UMPI Student Receives National Fellowship for the Sciences

Lydia Tilley and Miranda Lento prepare reagents in the student lab

     A University of Maine at Presque Isle sophomore, Lydia Tilley, has received a 2017 American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship. Tilley received the award in April 2017 for her excellent research in recognizing and comparing genes in pathogens that are immune to antibiotics. Pathogens are bacteria or viruses that can cause disease. The ASM Fellowship received 128 applicants. Only 19, however, received the award. Tilley got a payment of $4,000 and $2,000 for travel expenses.

     The award allowed her to spend 10 weeks of summer research with UMPI Assistant Professor of Biology Larry Feinstein. The two spent their time researching and identifying new targets for antibiotic therapy. Fortunately, they had the opportunity to share their studies at the 44th Annual Maine Biological and Medical Sciences Symposium in Bar Harbor.

     “Going to Bar Harbor was a really cool experience for me because I had much older graduate students talking to me,” Tilley said. Feinstein and Tilley are hoping to have their research results become a contribution to upcoming studies on antibiotic therapy.

     Only a freshman at the time of receiving the award, Tilley is incredibly young to be receiving such a prestigious fellowship. She originally wanted to pursue a career as a veterinarian. Then she realized her potential in and fascination with biology and decided to major in medical laboratory technology and biology.

     This honor that Tilley has received demonstrates to the public just how much UMPI and its faculty are contributing to our students’ success. “Dr. Feinstein treated me like an adult and was really good at explaining things, which allowed me to learn a lot from him. He is a wonderful mentor and excellent at getting me involved in research,” Tilley said. Tilley will travel to Atlanta in early June and present both her own and Feinstein’s research at the International Conference for the American Society of Microbiology.

     “Lydia’s future is whatever she wants to make it. She is very determined and can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to. I have no doubt that whatever she ends up pursuing is what she’ll end up doing,” Feinstein said.

     Whatever their majors, UMPI is dedicated to helping its students find the most opportunities to help them achieve success.