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UTHSC medical students capture scholarships from American Federation for Aging Research

San Antonio (July 21, 2003) — Two outstanding medical students from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) have been selected to receive scholarships from the American Federation for Aging Research. UTHSC medical students have won AFAR scholarships every year since 2000.

Angela Peng and Crystal Adams from the School of Medicine were named John A. Hartford Foundation/AFAR Medical Student Geriatric Scholars. Peng is mentored by Brian Herman, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the UTHSC department of cellular and structural biology. "Aging appears to be an elusive field in terms of its causal factors and progression," she wrote in her award essay. "Because the exact degenerative mechanisms of the brain during aging have not been identified, the field is wide open for new discoveries."

Adams is mentored by Randy Strong, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology. "I am interested in the biochemical basis of learning and memory, maintaining mental functionality throughout life, and the balance between physical and psychological health," she wrote in her essay. She hopes to focus on caring for patients who suffer from neurodegenerative disorders.

UTHSC is home to a John A. Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Education, part of a select group of U.S. centers meeting the critical shortage of trained physicians in geriatric medicine. Cynthia Alford, Ph.D., department of family and community medicine, is program director.

Recently, two UTHSC medical students supported by AFAR scholarships presented original research at the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society. Jessica Bland, 2002 AFAR winner, discussed a study of the rates of simultaneously occurring primary malignant cancers in older adults by age, race, geographic location and gender from 1989 to 1999. Krysten James, another 2002 AFAR recipient, presented a study of how attitudes about ethnicity and gender affect attitudes toward post-mortem procedures.

Contact: Will Sansom