Cole English

Cole English

Student working with college faculty member receives Goldwater Scholarship

The University of Florida’s Office of Prestigious Awards and Student Success announced that five UF students, including Cole English, who worked in the lab of Dr. Chris Martyniuk, have received the Goldwater Scholarship. The achievement, made possible by the outstanding research merits of the students, is an unprecedented first for the university, according to a recent press release. It’s the first time in history that UF’s five nominees all won the award.

The scholarship supports sophomore and junior undergraduates committed to research-focused careers in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. It is the premier scholarship for undergraduates in STEM fields.

English is a third-year student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is the first author of multiple published scientific papers, teaches students and visiting professors, and currently works on over a dozen projects. His ideas for mapping protein-DNA interactions are the core focus of his research group. 

“I was honored to learn that I was accepted into the Goldwater community,” says English. “I want to utilize my growing understanding of theory and expanding laboratory skillset to address human disease, particularly cancer. Additionally, since I am from a small, rural town in North Florida, it is important to me that I encourage future generations of scientists and professionals from rural backgrounds to aim high and work hard to make a positive impact on the world.”

In Martyniuk’s lab, English is investigating the effects of emerging contaminants, like pharmaceuticals, perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, and microplastics on the zebrafish model to delineate their molecular mechanisms of toxicity following exposure to environmentally relevant levels of the chemicals.

“I began in Dr. Martyniuk’s laboratory studying an antineoplastic pharmaceutical called ifosfamide, conducting molecular, biochemical, and behavioral experiments. This knowledge has been passed down to several other undergraduates, and I am coordinating several toxicity assays on novel PFAS chemicals,” he said, adding that the experience has permitted him to gain experience in qPCR, mitochondrial bioenergetics assaying, photokinetic locomotor assays in larval fish, reactive oxygen species measurements and other techniques.

“My time is spent teaching undergraduates, graduate students, and visiting professors, and my main focus is to conceptually guide and disseminate knowledge to my peers,” English said. “This research has significance for understanding mechanisms of toxicity of environmental pollutants and supports strategies to protect wildlife and humans.”

English plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology. He aspires to specialize in biochemistry research, focusing on cancer epigenetics and developing new methods of obtaining more profound insights into cellular processes. English is also committed to serving as a professor and inspiring future scientific minds. 




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