IPiB Graduate Aryel Clarke Earns Science Communication Award

Aryel ClarkeRecent IPiB graduate Aryel Clarke has received a 2022 Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy (WISL) Award for Communicating Ph.D. Research to the Public for including a chapter in her dissertation to describe her research to non-science audiences. Her thesis is titled, “LGD-1 regulation of ESCRT-III during multivesicular endosome biogenesis.”

Clarke’s research focused on a group of proteins that help maintain and remodel cellular membranes. The Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport (ESCRT) machinery are found across many species of organisms, including mammals and other vertebrates, plants, fungi, and unicellular organisms. They help seal the nuclear envelope after genome duplication, transport membrane proteins to lysosomes (a cell’s “recycling centers”), promote membrane severing when necessary, and more. This body of work helps add to scientists’ understanding of how cells maintain and remodel their membranes, Clarke says.

Clarke now teaches biochemistry and general chemistry lab and lecture courses at UW–La Crosse.

In 2010, WISL Director Bassam Shakhashiri started a program to encourage Ph.D. students in the chemical sciences to include a thesis chapter geared at a general audience and pledged a cash award from the organization for each successfully completed chapter. The goal of the chapters is to explain the candidate’s scholarly research and its significance to a wider audience that could include family members, friends, civic groups, newspaper reporters, state legislators, or members of the U.S. Congress. The award mechanism has since expanded to other fields of science around campus.

Numerous other IPiB graduate students and graduate students working in labs of IPiB faculty have received the award in the past, including Josie Mitchell of the Wildonger Lab, Justin McKetney of the Coon Lab, and Keren Turton of the Mosher Lab.