Berks student takes first place poster award at Drosophila Research Conference

READING, Pa. — Cezary Mikoluk, a senior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State Berks, received top honors in the undergraduate poster award competition at the 58th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in San Diego, California, held March 29-April 2.

Mikoluk received the 1st Place Undergraduate Poster Award for his presentation titled "The regulation of lipid storage by tra and traz in Drosophila.” As a Penn State Schreyer’s Scholar, he also completed his thesis based on this project.

"My research involves understanding the genes important for controlling fat storage, using the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as the model system,” explains Mikoluk. “I have found that altering the processing of genes important for lipid metabolism results in obese animals. Due to the many similarities between flies and humans, we hope these findings will be used to further understand human metabolic diseases."

Justin DiAngelo, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and Mikoluk’s research mentor, adds, “Cezary is an excellent researcher. I tasked him with a technically challenging project and he rose to the occasion, functioning very independently, much like a graduate student. Cezary generated high quality and interesting data, which has been recognized by the Drosophila research community by awarding his poster presentation.”

Mikoluk has been accepted into the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, where he will pursue a degree in medicine.

The Annual Drosophila Research Conference is sponsored by The Genetics Society of America. This is the premier meeting for students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff and principal investigators studying Drosophila melanogaster. The mission of the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is to deepen our understanding of the living world by advancing the field of genetics.