UR Medical Student Named Fulbright Scholar

April 19, 2000

Peter Gochee, a second-year student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Postgraduate Student Award to study in Australia.

Gochee will spend one year in Brisbane, Australia, working with researcher Lawrie W. Powell, M.D., Ph.D., of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

Beginning in July, Gochee will assist with a population-based study of hereditary hemochromatosis, a common genetic disease characterized by excessive iron accumulation throughout the body. Over time, the continued deposition of iron can lead to diabetes, heart problems and, eventually, liver failure. If the disease is detected early, treatment can be as simple as donating blood periodically in order to bring iron levels down.

Nearly 1 million Americans and 60,000 Australians suffer from hereditary hemochromatosis - one in every 200 people - yet it has been estimated that the condition is misdiagnosed in two out of three patients. Improved methods for the early detection of the genetically inherited disease could impact the lives of millions of people throughout the world.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills. Its primary source of funding is an annual appropriation made by the United States Department of State. Grants primarily fund university teaching, advanced research, graduate study and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.

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