Clark University biology Ph.D. student John Soghigian, of Bennington, receives prestigious two-year NSF grant

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Clark University Ph.D. student John S. Soghigian received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.

WORCESTER, MA (11/25/2013)(readMedia)-- Clark University Ph.D. student John S. Soghigian, of Bennington, Vt., received a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.

Soghigian's dissertational research, titled "Evolution of Parasite-Host Fitness Tradeoffs in Mosquito-Gregrarine Systems," focuses on the ecology of disease through study of a medically important mosquito genus and its infecting parasites. His research has raised and delved into many questions regarding biodiversity and disease.

This grant is a two-year award for $19,707 and will support travel internationally to meet with collaborators in Hungary and Taiwan.

"John is an exceptional graduate student who has a gift for absorbing the literature, learning new and difficult techniques, and thinking big thoughts," said biology Professor Todd Livdahl, Soghigian's adviser. "He matches this with a great work ethic and an engaging personality."

Soghigian received an associate degree in environmental science at Southern Vermont College, and a B.A. in conservational biology at Clark University. He attended Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut.

"My work on this system at Clark has enabled me to expand myself and my professional goals," Soghigian said. "Through mentoring of undergraduates I have learned that I wish to pursue a career in academia, preferably at a university that combines research and teaching as Clark does."

The NSF awards grants to dissertation students whose research falls within the jurisdiction of the Division of Environmental Biology or of the Behavioral Systems Cluster in the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems. The grants exist for the purpose of furthering dissertational research on an already existing project. The money is used to conduct research in a specialized facility, to cover the costs of attending scientific meetings, and to expand the scope of an existing project.

Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a small, liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale. Nationally renowned as a college that changes lives, Clark is emerging as a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark's pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences. Clark's faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to complex challenges in the natural sciences, psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. The Clark educational experience embodies the University's motto: Challenge convention. Change our world.