Campus News

ARCS Foundation awards $70,000 to UGA biomedical sciences graduate students

ARCS award winners
UGA ARCS Scholars pictured from left to right are Timothy Shaw

Athens, Ga. – The Atlanta chapter of the ARCS-Achievement Rewards for College Students-Foundation Inc. has awarded $70,000 to nine doctoral students in the biomedical and health sciences at the University of Georgia, one of whom received a special $10,000 grant to study global health research abroad. The awards ceremony was held recently at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta.

The ARCS Foundation was founded in Los Angeles in 1958 and is dedicated to helping meet the country’s needs for scientists and engineers by providing scholarships to academically outstanding university students. UGA recipients of the award are selected through the UGA Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute.

This year’s ARCS Scholars represent five UGA schools and colleges and two institutes-the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Pharmacy, College of Public Health, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Odum School of Ecology, the Institute of Bioinformatics and the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute.

The following UGA students are ARCS Foundation Scholars for 2012-13:

Rachelle Arnold of Woodburn, Ind., is 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., 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 wide variety of disease and disorders.

Sharon King Keller of Danielsville is a doctoral candidate in cellular biology. Her research is focused on investigating an enzyme in Trypanosoma brucei, the pathogenic agent of African sleeping sickness. This enzyme is a key component of a signaling pathway known to regulate critical cellular processes. 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. Her aim is to develop and incorporate evidence-based medical adherence interventions in pediatric medical centers.

Cary McGinnis of Athens is a pursuing a doctorate in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. Her research focuses on characterizing small interfering RNA (siRNA) 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 is from Habersham County and 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 is 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. A former Fulbright Scholar, Rushmore spent a year in western Uganda studying health and behavior in wild chimpanzees.

Natale Sciolino of Buffalo, N.Y., is a 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 is 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.

The Atlanta chapter of the ARCS Foundation has awarded over $2.7 million worth of scholarships to students at UGA, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College. For more information about the foundation, see