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Brianne Pierce: Shaping tomorrow

The number of people being diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases and cancer is climbing at a rapid pace. In the United State alone, more than 5 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s and another 1.5 million are expected to be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year. Brianne Pierce, a junior at Kansas State University in microbiology, is doing her part to change this growing trend.

Under the direction of Jeroen Roelofs, assistant professor of biology, Pierce is investigating proteasome in yeast cells, which are used as a simplified model of human cells. Having a better understanding of how the proteasome functions will allow for a better understanding of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, which could lead to possible preventative measures and treatments.

Pierce has received numerous scholarships and rewards for her research, including a Cancer Research Award from the Johnson Cancer Research Center. Pierce was also nominated for the Goldwater Scholarship where she received honorable mention. “K-State has wonderful professors and advisors that have helped me learn in areas I am passionate about, and helped connect me to the research lab I am in now,” Pierce said.

Students like Pierce are helping K-State reach its goal of becoming a top 50 public research institution by doing undergraduate research. With faculty support, K-State students are able to conduct research that could help shape the world we live in tomorrow.

“Kansas State has been the perfect place for me. I couldn’t ask for more — a wonderful laboratory with great colleagues, amazing professors and generous scholarships,” Pierce said. “All this has led me to where I am today. I thank and praise God for Kansas State University, and am excited to see where I will be going next.”

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