MMC Biology Students Named to Honor Society

May 20, 2014
Three Marymount Manhattan College Biology majors have been inducted into the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Honor Society (Chi Omega Lambda), which recognizes exceptional undergraduate juniors and seniors pursuing a degree in the molecular life sciences at a college or university that is a member of the Undergraduate Affiliate Network (UAN).

The MMC Biology majors inducted into Chi Omega Lambda in 2014 are Catherine Gaissert, Victoria McIlrath, and Alice Trye.

Students are recognized for their scholarly attainment, research accomplishments and outreach activities in the molecular life sciences.

Only 37 students across the country were inducted into this competitive honor society. Visit The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology website for more information.

About the Honor Society Members
Catherine Gaissert is a junior biology major at Marymount Manhattan College. She is the recipient of the Trustees’ Scholarship and has been on the Dean’s List for four semesters.

Catherine GaissertCatherine Gaissert

Her interest in research began when she volunteered in an endocrinology lab at Columbia University Medical Center under the direction of Dr. John Sanil Manavalan during the summer of 2013. There she performed many tasks including isolating peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patient blood samples to research osteoclast precursor cells in those with osteoporosis.  She currently works with Dr. Benedetta Sampoli Benitez at Marymount Manhattan College researching the leaching of Bisphenol-A (BPA) from food cans and the link between BPA ingestion and obesity.

In addition to research, Catherine is involved in many outreach programs within her school.  As a member of the Science Society, she volunteers at open houses where she explains to perspective students the benefits of studying the sciences.  She also participates in charity events including an annual event to recruit organ donors within her school.  Catherine plans on continuing her studies in graduate school.  

Victoria McIlrath owes her beginning interests in science and medicine to her parents, both doctors, who filled her childhood with stories of patients, case studies, successful treatments, and “lessons” on health. Her desire to work in medicine, specifically as an MD, is deep-seeded and founded by observations of the medical field and desire to work persistently towards a patient’s recovery.

Over the last three years at Marymount Manhattan College, Victoria has been a member of the Science Society and Psychology Club. She is President of the Pre-Med Club. Victoria has received academic excellence her freshman and sophomore year, and received the Tamburro Family Endowment for Excellence in the Sciences her Freshman year.

Victoria McIlrathVictoria McIlrath

In early 2013, she was offered the opportunity to participate in tissue culture research under Dr. Ann Aguanno, a Professor of Science at MMC. Having acclimated to tissue culture techniques, Victoria is currently studying the effects of chemotherapeutic drugs on mouse mammary tumor (MMT) cell lines which serve as analogues to female breast cancer cells.

Her hobbies outside of school revolve around a full-time job, traveling, photography, and reading.

Being part of the UAN has opened her eyes to advanced scientific research, a network of undergraduates, and opportunities to strengthen her interests. She was honored to write a piece on MMC’s achievements in organ donation in the Winter 2014 issue of the UAN’s journal, Enzymatic. Victoria is grateful to be a part of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and excited for future endeavors with the UAN.

Alice Trye has been interested in science since her freshman year of high school biology. She has a love of asking questions and learning. Deciding to major in biology at Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) allowed her to further develop her love for science through class work and extracurricular activities, such as the Science Society and Pre-Med Club. 

She has served as a Peer Tutor for fellow undergraduates in the areas of biology, chemistry, and mathematics courses, and has also been heavily involved in research since her freshman year.
Alice TryeAlice Trye
Now in her junior year, Alice is continuing her research on the role of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) in neurodegeneration and insulin exocytosis. Her lab uses chemical inhibition of CDK5 in the developing nervous system and pancreas as a means of testing their hypothesis. When not under the tissue culture hood or in the lab, she enjoys theater, listening to music, and walking in Central Park.

Being an executive board member of MMC’s UAN Chapter has made Alice more aware of the importance of research as an undergraduate and beyond. She enjoys presenting her research to other young people because she hopes to inspire others to seek answers to their own questions. After graduation next year, Alice plans on conducting research while applying to graduate programs in public health; she hopes to eventually attend medical school and incorporate the skills she has learned from research in all aspects of her career.