NEW YORK, May 24, 2006 – Three City College of New York (CCNY) graduates – the most from any City University of New York (CUNY) institution -- were awarded Salk Scholarships to study medicine at today’s awards ceremony at Baruch College. A fourth CCNY graduate was one of seven honorary winners.
Queens resident Sherman Chu, who graduated from the CUNY Honors College at CCNY; Andrea C. Silva, also from Queens, and Edwin J. Vazquez-Cintron, who lives in Manhattan, were among the eight Jonas E. Salk Award recipients from five colleges honored by The City University. Each will receive a $6,000 stipend for medical school.
David Shiu, also a CUNY Honors College alumnus and Queens resident, was named an honorary winner. All the Salk Scholars will attend leading medical schools. The prestigious scholarships are awarded to students chosen by a panel of distinguished physicians for their outstanding academic records, quality of their research projects and their volunteer work.
Dr. Richard A. Murphy, President and CEO of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla, California, presented the awards to the winners.
The scholarships are named for Dr. Jonas E. Salk, a 1934 graduate of City College, who developed the polio vaccine. When Dr. Salk was offered a ticker tape parade by New York City in 1955 in honor of his discovery, he asked that the money be used for scholarships instead.
Brief bios of CCNY's Salk Scholarship winners and honorary winner follow:
Ms. Chu plans a career as an osteopathic pediatrician because her inspiration and greatest satisfaction is helping children grow up healthy and happy. As a participant in the Reach Out and Read Program in the pediatric department at Gouverneur Hospital, she came to the realization that being a physician is not just about treating disease, but treating the whole individual by addressing their mental and physiological health. Her research interests include the relationship between psychological factors and health, chemical reactions within organisms, and biological mechanisms. She conducted research with her mentor CCNY Biology Professor Jay A. Edelman on how humans allocate their attention in order to react quickly to changes in their environment. Ms. Chu will participate this summer in an internship at the Salk Institute in La Jolla. She will attend New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.
During her first semester at CCNY, Ms. Silva took an introductory course in genetics that fired her interest in the field. She joined Biology Professor Christine Li’s lab as a Minority Access to Research Careers fellow, conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disorder affecting some four million Americans. The definitive diagnosis of AD is the presence of neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques in the brain. A cleavage product of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) is a major component of the amyloid plaques. Ms. Silva is interested in using genetic techniques to understand molecular pathways and is utilizing multiple approaches to try to understand the function of APP. She hopes that her research will one day lead to a cure for neurological disorders like AD and schizophrenia. Ms. Silva will also intern at the Salk Institute this summer before enrolling in the Ph.D. program in biology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Mr. Vazquez-Cintron left Puerto Rico for New York City to pursue his passion for science and medical research. At CCNY, he joined the lab of Biology Professor Mark Pezzano and received a Minority Access to Research Careers fellowship. His project in the lab was to identify and characterize a surface membrane protein found only on Thymic Nurse Cells (TNCs) that is recognized by a monoclonal antibody produced in the lab. Mr. Vazquez-Cintron used several methods to purify and identify the protein, which was then sent to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s protein facility for further study. In addition, he has served as second author of a paper submitted to Mechanisms of Developmental Biology. Mr. Vazquez-Cintron says the training at CCNY has prepared him well for a career in scientific research. He will attend the Sackler Institute of New York University School of Medicine, where he’ll pursue a Ph.D. in immunology.
Honorary Salk Scholar
A premedical student, Mr. Shiu opened himself to other opportunities at City College. He received a Colin Powell Leadership fellowship that gave him the chance to explore public policy issues and provided networking and policy writing skills. He found himself drawn to health related issues, exploring the health consequences of poverty, nutrition in under-served neighborhoods, and the need for universal healthcare. As he developed a global understanding of health issues through the public policy realm, Mr. Shiu realized that becoming a physician would be the way for him to promote health on a personal level. He will attend New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.