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UMA honors MD/PhD students, basic research

by Connor Watkins
Public Relations
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 self-administration.
“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 exceptional students.
“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

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