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TGen, UA student-researcher extends string of coveted scholarships

PHOENIX, Ariz. March 25, 2011 Shannon Fortin, a University of Arizona graduate student researching brain cancer at TGen, has been selected as a 2011-12 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholar.

This $7,000 scholarship will enable Fortin to continue pursuing two simultaneous post-graduate degrees at the University of Arizona. She is working toward a medical degree at the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix, and a doctoral degree in the UA Cancer Biology Graduate Program-Tucson.

At the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Fortin is studying glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the highest grade and most malignant form of all primary adult brain tumors. Specifically, she is trying to discover why this form of cancer is so invasive and resistant to chemotherapy.

"To answer these questions, I am studying the genetic signature of brain tumors and consequent molecular signaling responsible for tumor invasion. By identifying and understanding the function of genes that cause malignant tumor cells to spread, we hope to find molecular targets that have the potential to respond to therapeutics," said Fortin, who works at TGen in the lab of Associate Professor Dr. Nhan Tran, himself a past ARCS Scholar at UA.

"Shannon is a motivated and a bright student. She is passionate about her research and the translational science that will benefit patients in the long-term," Dr. Tran said.

The ARCS graduate school award is the latest in an amazing string of top-flight scholarships awarded to Fortin during the past decade:

  • Arizona Science Foundation Scholarship, Graduate School 2010-12
  • Apogee Scholarship, Medical School 2008-10 and 2013-15
  • Fulbright Fellowship/Scholar to Brussels, Belgium 2007-08
  • AACR-Thomas J. Bardos Science Education Award/Scholarship; 1 of 10 national recipients in 2006
  • Goldwater Scholar, 2006
  • Flinn Finalist Scholarship, 2003-07
  • Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, 2003-07
  • ASU Presidential Scholarship, 2003-07

For more than 30 years, ARCS has supported graduate students across the U.S in hopes of advancing science. Students must have a university grade point average of 3.5 or higher, are recommended by their departments, and are in the scientific and technical disciplines.

"I cannot express enough gratitude in receiving this scholarship, which will help provide me with financial stability while I pursue a long and intense seven-year graduate degree program for my combined M.D. and Ph.D.," Fortin said. "I will strive to become a physician-scientist who will impact the field of oncology."


Contact: Steve Yozwiak
The Translational Genomics Research Institute

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