Amanda Hayward, ARCS MN Scholar alum, was awarded the 2017 Award for Outstanding Performance as a Teaching Assistant for the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences. This award is a reflection of her exemplary effort towards fostering undergraduate education. Amanda says she is honored to receive this award because she was nominated by her students. The lab course she taught was time intensive and difficult and the award made her realize that every second she devoted to the course was worth it.
Amanda is scheduled to receive her PhD in the fall of 2018. Her thesis project revolves around a protein called dystroglycan that connects the outside of the cell with the inside. This connection is important during muscle contraction, and a disconnection can cause muscular dystrophy. She has shown that muscular dystrophy mutations in dystroglycan cause it to be cut by molecular scissors, called proteases, breaking the link between the outside and the inside of the cell. This suggests that blocking this cutting may be a valuable therapeutic avenue.
When she graduates, she hopes to pursue a career in scientific writing in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.