Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Students Earn Top National Honor

Posted Mar 25, 2022

By Riley Hysell ’22

Five Otterbein seniors — Evan Shelton, Lily Nichols, Dylan Gray, Lexie Sherman, and Antonieta van den Berg Monsalve — recently were inducted into the national honor society of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). The five Cardinals were among only 33 students across the country to be inducted this year.

“The ASBMB is a professional society that publishes several journals, helps support biomedical research, and interfaces with companies,” said Professor John Tansey, director of the Otterbein’s Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program. “We can get scholarships, grants, professional development experiences, a monthly newsletter, and things like that.” There is also an Otterbein student chapter, of which Tansey is the advisor.

The five Otterbein seniors represent 15% of the newly inducted members of the honor society, Chi Omega Lambda. Additionally, senior Hope Lewis was inducted to the honor society last year.

Students completed an application in which they described their research activities, their involvement with the student chapter of the ASBMB, and their role in scientific outreach activities. They also needed a minimum GPA of 3.4 and two recommendations from faculty. A few weeks after completing the application process, Shelton, Nichols, Gray, Sherman, and van den Berg Monsalve received emails letting them know they were to be inducted.

“I was visiting my friend during spring break, and for some reason I thought, I should check my school email,” van den Berg Monsalve remembered, “And then I saw the email from ASBMB, and it said congratulations. It was really exciting.”
She was not alone in her surprise and delight when receiving this email. Shelton, who had applied last year, was hesitant to go through the process again. With encouragement from his research advisor, Associate Professor Jennifer Bennett, he eventually did decide to apply this year.

“My professors think that I am ready to go out into the world and off to grad school and everything, and this just kind of solidified that for me. Like, okay, maybe I am ready. I can do this,” Nichols explained, expressing a sense of validation shared by the other inductees.

Shelton and Gray plan to take a gap year before continuing their education in medical school. Lewis will go to medical school at Wright State in July. Nichols has just accepted an offer from OSU for a chemistry doctoral program and a research fellowship. Otterbein has had 21 students inducted into the honor society in recent years.

“Of the students that we’ve had that have been inducted, nine of them have gone on to earn medical degrees (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathic medicine degrees (D.O.), six of them doctorate degrees (Ph.D.), and three doctor of veterinary medicine degrees (D.M.V.),” Tansey said.

“We’re very proud of our students,” he added.