Kansas State University graduate student to attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

March 17, 2015

MANHATTAN, KANSAS -- A Kansas State University doctoral student will spend part of her summer interacting with Nobel laureates in physics, physiology, medicine and chemistry.

Courtney Passow, a doctoral student in biology from Round Rock, Texas, will attend the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany. Passow is one of 672 young scientists selected worldwide to attend the meeting.

The Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings invited Passow to attend the meeting, which occurs June 28 to July 3. Mars Inc. is sponsoring Passow and covering her travel expenses.

While attending the meeting, Passow will interact with Nobel laureates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers -- all in the areas of physics, physiology, medicine and chemistry.

"These are some of the top researchers around the world and it's a great opportunity to not only make contact with them but to also look for potential collaborations," Passow said. "While physics and chemistry are not my primary areas of research, getting to meet with researchers in these fields and discuss ideas for developing my own project further is indispensible."

Passow is studying the underlying physiological and genetic mechanisms of adaptation to natural stressors. She focuses on Poecilia mexicana, a small live-bearing fish that lives in the presence and absence of hydrogen sulfide, a natural toxicant.

"Hydrogen sulfide plays a crucial physiological role in the treatment of chronic conditions such as certain cardiovascular diseases and diabetes; yet a major obstacle for the safe application of hydrogen sulfide includes the lack of knowledge of the biological metabolism of hydrogen sulfide," Passow said. "This makes Poecilia mexicana a great model for contributing to a better understanding of the processing of hydrogen sulfide."

Passow has been conducting research with Michael Tobler, assistant professor in the Division of Biology. Tobler nominated Passow for the prestigious designation of attending the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

"Courtney is an exemplary graduate student with an impeccable work ethic and an accordingly long list of accomplishments," Tobler said. "Nominating her for an opportunity to interact with leaders in her field seemed timely, considering that she is about to transition into the next stage of her career. Science can be a tedious endeavor with virtually no instant gratification, and I hope the trip to Europe and the exchange with Nobel laureates will remind Courtney that all of those long hours in the lab are bearing fruit after all."

Kansas State University

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