Graduate School News

Discoveries: The sweet science behind mending muscle

IMG 0174Rylie Hightower, a third-year graduate student in the Graduate Biomedial Sciences neuroscience program, studies proteins and other factors that contribute to the progression of muscular dystrophy. 

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Link to Leadership: Dr. Lisa Schwiebert, Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs

GRAD logo without taglineEmbarking on the graduate school journey can be a challenging experience, but it helps if you understand the major players involved in that experience. This new series, "Link to Leadership," features Q&As with UAB's Graduate School leaders and an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to get to know these leaders on a deeper level.
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Graduate Student Organization Spotlight: Graduate Student Government

Grad Student Organization Spotlight graphicThe University of Alabama at Birmingham offers numerous ways for graduate students to enhance their leadership skills, one of which is joining a student organization. But how do you decide which organization is the right fit for you? This Spotlight series will highlight all of UAB's graduate student organizations, as well as the benefits of joining each one.  Read more ...

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Blazer Spotlights

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Hisham Abdelmotilib

Jacqueline Vo

Jacqueline Vo

Kendra Royston

Kendra Royston

Samir Rana

Samir Rana

William Prucka is in his third year of pursuing a Ph.D. in Biostatistics. His area of research is the statistical analysis of longitudinal magnetic resonance image (MRI) data. “Currently, I’m studying two advanced neuroimaging techniques, Diffusion Tensor MRI (DT-MRI) and functional MRI (fMRI). With DT-MRI we can infer pathways of connectivity and other microstructural features of the brain. fMRI provides a real-time image of brain activation in response to stimuli. Combined together, these imaging modalities give insight into how parts of the brain work together. The statistical methods I’m developing look for changes in the MRI images over time and relates them disease processes. Potential clinical applications of my research include investigating the progression of neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis), brain tumors, and stroke.”

After meeting with Dr. Grier Page in the department of biostatistics, William decided to start attending departmental seminars. “Through the seminar series, I was very impressed with the level research and quality of the faculty at UAB. I decided to apply to the Ph.D. program and am very happy with that decision.”

William’s mentor, Dr. Christopher Coffey, has been his greatest influence at UAB. “Dr. Coffey has helped me develop a methodical approach to my work. His insights into my research topics have helped me focus on key problems as well as present my work in a manner that clearly conveys my findings. He has also been a strong advocate for me, ensuring that I have the resources necessary to do the work that suits my interests.”

Serving as the Biostatistics representative to the Public Health Student Association (PHSA) has been William’s most rewarding experience at UAB. “Through this organization I was able to help plan and help with community outreach, social, and professional events in the School of Public Health. This was both a great deal of work and very enjoyable. I had the opportunity to work with a team from diverse academic backgrounds. I learned a great deal about teamwork and we managed to contribute to the culture of the community and school.”

William advises other graduate students to take advantage of the diverse opportunities provided at UAB. “Actively pursue your research interests, but remember to give back to the school and local community that have helped you achieve.”

After graduation, William will seek a tenure track faculty position at a university with a strong research focus. “I envision myself working as part of a multidisciplinary team that focuses on clinical applications of neuroimaging.”