RNA Fellow Finishes Program with Two Graduate Student Awards


Nicole Ralbovsky

(June 1, 2020) Nicole Ralbovsky, a fourth year graduate student from the Lednev Lab and member of the RNA Fellows program at The RNA Institute, was recently honored with two prestigious awards. The NY/NJ section of the 2020 Society for Applied Spectroscopy’s Graduate Student Award and the Eastern Analytical Symposium Graduate Student Research Award.

“I am so grateful that these awards have recognized the effort that I have put in and I am very honored to have received them. The ability to share my research efforts with those in the same field has opened up many doors for future collaboration and networking opportunities that I am immensely thankful for,” said Nicole.

Nicole presented her research at the May 2020 NY/NJ Society for Applied Spectroscopy meeting where she described her project which focuses on using an analytical chemistry technique called Surface Enhanced Raman spectroscopy for achieving single-molecule detection of DNA and RNA. The method is very sensitive and able to detect minute amounts of an analyte present in a sample. After showing single-molecule detection is possible, the next step is to investigate the method for detecting specific sequences of DNA or RNA which are indicative/biomarkers for a disease. The goal is to capitalize on the sensitivity of the method for achieving better and more accurate diagnoses to be made.

One of four students to win the Eastern Analytical Symposium Graduate Student Research Award, Nicole and her advisor Igor Lednev, have been invited to attend the Symposium and Exhibition planned for November 2020.

Nicole received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Cum Laude with ACS certification, at the State University of New York in Geneseo in 2016. She is now finishing her fourth year as a graduate student at SUNY Albany, seeking her doctorate degree in chemistry.

“I have enjoyed a lot of different things about the RNA Fellows Program,” said Nicole. “First, I loved the RNA retreat, it was a great opportunity to jump in and meet new people while learning about the different research everyone is conducting. I also have greatly enjoyed learning from the professors, they are all such abundant sources of knowledge and information and it has been really great to learn from people with so much experience in this field.”

Nicole plans to defend her Ph.D. this fall and has accepted a position with Merck. She is excited to apply the skills and knowledge she has gained as a graduate student at the University At Albany toward a useful and productive career in pharmaceutical sciences.

“I am incredibly thankful to the RNA Fellows program for taking me in and showing me the exciting world of RNA biology,” said Nicole. “There are many new things that I have learned which I never would have if not accepted into this program. The experience has been amazing, and I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved in it”.

For more information about the RNA Fellows program please see https://www.albany.edu/rna-training/.

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