Jessica Verpeut, Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Program in Endocrinology and Animal Biosciences, was the North America 3rd Place Graduate winner in the 2014 Alltech Young Scientist competition. Her award-winning paper, titled “Effects of ketogenic diet on neurobehavioral outcomes in Engrailed 2 null mice,” highlights the dissertation research she has been conducting in the laboratory of Nick Bello, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences.
When asked for her reaction to being named one of the top winners among the graduate students from North America who competed this year, Verpeut said “it feels great to have a global leader like Alltech recognize my work as critical and unique.”
Alltech develops animal health and nutrition products in 136 countries and is strongly committed to scientific innovation to “help farmers feed the world, raise healthy animals, and protect the environment.” Alltech’s Young Scientist Program was created “to encourage research and development by talented undergraduate and graduate students in the disciplines of animal science, dairy science, veterinary science, agronomy, biological sciences or other related disciplines.” Each entrant must submit a scientific paper or literature review on a pre-approved topic.
Three graduate students and three undergrads are selected as “Regional Winners,” ranked first, second and third, in each of four regions: North America, Latin America, Europe/Africa/Mid-East, and Asia Pacific. An additional 25 students, about half graduate students and half undergraduates, are named “Local Winners” in the Alltech Young Scientist Competition. In 2013, Verpeut was selected a local winner from the United States.