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Ogden Honors, biological sciences sophomore selected for prestigious Amgen Scholars Program for undergraduate research in science and biotechnology

Kenedi Lynch, a Stamps Scholar and Ogden Honors College sophomore studying biological sciences in LSU’s College of Science with a minor in psychology, has been selected to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program this summer. The program allows undergraduates from across the globe to participate in cutting-edge research opportunities at world-class institutions.

“I applied for the Amgen Scholars program because I have a passion for research and want to break into biomedical and biotechnological research,” said Lynch.  “I want to get an MD-PhD and conduct clinical research as a practicing physician in order to better improve patient outcomes.”

The 10-week program offers students a stipend, no-cost housing on campus, and experience conducting research, analyzing data, and networking under the guidance of an institution's top assigned faculty members. There are also opportunities for presentations, workshops, and professional development. 

“While I haven’t been matched to an institution yet, I specifically applied to the Johns Hopkins program because I would like to attend medical school there,” said Lynch. “I’m interested in working in labs that investigate stem cells, cancer and metastasis, epigenetics, and neuroscience,” she said.

Lynch, a native of Humble, Tx., is currently conducting undergraduate research in a neuroendocrinology and behavior lab under the direction of Dr. Christine Lattin, assistant professor of biological sciences. In conjunction with an entomologist and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Lynch has been investigating haemosporidian (avian malaria) parasites and whether or not they've been detrimentally affecting Louisiana's turkey population. She is also helping pilot a study about neurogenesis in the brain in the Lattin Lab. 

“Ms. Lynch is one of the most thoughtful undergraduate researchers I have had the privilege to mentor in the lab. She has excellent critical thinking skills and is often able to integrate expertise from diverse areas of knowledge – her coursework and the reading she’s done – to anticipate what the next step will be for a project,” said Christine Lattin, assistant professor of biological sciences at LSU. “ I am excited to see her continue to grow and learn from her experiences as an Amgen Scholar. I know she will get a lot out of the program!”

Lynch emphasized the impact of the Ogden Honors College on her successful undergraduate career thus far. “The honors college has had such a positive influence on my experience here at LSU. The small class sizes and thought-provoking seminar classes are one of my favorite educational aspects of the honors college,” Lynch said.  

“On its own, the honors college has so many resources to help students out, and I've been extremely grateful for the close support and encouragement of faculty members like Dean [Jonathan] Earle, Dr. Arms, and Dr. Fontenot,” Lynch noted. “In fact, Dean Earle helped me secure a research position my freshman year after I was unable to work in a lab position due to Covid. Dean Earle personally emailed labs on my behalf after my search for new positions stalled and about two days later I was hired. That’s a level of support I’m not sure I would have gotten anywhere else,” she added.  

Lynch is excited about the opportunity to conduct biomedical research at a prestigious university. With the possibility of going to Johns Hopkins, she wants to get a feel for the campus she hopes to attend in just a few short years.