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2011 VICB Student Award Recipients

Dawn Makley was awarded a graduate fellowship by the Division of Organic Chemistry of the American Chemical Society for 2010-2011. Dawn is a native of Tipp City, Ohio.  She began undergraduate studies at Xavier University in 2003, leading to receipt of a B.S. Chemistry degree in 2007.  While at Xavier, she performed undergraduate research under the mentorship of Prof. Rick Mullins. Dawn entered Vanderbilt University's graduate program in chemistry in 2007, and joined Dr. Jeffrey Johnston's group after her rotations. Dawn is currently developing methods for the enantioselective synthesis of peptide natural products.

Elizabeth Dong (Jens Meiler Lab) has won the prestigious PhRMA Foundation Paul Calabresi Medical Student Research Fellowship.  The fellowship is offered to medical or dental students who have substantial interests in research and teaching careers in pharmacology - clinical pharmacology and who are willing to spend full-time in a specific research effort within a pharmacology or clinical pharmacology unit.  Liz is a MD/PhD student in the second year of her graduate studies.  Liz works on new technologies in the Meiler laboratory to develop allosteric modulators of metabotropic glutamate receptors, important targets for many neurological diseases.

Louesa Akin (Jens Meiler Lab) was selected to receive the Goldwater Scholarship for undergraduate students based in part on the research she did on "Membrane Protein Structure Prediction using sparse NMR restraints."  She is a undergraduate student attending Centre College in Kentucky who pursues research in the Meiler laboratory focused on membrane protein structure determination form sparse NMR data.  Louesa participated in the Summer Science Academy program in summer 2010 and will participate in the Vanderbilt Research Experience for Undergraduates in chemical biology in summer 2011.

Charles Sanders Lab members Wade Van Horn (co-Mentor: Carlos Vanoye, Division of Genetic Medicine: Structure and function of KCNE modulation of the KCNQ1 Voltage-Gate Potassium Channel) and Sijo Mathew (co-Mentor: Roy Zent, Division of Nephrology: Role of the transmembrane and cytosolic domains in integrin function in the kidney) have received American Heart Assocation postdoctoral fellowships.  These fellowships were established to help trainees initiate careers in cardiovascular and stroke research while obtaining significant research results under the supervision of a sponsor or mentor; supports individuals before they are ready for some stage of independent research.)

Dan Hermanson (Marnett Lab) is the recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellows, funded by the NIH through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA, Primary) and National Institute of Mental Health from May 1, 2011 to May 1, 2014 for research in "flurbiprofen Substrate-Selective Inhibition of COX-2 and Analog Development."

Andrew Hardaway (Randy Blakely Lab) received an NRSA from the National Institute of Mental Health for his work involving "Presynaptic Mechanisms Regulating the Dopamine Transporter."  The regulation of dopamine levels in the human brain is a tightly regulated process that impacts many human behaviors including attention, reward prediction, learning, arousal and motor control. As such, loss or alterations in these behaviors underlie dopamine-related disorders such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and Parkinson's Disease. Poised at the presynaptic terminal of dopamine-releasing neurons, the dopamine transporter(DAT) is the primary regulator of synaptic and extrasynaptic DA levels in the brain. Our understanding of DAT function has expanded in recent years, but we still understand little about the proteins that regulate it in vivo. This project aims to identify novel and conserved regulators of DAT in an in vivo system Caenhorhabditis elegans. Using classical forward genetics and a behavioral phenotype specific to DAT loss of function, we have identified several mutant strains that harbor mutations in distinct genes. Current efforts are focused on identifying these genes and characterizing their function.

Jesse Teske (Gary Sulikowski Lab) was awarded an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship for study and training based on his proposal entitled “Protein Target Identification of the Ammocidin Natural Products.”  This research aims to develop a chemical synthesis of ammocidin D, a macrolide natural product isolated from a soil microbe.









Van Horn





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