MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury College senior Jeffrey Cloutier of New Berlin, N.H., is one of 40 American students to win a prestigious Marshall Scholarship from the British government for graduate study in the United Kingdom. Cloutier, who is majoring in molecular biology and biochemistry with a minor in mathematics, plans to use the scholarship to study the regulation of meiotic silencing of unsynapsed chromatin at University College London.
“The Marshall Scholarship provides an outstanding opportunity for talented students to broaden their education,” said Middlebury President Ronald D. Liebowitz. “We’re very proud, both of Jeff’s accomplishments and of the excellent academic preparation our faculty provides to make an opportunity like this possible.”
In 2007, Cloutier conducted breast cancer research as an Amgen Scholar at the University of Washington, in Seattle, working under the direction of Professor Norman Dovichi, inventor of the high-throughput DNA sequencer that was used to sequence the human genome. Cloutier’s research involved analyzing global protein expression in chemotherapy-resistant breast cancer cells. In a letter of recommendation, Dovichi noted that Cloutier’s “work demonstrates a remarkable level of initiative and scientific sophistication.”
“I can’t think of a better way to spend the next few years than what the Marshall has offered me,” said Cloutier. “This program will give me the resources and support to pursue molecular biology research for a doctorate with a scientist whose ideas and novel work are defining the frontiers of meiosis and infertility research.”
Cloutier is the third Middlebury Marshall scholar in recent years, joining Aliza Watters (2005) and Will Motley (2006).
Over the past year at Middlebury, Cloutier has been researching a novel cell cycle mechanism involved in meiosis and infertility with Assistant Professor of Biology Jeremy Ward.
“The chance to study abroad, at a very high level, will undoubtedly change Jeff’s world view,” said Ward. “Coupled with his considerable academic and research ability, this experience will contribute greatly to his making the contribution to human health research that he intends. Working with Jeff as a research colleague and friend has been a privilege for me.”
The Marshall program will be the start of his doctoral degree, which he will complete in the United States before starting medical school.
Cloutier is an avid athlete and musician as well as a certified wild-land firefighter who for two summers worked with the U.S. Forest Service at Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon, clearing and reconstructing trails and working on a fire crew to suppress the Mount Hood Complex fire of 2006.
The Marshall Scholarship Program began in 1953 as a gesture of gratitude to the people of the United States for the assistance that the U.K. received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. This highly competitive scholarship is a U.K. government-financed program that offers talented young Americans the chance to study for up to three years at a British university of their choice. Since the program’s inception, more than 1,500 Americans have become Marshall scholars. The scholarship program awards some 40 scholarships each year to exceptional American students studying a range of subjects.
Prominent past Marshall Scholars include United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, former president of Duke University and Wellesley College Nannerl Keohane, Pulitzer Prize winning authors Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and Dan Yergin, Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh, and current Office of Management and Budget Head Peter Orszag.
More information about the Marshall Scholars program is available online.