Alexis Valentin-Vargas, a graduate trainee in the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP), was recently awarded a fellowship from the American Society of Microbiology (ASM). The Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship program provides three years of funding for PhD students who have completed classwork and are performing research in the microbiological sciences. It also provides for travel to the ASM General Meeting, for which trainees are expected to submit an abstract each year, as well as an ASM conference to develop professional skills. Criteria for selection included academic achievement, evidence of a successful research plan, relevant career goals, and involvement in activities that serve the needs of underrepresented groups.
Mr. Valentin-Vargas is a student in the laboratory of UA SRP researcher and Associate Director Dr. Raina Maier, in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science. His graduate work is a part of UA SRP Project 9, “Phytostabilization of mine tailings in the Southwest: plant-soil-microbe interactions and metal speciation dynamics.” He was funded on his proposal to determine the role that rhizosphere microbial populations play in speciation and mobilization of metal(oid) contaminants, such as arsenic and lead, in arid mine tailings undergoing phytoremediation. His project involves molecular and analytical techniques in the laboratory, as well as real-world field work at the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund site.
Please join the UA SRP in congratulating Alexis on receiving this competitive award!