SENR Graduate Student Awarded NSF Fellowship to Conduct Research in Japan

June 11, 2014

Lumarie Pérez-Guzmán, a graduate student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources is a recipient of the competitive National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (EAPSI) fellowship award for 2014. Pérez-Guzmán is spending the summer in Japan conducting research at Kanazawa University in the lab of Dr. Yoshihiro Fukumori, a professor in the Department of Life Science. The research experience is also funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Dr. Fukumori is an expert with over two decades of experience in research related to magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) and environmental microbiology. His research includes biochemical, and genetic approaches as well as high-resolution microscopy.

Reflecting on the fellowship, Pérez-Guzmán notes that the opportunity to work in Dr. Fukumori’s lab will significantly enhance her development as a scientist in the field of environmental microbiology.  She says, “His laboratory has the equipment, technology and expertise that will help to make this opportunity a very educational, and productive one. I will benefit from working in his lab because his team is currently working on the structural analysis of cell membranes using High Speed Atomic Force Microscopy, and I can learn this technique and apply it to my samples.”  She also notes, “Participating in EAPSI 2014, will create a professional network between our lab at The Ohio State University and Kanazawa University, and will facilitate future collaborations.” 

While in Japan, Pérez-Guzmán will be working on visualization and analysis of bacterial cell membranes using High-Speed Atomic Force Microscopy (HS-AFM). This instrument has an improved performance with higher imaging rates and allows visualizing the structure dynamics and processes of biological molecules directly in physiological solutions at sub-second resolution without affecting the molecule’s function. The results will provide insights on the dynamics of the cell membrane, and a better understanding at processes like transport, osmotic pressure, and diffusion. 
 
High-Speed Atomic Force Microscopy (HS-AFM)
(photo courtesy of Lumarie Pérez-Guzmán)
 
The EAPSI award provides the opportunity for graduate students in science, engineering and education first-hand research experiences in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, or Taiwan. To learn more about the EAPSI fellowship award program visit: http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5284
 
June 2014