Athens, Ga. – Erin Hollander, a junior Honors student majoring in biochemistry and genetics at the University of Georgia, was one of 60 presenters selected out of hundreds of applicants from institutions across the country to present her research at the nation’s capital during the 20th annual Posters on the Hill event held in Washington, D.C., on April 19-20.
Posters on the Hill highlights exceptional undergraduate research by allowing students the opportunity to showcase their work and advocate for undergraduate research to congressional representatives. Each year, hundreds of attendees, including legislators, their staffers and federal program representatives, view the presentations.
“It is wonderful that UGA students continue to receive this impressive recognition, and I am very proud of Erin individually,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of UGA’s Honors Program. “Erin is a dedicated and gifted researcher who has worked hard and has been well supported by her faculty mentors. I look forward to following her work in the future.”
The event, which is sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research, helps raise awareness of the high-quality research undergraduate students pursue, the impact of this research on students’ professional preparation and the importance of continued investment in and expansion of undergraduate research support.
Hollander has been a recipient of the university’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Research Assistantship and recently received a CURO Summer Fellowship. Her research and presentation in Washington, D.C., focus on the system of genes within bacteria known as the CRISPR-Cas system and analyzes how these genes, specifically the Cas portion, interact to protect bacteria, similar to how the immune system protects a human. She works with Streptococcus thermophilus, a bacterium that is especially important to the dairy industry.
“It seemed like a very cool opportunity to go to Capitol Hill and talk with politicians about science and to share the real advances that are being made and how they can translate into benefits for everyone,” said Hollander, a Franklin College of Arts and Sciences student who in 2015 received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.
Hollander is an undergraduate research assistant for Michael Terns, a Distinguished Research Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She worked as a young scholar in the labs of Wayne Parrott and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Steven Stice in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and was awarded the 2014 DAAD RISE scholarship to intern with Georg Sczakiel in Luebeck, Germany.
Hollander is a recipient of the Foundation Fellowship-UGA’s premier undergraduate scholarship-and an active member of the Roosevelt Institute and the Undergraduate Neuroscience Organization at UGA. She is currently working on her honors thesis in biochemistry and genetics and applying to M.D./Ph.D. programs.