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T. Scott Isbell

While Scott was pursuing a B.S. in Biology here at UAB, he had the opportunity to work in the Department of Pharmacology. Starting at the bottom rung as a work study, Scott eventually became a research assistant. Scott explains, “Working in the lab solidified my desire to attend graduate school so I could continue doing what I enjoyed. This experience showed me UAB was an excellent environment for training, so I decided to apply.”

Scott’s research is concerned with nitric oxide (NO), an essential signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. Specifically, his investigations are focused on the mechanisms of how nitrite (a metabolite of NO) is converted back to NO during hypoxia, thus serving as a potential storage pool or alternate source for NO. This mechanism of nitrite conversion may play an important role during physiological responses such as hypoxic vasodilatation and may prove to have therapeutic potential in the treatment of pathologies characterized by loss of NO (for example during ischemia-reperfusion injury).

Scott has received many awards and honors over the years. He muses, “My most memorable award was winning a Young Investigator’s Award for my work presented orally at a national meeting of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine. My most memorable honor was being selected (along with one other UAB graduate student) to represent UAB at ‘A Gathering of Nobel Laureates: Science for the 21st Century’ at UNC Charlotte.”

When asked about his most rewarding experience at UAB, Scott recalls, “As an undergraduate my most rewarding experience was my participation in the Office of Student Leadership at UAB, helping to plan and execute various events and programs such as Into the Streets, LeaderShape and Leadership and Service Council. As a graduate student I would have to say any day my experiments run perfectly is a rewarding day! Seriously, in addition to my research, my role as an officer for the Molecular and Cellular Pathology Graduate Program has been very rewarding as it allows me to interact with both students and faculty.”

Scott’s biggest influences here at UAB include his thesis mentor, Dr. Rakesh Patel, along with Dr. Victor-Darley-Usmar and Dr. David Kraus. Scott particularly highlights Dr. Stephen Barnes, his first scientific mentor, for giving him the opportunity to discover scientific research. “Each of these faculty members have been instrumental in guiding me through graduate school and the many decisions which must be made and I owe a great deal of gratitude to them.”

Scott’s advice for other graduate students: “Keep an open mind to your interests. Get involved and be pro-active in your graduate program, your school and your community. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you.”

After graduation, Scott would like an international postdoctoral position in academia.

Scott is the recipient of the 2007 Samuel B. Barker Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies at the Doctoral Level. For more information about Scott and the Barker Award, visit the current issue of the Graduate Student Newsletter at http://www.uab.edu/graduate/publications/183-graduate-school-news-and-events.