UMA honors MD/PhD students, basic research
by Connor Watkins
Brandon Bentzley and Christopher Johnson, both graduate students in the
College of Graduate Studies’ Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP),
became the eighth and ninth recipients of the University Medical
Associates (UMA) scholarship on Aug. 4.
Presented by newly-installed UMA president Phillip Costello, M.D., the
scholarship is given to first-year MSTP students, which recognizes
trainees in a combined M.D./Ph.D. degree. UMA scholars are South
Carolina natives that excel academically and display leadership
qualities. The award includes a monetary stipend, which covers the
recipients’ first-year academic expenses.
Brandon Bentzley, left, and Christopher Johnson became the newest recipients of UMA's scholarships.
Earning a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry from UNC
Chapel Hill, Johnson is working alongside Paul S. Morgan, Ph.D.,
associate professor of radiology. Johnson is currently conducting
studies on newborn brain metabolism using Magnetic Resonance
Spectroscopy (1H-MRS) in the Center for Advanced Imaging Research.
Bentzley, a College of New Jersey graduate with an undergraduate degree
in physics, has a lifelong interest in neuroscience and is pursuing a
career in addiction medicine. His lab work with Ronald See, Ph.D.,
professor in the Department of Neurosciences and the Department of
Psychiatry, involves selectively blocking orexin-1 receptors to see if
the system has an effect on the acquisition of cocaine
“Brandon is highly motivated, intelligent, and a pleasure to have in the lab. He has done a great job this summer,” said See.
College of Graduate Studies Dean Perry Halushka, M.D., Ph.D., director
of MSTP since 1987, is delighted that UMA is giving the MSTP two
scholarships per year and hopes they will continue to recognize
“These awards allow us to identify outstanding, incoming students from
South Carolina and show that this institution has a major commitment to
the M.D./Ph.D. program,” said Halushka.
Friday, Aug. 21, 2009