The Emerging Scholar Awards were established to recognize and support outstanding research projects from budding scholars whose research focuses on developmental disabilities.  Competition was tight as 18 applications were reviewed by independent reviewers.  The 2017- 2018 Emerging Scholar Awards go to Rylie Hightower and Omar Maximo.    

Rylie Hightower, BSN, RN, is a Graduate Research Assistant in the lab of Dr. Matthew Alexander in the Department of Pediatrics.  Rylie’s proposal “MiR-486 as an Epigenetic Modifier of Disease Progression in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy” studies muscular dystrophy which affects 1 in 5,000 live male births worldwide. 

Jose O. Maximo, M.A., works closely with Drs. Rajesh Kana and Sarah O’Kelley in the Department of Psychology.  He hopes to unlock some of the mysteries of Autism with his project “The Impact of PEERS Social Skills Intervention on Brain Correlates in Autism Spectrum Disorders."  In the U.S., it is estimated that 1 in 68 children are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.   

The W. John Rynearson Award was established in 2017 in honor of John Rynearson’s leadership of Civitan International.  Civitan International has been a significant sponsor of the Civitan International Research Center.  The first recipient of the W. John Rynearson Award is Mary Phillips.  Mary is a Neuroscience graduate student in the lab of Dr. Lucas Pozzo-Miller in the Department of Neurobiology. The goal of her proposal is to characterize the influence of the ventral hippocampus (vHIP) on the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC).

The Whit Mallory Award was established in 2013 in memory of Whit Mallory and his dedication to research and clinical activities in the field of developmental disabilities.  Nancy Gallus has been selected as the 2017 – 2018 Whit Mallory Award recipient.  Nancy is a Neuroscience graduate student in the lab of Dr. Jeremy Day in the Department of Neurobiology.  Her research will explore the role of eRNAs as transcriptional regulators of gene expression patterns and the downstream effects on neuronal firing. 

Please join us in congratulating all the winners!