Montana State University

Three MSU grad students receive Kopriva Fellowships

July 1, 2013 -- MSU News Service

Nicholas DotsonSydney AkapameTimothy Hamerly

Nicholas Dotson   High-Res Available

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BOZEMAN -- Three doctoral students from three different departments who are all involved in research projects with biomedical applications have been awarded 2013 Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowships from the College of Letters and Science at Montana State University. 

Timothy Hamerly, biochemistry; Nicholas Dotson, neuroscience; and Sydney Akapame, statistics; will all receive $5,000 to support their research, including expenses such as travel to meetings or for instruction, books, supplies and special research services. Each will give a Kopriva Student Research Lecture during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Hamerly has developed a novel method for isolating small molecules from complex solutions using serum albumin, a protein found in the blood stream that transports a wide variety of small molecules throughout the body. His method greatly reduces the number of molecules seen by a mass spectrometer, resulting in decreased time spent analyzing data and increased rates of biomarker discovery. Hamerly’s assay has also been used to differentiate stressed animals that have undergone massive, rapid blood loss from healthy animals.

Dotson studies how different areas of the brain interact during working memory. This is accomplished by recording neural activity from non-human primates performing a working memory task. Deficits in working memory are a hallmark of many cognitive disorders, such as schizophrenia, and this type of work is crucial for the development of better treatments and diagnostic tools. The results of his research, which shows that that the patterns of synchronization between the prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex retain information in working memory, were recently reported in the journal Science. 

Akapame’s research is focused on the optimal design of nonlinear models, which are models with exponents, logarithms or other complicated functions of the independent variable and parameters, for biostatistical applications. His work has been applied to the design of optimal experiments for testing compartmental models of drug absorption rates in pharmacokinetic studies, as well as models used to study chemical reactions that are catalyzed by enzymes and logistic models used in many pharmaceutical applications. 

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 biological and biomedical sciences. Past recipients include Sunshine Silver and Ramon Tusell (both in 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; Amy Servid and Alison O’Neil (chemistry and biochemistry) in 2011; and Joshua Heinemann and Shefah Qazi (both in chemistry and biochemistry) in 2012.


Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or