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2021 Beckman Scholars

Rachel Jones and Sahar Kanishka of the School of Biological Sciences won the 2021 Beckman Scholars Award, a 15-month mentored research experience with a $21,000 stipend.

PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Crawley/College of Science

Rachel Jones (left) and Sahar Kanishka (right).

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The University of Utah has awarded two School of Biological Sciences students the prestigious Beckman Scholars Award for 2021-22. Rachel Jones and Sahar Kanishka will work with faculty mentors, Julie Hollien and Jamie Gagnon, respectively, from June 2021 to August 2022 in their labs.

Jones’ project, “Role of p62 in alternative degradation of Huntingtin protein,” aims to better understand how the protein p62 is involved in the degradation of the toxic mutant form of the protein that underlies Huntington’s disease. Kanishka’s project, “Lineage tracing in zebrafish with CRISPR prime editing,” aims to develop lineage tracing with prime editing to understand the mechanisms of heart regeneration in zebrafish.

The Beckman is an unprecedented opportunity, perhaps found nowhere else, in which an undergraduate researcher can hone their craft at the bench and under extraordinary mentorship. Funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the program is a 15-month, mentored research experience for exceptional undergraduate students in chemical and biological sciences. Each scholar receives a $21,000 research stipend to facilitate nine academic calendar months and two three-month summers of research experience. Recipients from around the nation participate in the celebrated Beckman Symposium each summer with one another. Their research begins in June 2021 and will conclude in August 2022.

Last year SBS’s Sonia Sehgal was awarded the prize. She is now completing her mentorship with Martin Horvath in his lab.