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GSBS honors founder, recipient of Investing in Student Futures Endowed Scholarship

May 01, 2013

Tracey Barnett


GSBS Deans Michelle Barton, Ph.D., far left, and Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., pose with the creator of the Investing in Student Futures Endowed Scholarship, Priscilla Saunders, Ph.D., second from left, and the first recipient of the award, Julianna Bronk. This award was established by Saunders in memory of her husband Grady Saunders, Ph.D., a molecular geneticist who made profound contributions to the field of human molecular genetics at MD Anderson, and increased by gifts of many contributors.

The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston honored GSBS student Julianna Bronk, the first recipient of the Investing in Student Futures Endowed Scholarship and the creator of the Endowment, Priscilla Saunders, Ph.D., with a luncheon at Trevisio’s Restaurant on April 30. All donors to the Endowment were invited to this first awards event.

Bronk’s research entitled Molecular Imaging and Targeted Gene Therapy of Human Breast Cancer examines a new method to monitor disease progression and response to cancer therapy. Bronk and her lab mates have developed a hybrid viral vector with the ability to specifically bind to cancer cells after being injected into the bloodstream. This vector can be used to deliver an imaging or therapeutic gene to a tumor, creating a targeted imaging approach. Bronk is affiliated with the Virology and Gene Therapy Program and her advisor is Wadih Arap, M.D., Ph.D. 

This Scholarship Endowment was established by Saunders in memory of her husband Grady Saunders, Ph.D., a molecular geneticist who made profound contributions to the field of human molecular genetics at MD Anderson, and increased by gifts of many contributors. The Endowment currently provides a $3,000 scholarship for an exceptional student based on a competitive application process, quality of the student’s research project, progress towards degree and recommendation by two faculty members. Each year a new area of research will be selected by the Deans for the focus of this award. For the inaugural year, special consideration was given to those applications involving cancer research. 

GSBS would also like to thank all those who contributed to the Endowed Scholarship:

Estate of Frances Ellen Arrighi, Ph.D.; Gregory J. Aune, M.D., Ph.D.; Michael D. Badzioch, Ph.D.; Sonia and Arthur F. Bergh, M.D., Ph.D.; Yanis A. Boumber, M.D., Ph.D.; Carol Wells; Linda M. Carter; Shine Chang, Ph.D.; Sharon Y. Dent, Ph.D.; Rena N. D’Souza, D.D.S.; Cindee R. Ewell, Ph.D., J.D.; Jennifer N. Fernandez, Ph.D.; Margaret M. French, Ph.D.; Lalla and Thomas J. Goka, Ph.D.; Peter Gray, Ph.D.; Kerry B. Gunning, Ph.D.; Glenn T. Housholder, Ph.D.; Howard R. Hubbell, Ph.D.; Edward W. Karbon, Ph.D.; Ralf Krahe, Ph.D.; Ajay Kwatra, M.D., and Faye M. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D.; Dolores J. Lamb, Ph.D.; Timothy J. Larson, Ph.D.; Pu P. Liu, Ph.D.; Marcia and Peter T. Lomedico, Ph.D.; N. Lindsay MacDougall, M.D.; Manley Mandel, Ph.D.; Wendy M. Mars, Ph.D., and Peter F. Mars; Milton V. Marshall, Ph.D.; Pierre McCrea, Ph.D.; Mercedes K. Meyer, Ph.D., and Stephen M. Hewitt, M.D., Ph.D.; Shirlette A. G. Milton, Ph.D.;Debra M. Moss; Peggy A. O’Neill, D.D.S., Ph.D.; Sen Pathak, Ph.D.; Potu N. Rao, Ph.D.; Thomas R. Roesel, M.D., Ph.D.; Doris L. Ross, Ph.D.; Naruya Saitou, Ph.D.; Barbara M. Sanborn, Ph.D.; Priscilla Saunders, Ph.D.; Britt Schmidt; Elizabeth L. Schubert, Ph.D., and Carl C. Ton, Ph.D.; Phyllis A. Shaw, Ph.D.; Donna S. Shewach, Ph.D.; Helen B. Stone, Ph.D.; Hongmin Sun, Ph.D.; George B. Thornton, Ph.D.; William H. Walker, Ph.D.; Danny R. Welch, Ph.D.; Mary and Thomas F. Williams, Jr.; Barbara Y. Williams, Ph.D.; Wan-Song Wun, Ph.D.; Xiaojun Xia, Ph.D.; Wei Yu, Ph.D.; Jing-Ren Zhang, Ph.D.; Wei Zhang, Ph.D.; and Xiaohong Zhang, Ph.D.