June 1, 2015
Members of David Smith's (right) lab, Xiaomei Chen (center) and Xiaoxing Wang (left) have been awarded the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship and Barbour Scholarship, respectively.

The College is pleased to announce that Xiaomei Chen, Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD Candidate, and Xiaoxing Wang, Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD Candidate, have been awarded the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship and Barbour Scholarship, respectively. Both students are members of Dr. David Smith’s laboratory team. This honor shines a light on the dedication and efforts of the College’s graduate students. 

The Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship supports exceptional doctoral candidates who are actively working on their dissertation research and writing. The Fellowship acknowledges students who have taken a risk and are working on particularly creative or ambitious dissertations. This competitive fellowship provides the winner with a stipend of $29,880, candidacy tuition, and required fees for twelve months. For her dissertation, Ms. Chen is studying the Influence of Functional and Genetic Knockout of PEPT2 on the Regional Distribution Kinetics of Cefadroxil in Brain Using Intracerebral Microdialysis in Rats and Mice. Ms. Chen spent over a year at Uppsala University where she learned the surgical and experimental skills needed to help her complete her dissertation research. Ms. Chen is currently a 5th year student (GPA 4.000) and is making outstanding progress toward the completion of her dissertation. She is expected to graduate in the Winter term 2016. Ms. Chen is simultaneously enrolled in a (dual degree) Masters Program in Statistics.

“Simply put, Ms. Chen is an outstanding graduate student”, says Dr. Smith. “In addition to her maturity, intelligence, and dedication, she is a delight to have in the laboratory. Her positive attitude, flexibility, and strong interpersonal skills have helped Ms. Chen interact successfully with other faculty and students in our department, across the university campus, and in other cultures.”

The Barbour Scholarship celebrates women of the highest academic and professional caliber from the area formerly known as the Orient (encompassing the lands extending from Turkey in the west to Japan and the Philippines in the east) to study modern science, medicine, mathematics and other academic disciplines and professions critical to the development of their native lands. To be considered, students must intend to devote themselves to a career in their native countries after graduation. The award covers full tuition and required fees and a stipend of $19,000 for one academic year. Ms. Wang is a 3rd year graduate student (GPA 3.984) and is expected to graduate in the fall term of 2016.  For her dissertation, Ms. Wang is studying the Role and Relevance of PHT1 in Histidine and Peptide/Mimetic Disposition in Brain.  Ms. Wang is investigating the mechanistic transport mechanisms and significance of PHT1 in drug delivery to the brain and its significance in histidine/histamine signaling. Ms. Wang is concurrently pursuing an MA in Statistics.

“It has been my experience that the universities in China, although outstanding in many research areas, are far behind the USA with respect to modern biopharmaceutical sciences and the application of pharmacometrics in clinical settings,” says Dr. Smith.  “I believe that Ms. Wang has identified an important and underserved research area where she can make a major impact in her home country.  Moreover, I believe that Ms. Wang has the desire, maturity, and personality to learn new computational methods in the USA, Europe and elsewhere and, thereby, make a lasting difference on scientific translational approaches in China”. 

Congratulations to Ms. Wang and Ms. Chen on their outstanding accomplishments.