ARCS Foundation Scholarships fund seven UGA doctoral students

ARCS Foundation Scholarships fund seven UGA doctoral students

Athens, Ga. – Seven doctoral students at the University of Georgia have received scholarships worth a total of $43,500 from the Atlanta chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation for the 2007-08 academic year.

The students were recognized for their studies in the biomedical and health sciences at an awards ceremony and luncheon in Atlanta. The featured speaker was Mary Brown Bullock, president emerita of Agnes Scott College and distinguished professor of China studies at Emory University.

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 the UGA departments of biochemistry and molecular biology, foods and nutrition, genetics, microbiology, neuroscience and pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences.

“While the monetary award of the scholarships provided by the ARCS Foundation is greatly appreciated, it is the dedication and commitment of the ARCS members and their continuing personal interest in present and past recipients that is the real reward for UGA’s ARCS fellows,” said BHSI Director Harry Dailey.

The UGA ARCS Foundation Scholars and their interests are as follows:

  •  Geneva DeMarsis pursuing a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology. She studies the molecular landscape between the human lutropin receptor, a seven transmembrane receptor, and its cognate signaling partner, the stimulatory G protein. The signal transduction pathway is vital for normal reproduction in mammals and it mechanisms have been conserved across the evolution of higher organisms.
  • Sarah Eisenstein is a Ph.D. candidate in the interdisciplinary neuroscience program administered by the UGA Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute. She is using an animal model to examine the relationship between cannabinoids, the body’s own marijuana-like system, and psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. With her work, she hopes to eventually facilitate the development of new drug therapies.
  • Jillian Hurst is pursing her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. Her research centers around the characterization of Regulator of G-protein Signaling (RGS) proteins as therapeutic modulators of signaling pathways contributing to the progression of ovarian cancer.
  • Jodell Linder is pursing her doctoral degree in genetics and is studying the effect of temperature on immune function in insects. Advances in this field are critical for the control of vector-borne diseases and agricultural pests.
  • Dawn Penn is pursuing a Ph.D. in foods and nutrition. She is a registered dietician and her doctoral research focuses on the role of leptin, a hormone produced by the fat cells in regulating fat cell growth using in vitro cell culture and models of genetic and diet induced obesity.
  • Norman Pollock, as a Master’s student, demonstrated that competitive sports activity in youth can favorably influence long-term bone health, years after retirement from competitive sports. For his doctoral degree in foods and nutrition, he is focusing on the role of obesity in bone strength.
  • Laura Williams is pursuing a Ph.D. in microbiology. She is studying the distribution and diversity of plasmids in the foodborne pathogen, Salmonella enterica.Plasmids are extrachromosomal DNA elements that play an important role in the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The Atlanta chapter of the ARCS Foundation has awarded close to $2 million worth of scholarships to students at the University of Georgia, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College. Additional information about the foundation can be found on the Web at www.arcsfoundation.org.