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Undergraduate Programs
Looking back on the undergraduate career of Cuyler Luck,
Eberly College of Science's Spring 2020 Commencement Marshal

Cuyler Luck presenting his research poster at the University of Pensylvania

Cuyler Luck, a senior majoring in Microbiology, has been selected as an Eberly College of Science Marshal for Spring 2020 commencement.  The College assembled a list of students, all with 4.0 GPA’s and impressive accomplishments, to select from. Luck, alongside Chemistry Major Sojung Kim, were selected to receive the distinct honor bestowed upon the top student(s) in the Eberly College of Science.

Luck, a native of State College Pennsylvania, has always had an interest and affinity for problem solving and finding creative solutions.  As a child he loved many types of science, but it wasn’t until he took both a molecular & cellular biology and a genetics course at State College Area High School that his interest narrowed.  

Watching his brother, then an undergraduate student, take advantage of a number of opportunities at Penn State showed Luck that the university could provide excellent resources and training to help him develop into a scientist. Upon acceptance to Penn State, Luck was also admitted to both the Schreyer Honors College and the Millennium Scholars Program.

Given his prior experiences in high school, Luck started his Penn State career as a Science pre-major, intending on pursuing a Biology degree with a genetics option.  Knowing that he also had an interest in microbiology, he took introductory microbiology courses alongside his biology courses.  After a year and a half Luck realized that his interest in microbiology began to outshine that of his biology courses and therefore decided to make a switch and pursue a degree in microbiology.

Cuyler Luck working in the laboratory

As a Millennium Scholar, Luck joined the lab of Dr. Manuel Llinás where he studies the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and has been a part of two projects within the lab.  The first project attempted to identify drug-to-drug interactions between two experimental antimalarials for the purpose of helping to inform their suitability as a combination therapy. The second seeks to understand how the growth of the parasite in different lipid supplements affects its metabolism, as well as understanding what specific metabolites in different supplements may change characteristics of the parasite. 

Luck has also pursued summertime research opportunities in labs outside of Penn State and considers the experiences to be at the top of his academic resume. “Earning those summer research positions demonstrated that my Penn State education and the opportunities available here have helped me develop into a scientist who is able to work with researchers at other top institutions in the nation”, said Luck.  In 2017 he worked with Dr. Blaine Bartholomew at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center studying mutations in the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex and in both 2018 and 2019 he worked alongside Dr. Lewis Chodosh at the University of Pennsylvania trying to quantify cells in models of breast cancer tumor dormancy.

When asked what it means to him to have been selected as a Marshal for the Eberly College of Science, Luck said “It's actually deeply personal, because I'm following in the footsteps of my brother, Josh Bram, who was an Eberly College of Science Marshal in the Spring of 2016. I am extremely honored to be recognized by the college, and I hope that I can reflect well on Penn State in my future career.”

 

Cuyler Luck with his brother Joshua Brag who was also a College Marshal

Cuyler Luck and his brother Joshua Bram who also served as an
Eberly College of Science Commencement Marshal

After graduation he will be attending The University of California, San Francisco, in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, to earn a Ph.D focused in cancer biology.  He hopes that one day he will have the opportunity to teach at the university level and train the next generation of scientists.

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