Foundation Fellowships support seven UGA graduate students

ARCS Foundation Fellowships support seven UGA graduate students in the biomedical sciences

Athens, Ga. – The Atlanta chapter of the ARCS® Foundation, Inc. (Achievement Rewards for College Students) will award $45,000 to seven outstanding American doctoral students in the biomedical and health sciences at the University of Georgia, four of whom are receiving the funding for the first time. The presentations will be made at an awards ceremony on Monday, Nov. 9 at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta.

The gala event features keynote speaker David Spencer, director of the Center for Space Systems at the Georgia Institute of Technology Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering. Prior to joining Georgia Tech’s faculty, Spencer spent 17 years at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where he played lead roles in the Phoenix Mars Lander, Mars Pathfinder, Deep Impact and Mars Odysseymissions.

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 cellular biology, biochemistry, psychology, neuroscience and pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences.

The following students are UGA ARCS Foundation Scholars for 2009-10:

  • Benjamin Austin of Augusta, Ga., is a Ph.D. candidate in the psychology. Using brain imaging technology, he is investigating neural plasticity, the ability of neural circuits in the brain to change over time in response to practice, in schizophrenia.
  • Caryn Hale of Baton Rouge, La., is pursing her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology. Hale’s research focuses on a newly discovered RNA-based genome defense system in prokaryotic organisms.Her work may provide the means for experimental gene slicing in prokaryotes and for the development of a novel class of antibiotics.
  • Carly Jordan of Houston, Texas, is pursing her Ph.D. in cellular biology.She is examining the apicoplast, a unique and essential organelle in the human parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which may serve as a target for potential drug therapies.
  • Megan McCormick of Fayetteville, Ga., is a Ph.D. candidate in psychology. She is currently examining the barriers that prevent adolescent organ transplant recipients from adhering to their immunosuppressant drug regimens. She hopes that a better understanding of this issue can lead to detection and better health outcomes for young patients.
  • Meagan McManus of Albany, Ga., is pursing her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. McManus’s research is currently evaluating the use of mitochondrially-targeted antioxidants as a potential therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Elizabeth Rahn of Muscle Shoals, Ala., is pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience. She is currently studying the therapeutics of cannabinoids, synthetic cannabis-like compounds, on neurotoxicity and pathological pain induced by chemotherapeutic agents.
  • Michael Stramiello of Macon, Ga., is a pursing pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience. His research focuses on the cellular mechanisms that affect synaptic plasticity in the brain and play a role in various disorders of learning and memory, including addiction and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Atlanta chapter of the ARCS Foundation has awarded close to $2.1 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.