Two receive fellowships to pursue doctoral studies in biology of aging

Fellowship program established with $200,000 gift from Glenn Foundation for Medical Research

SAN ANTONIO (Aug. 8, 2012) — The Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity & Aging Studies has selected the first two fellows to participate in a Ph.D. program focused on the biology of aging.

Erin Munkacsy from the University of Illinois and Brian Stoveken from the University of Wisconsin enter the program with support from the Glenn Foundation Doctoral Student Fellowship in the Biology of Aging.

The fellowships were established this year through a $200,000 gift from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research. The foundation, named for its founder and chairman, Paul F. Glenn, was established in 1965 to extend the healthy, productive years of life through research on the biological mechanisms of aging.

The fellowships are available to students in a Ph.D. program created in 2009 to train the next generation of investigators in aging research.

“We are so grateful to the Glenn Foundation for their gift that allows us to attract the most talented students to our program,” said Steven Austad, Ph.D., interim director of the Barshop Institute and a professor of cellular and structural biology in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center. “This fellowship provides students with the unmatched opportunity to hasten their development into accomplished, independent researchers.”

Arlan Richardson, Ph.D., professor and founding director of the Barshop Institute, agreed: “The Glenn fellowships enable us to recruit the brightest students into the field of aging, which is critical if we are to find ways to treat and delay age-related diseases and the aging process.”

At the University of Illinois, Munkacsy majored in biology and participated in research studies focused on memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and electrophysiology.

“The Glenn fellowship is an opportunity of a lifetime,” she said. “Aging research is the culmination of a multitude of my own personal and intellectual interests and innate abilities. This fellowship not only allows me to pursue that aim but to do so among the best group of aging scientists in the country.”
Stoveken earned his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. There, he focused on metabolic profiling and genetics, and he mentored high school students and interns in the laboratories.

“I am inspired by the body of work coming from the UT Health Science Center, a clear leader in the field of aging research. And I’m thankful for the Glenn fellowship that signals the growing value placed on this discipline,” Stoveken said. “As a student and future researcher, this is a remarkable chance to make meaningful improvements in the quality of individuals’ lives.”


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