Undergraduate student Mika Caplan received the Holland Future Scientist Award from the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures.
The microbiology major is part of the Nebraska Institutional Development Award Program (IDeA) Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program, which immerses students in two years of biomedical research that prepares them for graduate school. Students are recommended by professors and begin the program after completing their sophomore year.
Caplan received the $5,000 award at the annual INBRE conference based on the quality of her poster presentation.
“I intend to continue on to pursue a Ph.D. in the biomedical field,” she said. “My research will involve my particular interests in cell biology, immunology, cancer biology, and virology. Following a Ph.D., I hope to advance to postdoctoral training that will best prepare me for a career in academia.”
In the summer of 2018, she worked in Dr. Shannon Buckley's lab in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
“I believe that the opportunity at UNMC helped define the essential research process as well as convince me that a career in science would be a good fit for my curiosity and motivation to learn,” she said.
As the daughter of two scientists, Caplan grew up hearing about research in the lab, which sparked her curiosity in science.
“When I became interested in biology, I started asking my parents endless questions,” she said. “The answers I received were always fascinating, but even more exciting were the questions they couldn't answer.
“I believe that the most enticing part about a career in science is discovering ways to answer these questions that have never been answered before.”