tell me something good bannerUAB Grad Students and Postdocs are awesome. You know this already, but we want our campus to be more aware of all the great things our trainees are achieving. Check out these impressive students.

Have you or one of your trainees accomplished or achieved something great recently? Share it with us here




Megan Rich

Megan Rich

Congratulations to Megan Rich, PhD trainee in Neuroscience. She was featured in the Alabama Bright Lights section of the Alabama Newscenter for her ground breaking research. Megan is working on penetrating the blood-brain barrier in a noninvasive way to eventually help cure disease. Check out her interview in the link below.

Megan is under the mentorship of Drs. Mark Bolding and Farah Lubin in the Department of Neuroscience in the School of Medicine.

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Corey Duke

Corey Duke

Corey Duke, a UAB graduate student in neurobiology, made the July 2017 Learning & Memory journal cover with his article, Experience-dependent epigenomic reorganization in the hippocampus. You can read his abstract here. Well done, Corey!
Stacie Totsch

Stacie Totsch

Stacie Totsch, a UAB graduate student in psychology, recently presented new data at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society in Pittsburgh. Her poster was selected to be given as an oral presentation due to the novelty and general interest in her topic. She was interviewed and the story of her work was featured on the Practical Pain Management website. Read the article to learn more.
Christopher Tyler Burks

Christopher Tyler Burks

Christopher Tyler Burks, a student in UAB's Masters in Public Administration (MPA) program, won the Alabama City/County Management Association's largest academic scholarship, $3,000. Congratulations, Christopher!
Steven Wiseman

Steven Wiseman

Steven Wiseman, a UAB Nursing student in the Adult/Gerontology Acute Care program on the Nurse Practitioner track, has been selected as the receipient of an American Association of Nurse Practitioners Scholarship Award. As a recipient, Steven has been invited to the 2017 AANP National Conference (June 20-25 in Philadelphia, PA), where all scholarship and grant awardees will have their photo and award information on display.
Sabrina Heiser

Sabrina Heiser

Sabrina Heiser won the 2017 Ralph Lewin Award for the best student poster at the Phycological Society of America annual meeting banquet on June 8. Sabrina is working toward a Ph.D. in biology in the lab of Dr. Chuck Amsler. Her poster was based on data collected in their most recent Antarctic field season, which ended in May.
Whitney Marsh-Tchoula

Whitney Marsh-Tchoula

Whitney Marsh-Tchoula just got her second article accepted for publication this year. She is a MSCJ student whole will be entering the PhD program at Rutgers next year. Her two publications this year are:

  • Copes, H., Tchoula, W, Brookman, F., and Ragland, J. (Forthcoming). Photo-elicitation interviews with vulnerable populations: Practical and ethical considerations. Deviant Behavior.
  • Marsh, W., Copes, H., Linnemann, T. (2017). Creating visual differences: Methamphetamine user’s perceptions of anti-meth campaigns. International Journal of Drug Policy, 39, 52-61.
Avantika Naidu

Avantika Naidu

Avantika Naidu, a student in the Rehabilitation Science graduate program, has been accepted to attend the NIH-sponsored Short Course In Adaptive Neurotechnologies. Avantika received a scholarship that provides all travel and course expenses. This course will provide a select group of scientists, engineers, and clinicians with the multidisciplinary knowledge and expertise needed to guide the development of new adaptive neurotechnologies from conception through laboratory and clinical evaluation to dissemination and use for important scientific or clinical purposes. The goal is to create the next generation of leaders in this burgeoning new field.
Katie Henley

Katie Henley

Katie Henley, a Rehabilitation Science graduate program student in Dr. David Brown's lab, attended the North American Regional Meeting of the International Society of Applied Ethology (ISAE) at Iowa State University on May 12-13. She won first place in the poster competition for her poster entitled, Aural-visual classification of the vocal repertoire of adult domestic pigs.
Lindsey Smith

Lindsey Smith

Lindsey Smith is a Graduate Research Assistant in the lab of Dr. Lori McMahon and was recently rewarded an NIH Predoctoral Fellowship. This training grant through the National Institutes of Aging will support her thesis work, which aims to understand early mechanisms of synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease and the neuroprotective role of the ovarian hormone 17-beta estradiol.
Kristi Stringer

Kristi Stringer

Kristi Stringer has accepted a position at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the School of Social Work. She will be a post-doctoral scholar within their T32 training program in HIV, Substance Use, and Criminal Justice. She will be working with high-risk populations in New York City upon arrival and will join the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA) in work focused on strengthening health systems and supporting the response to HIV in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan through a focus on health related stigma.
Rachel Jimenez

Rachel Jimenez

Rachel Jimenez has received a 4-year F31 pre-doctoral fellowship award (starts August 1, 2017) from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for her project “C-reactive protein mediated signals in renal injury and repair.” Rachel came to UAB in 2014 and is currently a Graduate Biomedical Sciences Student (Immunology Theme) in Dr. Alex Szalai’s lab (Professor, Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology).
4 UABSO Vision Science Students Awarded Travel Grants

4 UABSO Vision Science Students Awarded Travel Grants

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest organization for eye and vision research in the world. Every year, researchers gather from nations spanning the globe to present and discuss current eye and vision research findings. Four UAB School of Optometry Vision Science Graduate Program students are recipients of highly competitive travel grants for this year's ARVO Annual Conference. The students and travel grants received are listed below:

  • Jessica Jasien - Recipient of the National Eye Institute Travel Grant; Abstract Title: “IOP Asymmetry in Nonhuman Primates (NHPs) Measured with Continuous Telemetry”
  • Shyam Panthi - Recipient of the ARVO Foundation Domestic Travel Grant; Abstract Title: “Secretory phospholipase A2-IIA (sPLA2-IIA) activity and concentration in human tears and correlation with the ocular surface disease index (OSDI) scores.”
  • Christopher Starr - Recipient of the Retina Research Foundation/ Joseph M. and Eula C. Lawrence Travel Grant; Abstract Title: “Chronic activation of the unfolded protein response attenuates protein synthesis in the retinas of rd16 mice”
  • Daniel Turner - Recipient of the National Eye Institute Travel Grant; Abstract Title: “The Relationship Between Ocular Pulse Amplitude (OPA) and Arterial Pulse Pressure”
These students along with six other Vision Science Graduate Program students presented their research at this year's conference. The ARVO Annual Conference was May 7-11 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Anna Joy Rogers

Anna Joy Rogers

UAB's Anna Joy Rogers is one of ten recipients of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi's 2017 Dissertation Fellowships. The fellowships of $10,000 each are awarded annually to active members who are doctoral candidates and are completing dissertations. The fellowship supports students in the dissertation writing stage of doctoral study.

Anna Joy's dissertation is Implementation of Repeat HIV Testing During Pregnancy in Kenya. Read her abstract here.

May 2017
Benjamin McManus

Benjamin McManus

The work of Benjamin McManus, a doctoral candidate in UAB's Lifespan Developmental Psychology Program, is featured in U.S. News and World Report. Benjamin has been studying the dangers of drowsy driving and how to prevent it under the mentorship of Despina Stavrinos, PhD, Assistant Professor of Phycology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Benjamin is part of the TRIP (Translational Research for Injury Prevention) Lab. Read more about his work at http://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2017-05-20/how-i-not-i-to-nod-off-behind-the-wheel.
May 2017
6 Graduate Students Receive NSF EPSCoR Awards

6 Graduate Students Receive NSF EPSCoR Awards

Congratulations to six graduate students who received the National Science Foundation EPSCoR awards. Receiving this award is an important honor. Each of these students wrote a successfully funded proposal for external research funding. A total of $800K of GRSP proposals were awarded across the state. UAB received a total of six awards for a total of $131,250, one in Physics, one in Biology, two in Neurobiology, one in Chemistry, and one in Materials Science and Engineering.

-Zachary Lindsey, PhD Candidate, $25,000 award. Mentored by Renato Camata, PhD, Department of Physics
-Timothy Howton, PhD Candidate, $25,000 award. Mentored by Shahid Mukhtar, PhD, Department of Biology
-Kavitha Abiraman, PhD Candidate, $25,000 award. Mentored by Jacques Wadiche, PhD, Department of Neurobiology
-Timothy Totsch, PhD Candidate, $25,000 award. Mentored by Gary Gray, PhD, Department of Chemistry
-Nair Sangeeta, PhD Candidate, $25,000 award. Mentored by Jerzy Szaflarksi, PhD, Department of Neurobiology
-Dominique Everett, PhD Candidate, $6,250 (partial award, graduating in December of 2017), Mentored by Selvum Pillay, PhD, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Total $131,250

April 2017

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Spring and Summer Fellowships Awarded

Spring and Summer Fellowships Awarded

Congratulations to these seven UAB graduate students who have received individual fellowships:
  • Katherine Savell (GBS - GGB Theme) NIH F31; starts March 1
  • Leanne Holt (GBS - Neuroscience Theme) NIH F31; starts March 1
  • Lindsey Smith (GBS – Neuroscience Theme) NIH F31; starts March 1
  • Morgan Locy (MSTP) NIH F30; started Feb 1
  • Yue Zhang (Psychology - Behavioral Neuroscience) American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship; started Jan 1
  • John Donnelly (Epidemiology) received an NIH F31 Jan 6
  • Maigen Bethea (GBS- CMDB) received an NIH F31; starts July 1st
Bing Xue

Bing Xue

Congratulations to Bing Xue, a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Science. Bing received a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid award to support her research on biodegradable hydrogel microparticles for cancer therapy. The Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research program is highly competitive with only 15% of applicants receive any level of funding.

Bing is under the mentorship of Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva, Associate Professor of Chemistry.

February 2017

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William M. Webb

William M. Webb

Congratulations to MD/PhD trainee in the GBS Cell, Molecular, & Developmental Biology Program, William Webb. He has been awarded the National Institute of Health NRSA F30 award for his project entitled "NF-kB Methyl-Lysine Signaling in the Epigenetic Regulation of Memory." This award is always extremely competitive and his application was funded on his first submission.

William is part of the Medical Science Training Program and is under the mentorship of Farah Lubin, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Co-Director of the Neuroscience Roadmap Scholar Program.

December 2016

Kemi Ogunsina

Kemi Ogunsina

Congratulations to Kemi Ogunsina, a master’s candidate in epidemiology, in the School of Public Health. Kemi was awarded the 2016-2017 International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, one of the oldest and most prestigious fellowships in the United States. AAUW International Fellows are selected for their academic achievement, scholarly promise, and demonstrated commitment to women and girls.

December 2016

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Jessica Scoffield, Ph.D.

Jessica Scoffield, Ph.D.

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Jessica Scoffield, Postdoctoral trainee in the Department of Dentistry. Dr. Scoffield was recently awarded the prestigious K99 Award from the NIH. Her project is titled "Inhibition Of Streptococcus Mutans By Oral Commensal Streptococci And Nitrite-Mediated Activity". This project aims to examine how reactive nitrogenous intermediates produced from the utilization of nitrite by oral commensal bacteria play a role in inhibiting S. mutans biofilm formation, which could potentially lead to the development of novel anti-biofilm therapeutics.

Dr. Scoffield is under the mentorship of Dr. Hui Wu, Professor of Dentistry in the School of Dentistry.

November 2016

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Cancer Biology

Cancer Biology

The GBS Cancer Biology theme students made a clean sweep of the poster awards at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Annual Retreat. Hawley Pruitt, Trung Vu, and Brent Jones claimed the first, second, and third places for their research presented at this retreat. Congratulations to all of them.

Cancer Biology is a theme within Graduate Biomedical Sciences and is lead by Associate Professor Dr. Soory Varambally, and Professor Dr. Lalita Shevde-Samant, both in the Department of Molecular & Cellular Pathology.

October 2016

Stacie Totsch

Stacie Totsch

Congratuations to Stacie Totsch who won first place in the poster competition at the first UAB New Frontiers of Pain Research which addressed current topics in pain research and treatment.

Stacie is under the mentorship of Robert E. Sorge, Ph.D, Rita Allen Foundation Scholar and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. Thank you to Dr. Sorge for sharing this achievement with the Graduate School

October 2016

Boyoung Shin

Boyoung Shin

Congratulations to Boyoung Shin, PhD candidate in the Immunology Theme, and in the department of Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology. Boyoung has been awarded a Predoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association. The project is entitled Regulation of Th17 cell pathogenicity during atherosclerosis. This award will fund Shin for two years while the research is being completed.

Boyoungis under the mentorship of Laurie Harrington, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Cell, Developmental, & Integrative Biology.

July 2016

Dwight D. Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship

Dwight D. Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship

Happy to share the good news that UAB Lifespan Developmental Psychology graduate students Haley Johnson Bishop, Caitlin Pope, and Shannon Wittig were awarded a prestigious Dwight D. Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship from the US Department of Transportation for the 2016-2017 academic year. This fellowship covers one half of the stipend, plus expenses to attend the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). There are only 60 doctoral fellowships awarded each year and UAB was the recipient of three.

All three amazing trainees work in the UAB TRIP Lab (www.triplaboratory.com) and are under the outstanding mentorship of Despina Stavrinos, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology. The TRIP lab has been busy this year and the success of their trainees is shining through. We are so grateful for faculty like Dr. Stavrinos who provide an environment where her trainees are able to thrive.

July 2016

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Ashley N. Turner, M.S.

Ashley N. Turner, M.S.

The Graduate School is excited to see Ashley progress so well in her Ph.D. research. Her first co-author publication was released this week and the article was also chosen and highlighted on the July 2016 cover of Disease, Models, & Mechanisms. The article name is "Mice with missense and nonsense NF1 mutations display divergent phenotypes compared with human neurofibromatosis type I". In addition to being a awesome student, Ashely is also the Outreach Liaison for the Graduate Biomedical Student Outreach student group.

Ashley is mentored by Robert Kesterson, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics in the School of Medicine.

July 2016

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Jamie Holloway, DPT

Jamie Holloway, DPT

Congratulations to 2nd year Rehabilitation Science PhD trainee, Dr. Jamie Holloway. She has been selected by the Foundation for Physical Therapy Board of Trustees to receive a 2016 Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) II Scholarship in the amount of $15,000 for her work entitled “Motor Abilities and Social Participation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” The pool of applicants for this opportunity was extremely competitive and her application was deemed to have among the most outstanding potential.

Dr. Holloway earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from Duke University. After practicing as a pediatric physical therapist for nearly 10 years, Jamie decided to move into research and teaching and pursue her PhD in Rehabilitation Science at UAB. Jamie is mentored by Fred Biasini, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology.

June 2016

Benjamin McManus

Benjamin McManus

Congratulations to Benjamin McManus, Ph.D. trainee in the Lifespan Developmental Psychology Graduate Program, on being awarded a NIOSH Pilot Small Project Research Training Grant from the Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety. Ben will use these funds to conduct his dissertation study which will examine the effect of occupational demands on driving safety among surgical residents.

Benjamin is under the mentorship of Despina Stavrinos, PhD, Assistant Professor of Phycology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Benjamin is part of the TRIP (Translational Research for Injury Prevention) Lab.

June 2016

J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN

J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN

School of Nursing Postdoctoral Fellow J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN, has received a five-year, $935,000 K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) to develop a palliative care health coaching program for family caregivers of persons with advanced cancer. Dionne-Odom will receive support in two phases: a two-year K99 phase in which he will focus mostly on research training and collecting pilot data and a three-year R00 phase in which he will focus mostly on completing his research.

Congratulations Dr. Dionne-Odom!

June 2016

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Evida Dennis

Evida Dennis

Congratulations to Evida Dennis, Ph.D. candidate in the Immunology Program and part of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD program)! She was recently awarded the Ruth L. Kirchstein Research F31 award from the NIH for her project entitled Mechanism of Cytomegalovirus-induced Mucosal Inflammation. This award will fund Evida for the next four years of her training as she completes her Ph.D.

Evida is co-mentored by Phillip Smith, M.D., Mary J. Bradford Professor of Medicine in the Department of Gastroenterology, and William Britt M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatric Infectious Disease.

June 2016

Hanyu Zhang

Hanyu Zhang

Congratulations are in order for Hanyu Zhang, PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering. Hanyu is the recipient of a 2016 Predoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association for the project Optical Mapping of Cardiac Electromechanics. He will be funded for the next two years through this award.

Hanyu is under the mentorship of Vladimir G. Fast, PhD, Professor in the department of Biomedical Engineering.

May 2016

Sarah Graham

Sarah Graham

Congratulations to Sarah Graham, candidate for the PhD in Rehabilitation Science, has received an American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Award for her dissertation research titled: “Interactions between posture and locomotion in poststroke walking”.

This was a highly competitive review process where “14 applications were funded of 86 applications reviewed to this program for a total success rate of 16.28%”. She will be funded for a period of two years, beginning July1.

Sarah earned this award under the mentorship of David Brown, Professor and Program Director in the Departments of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy and Co-Director, UAB Center for Disability Health and Rehabilitation Science.

May 2016
Kathryn E Oliver

Kathryn E Oliver

Congratulations to Kathryn E Oliver, recipient of the 2016 Community Impact Award. This award is part of the UAB-wide 2016 Student Excellence Awards issued by the UAB Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. We are so grateful for her leadership of the Graduate Biomedical Student Outreach, a student organization lead by trainees in GBS designed to enhance the overall experience of graduate students at UAB.

May 2016

Haley Johnson Bishop

Haley Johnson Bishop

We were thilled to learn Lifespan Developmental Phsycology doctoral trainee, Haley Johnson Bishop, was invited to speak at "TEDxKnoxville: Without Limits". This is an independently organized, half-day TED event happening this June in Knoxville, TN. Haley will be speaking to an audience of about 125 people. She and other speakers will cover a wide range of topics all aimed at fostering learning and provoking conversations that matter. The Graduate School is proud Haley will be represent UAB and the TRIP lab at this wonderful event.

Haley is under the mentorship of Despina Stavrinos, PhD, Assistant Professor of Phsycology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Haley is part of the TRIP (Translational Research for Injury Prevention) Lab.

May 2016

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Bhavitavya

Bhavitavya "Sonia" Nijampatnam

Bhavitavya "Sonia" Nijampatnam, chemistry graduate student, Sadanandan E. Velu laboratory, has been named the recipient of a National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research pre-doctoral fellowship. Nijampatnam won a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31) from the NICDR, one of the National Institutes for Health, for her dissertation Polyphenolic inhibitors of S. Mutans glucosyltransferases to fight dental caries.

Sonia's doctoral advisor is Dr. Sadanandan E. Velu and she is co-mentored by Dr. Hui Wu from the Departments of Pediatric Dentistry and Microbiology.

April 2016
Elizabeth Bevan

Elizabeth Bevan

Doctoral student, Elizabeth Bevan, in the Department of Biology, is one of 90 doctoral students selected to receive a $15,000 Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. This is a merit-based award for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university. Scholar Award recipients are a select group of women chosen for their high level of academic achievement and their potential for having a positive impact on society.

Elizabeth is under the mentorship of Dr. Thane Wibbels, Professor of Biology and Undergraduate Honors Program Director. Under his mentorship she has also been awarded the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship by the National Sea Grant College Program in 2014 and the Harold Martin Award for excellence in Biology in 2015.

April 2016

Victoria K. Gibbs, Ph.D.

Victoria K. Gibbs, Ph.D.

The Graduate School would like to congratulate Dr. Victoria K. Gibbs who recently accepted her first tenure-track faculty position. Beginning in Fall 2016 she will be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Birmingham Southern College. She will be teaching courses in organismal biology, anatomy, and physiology while supervising undergraduate research projects. Dr. Gibbs’s experiences in the laboratory and classroom reinforced her desire to research physiological responses to nutrition and the environment using different animal models. Birmingham Southern College had a very competitive search and she was selected from over 100 other candidates.

Dr. Gibbs completed her Ph.D. at UAB under the mentorship of Dr. Steve Watts. She is currently completing her Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC). Her primary mentor is Tim Nagy, Ph.D. and she is co-mentored by Daniel Smith, Jr. Ph.D. and David Allison, Ph.D.

April 2016