Loyola University Maryland alumnus Francis Quattrone, ’09, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the venom of wasps specific to Turkey. The prestigious scholarship will support Quattrone’s efforts to identify a substance within the venom that could be cloned to create an insecticide.
Established in 1946 to foster scholarship and understanding between the U.S. and other countries, the Fulbright program supports student research abroad.
During his senior year at Loyola, Quattrone researched the venom of wasps native to the U.S. under the direction of David Rivers, Ph.D., professor of biology. As he approached graduation and wanted to pursue his research further, Rivers put him in touch with Fevzi Uçkan, a professor at the University of Kocaeli in Turkey, who immediately invited Quattrone to continue his research there.
“A potential contributing factor to the decline in honeybee populations is the wax moth,” explained Quattrone, an aspiring research physician interested in immunology and toxicology. “These pest populations can be limited by the use of a parasitic wasp (Apanteles galleriae) specific to the northern region of Turkey. Providing evidence that it alters the immune response of the wax moth and identifying the responsible components will establish a foundation to clone this substance for use as a highly specific, environmentally safe bio-insecticide.”
Quattrone, a native of Medford, N.J., graduated last May with a double major in biology and psychology and a minor in German. For the past year he has been enrolled full time in a pre-med post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania where he has been taking required courses for medical school as well as Turkish language classes. This summer, he plans to brush up on laboratory techniques and create a timeline for his research before leaving for Turkey in September. He plans to remain in Turkey until May 2011.
“I am excited for him and relieved because he worked so incredibly hard on this for two years and he was so methodical about everything,” said Arthur Sutherland, Ph.D., director of Loyola’s national fellowships office. “It was a big risk for him to apply for a Fulbright to Turkey without knowing any Turkish already. But Francis is the type of person who thinks about what he wants for the future and not about what he doesn't have at the moment. When he gets to Turkey, he has some specific lab skills that will assist the work already being done there. His expertise in venom gland dissection will be a critical contribution to fulfilling the Fulbright mandate of shared learning.”
Quattrone’s Fulbright is the second awarded to a Loyola student in as many years. Tania Ziegler, ’09, was awarded a Fulbright last year and is currently studying economics in Beijing.
When Quattrone returns from Turkey, he plans to work at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital as a research assistant in the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit while taking the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) and applying to medical schools.
Photo: Quattrone, while abroad in Australia.
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