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College of Science and Mathematics

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Cal Poly Science Students Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Brandon Strong analyzes experimental results in the lab holding pipette and looking at computer

The National Science Foundation is investing in Cal Poly graduates. Tyler Sisley, a biochemistry major, and Brandon Strong, a biology major, received the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship this year. 

“Both of these students are superstars,” said Emily Taylor, a biology professor and Cal Poly’s faculty fellow in graduate education. “They’ve both done exceptional research as undergraduates, which undoubtedly contributed to the NSF selecting them for this highly competitive award.”

Tyler Sisley
Tyler Sisley

Sisley will pursue his doctorate in chemical biology at Harvard. His research will focus on the bacteria in the gut. He will explore the effects of a dietary supplement of choline, a common and beneficial molecule that is an essential part of the human diet. He plans to apply what he discovers to study diseases that affect the LGBT community at higher than average rates. 

“The Graduate Research Fellowship means unparalleled freedom to study what I want in graduate school,” Sisley said. “It gives me confidence that I can be a contributing member of the scientific community and that my ideas have scientific merit.”

Strong will enter the master’s program in biological sciences at Cal Poly in the fall. He will work with biology Professor Nathaniel Martinez on a project to use an electrical field to characterize proteins. In the future, this technology may replace some laboratory-based biochemical tests and be used in portable diagnostic devices. 

Brandon Strong
Brandon Strong

When Strong heard he had received the award, “I was ecstatic!” he said. “I’m very thankful I was given this phenomenal opportunity. It will support both my education and living expenses for years to come and thereby allow me to focus on my work.”

Sisley and Strong will each receive $138,000 to cover three years of their graduate study.

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