Graduate School News

Discoveries: When breathing isn’t so easy

IMG 8159Courtney Petty, a graduate student in the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology theme of the Graduate Biomedical Sciences program, researches new therapeutics that could potentially improve the lives of people living with cystic fibrosis.
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Not just a postdoc, not just a soldier

DSC 0919Samir Rana, a postdoctoral fellow from Nepal, has spent the past two years balancing life as a postdoc and as a solder in the U.S. Army Reserve.
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Discoveries: Does living longer always equal better?

IMG 8199Leigh Ann Bray is a Ph.D. student in the School of Nursing with a research focus on helping those with cystic fibrosis have a better quality of life.

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Samir Rana

After spending five and a half years at UAB, Nenad received his Ph.D. in physics in December 2005. His research is in the field of high pressure science. High pressure science deals with studying and understanding properties of materials when they are subject to externally applied pressures. The change in thermodynamic conditions can lead to significant changes in things such as the mechanical, structural, and electrical properties of materials. He performs experiments that can detect and also explain how and why these changes occur.

Nenad chose UAB for his graduate studies for a couple of reasons. Prior to his senior year as an undergraduate student, he participated in the REU summer program at the department of physics at UAB. During this time, he became familiar with his future advisor, Professor Yogesh Vohra, the research he was doing, and also with the Birmingham area. “I enjoyed working with Professor Vohra and I really liked the research we were doing, plus I enjoyed Birmingham and the surrounding area, so it was actually an easy choice when I decided to go to UAB for graduate school.”

Nenad is currently a postdoctoral research assistant at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. His awards and honors include, Marquis Who’s Who in America 2007 – Selected for Inclusion, Preparing Future Faculty Internship – UAB 2003-2005, Alabama Space Grant Consortium NASA Space Grant Fellowship – 2003-2004, Certificate of Excellence for the Dept. of Physics – UAB 2004, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award from The Association of Physics Teachers – 2002, and Graduate Assistant in the Area of National Need Fellowship – UAB 2001-2002.

Nenad feels fortunate for having the opportunity to spend his graduate career at UAB. His biggest influence has been his graduate advisor, Professor Yogesh K. Vohra. “He was always positive, worked very hard, and most importantly always found time to help his students. Because of his dedication and guidance I was able to complete my graduate work, which then led to other opportunities becoming available for me after I graduated.”

Currently, Nenad is a postdoctoral research assistant. He enjoys research and plans to continue doing research in the future. His long term goal is to apply for a faculty position so that he would also have the opportunity to teach. He advises other graduate students, “to work hard and enjoy your time in graduate school. Graduate school can be stressful and challenging, but if you balance your time and work hard you can overcome these things and you will have a much more rewarding experience.”