Beware cancer, insomnia and liver disease UH students are taking aim

HOUSTON, June 1, 2004 Targeting a range of diseases and disorders, three University of Houston students won awards at a recent symposium for research in liver disease, cancer and insomnia.

The Intercultural Cancer Council (ICC) recently hosted its 9th Biennial Symposium on Minorities, the Medically Undeserved and Cancer in Washington, D.C. The ICC promotes policies, programs, partnerships and research to eliminate the unequal burden of cancer among racial and ethnic minorities and medically undeserved populations in the U.S. and its associated territories.

Among the 1,500 who attended this ICC symposium, UH students accounted for 18 of the 300 students from across the nation who participated. Three UH students from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) swept the undergraduate research competition, taking home half of the six awards handed out in that category. Each received a medal to recognize their achievements and a cash award of $500.

"We are extremely proud of all our students who represented the University of Houston," said John Bear, dean of UH's College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. "And we're particularly pleased with the acknowledgement received by our three outstanding students who presented award-winning work, as well as commend the faculty members for engaging undergraduates in the research process."

Jose Figueroa, a senior biology major in NSM's Biology and Biochemistry department at UH, won his poster award for research in biological clocks. Also known as circadian rhythms, biological clocks are the mechanisms that control sleep/wake cycles in living organisms. Working in the Neurobiology Laboratory with Michael Rea, UH professor of biology and biochemistry, Figueroa assists with the lab's focus on understanding the biological clock so that it may eventually lead to therapeutic agents that can treat sleeping/waking disorders, such as advanced sleep phase syndrome, jet lag and insomn

Contact: Lisa Merkl
University of Houston

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