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UT students Emma Zijlstra and Jacob Cecil have been awarded the school’s first International Research Opportunities Program scholarships through the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Emma Zijlstra
Emma Zijlstra

The scholarship provides funding for students to conduct research abroad. Zijlstra, a sophomore in chemistry and global studies, will travel to the University of Geneva in Switzerland this spring to explore the role of a protein that has been found to be therapeutic in treating certain types of cancers. Her research will focus on GRP78, and particularly membrane GRP78, in ovarian carcinogenesis, and its utility for targeted nanotherapy.

Jacob CecilCecil, a senior in biology, will conduct his research at the University of Helsinki in Finland on elucidation of disease-related functions of endothelial growth factors and their signal transduction in cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Zijlstra is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Cecil is from Knoxville.

The students will be part of the EuroScholars Program, which allows US and Canadian students to conduct research at one of nine renowned European research universities. EuroScholars students conduct research for an entire semester while taking language and culture classes.

“It is important that we prepare our students who wish to enter the research field to approach their study from a global perspective,” said Marisa Moazen, director of undergraduate research at UT.

Moazen said having opportunities to research abroad is important to open students up to different perspectives that may be attributed to culture or environment in preparing a well-rounded researcher.”


Erin Chapin (865-974-2187,