Columbia dental students chosen for three out of nine NIH summer fellowships in national competition

Columbia University dental students Connie Gao, Xiaoming Zhang, and Magnon Reyes, all members of the class of 2005, have been awarded summer fellowships at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health. The School of Dental and Oral Surgery at Columbia (SDOS) is the most well-represented dental school among this year's class of NIDCR fellows, with SDOS students receiving one-third (three out of nine) of the available fellowships.

Ms. Gao, a 1998 honors graduate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (major: biochemistry and molecular biology), has worked in the laboratories of Dr. Jennifer Pinkham at the University of Massachusetts and Dr. Linda Buck at Harvard Medical School, and was the lead author on an original research paper published in the December 2001 issue of the independent journal BioTechniques. Mr. Zhang, a recent honors graduate from the University of Southern California (with dual degrees in biology and East Asian studies), spent two years as a research assistant at Johns Hopkins University under the tutelage of Dr. Paul Fuhs. Mr. Reyes, a native of Ecuador and 1998 honors biology graduate of Florida International University, is a former NIH pre-intramural research trainee and Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute summer fellow (Cornell University). All three students placed in the 99th percentile nationwide on the Dental Admission Test, a required dental school entrance examination designed to measure general academic and perceptual abilities, as well as command of scientific material.

The NIDCR summer dental student award program is designed to promote the professional careers of talented dental students through exposure to the latest advances in oral health research, clinical care, and administration. Award recipients spend a summer at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. as research fellows. They are assigned to mentors and research projects that reflect t

Contact: Leslie Boen
Columbia University Medical Center

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