Highlighting the productive partnership between Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Samema Sarowar, a biosciences student at SBU, has been awarded the 2016 Renate W. Chasman scholarship.
Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS), a not-for-profit organization at BNL, offers the scholarship to qualified candidates to encourage women to pursue careers in science, engineering, or mathematics. The University co-manages BNL, joining an elite group of universities — including Princeton, Stanford, the University of California, and the University of Chicago — that run federal laboratories.
Sarowar has been working with Stony Brook biochemistry professor Huilin Li, who holds a joint appointment with BML, studying the role and structure of membrane uropathogenic bacterial pili, hair-like appendages found on the surface of many bacteria, and their role in cellular infection and invasion. This research may potentially influence the treatment (and possibly the prevention) of urinary tract infections.
The scholarship is named after the late Renate W. Chasman, a noted physicist who worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Chasman’s legacy includes contributions to the development of particle accelerators. BWIS has awarded the scholarship honoring Chasman annually since 1987. Under current guidelines, the $1,000 scholarship is offered to a woman who is pursuing a career in natural sciences, engineering, or mathematics. The scholarship has been awarded to 32 women since its inception.
In addition to receiving the Chasman Scholarship, Sarowar has received numerous awards. In 2013, she received Brookhaven Lab’s John Dunn Excellence Award in Biosciences and SBU’s Biochemistry Outstanding Service Award. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Jerome Karle Award in Chemistry from The City College of New York.
At SBU, Sarowar serves as a teaching assistant in the Department of Biochemistry, coordinating undergraduate biology lectures and laboratories. She is also an instructor for the Stony Brook Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program.
“I am honored to receive the Chasman Scholarship because it helps highlight my background as a woman in science working on women’s health issues,” said Sarowar. “I became interested in structural biology because I found that understanding the mechanism and function of diseases and 3D visualization is fundamental. My experience at Brookhaven Lab will help me with scientific communication and as a liaison between drug companies and health care providers.”