Grad student research to combat cancer, COVID-19 inflammatory reaction

Lisa Minkoff and Christiana Oh, 2020 Berry Family Foundation Fellow

Two Ph.D. students received fellowships through the Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics’ (AD&T) Berry Family Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program.

Since 2013, the program has sponsored student researchers during a key part of their education and acted as a springboard for future career opportunities in academic and corporate research.

“The Berry Family Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program provides AD&T an opportunity to recognize Notre Dame graduate students executing outstanding work related to combatting disease, promoting health, and protecting the environment,” said Prakash Nallathamby, associate director of research at AD&T who oversees the fellowship program and assistant research professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering.

“Students serve an important part in the success of any research group, and we are proud that we can support them through this program further. As always, there was a large pool of highly-competitive applications. The two fellows chosen represent the top 2% of the applicants.”

The 2020 Berry Family Foundation Graduate Fellowship recipients are:

  • Lisa Minkoff, graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and member of Rebecca Whelan’s lab. This fellowship will support her work to explore the utility of polyclonal aptamers for early-stage ovarian cancer detection.
  • Christiana Oh, graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and member of the Paul Bohn Lab. The fellowship will support the development of a nanopore electrode array (NEA)-based electrochemical lab-on-a-chip immune-sensor for the detection of cytokine storms. A cytokine storm is a severe immune reaction and a complication that significantly contributes to COVID-19 deaths.

The Berry Family Foundation Graduate Fellowships are awarded each year to graduate students for 12 months to investigate issues that align with the mission of AD&T.

— Brandi Wampler, ND Research