Dedicated Undergraduate Researchers Motivated to Succeed

You won’t find the “Fas pathway” on any hiking map, but thousands of researchers around the world are avidly studying the cellular receptor for clues that could have historic impact not only on disease but on science’s understanding of life and death.
Bliss Chang. Bliss ChangYou won’t find the “Fas pathway” on any hiking map, but thousands of researchers around the world are avidly studying the cellular receptor for clues that could have historic impact not only on disease but on science’s understanding of life and death.

One of those scientists is UAB senior Bliss Chang, with a double major in chemistry and biology and concentrations in biochemistry and molecular biology. In a nutshell, Fas is a chemical receptor on the surface of a cell that plays a role in a process known as “cell apoptosis,” a sort of pre-programmed death, as the body’s cells continuously die off to make room for new ones. If that Fas “switch” determines whether cells live or die, is it possible to turn it on and off in the lab? Could a new generation of oncology drugs kill off cancer cells internally by activating their apoptosis process?

“Research is a voyage into uncharted waters,” Chang says. ‘I’ve truly enjoyed the intellectual challenge posed by the various steps of a project. One of the key elements of a qualified researcher is the ability to troubleshoot a problem — and those problems don’t always come with a straightforward troubleshooting guide. They require thinking critically regarding an experiment, and analyzing in minute detail what might be causing a deviation from the desired result. The desire to succeed and obtain tangible results is what always motivates me forward.” Chang plans to enroll in a joint M.D./Ph.D. program and eventually to teach medicine at a leading medical research university.

Roxanne Lockhart. Roxanne LockhartRoxanne Lockhart knows first-hand how spinal cord injury can affect a family. So it’s no surprise that she’s gravitated toward molecular biology, a field that could hold the answer to therapies for brain and spinal cord traumas.

Lockhart was a senior in the Math and Science Department of the Alabama School of Fine Arts when she was assigned a senior research project. For her subject matter, she chose the work of UAB’s Candace Floyd, Ph.D.

“I was able to spend my senior year of high school working with Dr. Floyd, and I immediately loved conducting research,” says Lockhart. “And when she found out I was going to attend UAB, she said I could keep working in her lab.”

Now a senior biology major at UAB, Lockhart is studying the effect of a drug known as thiamet-G, that may have the effect of reducing the process of inflammation, a major factor in cells damaged by traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her studies are concentrated in molecular biology, with mentoring by Farah Lubin, Ph.D., in the Department of Neurobiology.

Her plans after graduation are to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. degree, and continue clinically relevant research in her field. She was recently honored by a Beckman Scholars award, an honor aimed at helping “exceptional students in the biological, chemical, and biomedical sciences learn how to conduct independent research in a nurturing environment.”

“When I graduate from UAB,” she says, “I plan to receive an M.D./Ph.D. degree and continue clinically relevant research.”
  • Fall 2018: Letter from Robert E. Palazzo, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences
    If you haven't been to campus lately, I can't stress enough how different the environment is from what you may remember from your student days.
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  • Spring 2018 events in the College of Arts & Sciences

    Catch up with some of the big events sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, from Spring Flings to an exhibit at AEIVA.

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  • Award winning: What it takes for students to win major scholarships and awards

    The number of College of Arts and Sciences students who win major national and international scholarships and fellowships grows every year. What does it take to win one of these major prizes?

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  • Alumni honored at the 2018 UAB Excellence in Business Top 25 event

    We are proud to announce that eight College of Arts and Sciences alumni were honored as members of the 2018 class of the UAB Excellence in Business Top 25.

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  • Understanding Aquaman: The science and philosophy behind the superhero

    With the latest Justice League movie coming to theaters this Christmas, we ask: what does Aquaman represent? And could he really talk to sea creatures?

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  • Common threads: The value of interdisciplinary partnerships

    Our university enables faculty to make connections across various disciplines, schools, and centers, and being a part of the College of Arts and Sciences provides my colleagues and me with a broad platform to support this kind of effective interdisciplinary work.

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  • The Life-Long Learning Endowed Scholarship Honoring Ruth J. and Robert J. Colvin

    The Life-Long Learning Endowed Scholarship Honoring Ruth J. and Robert J. Colvin has been established in the departments of English and Foreign Languages and Literatures that will support deserving students and relieve them of their financial pressures.

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  • Data driven: Computer science meets the biological sciences in the new bioinformatics program

    New degrees in the College prepare students for emerging fields of personalized medicine, advanced manufacturing, and more.

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  • Dr. Mike Wilson and Professor Becky Trigg Endowed Award

    Friends, family, colleagues, and admirers of Dr. Michele “Mike” Wilson and Professor Becky Trigg have made generous gifts to create an endowed award in the Department of Sociology.

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  • The Henry E. Bates, Jr. Scholarship: A Blazing the Way Scholarship

    Johnny “Rusty” Edward Bates, M.D. has established the Henry E. Bates, Jr. Scholarship in the Department of Mathematics—one of UAB's new Blazing the Way Scholarships.

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  • Dr. Larry Krannich Endowed Student Research Scholarship

    The Dr. Larry Krannich Endowed Student Research Scholarship was established to recognize Dr. Krannich's decades of distinguished service to UAB and to provide opportunities for young scientists to gain valuable experience in the research environment.

    posted a while back 250 K2_VIEWS
  • A servant's heart: Social work alumna Jeanne Welch gives back to UAB
    Jeanne Welch never really saw herself as college material. But a desire to help others, and an interest in mental health technology, helped her find her way to UAB.
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  • Letter from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

    While we have any number of outstanding male faculty members, students, and alumni who deserve recognition and are included, by and large this issue is about the women of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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  • Events

    Catch up with some of the big events sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, from Homecoming to an exhibit at AEIVA.

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  • Building a Legacy

    When UAB broke ground on the new Arts & Sciences Building in September 2017, the excitement was palpable. “There is no doubt that this new building will provide our campus community with a state-of-the-art facility in which they can work and learn,” said Dean Palazzo.

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  • AEIVA Receives Significant Gift of Works by David Levinthal

    The Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA) Permanent Art Collection has received a generous donation of a number of works by David Levinthal, one of the most prolific and acclaimed photographers of his generation.

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  • A Legacy of Love

    Jeannie Feldman has established both an award and a scholarship in the Department of History to honor her late husband, Dr. Glenn A. Feldman.

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  • Capturing Success

    Palo Alto Networks' Cyber Competition for High School Students.

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  • Paying it Forward

    Alumna Dr. Ana Maria Crawford has created an endowed scholarship to be used to support deserving students based on merit and financial need.

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  • They Persisted

    Despite complex social, cultural, and professional trends that keep women from academic careers in the sciences and mathematics, a small percentage of female research faculty stay the course.

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  • Taking a Leap

    Psychology and Public Administration alumna Ann Bridges Steely says her biggest career risks brought the greatest rewards.

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  • Stellar

    Physics alumna Christina Richey has built a successful career in the competitive, and mostly-male, field of planetary science.

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  • Across the Spectrum

    Four female faculty members in the Department of Psychology study and treat Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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  • Everyone has a story

    “How did you end up in Alabama?” I get that question a lot, both here and abroad. I suspect that every immigrant is frequently asked the same question out of genuine curiosity, maybe interest.

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  • Letter from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
    Our fall semester is in full swing and the momentum is building in the College and across the university.
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  • Finishing Strong

    We finished the academic year with a major exhibition at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts and celebrated another joyful, thrilling commencement ceremony, at which more than 2,000 UAB students graduated.

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  • College Alumni Community

    Our former graduates have had a great year of events and celebrations, all organized by our Alumni Board led by president Wes Calhoun. 

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  • Faculty Receive University Awards

    Renato Camata, Roger Gilchrist, Samiksha Raut, and Nitesh Saxena were all recognized this year for their excellence in teaching, mentorship and advising.

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  • New Chairs, New Faculty Join the College

    This fall, we welcomed several new faculty members, a new chair for the Department of Sociology, and three interim chairs. We are proud to have all of them in leadership and academic positions and are excited to see what they accomplish at UAB.

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  • Nine Departments Welcome New Faculty Members

    This fall, new faculty members join the Department of Communication Studies, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Criminal Justice, the Department of English, the Department of Music, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Social Work, the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Theatre.

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  • New Degrees, New Department Names

    At recent Board of Trustees meetings, two new degrees and two new department names were approved.

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  • New Building Groundbreaking

    Dean Palazzo, along with President Ray Watts and Provost Pam Benoit, joined several invited guests to celebrate the groundbreaking for our new arts and sciences academic building on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.

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  • Remarkable Generosity

    Donors establish five new endowments in the College—the most ever received in one year.

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  • Personal History

    Love and learning are the two recurring themes of Sol and Rita Kimerling’s incredible story.

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  • Strike Up the Band!

    Under the leadership of new director of bands Dr. Sean Murray, the marching blazers are ready to retake the field this fall.

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  • Risk Takers

    From changing majors to changing sports, these former football players, cheerleaders, majorettes, and Blazerettes stepped outside their comfort zones and transformed their student experiences–and future careers.

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  • Just This Once, A little Health Advice

    Am I the only one who feels bombarded by unwanted health advice? You can’t open a newspaper (remember those?), a magazine, the internet, or turn on the television without stumbling across someone dispensing tips for living a longer, healthier life.

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  • Message from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
    Right now is such an exciting time on campus, and not just because the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. With the approval of our new Arts & Sciences building, scheduled to be open in Fall 2019, we are embarking on an exciting journey to construct a stunning space for our faculty and students.
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