Junior Jessica Resnick Selected as Mercer’s Third Amgen Scholar in Three Years


MACON – Mercer University junior Jessica Resnick, a two-time Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention selection, was recently chosen as an Amgen Scholar and will spend 10 weeks this summer conducting research at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the University's third Amgen Scholar in as many years.

Resnick, a biochemistry and molecular biology major from Woodstock, will study at Washington University from May 30-Aug. 5, where she will work in the lab of a faculty member in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences under the direct mentorship of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

In addition to research, she will participate in lab meetings, scientific and professional development seminars and workshops, and social activities. She will also write a paper and present a scientific poster at the National Amgen Scholars Program Symposium at UCLA in July.

“I am so excited to be selected as an Amgen Scholar. Working at Washington University this summer will allow me to participate in cutting-edge genetic research,” said Resnick. “I couldn't have achieved this honor without the foundation I've gained through my participation in undergraduate research at Mercer with Dr. Clay Pandorf and Dr. Amy Wiles, as well as the continued support of my family and friends. Genetic research has personally impacted my life, and it is my belief that the next great breakthrough in medicine will be through the field of genetics and personalized medicine.”

At Mercer, Resnick works in the labs of Dr. Pandorf, assistant professor of physiology in the School of Medicine, and Dr. Wiles, associate professor of biology in the College of Liberal Arts, on a collaborative project investigating the role of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) in the atrophy of muscle.

“Jessica has made outstanding contributions on a collaborative project to examine the RNA of muscle tissue. This has entailed very complex bioinformatics with Dr. Wiles and “wet lab” research with me to validate the computational data. We have identified and are currently working to characterize several novel long non-coding RNAs that may be important regulators of muscle disuse,” said Dr. Pandorf. “Jessica has been highly motivated and diligent, and the wonderful contribution she has made to this research is getting the acknowledgement she deserves.”

Resnick will present her research at this year's Experimental Biology Conference, April 22-26, in Chicago. She has been selected for the conference's Barbara A. Horwitz/John M. Horowitz Outstanding Undergraduate Abstract Award and will be competing for the David S. Bruce Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. She has previously presented at Mercer's Breakthroughs in Engagement, Arts and Research (BEAR) Day and the 2016 Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego.

As an undergraduate, she is senior resident assistant for Greek Village and campus apartments, a participant in the Research Scholars Track of the University Honors Program, and a member of Chi Omega sorority, Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

She aspires to participate in an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in genetics and molecular biology and to study genetic disease as a professor at a research university.

Amgen Scholars is an international program made possible through a 12-year, $50 million commitment from the Amgen Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge. Each year, the program provides hundreds of selected undergraduate students with the opportunity to engage in hands-on research experiences at 10 of the nation's premier educational institutions.

In addition to their summer research experiences, Amgen Scholars participate in the national symposium at UCLA that allows them to hear firsthand from leading scientists working in industry and academia, as well as have the opportunity to share their research projects with their peers.

The program is designed to prepare students to apply to top-tier graduate and professional schools and foster an understanding of the excitement and trajectory for a career in creating new knowledge. In addition to the U.S., Amgen Scholars are selected in Europe and Japan.

Amgen is a multinational biopharmaceutical company committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. For more information, visit www.amgen.com.