Petit Institute Announces 2014 Suddath Symposium Awards

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The Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering & Bioscience awarded the 2014 Suddath Symposium Graduate Student Awards to three students for their grand achievements in biological or biochemical research at the molecular or cellular level.

"It was a difficult decision – we had a very strong applicant pool this year," said Nick Hud, Associate Director for the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience and Professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The first place award was given to Natalie Saini who is pursuing her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology.  Saini’s research is focused on determining the mechanisms underlying erroneous DNA synthesis during double strand break (DSB) repair in eukaryotic cells, an important process implicated in the generation of instability in cancers. Her work has been published in Nature, Biochimie, Molecular Cell and PLoS Genetics..

“I am very honored to receive the prestigious Suddath award,” said Saini.  “I am thankful to the reviewers for recognizing my accomplishments and grateful for all of the opportunities and resources that have been provided through my advisor, Kirill Lobachev, as well as through Georgia Tech’s Petit Institute.”

Saini will receive $1,000 and will give a research presentation to the Petit Institute community at the 2014 Suddath Symposium to be held on February 20, 2014 at Georgia Tech.  She will also have her name added to the Suddath Award recognition plaque at the Petit Institute.

“Natalie is smart, motivated and hardworking scientist. She has excellent
analytical skills and she is not afraid to try new approaches and techniques,” said her advisor, Kirill Lobachev.

Lauren Austin received the 2nd place award for her research in nanobiotechnology in the laboratory of Mostafa El-Sayed where she is focused on the interactions of plasmonic nanoparticles (NPs) with cancerous cell lines and the exploitation of their unique optical properties to reveal molecular information during important cellular functions (i.e. proliferation, cell cycle progression, and cell death) in real-time.

Anthony Awojoodu, a doctoral student in Biomedical engineering, was recognized for a 3rd place award for his accomplishments in the laboratory of Edward Botchwey, where he has focused his research on therapies to cure, treat and prevent complications of sickle cell disease using sphingolipid signaling and metabolism.  

Austin and Awojoodu will also each receive cash awards.


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