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Three doctorate students rewarded with prestigious Sarachek award

Monday, May 11, 2015


MANHATTAN — Three Kansas State University doctoral candidates are receiving Sarachek awards for their academic and research achievements.

Damien Downes, doctoral candidate in genetics, Australia, was awarded the $17,000 Alvin and RosaLee Sarachek Predoctoral Honors Fellowship in Molecular Biology. Awarded the $1,000 Sarachek Scientific Travel Awards are Aashima Khosla, doctoral candidate in biochemistry and biophysics, India, and Courtney Passow, doctoral candidate in biology, Round Rock, Texas.

Alvin and Rosalee Sarachek established the fellowship and travel awards to recognize resident graduate students enrolled in a doctoral program at Kansas State University and thus have demonstrated exceptional research and scholastic accomplishments. An interdisciplinary faculty selection committee determines the fellowship and award recipients. The awards program is offered through the university's Graduate School.

Downes received his bachelor's degree with honors at the University of Melbourne. He will graduate with his doctorate in May. Downes' research focuses on the way protein-protein and protein-DNA interaction turn genes on and off in response to different environmental stimuli. Richard Todd, assistant professor of plant pathology, is Downes' major professor.

He will use the fellowship to relocate to Oxford, U.K., where he plans to pursue a postdoctoral position. Downes also plans to attend conferences in 2015 and 2016 to further his research contributions.

Khosla plans to use the funds to attend the 2015 Plant Metabolic Engineering Gordon Research Conference in New Hampshire, where she will discuss her recent results on putative ligands of the START domain. Khosla's research focuses on the plant specific class, IV HD-Zip transcription factors, that contains START, which is a special binding domain. Her major professor is Kathrin Schrick, assistant professor of biology.

Khosla received her bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Delhi University and her master's degree in biotechnology from M.S. University of Baroda, India.

Passow plans to use the funds to attend and present her research at the Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics Gordon Research Conference in Biddeford, Maine. Her research focuses on determining the underlying genetic and physiological mechanisms of adaptation to natural stressors by using an extremophile fish that lives in the presence of naturally occurring toxic hydrogen sulfide. Her major professor is Michael Tobler, assistant professor of biology.

Passow received her bachelor's degree in biology from Texas A&M University.

Alvin Sarachek received his doctorate in genetics from K-State in 1957. He and his wife, RosaLee Sarachek, created the fellowship and travel awards because he values the university's tradition of offering a broad array of quality programs in the life sciences, many with outstanding national reputations. The Saracheks wanted to contribute to the tradition of excellence by recognizing students who have demonstrated exceptional research accomplishments involving molecular approaches to biological problems.

More information on the Sarachek awards is available at http://www.k-state.edu/grad/financing/sarachek/.

Source

Carol Shanklin
785-532-7927
shanklin@k-state.edu

Website

Sarachek awards

News tip

Wichita, Kansas, and Round Rock, Texas

Photos

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Damien Downes

Damien Downes, doctoral candidate in genetics, is the recipient of the $17,000 Alvin and RosaLee Sarachek Predoctoral Honors Fellowship in Molecular Biology.


Download the following photo.

Aashima Khosla

Aashima Khosla, doctoral candidate in biochemistry and biophysics, is the recipient of the $1,000 Sarachek Scientific Travel Award.


Download the following photo.

Courtney Passow

Courtney Passow, doctoral candidate in biology, is the recipient of the $1,000 Sarachek Scientific Travel Award.

Written by

Kelsey Peterson
785-532-3220
kp4048@k-state.edu

At a glance

Sarachek awards have been given to three Kansas State University doctorate students for their academic and research achievements.