2015 Women’s Young Investigator Travel Award Winner: Aruna Kilaru

We are pleased to announce that Aruna Kilaru has received one of our seven Women’s Young Investigator Travel Awards.

Aruna Kilaru

Aruna Kilaru is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at East Tennessee State University.  Aruna joined as a tenure­‐track assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at East Tennessee State University in Fall 2011. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Chemistry, and the Director of the newly initiated Transdisciplinary Research Institute in Plant Sciences (TRIPS). ETSU is primarily an undergraduate teaching institute that is expanding its focus on research and the support faculty receive is meager. As a plant biochemist she initiated her research program with a modest three-year start‐up funds ($150 K).

Nevertheless, she initiated her lab and actively recruited and currently mentor two doctoral, three masters, and four undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities, including female and minority students. Additionally, she  has graduated two MS students and trained seven undergraduate students since she joined ETSU. Aruna has also actively sought regional and federal funds worth about two million dollars and she is eagerly awaiting a promising funding decision from NSF-­‐ IOS. At ETSU, she teaches biochemistry and special topic courses in biology and biomedical sciences. As the director of TRIPS, Aruna initiated ETSU’s partnership with Global Institute for Bioexploration to train high school and undergraduate students to identify the potential of Appalachian flora. Aruna was recognized with a prestigious College of Arts and Sciences New Faculty Award 2014 for her work at ETSU.

About the Women’s Young Investigator Travel Award:

Each year the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) awards travel grants to early career women investigators through a competitive process to attend the Plant Biology Annual Meeting. The goal of the Women’s Young Investigator Travel Award (WYITA) program is to increase attendance of female investigators in their first five years as an independent scientist in academia, industry, or government at the annual meeting by providing travel funds. Selection is based first on the science and quality of the abstract submitted relative to the amount of time as a young investigator, second on a statement describing why travel should be supported, and third on financial need.

This year seven women were selected and each will receive a $1000 award to attend the Plant Biology Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN.

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