Aleksandra Beric Receives Competitive Research Internship in Japan

Aleksandra Beric
UMaine exchange student, Aleksandra Beric, excels in the field of Genetics

Aleksandra Beric, a third-year molecular biology exchange student from the University of Belgrade in Serbia, recently received an internship at the National Institute of Genetics in Japan for this upcoming summer.

The internship is a ten-week program from June to September, designed to advance research in the field of life sciences.  The institute offers extensive opportunities to researchers throughout Japan as well as promoting international collaboration through exchange programs.

Beric heard about the internship from Dr. Benildo de los Reyos’, SBE professor of genetics.  “I really love genetics, and I think he noticed,” said Beric.  “He pulled me aside after lecture one day and told me I should apply.” Beric is currently performing undergraduate research in Dr. de los Reyos’ lab working with Ai Kitazumi, a graduate student studying the evolution of regulatory networks during domestication of common crop plants.

Beric came to the University of Maine at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year through a scholarship opportunity from Serbia, and will return to her home country to finish her undergraduate degree.

During her time at the University of Maine, Beric became a Maine Learning Assistant, in which she assisted Dr. Michelle Smith, professor of genetics, advance instructional educational strategies aimed to enhance student learning.  The program provides the opportunity for undergraduates to work closely with faculty and to assist them in shaping the structure of their courses.

“I am thrilled that Aleksandra was chosen for this internship,” said Michelle Smith.  “I am very impressed by her understanding of genetics and her ability to help students in my course.  With a strong research and teaching background, I am certain she has a wonderful career ahead of her.  I look forward to watching her progress.”

Beric plans on continuing her education further with graduate school to pursue a profession in the field of genetics.  She is specifically interested in genetic engineering or epigenetics, the study of heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence.