Student awards and recognitions Spring 2022

Jacob Blanchar, mentored by David Abbott and Molly Willging, has been awarded a Sophomore Honors Summer Apprenticeship for his project, “Which beta-adrenergic receptor enables stimulation of thermogenesis in female rhesus monkey brown fat?” He will look at aspects of diminished thermogenesis in brown fat from experimentally manipulated female rhesus monkeys deprived of either estradiol action in the hypothalamus or estradiol production. This work will help to refining potential therapeutic targets to enable weight loss.

Beverly Hutcherson, who is finishing up her MS in Dave Abbott’s lab through the ERP program and Ob Gyn, won the best poster presentation award at the Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC) 2022 in Florida. As a program under the Student National Medical Association, it is the largest gathering of diverse medical students in the nation. Over 2,000 pre-meds, medical students and residents were in attendance. Her poster, “PCOS research informs biological understanding of developmental origins contributing to maternal morbidities”, entered in the translational science category, was described by poster competition judges as “legendary” and “beyond anything they had heard on the subject”.

Logan Keding has won the 2021-2022 Morgridge Ethics Cartooning Contest. Keding is a graduate student in the Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology at UW–Madison. He conducts research in Ted Golos’s lab, where he studies nonhuman primate models for precision medicine therapies. Check out his winning cartoon here.

Lillian Li, mentored by Ari Rosenberg,  has won a UW-Madison Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship to develop a biologically inspired convolutional neural network (CNN) that can perform various 3D visual discrimination tasks. She is a junior majoring in Neurobiology and Computer Science. In the summer, she plans to work on the development of the CNN model and prepare for graduate school applications in the fall.

Samuel Neuman, a junior double-majoring in biochemistry and biomedical engineering, one of four University of Wisconsin–Madison winners of the 2022 Barry Goldwater Scholarships, among the most prestigious awards in the U.S. for undergraduates studying the sciences. As a rising high school junior, Neuman spent a summer working in the lab of anesthesiology professor Michael Perouansky. Since his freshman year, Neuman has worked in the Preclinical Parkinson’s Research Program under the direction of professor Marina Emborg at the Primate Center, where he studies various vehicles for delivering CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing reagents to the brain of multiple model organisms. The work has earned him authorship on an in-progress manuscript. Neuman also received a Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship to investigate the axonal transport of protein products following gene editing as a strategic neural-network therapy for Parkinson’s disease. This summer, Neuman will conduct research at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Neuman plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.

Gabriela Oliveira was featured by the American Society of Primatologists as its weekly student spotlight highlight in early April. Oliveira is a graduate student in the Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology at UW–Madison studying stress and coping in common marmosets with Dr. Toni Ziegler and Dr. Anthony Auger though the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center and the Psychology Department. She recently joined the ASP Student Committee and is helping to plan some networking events for ASP 2022 in Denver. She also won Best Oral Presentation at the 2021 UW Endocrinology and Reproductive Annual Research Symposium for her work on sex differences in how marmosets cope with and respond to stress.

Two students in Marina Emborg’s Preclinical Parkinson’s Research Program have received Hilldale honors. Lindsey Neumann received a Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship to investigate Girk2 and calbindin expression in the substantia nigra of MPTP-treated rhesus macaques. This summer, Neumann will conduct research at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. She plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience. Preethi Saravanan received a Sophomore Research Fellowship Honorable Mention. She is investigating mapping dopaminergic grafts in a rhesus macaque model of Parkinson’s Disease. She is an Honors Neurobiology Pre-Medical Undergraduate Student with certificates in Global Health and Art History.

Sindhu Shankar has won a UW–Madison Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship to explore adipose dysregulation. Mentored by David Abbott, she is majoring in microbiology and economics and plans to graduate next May. This year, she will be working at the Primate Center on a team which aims to analyze the effects of estrogen on adipose cells. Some of her previous shadowing experiences include observing an anesthesiologist, ophthalmologist, orthopedic surgeon, and gynecologist. Sindhu is currently studying for the MCAT and plans to apply to medical school.

Two students in Igor Slukvin’s hematopoietic stem cell lab presented winning posters at the Wisconsin Stem Cell Symposium on April 20, 2022. Portia Smith, a graduate student in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences program in the School of Veterinary Medicine, won first place for her poster, “Generation of Anti-Tumorigenic Macrophages from SIRPA-Knockout Human Pluripotent Stem Cells.” Aditi Majumder, a post-doc in the lab studying modified mRNA in blood cells for immunotherapy won third place for her poster, “Generation of GD2-CAR neutrophils from hPSCs for targeted cancer immunotherapy of solid tumors.”

Molly Willging, a graduate student in the Abbott and Levine labs, was selected to attend and receive a travel award to attend the Early Career Forum held in conjunction with the Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting & Expo being held June 11-14, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia.

And finally… 23 students mentored by WNPRC scientists participated in the 24th Annual UW–Madison Undergraduate Research Symposium April 28-29, 2022!