Excellence In Human Physiology
In 2013, Haley Gillham (above), a graduate student from Damascus, Ore., was on a hot streak.
Gillham, who had just started graduate studies in the lab of assistant human physiology professor Jeff Gilbert, won a major undergraduate research award at the Experimental Biology Meeting in Boston.She won a 2013 David S. Bruce Excellence in Undergraduate Research award, given annually to undergraduate students who submit first-author abstracts to present their research at the meeting.
“Presenting in Boston was very rewarding, as it gave me the opportunity to practice presenting and meeting researchers in a variety of fields,” Gillham said. “I am considering pursuing either a PhD or MD/PhD combined degree, and this award will be very helpful when applying for fellowships or professional programs.”
Gillham previously was one of the national recipients of the 2012 American Physiological Society Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. She spent that summer working full-time for 10 weeks in Gilbert’s lab, expenses covered.
Gillham is pursuing research on preeclampsia, a condition in which blood pressure rises and excess protein accumulates in the urine of pregnant women, raising potentially fatal consequences for both the mother and baby. She has worked as a teaching assistant in organic chemistry and as a research assistant with Gilbert, whose lab is funded through grants from National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association.
“Haley’s strong background in chemistry is a real asset in my physiology lab. It has helped her develop the critical thinking skills and scientific foundation to perform the mechanistic experiments needed to adequately test hypotheses about the physiological mechanisms underlying fetal growth restriction and hypertension during preeclampsia,” Gilbert said.
(This article originally appeared in Celebrating Champions)