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July 9, 2018 - MCI researcher wins 2018 EMGS Young Scientist Award

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MOBILE, Alabama (07/09/2018) -- Aishwarya Prakash, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Oncologic Sciences at MCI, has won the 2018 Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society (EMGS) Young Scientist Award.

A prestigious national honor, the Young Scientist Award recognizes young investigators for their research. Prakash, who joined MCI in March 2016, specializes in protein X-ray crystallography.

“I’ve always been motivated to do science, because I’ve had many family members fall prey to cancer,” Prakash said.

X-ray crystallography allows cancer researchers to study the structure of mutated proteins that cause cancer. Studying these proteins can lead to an understanding of their function in cancer progression as well as the development of new anti-cancer drugs, downstream.

When asked about her research, Prakash said, “Growing crystals is one of the most frustrating things in the world, but at the same time, when you get a crystal, you’re the perhaps only person in the world who has grown that crystal.”

After being nominated for the award by MCI’s Robert W. Sobol, Ph.D., Prakash submitted her application to a panel of judges at EMGS. From several applications, the committee narrowed the competition to five applicants, who then created brief videos explaining their research interests. Prakash’s Assistant Professor colleague Natalie Gassman, Ph.D., was also among the five finalists.

The videos were uploaded onto a crowdfunding website, and Prakash’s entry received the greatest number of votes during the voting period. She will visit San Antonio, Texas, in September to accept the award and present a lecture at the 2018 EMGS Annual Meeting.

Prakash says her ultimate goal is to train the next generation of scientists and help them better understand just how complex the human body really is.

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