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UNT student receives prestigious research opportunity

UNT junior Isabel Delwel has received a major honor. The biology major is just one of 67 students in the U.S. to be selected to participate in the 2017 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program. She will spend 10 weeks this summer at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington taking part in extensive research.

Delwel was nominated by her mentor Lee Hughes, associate professor of biological sciences, to this program as a result of her participation in the UNT Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (PHAGES) program, which is an HHMI sponsored program for freshman laboratory research at UNT.

Delwel, who was born in the Netherlands, raised in Round Rock, Texas and graduated in 2014 from Cedar Ridge High School, is a member of UNT’s Honors College and the McNair Scholars Program.

“I’m so excited and so honored. I know that I wouldn’t have this opportunity without being part of UNT's PHAGES program and McNair program and the research experience they've helped me gain," Delwel says. "The experiences have helped give me confidence and allowed me to do serious research.”

Delwel researches bacteriophage, viruses that infect bacteria, with Hughes at UNT.

“I love being hands on, being able to see how we get cures and discover new information,” she says.

Delwel is currently set to graduate in May 2018 and plans to get her master’s and doctoral degrees afterwards.

"Prior to the PHAGES program, I don’t believe Isabel really understood the opportunities that were available in science for research careers," Hughes says.  "She has now found that she has a passion for research, and I strongly believe that her Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program experience will further enhance her ability to pursue this career path."

Delwel says her parents have been extremely supportive of her pursing her education and her mom has set a great example.

“My dad got a degree in Holland and my mom is currently working on her Ph.D. Her study ethic is pushing me to keep going," she says. "My parents are just so proud.”