Morgan Walcheck Named Young Investigator of the Year.

On May 17, 2019, Morgan Walcheck (Ronnekleiv-Kelly Lab) received the 2019 Young Investigator Award from the Midwest Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology (MRC-SOT). Morgan, who will begin her fourth year in the program this fall, started her undergraduate studies thinking that she would want to be a pharmacist. However, when she began conducting undergraduate research, she quickly learned she had a greater passion. It was during her undergraduate research experience in the lab of Richard Peterson who suggested the Pharm-Tox Program.What drew her to the Molecular & Environmental Toxicology Program was how the program is able to provide the toxicological applications, bridging the gap between what is happening in the environment and the effects that have on human health. This goal led her to the program and to her current graduate studies.Morgan is studying the role of AHR, one of the best environmental sensors within our bodies, in the development of pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Using mouse models, she is using in vivo experiments to see how the cancer develops when AHR is knocked out. At next year’s MRC-SOT Spring Meeting, she will do a presentation on her findings. In addition to this honor, Morgan is currently the president of the MET Student Liaison Committee and was recently elected president of the Madison Chapter of Graduate Women in Science Society. Morgan is the latest in a long-line of MRC-SOT Young Investigators from MET. Since 2008, five MET students have won the honor, including Kyle Wegner (Vezina Lab) in 2018.