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John Kopchick greets the award winners after the ceremony

Photographer: Lauren Pond

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The first Kopchick awards programs recipients

Photographer: Lauren Pond

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Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College, spoke to the audience during the awards ceremony

Photographer: Lauren Pond

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New Kopchick awards support OHIO scientific and medical research


Ten Ohio University students and one faculty member have received funding from three new research awards programs supported by a gift from John and Char Kopchick and contributions from five academic colleges and administrative units.

The scientists received a total of more than $79,000 in grants and fellowships to advance research on topics such as antioxidants, Alzheimer’s disease, aging, type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity. The recipients were recognized during an inaugural ceremony for the awards programs Nov. 1 in Nelson Commons.

“Char and I are very proud to help support these bright, articulate, young future scientists,” John Kopchick said. “We’re impressed with all of them, both the five graduate students and five undergraduate students, as well as their faculty members. We’re thankful for the deans who have made this a reality.”

The John J. Kopchick Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)/Translational Biomedical Sciences (TBS) Faculty Support Fund, Research Fellowship Award and Undergraduate Student Support Fund were created as a result of a $2 million gift commitment provided last spring by John Kopchick, Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology, and Char Kopchick, assistant dean of students at Ohio University.

In addition, the deans of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, College of Arts and Sciences, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Health Sciences and Professions and Vice President for Research and Creative Activity are providing a total of $1.9 million in match support for the new awards and programs over the next ten years.

Ohio University alumni, including Kopchick’s former students, already are supporting the new program as well. Xinzhong Wang, a 1993 doctoral graduate in molecular and cellular biology, attended the Nov. 1 ceremony to present a donation.  

The three Kopchick awards programs support undergraduate and graduate students and faculty affiliated with Ohio University’s Molecular and Cellular Biology program and its new Translational Biomedical Sciences program. Both programs take an interdisciplinary approach to solving complex research questions in the science and medical fields.

“In addition to supporting their research, the fellowship program allows graduate students to pursue external internships to advance their research training,” said Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College. “The undergraduate fund gives our undergraduate students an opportunity to work directly with research-intensive faculty members and gain more experience in a laboratory setting.”

Bob Colvin, a professor of biological sciences and director of the Molecular and Cellular Biology program, noted that the new Kopchick awards are helping to build the next generation of top-notch researchers in translational science.

“The students are very excited to have this opportunity to develop their research plans and to be able to use this fellowship to tackle difficult problems in translational science,” Colvin said. “With this support, the students will be able to advance their research plans further and faster than they could have otherwise.”

The 2014 recipients are:

John J. Kopchick Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)/Translational Biomedical Sciences (TBS) Faculty Support Fund (up to $10,000 for MCB/TBS faculty for research activities and conference travel)

Faculty member: Shiyong Wu, Chemistry and Biochemistry and Edison Biotechnology Institute
Project: “Identifying Antioxidants with Optimum Properties”
Award: $10,000

John J. Kopchick Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)/Translational Biomedical Sciences (TBS) Research Fellowship Award (up to $10,000 for PhD and DO/PhD students in the MCB or TBS programs to support translational biomedical research, with an additional $5,000 for an off-campus internship).

Student: Amrita Basu
Mentor: John Kopchick, Biomedical Sciences and EBI
Project: “Influence of GH/IGF-1 Signaling on Development and Progression of Amyloid-beta Toxicity in Relation with Alzheimer’s Disease”
Award: $12,500

Student: Lu Quiping
Mentor: Yang Li, Biomedical Sciences
Project: “The relationship among zinc, ROS and mitochondria under hypoxia and re-oxygenation”
Award: $12,477

Student: Manindra Singh
Mentor: Fabian Benencia, Biomedical Sciences
Project: “Investigation of endothelial cell-leukocyte interaction regulated by the adipokine visfactin”
Award: $12,500

Student: Mark Slayton
Mentor: Bonita Biegalke, Biomedical Sciences
Project: “Mutational analysis of UL34 protein-DNA binding sites in the HCMV origin of lytic replication”
Award: $11,823

Student: Xuan Wang
Mentor: Xiaozhu Chen, Biomedical Sciences and EBI
Project: “Anti-cancer mechanism study of a novel small molecule glucose transporter 1 inhibitor”
Award: $12,405

John J. Kopchick Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)/Translational Biomedical Sciences (TBS) Undergraduate Student Support Fund (up to $1,500 for undergraduate students working with MCB/TBS faculty and conducting translational medical research and scholarly activities)
Student: Nicole Brooks
Mentor: Darlene Berryman, Biomedical Sciences, EBI, Applied Health and Wellness
Project: “FGF21 expression in growth hormone modified mice: links to obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and increased longevity”
Award: $1,500

Student: Phillip Craigmile
Mentor: Shiyong Wu, Chemistry and Biochemistry and EBI
Project: “The effect of p53 mutation on ionizing radiation-induced cancer invasion”
Award: $1,500

Student: Kara Finley
Mentor: Soichi Tanda, Biological Sciences
Project: “Genetic and histochemical analysis of Moesin phosphorylation in light-sensing rhabdomere differentiation in Drosophila melanogaster”
Award: $1,500

Student: Grant Gase
Mentor: Darlene Berryman, Biomedical Sciences, EBI, Applied Health and Wellness
Project: “Using isolated mitochondria from adipose tissue to assess the impact of depot and aging on cellular metabolism”
Award: $1,500

Student: Jacob Sieg
Mentor: Jennifer Hines, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Project: “Development of a fluorescence anisotropy assay for the screening of molecules that bind to ompA domain messenger RNA and block ribosomal recruitment”
Award: $1,343

Information about the 2015 funding cycle for the Kopchick awards will be available on the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity funding page next year: www.ohio.edu/research/funding.cfm.