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HHMI awards first Gilliam Graduate Fellowships

The late James H. Gilliam, Jr., a charter Trustee of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), spent a lifetime fostering diversity and opportunity in education and science. Now six talented graduate students with diverse backgrounds will carry on in his name.

HHMI today announced the recipients of its first Gilliam Fellowships: Imran Babar from Minnesota; Meisha Bynoe from St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Luis Len and Alexander Red Eagle from California; Naira Rezende from Brazil; and Nancy Van Prooyen from Colorado and Arkansas. Created by HHMI to honor Gilliam's legacy, the fellowships provide support for Ph.D. studies in the life sciences to disadvantaged students including underrepresented minorities who participated in HHMI's Exceptional Research Opportunities (EXROP) undergraduate summer research program.

For the past two summers, EXROP has placed a group of these outstanding minority and disadvantaged undergraduates in labs of HHMI investigators and professors. Their research projects ranged from identification of the cells in which lung cancer originates to investigation of the mechanism by which the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) establishes and sustains latent infection in cells.

"Jim Gilliam devoted a long career of public service to expanding opportunities in science for the disadvantaged," said HHMI President Thomas R. Cech. "He led by example. It is fitting that we honor him by providing research opportunities, mentorship, and financial aid to promising young people to pursue careers in biomedical science."

Gilliam, who was 58 when he died in 2003, was chief counsel at Knickerbocker LLC, a private investment firm. A longtime resident of Wilmington, Delaware, he served as Secretary of Community Affairs and Economic Development to Delaware Governor Pierre S. du Pont IV. He was executive vice president and general counsel at Beneficial Finance Corporation before joining Knickerbocker.

Gilliam served as a trus
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Contact: Jennifer Donovan
donovanj@hhmi.org
301-215-8859
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
23-May-2005


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