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College of Science students earn national recognition and awards from the APS

May 4, 2018

group shot sarathyCuriosity is one of the most powerful ingredients in learning and this year at BenU’s College of Science, five different students demonstrated a love for discovery that led to national recognition and awards from the American Physiological Society (APS).

Under the guidance of Jayashree Sarathy, Ph. D, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Ugne Dinsmonaite, Mohammed Haq, Emily Gornick, Yechan Kim and Sara Checco, each earned either an award or research grant that will undoubtedly help them realize their professional potential and showcase their unique talents.

“It is exciting each year to be able to mentor research students and hone their presentation skills so they are able to travel to national meetings and share their findings with the scientific community,” said Sarathy. “Year after year, students from BenU’s College of Science earn these type of opportunities which adds so much to their education.”

Here’s a look at this year’s student accomplishments from the APS:


Junior, Ugne Dinsmonaite was the recipient of the Short-Term Research Education Program to Increase Diversity in Health-Related Research (STRIDE). Dinsmonaite, who is interested in exploring a career in biomedical research and dentistry, was selected based on academic merit, the quality of her research project and with the help of Dr. Sarathy, who will serve as her research mentor.

Dinsmonaite will receive a $4,000 stipend to participate in a 10-week research experience and an additional $1,200 in travel funds to present her research at the APS annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2019 in Orlando FL. An additional $500 is also provided for lab supplies to support her work.


Junior, Mohammed Haq has an interest in becoming a clinical researcher and this summer he will get a chance to further that interest as the recipient of the Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship (UGSRF).

Designed to support up to 24 full-time undergraduate students nationally, Haq will receive a $4,000 stipend, $1,300 for experimental biology travel support, and $300 (for the research host) to work in a laboratory of an established investigator, Dr. Sarathy.

Haq will join Dinsmonaite at the Experimental Biology annual meeting next year to present his findings.


Emily GornickEarning one APS award isn’t easy. Two is rare. Emily Gornick nearly took home three this year. The talented senior won the Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horowitz Outstanding Undergraduate Abstract Award and the Undergraduate Research Award.

The Abstract Award provided Emily a $100, a 2-year complimentary undergraduate student membership with the APS and the opportunity to present research at this year’s Experimental Biology meeting. In addition, it made her eligible to compete for (and ultimately win) the Undergraduate Research Award at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego. The Undergraduate Research Award earned Emily a certificate and $400 check. According to Dr. Sarathy, four students from her lab have won this award in the past few years. Emily nearly garnered a third APS award by placing among the top three for the Robert Gunn Student Award, where she competed against and undergraduate and several doctorial and post-doctoral candidates.


Senior, Yechan Kim outdistanced the competition to take home the Epithelial Transport Group Meritorious Research Award. The only undergraduate student to present at the Pre-Experimental Biology Epithelial Transport Group Symposium, seasoned investigators were impressed by Kim’s confidence during his presentation in addition to his research which earned him a travel award of $200. This is the third consecutive year a student from Dr. Sarathy’s lab has taken home this honor.


saraSenior, Sara Checco won the APS Local Undergraduate Research Award in Physiology. The Local Award allows an APS member to recognize undergraduate excellence in physiology research at their home institution. Judged by three Benedictine faculty members, Checco’s award package included a certificate, an APS t-shirt, and a free one-year undergraduate APS membership.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the ninth consecutive year in 2019. Benedictine University was also named the second-safest campus in the country and safest campus in Illinois by in 2019. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information about the University, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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