FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Marshall senior to receive Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid Research award
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Katie Brown, a Marshall University senior from Huntington, will receive a Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research award of $2,500, Sigma Xi has announced. Sigma Xi is an international, multidisciplinary research society whose programs and activities promote the health of the scientific enterprise and honor scientific achievement.
The Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research program has a highly competitive application process and only about 20 percent of applicants receive any level of funding. Brown, who plans to graduate from Marshall in December 2009, has a cumulative GPA of 4.0. She is majoring in biology and minoring in both chemistry and criminal justice. Her career goal is to become a physician.
Brown conducts research in the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center for School of Medicine Professor Dr. Piyali Dasgupta. Studies in Dasgupta’s laboratory examine how components of tobacco can promote the progression of several diseases, in particular lung cancer.
Nicotine is the major active and addictive component of cigarette smoke. Brown’s research focuses on how nicotine facilitates the growth and continued survival of lung cancer cells. Apart from lung cancer, her studies are aimed at deciphering signaling pathways underlying the actions of nicotine in other tobacco-related diseases.
Brown’s Sigma Xi research proposal explores how nicotine can affect the blood supply of the retina, which has implications for diseases like macular degeneration, commonly found in the elderly. The results of her research proposal will be relevant to patients who are active smokers, exposed to second-hand smoke, or using smoking cessation devices such as nicotine patches or gums.
The Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research program has been providing undergraduate and graduate students with valuable educational experiences for more than 80 years. By encouraging close working relationships between students and faculty, the program promotes scientific excellence and achievement through hands-on learning.
Students use the grant funding to pay for travel expenses to and from a research site, or for purchase of non-standard laboratory equipment necessary to complete a specific research project.
Brown also recently was awarded a $1,000 grant from NASA.