UNK senior Sam Mercer receives Holland Future Scientist Award

OMAHA – University of Nebraska at Kearney senior Sam Mercer, a molecular biology major from Gibbon, recently received the Richard Holland Future Scientist Award from the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures.

Mercer and nine other undergraduate students from Nebraska colleges and universities were recognized last month during the virtual INBRE (Institutional Development Award Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence Program) conference. The students received cash awards totaling $5,000.

Named in honor of the late Richard Holland, an Omaha philanthropist and longtime supporter of research, Holland Future Scientist Awards are presented to students based on oral presentations of the research they conducted as part of the INBRE program.

Established in 2001, the INBRE Scholars program was created to expose students to serious biomedical research and build a statewide biomedical research infrastructure between undergraduate and graduate institutions. Students enter the program after completing their sophomore year of college, with recommendation from their professors. It is a two-year comprehensive training program to prepare students for graduate school.

The INBRE program is overseen by Paul Sorgen, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Sorgen is the principal investigator of a $16.2 million grant funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.