USC School of Pharmacy doctoral student Johannes (Jan) Van Dijk has earned the 2017-2018 Charles and Charlotte Krown Fellowship for his work on genetic engineering of fungal biosynthesis. Originally from the Netherlands by way of Australia, Van Dijk serves as lab manager for the research team headed by Clay C. C. Wang, PhD, chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
“Fungi employ a concerted group of enzymes to produce molecules,” Van Dijk said. “So each enzyme can be seen as a single machine in a factory assembly line. My work focuses on tinkering with the individual machines as well as combining them in a new way to generate novel molecules using genetic engineering.”
Wang noted that Van Dijk has demonstrated strong leadership skills while serving as lab manager for his group.
“He’s been a great leader and I am very happy that he has been awarded the Krown Fellowship,” Wang said.
After he completes his PhD, Van Dijk plans to turn his genetic engineering skills toward creating healthier and more sustainable foods.
The Krown Fellowship is the most prestigious award given to graduate students in the USC School of Pharmacy. It carries a $5,000 stipend, plus an additional $5,000 allowance that can be used for travel or for buying educational or research materials.
— Michele Keller