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Biochemistry student awarded Goldwater Scholarship

Central Michigan University junior biochemistry major, Macy Knoblock, has been captivated by the mechanisms by which things work since she was a child.

That fascination and insatiable desire to learn has led to the Ubly, Michigan, native earning a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

Macy Knoblock

“The coursework in my biochemistry degree has given me the tools to begin appreciating and exploring these complexities but has also inspired my interest in applying chemistry to solve biological and medical problems,” she said.

Through her studies, Knoblock’s interests lie in how next-generation sequencing data is utilized to study transcriptomic changes underlying distinct cellular states.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, I collaborated remotely with my professor, Dr. Xantha Karp, to compile data on the expression of collagen genes at different larval stages and identified any that were expressed specifically at different stages,” she said.

Professors and mentors have been integral in her personal and professional development since beginning at CMU. Knoblock credits several who continue to support and invest in her education.

In 2021, Knoblock completed a 10-week internship working in the Bioluminescent Optogenetics Lab alongside CMU College of Medicine researcher, Dr. Ute Hochgeschwender. The internship, made possible through the National Science Foundation’s NeuroNex Program, allowed Knoblock to pursue her interest in biomedical research, even as an undergraduate student.

“In the lab, the level of trust Dr. Hochgeschwender and {graduate assistant} Emmanuel Crespo placed in me and the challenges they entrusted me with pushed me to grow and fostered my independence as a researcher,” said Knoblock. “Dr. Karp and Matthew Wirick have been incredible mentors over the past three years and have guided me as I have learned basic lab skills, effective scientific communication, and experimental design. I am incredibly appreciative of all the support and time these individuals have invested in my education. ” 

Knoblock will receive $7,500 in aid from the Goldwater Scholarship for her senior undergraduate year to further her research and education. She is the fifth Goldwater Scholarship winner at CMU, following winners in 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2021.

“Winning such a prestigious award and being recognized nationally as an outstanding undergraduate researcher affirms to me that I am capable of pursuing a career in science and have found where I am meant to be,” said Knoblock. 

There were 1,242 applicants from 433 institutions seeking the award from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence Education Foundation. Knoblock is one of 417 college students from across the U.S. to receive the award.