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Thursday, September 20, 2018

(Courtesy of Yeshiva University) Yeshiva College senior Yonatan Schwartz, of Teaneck, is the first YU student to be awarded the Victoria Finnerty Undergraduate Travel Award by the Genetics Society of America. The award honors Finnerty, a long-time member of the Genetics Society of America, and her commitment to teaching and mentoring undergraduates engaged in Drosophila research [genetics studies using fruit-fly models]. It covers travel costs for winning undergraduates to attend the Society’s Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

Schwartz’s research is on Drosophila melanogaster [the common fruit fly]. “My project investigated how aging impacts male fertility,” he explained. “Previous studies in the lab found that fertility declines steadily and progressively as males age, but if males were permitted to store sperm, even older males could maintain their fertility. My work is now examining if sperm storage over the long term harms sperm, or if older males can restart making sperm if they do not have stored sperm. Our work will help us understand better why male fertility declines with age and will inform human fertility counseling and treatment.”

He will be headed to the research conference to present his work in April in Philadelphia. “This is my first time going to the conference and I am extremely excited,” Schwartz said. “Not only will I be able to learn about a plethora of research projects presented at the convention, but I will also be able to see how cutting-edge technology is used in their work.”

“This is a fabulous opportunity for Yoni to experience a national scientific conference and for the Drosophila community to hear about Yoni’s work,” added Dr. Josefa Steinhauer, associate professor of biology. “Yoni has worked in my lab since spring 2017, and he is writing an honors thesis based on his work this year.”

Schwartz will graduate from Yeshiva College this spring and is planning to pursue a medical degree.