Graduate Biology Research Students Win ALEPSCoR Fellowships

Posted on April 29, 2017 by

Two graduate students in the Borchert Laboratory in the College of Arts and Sciences Biology Department, Valeria King (a Biology Master’s student) and Dominika Houserova (a COM BMS Ph.D. student), have each been awarded full ALEPSCoR GRSP fellowships for 2017-2018. These fellowships are extremely competitive with only ~30 awarded this year to graduate students across the state of Alabama. USA won five of this year’s fellowships – two from the Borchert Lab and three from the College of Engineering.

Valeria King was awarded her fellowship based on her studies of molecular contributors to malignancy in different cancers. Impressively, Valeria has already coauthored three original research articles and a book chapter during her two years as a Biology graduate student at USA and looks to author several more articles while completing her fellowship. Valeria will finish her M.S. degree in Biology in 2018 and plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in Genetics.

Dominika Houserova was awarded her fellowship based on her characterizations of 58 entirely new genetic regulators in carbon starved Salmonella thought to control cellular survival. Although only having joined the Borchert lab last fall, Mika has already coauthored two original research articles and was also recently received a travel award to study at the RNA Institute in New York this summer.

The Alabama Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ALEPSCoR) is dedicated to the advancement of economic development via scientific and engineering research through a collaborative effort among the State’s research universities. The focus of activities is designed to attract and retain distinguished scientists and researchers for Alabama; to develop new cutting-edge technologies and high-tech industry; and to stimulate state competitiveness in medicine, biotechnology, engineering, and other applied sciences.

The goal of the ALEPSCoR GRSP is to invest in Alabama universities to expand research output and attract eminent senior faculty and quality graduate students. The program’s objective is to provide a highly trained workforce to fuel the growth of high technology companies in Alabama. Graduate students who represent the next generation of researchers and innovators are critical to the advancement of Alabama’s high-tech human resource capacity. In 2012, the Alabama Legislature continued the appropriation to ALEPSCoR through the Alabama Commission on Higher Education for the purpose of funding the GRSP. Since its inception in 2006, the program has funded more than 187 exceptional graduate students. Students are selected competitively by a team consisting of one campus coordinator from each of the Ph.D. granting institutions in the ALEPSCoR Program.

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