December 9, 2009
Helen Wei and Youngsun Cho Accepted into MSTP Program
Congratulations to Helen Wei and Youngsun Cho, both recently accepted into the MSTP (MD-PhD program) from the MD-MS Program in Medical Neurobiology. We are delighted to welcome them to a continued and augmented commitment to neuroscience research as they now pursue their PhD candidacy and thesis projects.
October 8, 2009
MD/PhD Student Mercedes Szpunar Receives a DoD Breast Cancer Research Program Predoctoral Fellowship
Mercedes Szpunar, an MD/PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Edward Brown, has received a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program predoctoral fellowship. This fellowship, which supports up to three years of graduate stipend and travel funds, funds her thesis project focused on the effects of chronic stressor exposure on breast cancer growth. This study seeks to delineate how stress hormones alter tumor cell signaling, thereby promoting tumor growth and metastasis. Utilizing human breast cancer cell lines, the project includes in vitro and in vivo experiments and the optical technique of Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) – to image the ordering of collagen fibers – to determine changes in tumor progression in the setting of chronic stress.
October 1, 2009
The son of two educators, Kerry O'Banion has always adopted a broad view in his scientific pursuits. As an undergraduate at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, he investigated pair bonding behavior in common prairie voles, but chose Microbiology for his PhD work because of the promise of immersing himself in molecular biology. Indeed, at the same time he was learning about human pathophysiology and how to do a proper neurological examination as an MD-PhD trainee in the nascent Medical Scholars Program, also at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Kerry entertained working with Carl Woese, who had established the existence of a new kingdom of organisms (Archaea) by sequencing rRNA. Ultimately Kerry carried out his thesis work with Manfred Reichmann in Microbiology and John Sundberg in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology to characterize and clone novel animal papillomaviruses. All together, he cloned viruses from six animal species and witnessed at national and international conferences the recognition that oncogenic human papillomaviruses caused cervical and other epithelial cancers.
February 17, 2009
Candace Gildner wins Ruth Kirchstein National Research Service Award for MD/PhD Studies
Candace Gildner, an MD/PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Department, has recently been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual MD/PHD Fellows from the NIH. This prestigious, four-year award covers her PhD research as well as her remaining two years in medical school. The overall goal of this project is to determine how chronic exposure to cigarette smoke affects extracellular matrix remodeling in the lung. Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for the development of several non-neoplastic lung disorders, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary hypertension, and interstitial lung disease. Candace's research will focus on whether chronic exposure to tobacco smoke hinders normal tissue repair by altering the ability of cells to polymerize a fibronectin matrix. Her studies will provide insight into factors that regulate the deposition, conformation and physiologic properties of extracellular matrix fibronectin and determine if these factors are localized to lung tissue in response to cigarette smoke. Candace was born and raised in Rochester, NY. She graduated from the University of Rochester with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and completed a MS thesis in Biomedical Engineering at UR. She is currently in her fourth year as a PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, working under the direction of Dr. Denise C. Hocking.
For more information and details on how to apply please visit the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).