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Allyson Erlendson with Catherine Mathews in front of Agricultural and Life Sciences building

Biochemistry student named 2016 Mathews Graduate Fellow

Allyson Erlendson, biochemistry and biophysics graduate student with Kate Mathews

Allyson (Ally) Erlendson, a second-year biochemistry and biophysics graduate student, has been awarded the 2016-17 Christopher and Catherine Mathews Graduate Fellowship, which is based on academic merit, teaching acumen and research potential.

This endowed fellowship was established in 2015 through the generosity of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Chris Mathews and his wife Kate to help the Biochemistry and Biophysics doctoral program recruit and retain extraordinary students. The Fellowship is awarded each summer to a student in the second year of his/her Ph.D. program.

The gift has been leveraged through the Provost Graduate Fellowship Match Program, a partnership of the OSU Foundation, the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department and the Graduate School.

Ally grew up in Chico, Calif., and attended California State University there. She double majored in biochemistry and exercise physiology and minored in chemistry and nutrition. As part of her undergraduate research, she studied the isolation and characterization of natural products from microbes in hopes of identifying novel bioactive compounds.

Ally was awarded the Eugene Reid Summer Research Award for her research, which funded her participation in the Chemistry Summer Research Institute at CSU-Chico. In an internship at PathoLase, a medical and biophotonic research group, Ally used light-based technology for the treatment and identification of fungal pathogens.

Upon graduation, Ally taught a course General Chemistry Labs at CSU-Chico for nearly four years before pursuing her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics at Oregon State. She has done superb work throughout her first year, completing research rotations with Drs. Michael Freitag, Joe Beckman, and Fritz Gombart while serving as a teaching assistant for upper level biology and biochemistry/biophysics courses.

Ally joined Dr. Freitag’s lab in the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, where she will be investigating mechanisms of histone methylation in the cereal pathogen, Fusarium graminearum. Her goal is to someday become a professor.

Chris and Kate are strong, long-time allies of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Chris provided excellent leadership to the department for 25 years starting in 1977. Although he formally retired in 2002 and became a Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Chris has continued to be quite active in advancing the department’s mission and in more broadly serving the public and the profession.

Dr. Mathews is an internationally recognized leader in biochemistry with a focus on enzymology, virology, and genetics. He has received significant attention for his work with nucleotide and coenzyme metabolism, DNA synthesis and replication and nucleic acid enzymology.

The College of Science is extremely grateful to both Chris and Kate Mathews for their generous support of the Biochemistry and Biophysics program.