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Moses Feaster

College: Brooklyn College
Awards: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2006

From Battlefield to Research Lab

The National Science Foundation has announced that Moses Feaster, a Brooklyn College senior majoring in biology, has been awarded a three-year NSF graduate fellowship to pursue a PhD in developmental biology at Rockefeller University.

Feaster, 24, is a member of the College's Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program. He is the only student from The City University of New York to receive the fellowship this year, although four students in CUNY qualified for honorable mentions, including Brooklyn College chemistry major Aaron T. Frank, also a MARC student.

A transfer student from the University of Virginia, Feaster enrolled in Brooklyn College in fall 2002, but his first year was cut short. Feaster, a corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve, was deployed to Iraq in support of Operations Enduring/Iraqi Freedom on Jan. 29, 2003, with the 6th Communications Battalion, based in Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field. He was attached to a British communications unit and traveled as far north as Basra, working to establish secure data communication between U.S. and British units during the war.

Feaster began his undergraduate research career upon returning to Brooklyn in fall 2003. As a research assistant in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, he worked with Jennifer Basil of Brooklyn College's Biology Department, investigating memory formation in freshwater crayfish. With the help of MARC director and Dean of Research and Graduate Studies Louise Hainline, Feaster participated in a Leadership Alliance Early Identification Program summer internship at Columbia University's Department of Genetics and Development. Working with Virginia Papaioannou, he investigated the role of the gene Tbx6 in the development of the mouse embryo.

In 2005, Feaster was again accepted into a summer research program, working in the developmental biology program at the Sloan-Kettering Institute. In addition to the summer program, Feaster is a part of a yearlong research component at Sloan-Kettering, supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. Working in the laboratory of Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis, Feaster is trying to identify proteins that interact with the Tbx6 transcription factor.

Feaster's NSF Graduate Research Fellowship offers three years of support over a five-year period for advanced study and includes an annual stipend of $30,000. It is awarded annually to approximately 900 outstanding students in chemistry, computer information science, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, psychology and the social sciences.