Graduate School names inaugural Kopchick Fellows

March 08, 2018
Tracey Barnett

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is proud to announce the inaugural recipients of the Dr. John J. and Charlene Kopchick Fellowships: 

2018 Dr. John J. Kopchick Fellows


Barbara Diaz-Rohrer
Advisor: Ilya Levental, Ph.D.
Research project: Molecular Mechanisms of Microdomain-dependent Protein Trafficking

Rachel Dittmar

Advisor: Subrata Sen, Ph.D.
Research project: Driver Mutation Signatures and Exosomal Biomarkers in the Development of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Marisa Hornbaker

Advisor: Sean Post, Ph.D.
Research project:  hnRNP K: A Driver of Myeloid Malignancy

Lalit Patel

Advisor: Dean Michelle Barton, Ph.D.
Research project: Recurrent Tissue-Specific DNA Lesions Cause TRIM24 Overexpression in Human Solid Tumors Through trans-Effects

Sara Siegel

Advisor: Hung Ton-That, Ph.D.
Research project: Mechanism of pilus hijacking and adherence by the coaggregation factor CafA in Actinomyces oris

Elisa Vesely

Advisor: Mike Lorenz, Ph.D.
Research project: RNA sequencing of phagocytosed Candida albicans reveals new virulence determinants

2018 Charlene Kopchick Fellow

Marimar de la Cruz Bonilla

Advisor: Helen Piwnica-Worms, Ph.D.
Research project: Elucidating the Role of Fasting in GI Radioprotection: Applications in a Pre-Clinical Pancreatic Cancer Model

These fellowships are funded through a generous $10.5 million endowment established by alumnus John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., and his wife, Charlene. Read about more about this gift here.

The Dr. John J. Kopchick Fellowships are awarded to six students who demonstrate exceptional character, extracurricular leadership, research excellence and scholarly merit. Each fellowship provides $7,500 directly to the student and an additional $7,500 to support their research and training. These fellowships may be renewed for a total award period of up to two years. 

The Charlene Kopchick Fellowship is awarded to a GSBS student who demonstrates unique characteristics beyond merit and financial need. Such characteristics may include but are not be limited to first-generation college graduates entering graduate research; students who exhibit exemplary personal character; uniqueness of background and culture; strong work ethic; perceived leadership qualities and an enthusiastic scientific curiosity.  These fellowships will be in the amount $8,250 of direct aid to the student and an additional $8,250 to support the student’s research and training.  This is a one-time award to the student and is not renewable. 


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