KENNESAW — Kennesaw State University junior Hope Didier’s research project in the McMurry Lab into stopping the spread of cervical cancer cells won the Top Poster Award at the Birla Carbon Symposium, at which the College of Science and Mathematics officially recognized the 10 new Birla Carbon Scholars.

“Providing deeply impactful learning opportunities is a high priority at Kennesaw State University. The rapidly expanding opportunities for undergraduate research at KSU have become valuable experiences for students across the university,” said Kennesaw State President Pamela Whitten, who addressed the large gathering in the Carmichael Student Center’s University Rooms on the Kennesaw Campus. “Opportunities for discovery offer an exciting trajectory for our students, whether they are research in a lab, exploration in a community setting or creation in a studio. Congratulations to our outstanding ten Birla Carbon Scholars.”

Didier of Peachtree City, took the top prize for her research involving the design and subsequent delivery of viral proteins into living cervical cancer cells, which, with future exploration, may serve as a potential alternative option for the treatment of cervical carcinomas.

“I spent the summer doing research that involved the delivery of a viral protein into the cancer cells via a cell-penetrating adaptor system,” she said. “My research showed certain proteins could cause the death of the cancer cDidier plans to continue her research at KSU, using confocal microscopy to assess the efficacy of different proteins. After she graduates in 2020, she hopes to attend medical school and continue her work in the clinical research field.

Along with the $4,000 stipend each scholar received, Didier received an additional $2,000 in travel funds to present her research at a national or regional conference of her choice.

The scholars program was launched in April 2014 with a $250,000 pledge from Birla Carbon for a five-year annual gift of $50,000 to support research opportunities for CSM students. Each year, 10 students receive a $4,000 stipend for summer research in science, mathematics or physics.

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