Congratulations to Anna Williams on receiving the George T. Barthalmus Undergraduate Research Award!

Biology Sophomore Anna Williams (B. S., Molecular Cell Biology, Class of 2022) is the recipient of one of the 2020-2021 George T. Barthalmus Undergraduate Research Awards. Anna’s research in Dr. Elizabeth Ables’s lab studies how germ cells divide to form interconnected multicellular cysts. Germ cells are the “building blocks” by which organisms form oocytes (eggs), and cyst formation is critical to ensure oocyte quality. Using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a genetically tractable model, Anna’s work is defining the molecular mechanisms by which an unusual cell cycle event called incomplete cytokinesis is regulated to promote cyst formation. These studies, which are part of a larger effort by the Ables Lab to understand oocyte development, will help researchers better understand how infertility and miscarriage risks increase as women age. The George Barthalmus Undergraduate Research Awards (, offered in conjunction with the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium (SNCURCS), promote early involvement in the research process through support of sophomores in a faculty-mentored research project of their design. Students from all disciplines at any North Carolina college or university are invited to apply. Anna is also the recipient of a ECU UR mini-award ( for her research. Her work will be featured at the SNCURCS conferences in 2020 and 2021 (