Carnegie Mellon Biological Sciences Student Receives HHMI's Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study
January 31, 2008
Carnegie Mellon University senior Bertrade "Betty" Mbom has been selected as one of five recipients of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI) Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study. The prestigious fellowship provides full support for up to five years of graduate study towards a doctorate in the sciences. The support will enable Mbom and the other Gilliam Fellowship recipients to gain the knowledge and experience needed to address some of the world's health care challenges through a career in research.
Mbom, who was born in Cameroon and moved to the United States with her family at age nine, will graduate with her bachelor's degree in biological sciences this spring. In her graduate work, Mbom plans on studying a group of compounds called Eg-5 inhibitors, which she first started studying in Professor Tim Stearns' lab at Stanford University under HHMI's Exceptional Research Opportunities Program. These chemicals stop cell division by disrupting the creation of the mitotic spindle - the web-like construction that holds the chromosomes in the center of the cell and then pulls them apart into two daughter cells. Cells with disrupted spindles die prematurely. Through her research, Mbom hopes to see if Eg-5 inhibitors could be used as a cancer therapy.