BLACKSBURG, Va., November 23 2004 –    Two student research assistants at VBI – Elena Dimitrova and Christopher Case –have recently received awards recognizing their academic and research accomplishments.

Dimitrova, a graduate research assistant in VBI Research Professor Reinhard Laubenbacher’s research group, won "Best Graduate Student Oral Presentation in Mathematics and Physics" at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference held October 21-24, 2004. Dimitrova’s presentation, entitled “A Graph-Theoretic Method for the Discretization of Gene Expression Measurements,” introduced a method for discretization of experimental data into a finite number of states.

The SACNAS organization holds conferences and seminars to encourage students of Chicano/Latino and Native American descent to pursue graduate level education for careers in scientific research and teaching.

Case, an undergraduate research assistant in VBI Research Assistant Professor Biswarup Mukhopadhyay’s research group, received a fellowship in the summer of 2004 from the Fralin Biotechnology Center of Virginia Tech, which is an interdisciplinary research center that brings together scientists of different disciplines to solve problems relating to biology.

Case also received the Richard E. Ebel Scholarship, which is awarded to a rising senior that has demonstrated excellence in their pursuit of a career in the life sciences; and the William E. Newton Award, which is given to a senior who demonstrated research potential during their junior year. Both awards were granted from the Department of Biochemistry at Virginia Tech.

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Susan Bland (540) 231-1767;

Published by Susan Bland, November 24, 2004