Research scholar

-Robert Manguso will spend the next year in Denmark, researching the role of cilia in the functioning of cells.

The resident of Milford, Mass., who graduated summa cum laude in May with an A.B. in biology, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship that will allow him to join the research team of Lotte Pedersen at the University of Copenhagen, a pioneering lab in the study of cilia.

“The field of ciliary research is exploding because of the large number of diseases recently found to be associated with cilia and breakthroughs in understanding we have made within the last decade,” Manguso says.

“There are still countless unanswered questions associated with the assembly, structure and function of cilia, so it is exciting to be going to a place where I will be on the cutting edge of the ciliary research field.”

Manguso’s research in Denmark will continue work that he began as an undergraduate at Wheaton in Professor Bob Morris’ lab, which uses cells from the purple sea urchin to study cilia.

“That experience really helped me grow as a scientist and helped instill in me the fearless attitude that one must have to be a successful researcher,” he says.

In his two years as a member of Professor Morris’ team, Manguso presented findings from his work at several research conferences, including the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting in San Diego.

Manguso also gained lab experience while working as a course assistant for the renowned summer physiology course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. The course brings together graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral students with scientists from around the world for an intensive seven-week course. Manguso is serving as a course assistant again this year before leaving for Denmark.

The new Fulbright scholar credits his college experience for helping him to discover his passion for science. Indeed, he transferred to Wheaton from another college at which he had been a business major, dissatisfied with his studies.

“Research is the perfect field for me because nothing interests and motivates me more than problem-solving,” he says. “All biological processes are inherently interesting because of the unbelievable complexity of life.”