UW News

April 21, 2005

Magnuson scholars work on projects; next scholars

Six graduate students, one from each health sciences school, are working on projects as Magnuson Scholars for the 2004-2005 academic year. Each of the students receives approximately $25,000 to support graduate studies and research.

The late Senator Warren G. Magnuson, in whose name the program was established, was committed to improving the nation’s health through biomedical research and was instrumental in establishing the National Institutes of Health, Medicare and Medicaid during his long career in the senate.

The Magnuson Scholars are selected on the basis of their academic performance and their potential contributions to research in the health sciences.

The scholars program is part of the Warren G. Magnuson Institute for Biomedical Research and Health Professional Training, established in 1991 in honor of the late senator. Support for the Institute comes from two grants totaling nearly $5 million from the U.S. Department of Education, matching funds of $500,000 from the State of Washington, and more than $569,000 in donated funds.

The income from the endowment is used for research about diabetes and other diseases, to support students in graduate or postgraduate health professions training programs, and to fund the Warren and Jermaine Magnuson Chair in Medicine for Neurosciences, held by Dr. Bruce Ransom, chair of the Department of Neurology.

This year’s Magnuson Scholars are:

Rupaleem Bhuyan, from the School of Social Work — A second-generation immigrant of Assamese heritage (Assam is a part of India near Bhutan), Bhuyan has worked for more than 10 years as a community educator and victim advocate for women experiencing domestic violence. She holds a master’s degree in cultural anthropology and is completing the doctoral program in social welfare with her dissertation, “Assessing the Impact of Violence-Against-Women Policy on the Safety and Welfare of Battered Immigrant Women.” Her studies explore the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, class and migration for women who experience intimate-partner violence. Her professional and research interests focus on informing public policy and developing culturally competent practices through participatory action research with immigrant communities.

Julia Dooher, from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine — Dooher, a graduate of Tufts University and a native of Boston, entered the graduate program in the Department of Pathobiology in 2000. She is now a Ph.D. candidate in the laboratory of Assistant Professor Jaisri Lingappa, studying the cell biology and biochemistry of HIV assembly. Her interest in basic biomedical research was fostered by a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Boston University. She then pursued a long-standing interest in autoimmune disorders by working in an immunology lab at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center. She is intrigued by the possibilities of applying some of the approaches used to study viruses to understanding the processes of autoimmune disorders. Outside the lab, she enjoys hiking and skiing.

Sarika Ogale, from the School of Pharmacy — Now a Ph.D candidate in the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program, Ogale was born in Lonavla, India, a town near Mumbai. She earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in India, and then moved to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in pharmacy administration from the University of Louisiana. She began work in the UW School of Pharmacy in 2001. She is now studying the long-term risks of drugs used to treat chronic obstructive lung disease when patients also have Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. She is particularly interested in long-term studies of medications’ safety and effectiveness. Her husband is also a student in the School of Pharmacy, working on a doctorate in medicinal chemistry.

Julie Postma, from the School of Nursing — Postma was born in Michigan and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Michigan. After working as a critical care nurse for several years, she decided to return to school to focus on health promotion and disease prevention as they relate to community health nursing and environmental health and justice. She is now pursuing a Ph.D. in nursing. Her dissertation project is to evaluate a participatory action research project focused on measuring and limiting pesticide exposure in Yakima Valley agricultural workers. She is interested in creating a network of academic and community interests and in the value of similar research projects for addressing social and environmental issues.

Darragh (Shane) O’Mahony, from the School of Medicine — O’Mahony plans a career in which he would be able to combine a clinical role seeing patients with research in a laboratory. As a Magnuson Scholar, he has been conducting a research project in the laboratory of Dr. Conrad Liles, associate professor of medicine. His work there is an investigation into the factors involved in sepsis and acute inflammatory lung injury, major problems in critical care medicine. Along with better understanding how these develop, he plans to work with several new research tools, including immunohistochemistry and expression microarrays. O’Mahony moved with his family to the United States from Ireland when he was 9. He first conducted a research project as an undergraduate at Seattle University. Before entering medical school in 2000, he worked as a research technician in the Allergy and Infectious Disease Division at the UW.

Dr. Zongyang Sun, from the School of Dentistry — Sun came to the United States from China in 2000 as a Ph.D. student in oral biology and has been working in the laboratory of Dr. Susan Herring, professor of orthodontics. He is particularly interested in craniofacial growth and malformations, as well as basic research related to orthodontics. He was born in Sichuan, China, and earned a dental degree from West China University of Medical Sciences in 1996 and a master’s degree in oral anatomy and physiology in 1999. Sun is married and has a son. He enjoys music and sports, especially tennis and baseball.

Magnuson Scholars have recently been named for the 2005-2006 academic year: Tatiana Kaminsky from the School of Nursing, Sarika Ogale from the School of Pharmacy, Janice Sabin from the School of Social Work, Christina Wahlgren from the School of Medicine, Yupeng Wang from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and Dr. Orapin Veerayutthwilai from the School of Dentistry.