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 and Notes

  • Dr. Erich D. Jarvis, a former participant in two NIGMS minority programs, received the 2002 Alan T. Waterman Award, which honors a U.S. scientist who is at the forefront of science or engineering. It is the highest honor for a young researcher given by NSF.

    Jarvis participated in the MARC and MBRS programs as an undergraduate student at the City University of New York, Hunter College, where he received a bachelor's degree in biology and mathematics in 1988. He went on to become a MARC predoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University, where he received a Ph.D. in molecular neurobiology and animal behavior in 1995. Following postdoctoral work at Rockefeller, he became an assistant professor in the department of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. His research interests include the neurobiology of vocal communication in songbirds, with an emphasis on the molecular pathways involved in the perception and production of learned vocalizations.

    Jarvis received the award, which consists of a medal and a grant of $500,000 over 3 years for his scientific research, during a ceremony in Washington, DC, on May 7.

  • Two MORE program directors were among the most recent recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. The awards, which are presented annually, recognize influential institutions and individuals who have been leaders in encouraging minorities, women, and disabled persons to pursue careers in the scientific and engineering labor force. The recipients included Dr. Therese Markow, a Regents professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and Dr. Bharati Mehrotra, a professor of biology at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.

    Markow is the former MARC program director at Arizona State University and is currently the IRACDA director at the University of Arizona. Mehrotra was the MARC program director at Tougaloo College prior to her retirement in May.

    Markow and Mehrotra were among 10 individuals and 10 institutions who received awards. The awards were established by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 1996 and are administered by NSF. Award recipients attended a ceremony in December in Washington, DC, and were presented with a $10,000 grant and a commemorative Presidential certificate.

  • Dr. Chellu Chetty, the MBRS program director and a biology professor at Savannah State University (SSU), was selected to receive the American College of Toxicology President's Award for the best paper of the year in the field of toxicology. The paper, "Perinatal Lead Exposure Alters the Expression of Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase in Rat Brain," was published in the International Journal of Toxicology (for the full citation, see the Selected Publications section). Chetty received the award during the society's annual meeting in November in Washington, DC.

  • Dr. Laura J. Robles, the MBRS program director at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), received the Cesar Chavez Education, Equity, and Justice Award from the Latino Student and Faculty Association of CSUDH in April. Robles, a biology professor, was recognized for her efforts to enhance the quality of life and educational experience at the university.

  • Dr. Ben Yaspelkis, an MBRS investigator at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), was elected a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. Yaspelkis is an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology at CSUN, where he also serves as director of the exercise physiology and biochemistry laboratories. The American College of Sports Medicine promotes and integrates scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.
  • Dr. Ernest Márquez, director of the MBRS program at NIGMS since 1996, left the Institute in January to accept a position with the National Institute of Mental Health, another NIH component. In his new position, Márquez serves as associate director for special populations, where he leads the strategic planning effort to reduce mental health disparities and increase diversity among the nation's scientists conducting brain and behavioral research.

  • The Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) received the 2002 National Science Board Public Service Award for outstanding contributions to communicating, promoting, and helping to develop broad public policy in science and engineering. SACNAS was recognized for "giving information, support, guidance, and mentoring to budding young Latino and Native American scientists and engineers." At its annual conference, which NIGMS co-sponsors, SACNAS provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in their first scientific meeting and hear talks by leading scientists.

  • The CSUDH Chapter of Sigma Xi received the organization's first annual Diversity Award for its support of the CSUDH annual Students Trained in Academic Research Symposium, which features the research results of the university's MBRS, MARC, and Bridges to the Baccalaureate program participants.

  • The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Visiting Scientists Program for Minority Institutions sponsored 13 faculty members recently. The program is designed to strengthen the research and teaching capabilities at minority institutions by sponsoring visits of prominent scientists who are active members of FASEB societies. The visiting scientists, listed with their home/host institutions, were: Dr. Durisala Desaiah, University of Mississippi Medical Center/SSU; Dr. Stephen Dewhurst, University of Rochester Medical Center/University of the Virgin Islands; Dr. Margarita Dubocovich, Northwestern University/Morehouse School of Medicine; Dr. Richard Dukelow, High Meadows Enterprise/Jackson State University; Dr. Robert Glew, University of New Mexico School of Medicine/Barry University; Dr. Malcolm Gordon, University of California, Los Angeles/InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico; Dr. Sam Helgerson, Baxter Biotechnologies, Inc./University of Texas at San Antonio; Dr. Thomas Landefeld, CSUDH/Prairie View A&M University; Dr. George Littleton, Howard University/CSUDH; Dr. John Mansfield, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Alcorn State University; Dr. Victor Rodwell, Purdue University/Albany State University; Dr. Dileep Sachan, University of Tennessee/Barry University; and Dr. Frank Talamantes, University of California, Santa Cruz/Ponce School of Medicine.

  • Dr. Seble Wagaw, a former NIGMS minority program participant, was recognized in April at the annual National Women of Color Health, Science, and Technology Awards event held in Nashville, TN. Wagaw, a research chemist at Abbott Laboratories in Abbott Park, IL, is involved in the discovery of new methods of preparing drug candidates for clinical study. She received the Most Promising Scientist of the Year Award for her outstanding contributions to the field of health care, as well as for her initiative and professional and technical achievements. Wagaw was the recipient of an NIH research supplement for underrepresented minorities while pursuing a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Four former MBRS program participants at New Mexico State University (NMSU) earned their doctoral degrees during winter commencement ceremonies.

    Robert Marquez received a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry and was awarded an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia School of Medicine; Quincy Quick received a Ph.D. in neurobiology and is performing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Worcester Foundation in Waltham, MA; Elizabeth Quintana received a Ph.D. in physiology and is planning to pursue a postdoctoral research position; and Johnette Brown-Silva received a Ph.D. in ruminant microbiology and is performing postdoctoral research at NMSU.

  • Many participants in NIGMS' minority programs made presentations about their research at the ABRCMS meeting last fall in Orlando, FL.

    The following MARC, MBRS, and Bridges to the Baccalaureate program participants at Barry University in Florida presented posters: Eauly Brautigam, Ines Macias, Roody Pierre-Charles, Davecia Ragoonath, Randolph Roberts, and Gesulla Toussaint.

    Luis Jacome, a MARC undergraduate student at the City University of New York, Hunter College, was recognized by the Endocrine Society for his outstanding poster presentation.

    Five Bridges to the Baccalaureate program participants at the Medgar Evers College/Kingsborough Community College in New York presented posters: Oreoluma Abidakun,Wendy Barrerio, Paul Calder, Kawasi Lett, and Elinor Rodriguez. Barrerio and Rodriguez also made oral presentations of their research.

    Seven MARC trainees at Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico made presentations: Adail Alicea-Martinez, Alma Castilloveitia-Rose, Dania Medina-Emmanuelli, Karina Resto-Santiago, Carol Rivera-Lopez, Jose Rodriguez-Medina, and Yendi Serrano-Irizarry.

    Bianca Matos
    , a Bridges to the Baccalaureate program participant at the State University of New York, Purchase College, was awarded best presentation in the biochemical sciences category for her poster.

    Five MBRS program participants from the University of Iowa presented posters: Marc Doobay, Nonso Enekwechi, Elizabeth Homan, Necole Streeper, and Diane Tran. Homan and Doobay also made oral presentations, and Doobay won an award for the best oral presentation in the physiological sciences category.

    Three Bridges to the Baccalaureate program participants at Western Michigan University made poster presentations: Nabeeh Hasan, Greg Williams, and Amber Walker. Hasan and Williams' poster presentation won first place in the interdisciplinary sciences category.

  • Participants in NIGMS' minority programs made presentations about their research at other recent scientific meetings:

    Charita Collins, a MARC undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), received second place in the biological sciences category for her poster presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers student conference held in Indianapolis, IN, in November.

    Jaime Lopez, a MARC undergraduate student at CSUN, gave a poster presentation at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, CA, in November.

    Mona Singh, an MBRS program participant at CSUN, won the 2001 student research award for her presentation at the annual meeting of the Southwest Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine in Salt Lake City, UT, in November.

    Necole Streeper, an MBRS participant at the University of Iowa, gave a presentation at the International Society for Developmental Psychology annual meeting in San Diego in November.

    Ari Miller, an MBRS graduate student participant at CSUDH, received second place for her poster presentation at the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting in Washington, DC, in December. The award was presented by the society's Minority Affairs Committee.

    Katie Shannon, an IRACDA program participant at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, also presented a poster at the meeting.

    Eight MBRS program participants at the University of California, Irvine, received awards for their presentations at the American Association for Advancement of Science annual meeting in February in Boston, MA. Four of the students won first place awards in various categories: Rafael Gonzalez, organismal biology; Matilde Gonzalez, ecology and environment; Sylvia Jaramillo, molecular and cell biology; and Bonnie Poytress, social and behavioral sciences. Cheryse Furman, Kathi Hamor, David Hernandez, and Sarah Lopez received honorable mentions.

    Five MARC and pre-MARC trainees at UMBC attended the 8th Biennial Symposium on Minorities, the Medically Underserved, and Cancer in Washington, DC, in February. They were: Robyn Miller, DeAnna Baker, Letitia Thompson, Nicole Reynolds, and Jasmine McDonald. Thompson made an oral presentation at the meeting and Miller presented a poster.

    Braddy Nykeba, an MBRS program participant at SSU, received a third-place award for his poster presentation at the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program conference held in February at Albany State University. Nykeba also received a Society of Toxicology student travel award to present a paper at the society's 41st annual meeting in Nashville, TN, in March.

    Dang Huynh, a Bridges to the Doctorate program participant at CSUN, presented a poster on his research at the Biophysical Society annual meeting in February in San Francisco, CA, and at the university's 6th annual student research and creative arts competition last fall.

    Three MARC undergraduate students at Grambling State University in Louisiana made presentations at the Louisiana Academy of Sciences annual meeting at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in March. The projects were presented by Jerrel Gibson, Leonard Moore, and Marcus Chew.

    Three MARC undergraduate students at the University of North Carolina A&T State University made presentations of their research at the Collegiate Academy of the North Carolina Academy of Science annual meeting in March. Ryan Kinloch was awarded second place for his presentation, Bryant Suitte received a third-place award, and Tennille Presley received an honorable mention.

    Two MARC students at the university made presentations at the 59th annual Beta Kappa Chi/National Institute of Science/Brookhaven Semester Program in Columbia, SC, in March. Bryant Suitte received a third-place award in the chemistry category and Tiffany Boyce received a third-place award in the psychology and science education category.

    Eleven MARC undergraduate students at Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico made oral presentations at the 37th American Chemical Society Junior Technical Meeting/22nd Puerto Rico Interdisciplinary Scientific Meeting in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in March: Dania Medina-Emmanuelli, Maryliz del Gonzales-Santos, Ivan Vidal-Gonzalez, Jose Rodrigues-Medina, Carol Rivera-Lopez, Karina Resto-Santiago, Alma Castilloveitia-Rosa, Gil Marie Alicea-Cruz, Yared Vazquez-Madera,Yendi Serrano-Irizarry, and Edgardo Santiago-Martinez.

    Marietta Oduori
    , a Bridges to the Baccalaureate program participant at Towson University in Maryland, made a poster presentation on her research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in April at the University of Wisconsin,Whitewater.

    Jennifer Greene, a UMBC pre-MARC student, received a travel award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to attend the Experimental Biology 2002 meeting in April in New Orleans, LA. April Ochoa and Pamela Villasenor of CSUN made presentations at the meeting. Ochoa is an MBRS program participant and Villasenor is a MARC student.

  • FASEB presented numerous faculty members and students with MARC travel awards to attend the following meetings: Experimental Biology 2001, the Radiation Research Society annual meeting, the American Peptide Society annual meeting, the Endocrine Society annual meeting, the 15th Symposium of the Protein Society, the Society for the Study of Reproduction annual meeting, the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting, and the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research meeting.

  • The Biophysical Society presented MARC Travel Awards to 16 faculty members and students recently, providing funds for these individuals to attend the Biophysical Society annual meeting in February in San Francisco, CA.

  • In recent months, we have received word about the following current and former student participants in NIGMS minority programs: • Anthony Beas, a MARC undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, was named an outstanding undergraduate researcher by the university's College of Science at its recent seniors awards ceremony • Monica Frazier, a former MBRS and MARC program participant at Alabama State University, is now a research assistant professor at the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee University • Linda Hammond, a MARC predoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, was recently awarded the American Society for Clinical Nutrition's Young Investigator Award. In addition, Hammond was among 12 finalists for the American Society for Nutritional Sciences' Proctor and Gamble Graduate Student Research Award • Johnny Johnson, a former MBRS program participant at SSU, is now pursuing a Ph.D. in physiology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook • Alejandro Morales, an MBRS program participant at CSUDH, has been accepted into a doctoral program in counseling psychology at the University of Nebraska • Diane Tran, an MBRS program participant at the University of Iowa, was recently named a Barry M. Goldwater scholar. The award provides a 2-year scholarship to students intending to pursue careers in math, science, and engineering • Bridget Williams, a former MARC undergraduate student at Xavier University, is pursuing a doctoral degree at Tulane University's Health Sciences Center, where she is a Bridges to the Doctorate program participant • Nora Vasquez, a former MBRS program participant at the University of Washington, was among nine individuals selected to participate in the NIH Academy, a program for recent college graduates who have an interest in health disparities. Vasquez is currently performing research in a lab at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, MD.

    We are always interested in hearing about NIGMS minority program faculty, alumni, and students. Photographs of your students, research labs, and activities are also welcomed and encouraged. Please send information to:

    NIGMS Minority Programs Update
    Room 1AS.25
    45 Center Drive MSC 6200
    Bethesda, MD 20892-6200

    Tel: 301-496-7301
    Fax: 301-402-0224

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