05/16/11 Portland, Ore.
The School of Medicine has awarded its Graduate Research Scholarships to three PhD candidates: Anita Cservenka, Marcia Ramaker, and Kinrin Yamanaka. These scholarships support PhD stipends for one year and have been provided through the fund raising efforts of the OHSU Foundation team and with the support of OHSU President, Joe Robertson and School of Medicine Dean, Mark Richardson.
“We had an extraordinary number of applications,” said Allison Fryer, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. “These students were chosen by the Awards Committee based upon their academic ability, letters of recommendation and also for their engagement in outreach and volunteer opportunities.”
As Graduate Research Scholars, the students will participate in OHSU Foundation and Graduate Studies fund raising activities during the year.
Anita is a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Nagel Lab, where she is planning her dissertation proposal. “I’m excited to study emotional processing and its impact on executive functions, an unexplored area of research in FHP youth,” she said. Her research experience has used both animal and human models to study the effects of stress on the brain and behavior. She is first author on a paper published in Brain Research and she has several additional papers in preparation and submitted for publication. In addition to her research activities, she has actively engaged in opportunities to broaden her public outreach experience, by volunteering with Discover OHSU!, speaking to high school students about pursuing scientific research careers, and volunteering to be a science fair reviewer at Robert Gray Middle School.
Marcia is a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Finn Lab, where her work focuses on the influence of the neurosteroid environment on ethanol intake in mice. “I’m interested in using pharmacology in animal models to better understand the neurocircuitry underlying psychiatric diseases and drug reward,” she said. Since arriving at OHSU, she has learned a variety of behavioral and molecular techniques in labs that use animal models to study alcohol or drug addiction. She has shown that GABA receptor agonists alter alcohol intake, first increasing then suppressing it, and has presented these data at the Society of Neuroscience international meeting. Marcia has participated in Run for the Congo Women and is sponsoring a woman in the Congo to provide her with educational opportunities. She also organized a team for the Multiple Sclerosis walk. Marcia's long-term goal is to become a principal investigator in an academic setting.
Kinrin is a 4th year PhD candidate in Lloyd-McCullough lab, where she is working to discover new cancer therapies. “I have always had an overarching desire to improve human health,” she said. “As I grew up watching my family member suffering from severe side effects of medications.” She attributes her graduate studies in the Lloyd laboratory for having helped her solidify her passion for research. “Now I am certain that being a scientist to develop novel drugs that can ultimately change the lives of patients suffering from diseases is my dream job.” Kinrin has published four papers since joining OHSU and has participated in the Student Research Forum and also in the Health Science and Engineering Career conference for high school students.