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Joshua E. Neimark Memorial Travel Assistance Award winners
Date:2/15/2010

biosynthetic pathway to produce the HIV medication didanosine is entitled "Engineering a new pathway for didanosine synthesis through the structural and biochemical characterization of the Bacillus cereus phsphopentomutase." Didanosine, also known by the trade names Videx and Videx EC, helps to inhibit HIV replication and therefore is routinely prescribed as part of an antiretroviral therapy regimen.

While pursuing a graduate degree within Vanderbilt's Department of Pharmacology, Panosian wrote in applying for Neimark Travel Assistance: "I have been afforded ample intellectual freedom and have enjoyed learning the intricacies of how one makes a drug, and how X-ray crystallography can be used as a tool to facilitate this design process."

Vanderbilt faculty member Dr. Tina M. Iverson reported that Mr. Panosian is an "outstanding graduate student" who also is "interested in the intersection between scientific research and public policy." Toward that end, she reported, he has participated in campus governance activities, and he also provided "an extensively researched presentation on the economic benefits of biomedical research" in a meeting with U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.).

During his stay in San Diego, Panosian will take part in a workshop on communicating science, an event organized by AAAS and the National Science Foundation to help scientists and engineers more effectively engage reporters, policy-makers, and the public.

Ms. Wong, the third Neimark Travel Assistance recipient, will describe her efforts to determine the integrity of DNA samples using a simple analysis method or "assay" that can be applied to tissues undergoing programmed cell death, even with many samples running in parallel. "Her early results define the limits and boundaries" of applying certain fluorescent dyes (PicoGreen) to ensure the integrity of DNA being investigated, UMB faculty member Kenneth L. Campbell explained.


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Contact: Molly McElroy
mmcelroy@aaas.org
202-326-6434
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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