Graduate Spotlight: 2011 ARCS Foundation Scholars
Nine University of Georgia students were recently honored with the ARCS Foundation, Inc. – Achievement Rewards for College Scientists – at the annual Scholars Awards Luncheon in Atlanta. In addition to students from UGA, the Atlanta Chapter also presented awards for the 2011-2012 academic year to students from Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Morehouse College.
Phillip Callihan is a Ph.D. candidate in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences. His research focuses on G protein coupled receptor signaling in neural development and cancer. Currently, he is studying the role of lysophospholipids in the differentiation of human neural progenitor cells. After graduation, he plans to pursue an M.D. and a career in academic medicine. Phillip is an active member of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), and UGA Graduate Student sand Postdocs in Science (GSPS). He has served as the Executive Chair of the UGA Student Chapter of AAPS and the Executive Chair of UGA GSPS.
Jason Mock is a Ph.D. candidate in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences. Jason is using differences in enzyme expression between cancer cells and healthy tissue as a means of targeting lipid-based delivery vectors in a prostate cancer model. Jason has served as the community Outreach Chair for the Graduate Student and Postdocs in Science association and as the Vice-Chair and Chair of the UGA Chapter of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. He is also a UGA Graduate School 2011 Emerging Leader and a 2011 AFPE Fellow.
Jenna Oberstaller is a Ph.D. candidate in Genetics. Her primary research interests are using genomics to study evolution of gene regulatory networks in apicomplexan parasites and develop malaria diagnostic targets. Jenna is the recipient of the Genetics Department Kirby and Jan Alton Fellowship for 2010-11, as well as two Training Innovations in Parasitological Studies Fellowships from the Ellison Medical Foundation to field-test malaria diagnostic assays in Tanzania and Thailand (2010-2012). Her work to develop more sensitive diagnostic assays for the two most widespread human malaria parasites was published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology in July.
Kathryn Porter is a Ph.D. candidate in Foods and Nutrition and currently completing a Certificate in Gerontology. Her area of focus is obesity and its relationship to mental health, eating behaviors, dietary patterns and food insecurity in older adults. She is co-author of four peer-reviewed publications regarding aging, nutrition, and physical activity in older adults and in the past year has been awarded the Virginia M. Smyth Scholarship from the Georgia Gerontology Society and the Glenn and Helen Burton Feeding the Hungry Scholarship for her work with older adults.
Bonney Reed-Knight is a Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Psychology. She has been researching medical outcomes associated with nonadherance as well as health related quality of life issues for pediatric solid organ transplant recipients. Bonney intends to continue pediatric health research in the future, with particular interest in applying psychological research to improve disease outcomes and quality of life in youth with gastrointestinal disorders.
Julie Rushmore is a Ph.D. candidate in Veterinary Medicine and Ecology. Julie is interested in studying the interface of public health, disease ecology, and wildlife conservation. As a 2009-2010 Fulbright Fellow, Julie spent a year studying health and behavior in a wild chimpanzee community in western Uganda. Her research focuses on behavioral and ecological factors that affect disease transmission dynamics in wild great apes. Julie was recently awarded a Wildlife Health Training Grant from the Morris Animal Foundation, and her research receives support from Conservation International and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others.
Alecia Septer is a Ph.D. candidate studying Microbiology. For her dissertation work, Alecia uses a squid model system to study how environmental cues regulate bacterial communication as they colonize their host. She has been awarded a UGA Graduate School Assistantship, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Defense, and the Jack and Jane Payne Fellowship in Microbiology. Alecia has served as President of both the Microbiology Graduate Student Association and university-wide organization of Graduate Students and Postdocs in Science.
Timothy Shaw is a Ph.D. candidate studying Bioinformatics. As President for the Bioinformatics Graduate Student Association for the year 2010-2011, he promoted interdisciplinary research within the UGA student community. Timothy is greatly interested in investigating genetic patterns that facilitate efficient HIV transmission and disease progression. He is currently developing methods for modeling HIV RNA secondary structure and novel Shannon entropy approaches to examine worldwide HIV diversity, which is critical to HIV vaccine development. His developed methods will be used to address HIV diversity in HIV/TB co-infection in Uganda and China.
Katherine Verbist is a Ph.D. candidate in Cellular Biology. Katherine’s research focuses on how cytokines influence CD8 T-cell responses to influenza infections and plans to pursue a postdoctoral position and to continue researching the cellular basis for immunity to mucosal infections like influenza.
ARCS® Foundation, Inc. is an organization of women philanthropists who are dedicated to “Advancing Science in America.” The Atlanta Chapter was incorporated in 1992 and presented the first three scholar awards in October of that year. Since then, they have supported almost 300 scholars pursuing studies in scientific and technological innovation. An all-volunteer organization, ARCS Foundation Atlanta members keep in touch with the scholars and their institutions. Each year there are visits to the schools and opportunities to enrich the members as well as the scholars. For more information on the ARCS Foundations, visit arcsfoundation.org.