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Graduate Student Wins Prestigious Fellowship

UCR Graduate Student Wins Prestigious Fellowship

Deidre Davis is Accepted into the United Negro College Fund Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship Program.

(May 12, 2010)

Deidre Davis, a third-year, Ph.D student in biomedical sciences at UCR, has been selected as a recipient of the 2010 United Negro College Fund Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship.

She is one of 12 recipients chosen for the award. The selective UNCF/Merck selection committee, composed of Merck scientists, and educators, chooses awardees based on academic achievement, record of accomplishment and the soundness of the proposed doctoral research plan.

Davis is currently researching the parallel relationship between brain development and immune system. Her findings show that the human immune system reacts to toxins and environmental hazards vary differently at various stages of brain development. Her research could be crucial in discovering new pharmaceutical transitional therapies to fight infections and other immune disorders.

This award program will allow Davis to integrate her research, with experience at Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The program includes a fellowship day, one-on-one mentorship experience with an experienced Merck research scientist and the ability to use one of Merck’s high-end laboratories for specific research projects. Davis said she will use UCR’s research facilities for her current research. Furthermore, up to $52,000 is granted for the fellowship program. Up to $42,000 is awarded in the form of stipends, meant to cover up to 24 months of fellowship tenure, and $10,000 as research grants.

“I am extremely proud of Deirdre’s efforts. This is a highly competitive award, only a dozen are awarded nationwide per year,” said Monica Carson, associate professor of Biomedical Sciences and Davis’s advisor. “Because she has been a distinguished leader here in the graduate program, it’s no surprise for her to have become an awardee.”

The UNCF/Merck science initiative brings together the United Negro College Fund and Merck Research Laboratories and The Merck Institute for Science Education to offer 37 annual scholarships and fellowships to African American undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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