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March 25, 2009

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

HOMETOWN RELEASE: League City Resident Representing UT Tyler Wins Top Prize at National Conference


Sarah Hancock of League City, a junior at The University of Texas at Tyler, won first place in a student poster presentation at the 2009 Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America Conference in Stillwater, Okla., Dr. Blake Bextine, UT Tyler assistant professor of biology, announced. 

She competed against other undergraduates and graduate students from universities including Texas A&M University,
Oklahoma State University and New Mexico State University.

Hancock’s winning project “Colonization of Candidatus Liberibacter sp. in Bactericera cockerelli” has improved understanding of how the pathogen, which causes the Zebra Chip disease in potatoes, interacts with its insect vector. Her data will be used to develop management tactics which will benefit U.S. potato growers, Bextine said.

She is a Sigma Tau Delta and Alpha Chi Honor Society member and currently serves as a student-researcher in Bextine’s laboratory.            

Hancock will graduate in May 2010 with a bachelor of science in biology.

She plans to obtain her doctorate, join the Peace Corps and work in the cell and molecular biology field.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. Nearly 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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