Campus News

ARCS Foundation awards $70,000 to biomedical sciences grad students

The Atlanta chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation, Inc. has awarded $70,000 to nine doctoral students in biomedical and health sciences at UGA.

The ARCS Foundation is dedicated to helping meet the country’s needs for scientists and engineers by providing scholarships to academically outstanding university students. UGA award recipients are selected through the UGA Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute. The 2012-13 ARCS Foundation Scholars from UGA are:

• Rachelle Arnold of Woodburn, Ind., a doctoral candidate in chemistry. Her research focuses on the development of surface-bound molecular polymers, which can be used to study the diffusion and mechanical properties of extracellular barriers in pulmonary disorders such as asthma.

• Laura Cuff of New Wilmington, Pa., who is pursuing her doctorate in microbiology. Her research focuses on understanding spontaneous gene amplification events in a soil bacterium. In bacteria, gene amplification can increase virulence, cause antibiotic resistance and enable pathogens to infect vaccinated hosts. In humans, it can cause cancer drug resistance and a variety of diseases and disorders.

• Sharon King Keller of Danielsville, a doctoral candidate in cellular biology. Her research is focused on investigating an enzyme in Trypanosoma brucei, the pathogenic agent of African sleeping sickness. She was selected to receive this year’s $10,000 ARCS Global Impact Grant.

• Kristin Loiselle of Columbia, Conn., is pursuing her doctorate in psychology. Loiselle’s work investigates factors that affect adherence to medical regimens among child and adolescent solid organ transplant recipients.

• Cary McGinnis of Athens, who is pursuing a doctorate in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. Her research focuses on characterizing small interfering RNA therapeutics through development of specific and sensitive analytical methods. This is a new class of therapeutics being developed to treat cancer, HIV and other diseases.

• Bonney Reed-Knight from Habersham County, who is pursuing a doctorate in psychology. Her doctoral work focuses on pediatric health with a particular interest in applying ­psychological research to improve disease outcomes and quality of life in youth with gastrointestinal disorders and solid organ transplants.

• Julie Rushmore of Alpharetta, a doctor of veterinary medicine/Ph.D. candidate who is receiving training in veterinary medicine and ecology. Her research examines the behavioral and ecological factors that affect disease transmission in African great apes.

• Natale Sciolino of Buffalo, N.Y., who is pursuing a doctorate in neuroscience. Sciolino is interested in the neurobiological basis for mental disorders. For her dissertation work, she is examining how exercise may require galanin in the brain to be protective against stress and the release of an adrenaline-like compound called norepinephrine.

• Timothy Shaw of Johns Creek, a doctoral candidate in bioinformatics. He is investigating genetic patterns that facilitate efficient HIV transmission and disease progression and is developing methods to model worldwide HIV diversity, which is critical to vaccine development.