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Hall Awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award

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Molly Hall3 JUNE 2015 — Molly A. Hall, a Ph.D. biochemistry, microbiology, and molecular biology graduate student in the laboratory of biochemistry and molecular biology faculty member, Marylyn Ritchie has been awarded the Kirschstein-NRSA Pedoctoral Fellowship. The award is to enable promising predoctoral students to obtain individualized, mentored research training from outstanding faculty sponsors while conducting dissertation research in scientific health-related fields relevant to the missions of the participating NIH Institutes and Centers.

The proposed mentored research training must reflect the applicant’s dissertation research project and is expected to clearly enhance the individual’s potential to develop into a productive, independent research scientist.  Hall will receive a stipend to conduct research on her project titled, “Novel methods to identify and replicate complex interaction in common disease,” where she will focus on developing methods to handle data from recent technological advances that enable genotyping over 1-million human single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for thousands of samples. Hall explains, we are hindered in exploiting these laboratory advances to their fullest potential because strategies for analyzing these data have not kept pace, thus slowing progress toward improved understanding of the genetic contribution to common human disease. Additionally, the greater portion of heritability in complex traits has not been explained. During this fellowship, Hall seeks to uncover complex genetic and gene-environment interactions underlying common disease and ultimately assess individual disease-risk, contributing to a shift in the medical field toward personalized, preventive care. 

Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein, for whom the award was named, was the first women director of an NIH Institute and a key player in the development of a safe and effective polio vaccine.  She was a champion of research training and a strong advocate for underrepresented individuals in the scientific workforce until she passed away on October 6, 2009.  To learn more about National Research Service Awards, visit the National Institute of Health website.