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Penn State Senior Wins Fulbright Fellowship for Research in Germany

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Justin Brumbaugh, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to fund graduate research in Germany. The senior in Penn State's Schreyer Honors College also has been offered a German academic service scholarship known as the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauch Dienstag).

With the estimated $35,000 he will receive from the Fulbright Fellowship,which pays for tuition fees, travel fees, language training, and a monthly stipend, Brumbaugh plans to research molecular interactions that contribute to the development of cystic fibrosis, an inherited and usually fatal disease that causes the lungs to fill with fluids. He will work with Carsten Schultz at the European Molecular Biology Laboratories in Heidelberg, Germany, while attending classes part-time at the University of Heidelberg. "We will be working to find the molecular basis for cystic fibrosis," Brumbaugh said. "I am excited about this opportunity. You learn so much from lab experience."

Brumbaugh, a biochemistry and molecular biology major with a chemistry minor, is no stranger to the laboratory. Since his junior year, he has done research at Penn State with his adviser, Sarah Ades, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. His research has focused on a particular gene in the bacteria E. coli that is responsible for the cell's rod-like shape. "It's significant because it was not previously known how bacterial cells maintain their shape," Brumbaugh said.

Ades said she enjoys working with Brumbaugh. "He is very intelligent, hard-working, conscientious, and intellectually curious. He cares deeply about his work," she said. "It has been rewarding for me to watch as he developed his scientific skills over the past two years."

Because the two awards were bestowed to Brumbaugh for the same year, he was unable to accept both and chose to accept the Fulbright Fellowship.

This is not the first time Brumbaugh has been simultaneously offered multiple awards. Last year, he was awarded a Pfizer Fellowship for undergraduate research during the summer, as well as a similar fellowship from the American Society for Microbiology. He accepted the Pfizer Fellowship, which he used to fund some of his research with Ades. He also has received a national scholarship from the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Agency, in addition to various awards from the Schreyer Honors College, Penn State's Eberly College of Science, and the University's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

This also is also not the first time Brumbaugh will be traveling abroad. He visited Heidelberg when he was in high school on a trip with the school's German club, and he studied abroad during the spring of 2002 in Melbourne, Australia. He said, "I think spending time in another country is very important and eye-opening. Being abroad has given me an entirely different view of the world."

Brumbaugh took four semesters of German while in high school at General McLane High School in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, as well as another semester during his freshman year at Penn State. The fellowship will pay for an additional six weeks of training in German. Ades said, "Because he chose to carry out his fellowship in Germany, Justin had to excel in two areas. He not only had to be a top student scientifically, but he also had to know a foreign language." She added, "He already is working independently in the lab at the level of a graduate student. He is well prepared to embark on his graduate studies and undoubtedly will succeed."

After completing his fellowship, Brumbaugh hopes to return to the United States to pursue a graduate degree in biochemistry.

Brumbaugh is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society, as well as the Nittany Chemical Society and the Fly Fishing Club at Penn State. He also is involved with the Arnelle Fly Fishing Initiative, a Penn State program that teaches multicultural students the basics of fly fishing and takes them on a fishing trip. "Fly fishing is a passion to me, and it is very rewarding to bring my pastime into the kids' lives and to see how much they enjoy it," Brumbaugh said.

This semester, Brumbaugh is a teaching assistant for a kinesiology course, "Principles of Fly Fishing," and for a biochemistry course. In past summers, he has worked at the Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp, an intensive, weeklong summer course that teaches Pennsylvania high school students about the environment.

Justin is the son of John Brumbaugh, of Carlisle, and Brenda Nakoski, of SanAntonio, Texas.

[ K N / B K K ]

Justin Brumbaugh, jjb334@psu.edu
Sarah Ades, 814-863-1088, ades@psu.edu

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