BY SHAWN PROCTOR
Welcome to part 4 of a 7-part series featuring the 2021 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Monday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the Library’s bi-annual publication.
Falvey Memorial Library is honored to announce the 2021 Falvey Scholar award winners. We will showcase the research of our eight young alumni on the blog and in the fall issue of Mosaic.
Sponsored by the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, the Falvey Scholars program recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. Award winners are selected from a pool of candidates generated by applications submitted by a senior Villanova University student or a group of students working on a senior project together with the recommendation of the advisor to the senior thesis or capstone project completed for academic credit.
Falvey Scholar: Audrey Lawrence
Hometown: Ellicott City, Md.
Other Honors: Villanova Presidential Scholar, Freshman Match Grantee, VURF Grantee (2018 and 2020), CRISSP Recipient (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute Summer Scholars Program)
Project Title: “Use of an Orally Delivered Oxidized Cholesterol to Relieve Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms in a Mouse Model”
Faculty Mentor: Anil K. Bamezai, PhD, Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Learn about Audrey’s research in her own words:
Tell me about your Falvey Scholar Award-winning research project.
I studied a new way to relieve symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), an autoimmune disorder of the gut, via oral delivery of an oxidized cholesterol. The treatment method I studied in vivo targets T cell proliferation and knocks down the pro-inflammatory response associated with IBD.
IBD includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and affects over 10 million people worldwide. This is an exciting example of progress towards a more universally successful treatment option for a patient population suffering from a disease in need of a cure.
How did Falvey Memorial Library support your research?
The staff at Falvey Memorial Library have been an incredible support system through my undergraduate research experience. The very idea that help was always available through the Library staff was incredibly strengthening. It gave me confidence as I learned a new field.
The extensive scope of the Falvey database library has been essential to my success as a researcher. Immunology was a new field to me—it’s one of those fields that you can’t really grasp superficially…you have to delve deep before it makes sense. The Interlibrary Loan program along with Falvey’s extensive list of accessible journals provided me with every tool that I needed to teach myself a new language of science.
What impact did this project have on you?
I absolutely will continue in the field of Immunology as a physician scientist and could see myself focusing on IBD in my career. I love the philosophical side of immunology and care deeply about this patient population, and I am so excited to be a part the research advances that will be made in the coming years.
What’s next for you?
I am doing my gap year at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, working in a Genetics clinical research lab. I plan to apply to MD/PhD programs in the upcoming cycle.
Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.