Second-Year VISP Student Receives International Fellowship

October 29, 2015

A second-year VISP student, Tessay Popay, has been award NZFGW Fellowship from the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women. According to the NZFGW website, the fellowship is a "post-graduate award for women's study or research, usually at a doctoral level," intended to "promote lifelong education and to enable graduate women to use their expertise to effect positive change."

Tessa is a second-year student in the lab of Dr. William Tansey in the department of Cell & Developmental Biology. Her work in the lab includes characterizing the complexes in which the oncoprotein Myc resides. Since Myc is commonly overexpressed in cancer, Tessa believes that understanding how and why it interacts with other proteins can give key insight into the disease and potential treatments. 

During her undergraduate career at the University of Auckland, Tessa spent two months at Vanderbilt with the Vanderbilt International Summer Research Academy. As a VISRA participant, she worked in the Blakely lab helping to identify genes involved in the transport of dopamine in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Tessa says that one of her motivations for applying for the NZFGW fellowship was her passion "to help get more young women into science and to get more equality between men and women in science." She hopes to return to New Zealand one day to help see this dream realized. Tessa was one of 10 fellowship winners for this year.

On behalf of the VISP staff and steering committee, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Tessa!