A big congratulations to Zachary Bendiks, a Ph.D. student of Dr. Maria Marco and a Microbiology Graduate Group member who was selected as one of two recipients of the 2021 Kinsella Memorial Prize.
In the words of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' Dean Helene Dillard and the selection committee, “Zachary recently completed his dissertation titled ‘Variable gut microbiome responses to resistant starch type 2 across different host species’. His work examined how different dietary factors impact the response of the gut microbiome to the consumption of dietary fiber, which is associated with improvements in diabetes and cardiovascular disease patients via interactions with gut microbes. The committee noted the cross-disciplinary nature of the research, since an understanding of resistant starch and the microbiome is directly related to human health and agriculture in terms of fiber consumption by humans and animals. Zachary was also amazingly productive (over 10 published articles) and engaged both internal and external collaborators. During his Ph.D., Zachary further distinguished himself by participating in science communication, teaching, and the mentorship of others. Zachary was also the recipient of a conference presentation award, indicating that he is an excellent communicator of his science. For Dr. Bendiks’ stellar scholarly activity, mentorship, and commitment to science education, the committee is honored to recognize Zachary with the 2021 Kinsella Memorial Prize. The selection committee was very impressed with the quality and originality of your dissertation, the impact of the research and the importance of the research to the college’s mission to serve agriculture, the environment and human health. I offer my congratulations to you on being chosen to receive this prize for excellence in academic performance."
Zach responds, "After 6+ years of graduate research, it is very gratifying to receive the Kinsella Memorial Prize for my dissertation. I am honored that the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences would select me for this award, and I am thankful to my advisor Dr. Maria Marco, the Department of Food Science and Technology, and the Microbiology Graduate Group for giving me the opportunity to perform high-quality research and develop a body of scientific work that I am proud of. I also wish to acknowledge my labmates, friends, and family who never hesitated to offer comradery and support."
The Kinsella Memorial Prize was established by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to honor the late John E. Kinsella, former dean and a professor of food science and technology. Graduate groups can nominate one dissertation each year for the quality and originality of an individual’s work, its multidisciplinary impact, and its importance to the college’s mission. The award recipient receives a plaque and a $3,500 prize.