistry. For the past four years, Marisa worked under the mentorship of biologist Shaan Bhatt, Ph.D., to engineer the first chromosomal mutations of an emerging, diarrheal pathogen, E. albertii, and to uncover the virulence repertoire of this pathogen. Closely related to strains of E. coli, E. albertii could be the causative agent of millions of cases of food-borne illnesses around the world. Marisa’s research should aid in the future development of effective therapies against this pathogen.
Marisa has presented her work at many conferences, most recently at the American Society of Microbiology Microbe 2017 in New Orleans, LA; the Sigma Xi National Research Conference in Atlanta, GA in Fall 2016; and the 2nd World Congress on Infections Diseases in Philadelphia, PA in Summer 2016. She has authored several articles about her work as well, which have appeared in publications such as Pathogens and Disease (2016), Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology (2016), Gene and Translational Bioinformatics (2016), and Biological Procedures Online (2016). She is currently in the process of preparing two more manuscripts, as well.
Her work has earned her several commendations, most notably a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship last spring. She has also received research awards including the American Society of Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship, the Thermo Scientific Pierce Scholarship Award and the National Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research Award. This spring, she was named one of 40 finalists for the prestigious Hertz Fellowship.
While at SJU, Marisa has served as President of the campus chapters of the Pi Mu Epsilon honorary mathematics society and the Phi Sigma Pi honor fraternity. She served as the Supplemental Instruction Leader and Mentor for the General Biology-Cells course, as the Teaching Assistant for Microbiology Lab, and as the Supplemental Instruction Leader for Calculus III. She also served as a two-time Chair of the McNulty Scholars booth at the Philadelphia Science Festival.
This weekend, Marisa received the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award, the University Student Senate 2018 Senior Scholarship Award and the Phi Sigma Pi 2018 Senior Sally Siebert Award. She leaves SJU to pursue her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, with a 5-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Congratulations, Marisa! We can’t wait to see what awaits you at Penn!