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RSS Feed Dr. Jonas Salk Scholarships Awarded to CUNY Pre-Meds

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced that eight CUNY pre-medical students have been awarded Jonas E. Salk Scholarships to study medicine. They were recognized for their research on growth factors in the immune and vascular systems in autoimmune diseases, the cellular response to DNA damage, new ruthenium complexes with potential as anti-malaria and cancer agents, and on thymic nurse cells.

“This year’s Salk Scholarship winners continue the tradition of academic achievement, research excellence, and public service exemplified by Dr. Jonas E. Salk, one of CUNY’s most illustrious graduates,” Chancellor Goldstein said.

The scholarships are the legacy of Dr. Jonas E. Salk, a 1934 graduate of City College, who developed the polio vaccine in 1955. The endowment provides a stipend of $8,000 per scholar. to help defray the cost of medical school.

The keynote speaker at the awards ceremony was Dr. Kenneth Olden, founding dean of CUNY’s School of Public Health, which is set to open in 2010-2011. Dr. Olden joined CUNY in 2008 after having taught at the Harvard School of Public Health for three years. He led the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology program from 1991 to 2005.

Jason Abramowitz,
Queens College,
SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Although Jason always wanted to become a physician, his own hospitalization two years ago solidified his calling. Emergency room physicians worked as a team to diagnose his rash and fever as a rare strep infection of the skin, impressing him with their sincerity and skill. Jason’s quest to become a physician has followed several paths. He volunteered in a hospital emergency room and shadowed oncology fellows at Bellevue Hospital. And he assisted in neuroscience research on the myelination of nerves within the rodent somatosensory system.

Mikhail Bekarev,
Hunter College,
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Mikhail began his collegiate studies at Tashkent Pediatric Medical Institute in Uzbekistan before transferring to Hunter College. At Hunter, he has majored in computational biology and interdisciplinary sciences while pursuing his passion for medical research. He served as a research assistant in two different Hunter College labs and participated in the Summer Undergraduate MSTP Research program at the University of Iowa, which included both laboratory research and clinical participation.

Chantal Bruno,
Queens College/Macaulay Honors College,
New York College of Osteopathic Medicine

As a child, Chantal was exposed to the suffering of patients as well as the compassionate caregiving of the medical profession when her grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Her feelings of helplessness motivated her to take action to help others. She began by volunteering in a nursing home while still in high school, and has since had experiences shadowing a cardiologist and interning at the emergency department of North Shore University Hospital. For almost six years she has conducted neuroscience research, which she has presented at international conferences.

Martin Detchkov,
City College/Macaulay Honors College,
SUNY Downstate Medical Center

At the age of nine, Martin came from Bulgaria to New York City with his family. An early interest in anatomy coursework piqued his interest in medicine and his fascination with the complexities of the human body. He has worked for two and a half years in hospitals, including the surgical unit of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and his introduction to physicians and surgeons engaged in clinical studies was a defining experience for him. He pursued his interest in research at City College, conducting independent research with thymic nurse cells and presenting peer-reviewed articles.

Michael Ignat,
Hunter College, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine

Growing up in a small Ukrainian village, Michael could never have imagined that he would have the opportunity to study in America or to achieve his dream of becoming a physician. During a turbulent period in his family’s life, he lost hope and nearly dropped out of college. His grandfather’s death made him realize the fragility of life and the importance of pursuing one’s dreams. In his quest to become a physician, Michael volunteered at the NewYork-Presbyterian emergency room and became a registered EMT, working as a first responder for the last two years. Michael graduated from Hunter College with a degree in psychology in 2008 and will graduate with a biochemistry degree in 2009.

Dalanda Jalloh,
Brooklyn College,
SUNY Upstate Medical University

Dalanda grew up in Hungary, the daughter of a Hungarian mother and a father from Sierra Leone. The family immigrated to the United States when Dalanda was in high school. Her family has traveled extensively, which contributed to her deep appreciation of other cultures and new perspectives, an important attribute for a physician. Her natural interest in both biology and chemistry led her to choose a double major at Brooklyn College, where she has pursued both disciplines diligently. She has thrived in a research environment as well.

Mario Pinto,
City College, A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine (Arizona)

As the eldest child of a single immigrant parent from Bogotá, Colombia, Mario has had to shoulder more responsibilities than many of his peers. His family arrived in the United States when he was 11, and he worked throughout high school and college in the food and nutrition department of a nursing home to contribute to the family’s finances. Mario entered Borough of Manhattan Community College as an adolescent unsure of his abilities and aptitude, and he credits the strong support structure at the college for enabling him to mature and to shift his priorities to the sciences. Transferring to City College, Mario has assisted with projects related to osteoarthritis with researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and City College.

Sheryl Purrier,
York College,
Penn State College of Medicine

Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, Sheryl suffered from chronic asthma and spent a great deal of her childhood in and out of hospitals. Observing the dedication and kindness of her own pediatrician and the comfort and care provided by physicians at a local children’s hospital inspired her to become a physician. Sheryl participated in neuroanatomy research for two years, studying whether the composition of the inner nuclear layer in cat retinas is different from other mammals studied thus far. #



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