When our professors’ work sends them into the spotlight, our students tend to be right along with them. In this particular case, biology professor Angie Hilliker’s students have a new opportunity for research advancement — all thanks to their professor and a nearly $406,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

This large grant is enabling Hilliker’s lab to research a particular enzyme and to determine how cells make protein. For the non-scientists in our crew, this work is underway with a goal of improving anti-viral drugs.

“In humans, this protein can be hijacked by viruses like HIV, which forces our cells to become virus factories,” Hilliker explains. “By understanding how this protein works … we might uncover some new targets for anti-viral drugs.”

The three-year NIH grant will fund work for nine student researchers over the summer. It is also funding a post-baccalaureate position, giving a student the opportunity to remain on campus the year after graduation to enhance their research in preparation for graduate school.

It’s work like this — done right here on our campus — and recognition from others for our research advancements that make us proud to be part of the Spider Family.

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