university of tulsa logo

Sarah Sullivan receives 2018 Goldwater Scholarship for diabetes research

University of Tulsa biochemistry junior Sarah Sullivan of Fayetteville, Arkansas, has received a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for her research on the regulatory function of a well-known tumor suppressor protein on cancer cell metabolism. Mathematics and physics junior Jennifer Burleson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was named a Goldwater Scholar Honorable Mention for her research in applied mathematics.

Watch Sarah discuss her research from 2017.

Sullivan’s personal experience as a type one diabetic led to her interest in the complex mechanisms that regulate metabolism, the structure and interactions of proteins and the pathways connecting biochemical, cellular and life processes. She has completed a DAAD German Academic Exchange internship at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, attended the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting and conducted research as a member of the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge. Sullivan plans to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry and study the structural dynamics of protein glycosylation as it relates to cancer metastasis, immune system evasion and the development of cancer stem cells.

“I would like to continue my research in either an academic setting or through a government institution such as the National Institutes of Health,” Sullivan said. “I hope to have my own biochemistry laboratory and explore the role of protein glycosylation in tumor progression.”

Burleson plans to pursue a master of science in applied mathematics at TU and eventually earn a doctorate to teach and conduct research in an academic setting.

The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics in the United States. The award is reserved for sophomore and junior students who demonstrate the potential to make significant contributions to his or her chosen field.