Montana State University

Two biochemistry students receive Kopriva fellowships

August 22, 2012 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
BOZEMAN -- Two doctoral students who work on research projects that may lead to the earlier detection and treatment of human diseases have been awarded 2012 Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowships from the College of Letters and Science at Montana State University.

Joshua Heinemann and Shefah Qazi, both biochemistry students in the Department Chemistry and Biochemistry, will each receive $5,000 to support their research, including expenses such as travel to meetings or for instruction, books, supplies, and special research services. Both will give a Kopriva Student Research Lecture during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Heinemann studies metabolism, and is focused on developing technology that will allow researchers to measure changes in metabolism in "real-time" using microfluidics and mass spectrometry. Using this technology, living cells are processed and directly measured for changes associated with disease and stress. Development of this technology is important for preemptive treatment or intervention of disease. Microfluidic technology also has the advantages of low-cost components and biocompatibility allowing direct integration into a living system.

Qazi works with P22 virus-like particles as next-generation diagnostic tools for medical resonance imaging (MRI) of cardiovascular diseases. Her research focuses on modifying the interior and exterior surfaces of P22 virus-like particles for both encapsulation of small molecule imaging agents and targeted delivery of these agents to diseased tissues. The P22 platform demonstrates a significant increase in contrast over clinically used MRI contrast agents. This research may lead to earlier detection and treatment of cardiovascular related diseases.

Phil Kopriva, a 1957 microbiology graduate, established an endowment to fund the Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowships, which are awarded to recognize and support the research of outstanding graduate students in the areas of physiology and/or biochemistry. Past recipients include Sunshine Silver and Ramon Tusell (chemistry and biochemistry) in 2008; Travis Harris (chemistry and biochemistry) and Crystal Richards (microbiology) in 2009; Jonas Mulder-Rosi (cell biology and neuroscience) in 2010; and Amy Servid and Alison O'Neil (chemistry and biochemistry) in 2011.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu