This week, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation welcomes 14 of the state’s most gifted high school and college science students to its 49th class of Sir Alexander Fleming Scholars.
The students, who hail from across the state, will spend the next eight weeks in OMRF’s labs, working under the direction of senior OMRF scientists. The students, selected from scores of promising applicants, will complete individual research projects, write scientific papers for publication and present their research findings in formal seminars.
“The arrival of the Fleming Scholars is always a shot in the arm for the entire foundation,” said OMRF President J. Donald Capra, M.D. “The students’ enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity is contagious, and it’s just a joy to have them here.
Two of OMRF’s most prominent current scientists, Judith James, M.D., Ph.D., and Rodger McEver, M.D., cut their teeth as Fleming Scholars.
James, a rheumatologist originally from Pond Creek, recently published a groundbreaking paper on lupus in The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world’s leading scientific journals. She is the only Oklahoman ever to win the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
McEver was born and raised in Oklahoma City and is an internationally recognized cardiovascular disease researcher. Last year, he won a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, one of the largest NIH grants in state history.
The Fleming Scholars program has served as a model for similar programs nationwide since its creation in 1956. With the class of 2004, OMRF has now trained more than 400 students through this program.
The 2004 Fleming Scholars are:
Lee Brockus, Oklahoma City, Casady School
Travis Brown, Claremore, Claremore High School
Kendra Byrd, Carmen, University of Central Oklahoma
Christopher Carlton, Wellston, Wellston High School
Kathryn Childress, Oklahoma City, Edmond North High School
Bryan Cole, Newalla, Harrah High School
Chelsea Hixon, Yale, Yale High School
Alexandra Lupu, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics
Heather Rice, Watonga, University of Oklahoma
Tyler Schwartz, Mustang, Mustang High School
Amy Seewald, Mustang, Mustang High School
Daku Siewe, Stillwater, Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics
Shanna Sprinkle, Oklahoma City, Deer Creek High School
Katie Willis, Edmond, Oklahoma Christian School
Back row: Daku Siewe, Kathryn Childress, Bryan Cole, Christopher
Carlton, Lee Bockus. Middle row: Katie Willis, Tyler Schwartz, Amy
Seewald, Shanna Sprinkle, Heather Rice. Front row: Alexandra
Lupu, Kendra Byrd, Chelsea Hixson, Travis Brown
OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease. OMRF is home to Oklahoma’s only member of the National Academy of Sciences in the area of biomedical research.