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Undergrad Named Fulbright Scholar


Writer(s): Steve Scherer


William E. Mbongo, a biology senior who studies biochemistry in Chemistry Professor Angeline Lyon’s research group, has been named a 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholar.

He will be spending his year abroad in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Weil at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, studying inflammation and the immune system.

“Will has been a fantastic addition to my group, from helping set up the lab in the very beginning to developing his own experiments in studying how protein-protein interactions contribute to cardiovascular disease,” said Lyon.

Mbongo says his involvement in Dr. Lyon’s lab has added context to his coursework.

“Working in a research lab gives a student an opportunity to see the processes through which scientific knowledge is obtained and participate in that discovery. The student then has a unique perspective when learning science in the classroom because he or she can truly appreciate the time and effort dedicated to every discovery,” Mbongo explained.

"Through research I have been able to develop a close relationship with Dr. Lyon who is the best advisor one could ask for. She is very approachable and willing to listen to my ideas and help develop them. She has been there at every moment when I needed advice and has been in full support of my decision to pursue medicine," he added.

Born in the city of Bangui in the Central African Republic and emigrating to the U.S. when he was ten years old, Mbongo credits West Lafayette High School teachers Marshall Overley (Biology) and Pete von Werder (Chemistry) for expanding his interest in science.

Mbongo will attend Harvard Medical School in 2019 after his Fulbright year.

“I plan to build my career within academic medicine and work closely with researchers developing new treatments and methods to address patient healthcare needs,” said Mbongo.

“He is calm under pressure, a great researcher and teacher, and will make an outstanding physician,” added Lyon.

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