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Becca Casazza (Lazear lab) and Lacey Lopez (Arthur lab) were awarded Dissertation Completion Fellowships for the 2021-22 academic year. The fellowships, awarded by The Graduate School, provide at least $18,000 in stipend, and pay tuition, fees, and health insurance in full. Casazza and Lopez continue a long line of success for MCRO students, 11 of whom have earned Dissertation Completion Fellowships in the past five years.

Casazza’s development and use of a mouse model of Zika infection investigates the interplay of viral infection, the immune response, and the placenta. Her studies have potential applications for mitigation of birth defects. Lopez’s research focuses on understanding the bacterial stress response in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Findings from her research will aid in the development of future treatment for the increasing number of U.S. adults diagnosed with IBD.

In addition, Lopez was chosen for lifetime membership in the Royster Society of Fellows, and is only the 6th MCRO student to earn this honor. The Royster Society emphasizes interdisciplinary interactions, and selections are based on outstanding academic and professional experience and achievement.