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William Walker Awards - Summer 2017

Medical Student Research in Psychiatry

Dean F. MacKinnon M.D. -  Walker Award Coordinator

The following seven rising second year medical students from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are the recipients of this year’s William Walker Awards for Psychiatric Research, awarded by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. This is a competitive award given annually for the best summer research projects in areas related to psychiatry. All of the research proposals we received were serious and worthy projects, but these seven came out on top on the criteria of overall scientific quality, importance of the student’s role in the research, and relevance of the research to psychiatry. 

Tejus Pradeep will be working with Paul Kim M.D. Ph.D. and Tong Li Ph.D., on a project to understand the pathogenesis of traumatic brain injury.

Dan Soffer teams up with Tao Wang M.D., Ph.D. of Pediatric Genetics on a study to identify enzymes involved in the regulation of the dopamine transporter—a key to understanding the molecular basis of mental disorders.

Diana Bongiorno, along with Roland Faigle M.D., Ph.D. of Neurology, will investigate the potentially inhibiting effect of a patient’s psychiatric illness on a clinician’s decision to use intravenous blood thinners in cases of stroke.

Daniel Borota, under the supervision of Ramin Mojtabai M.D., Ph.D. and Paul Nestadt M.D., will mine a large dataset on suicides in Maryland to better understand the risk factors for completed suicide.

Julia Wainger proposes to collaborate with Kristin Voegtiline Ph.D. of the Pediatrics department on a study of the influence of hormone levels in pregnant women on hyperactivity and misconduct in their children.

Nicole Mercado Fischer joins the project of Greg Pontone, M.D. to compare the cognitive impact of two different methods of deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's Disease

Christina Kwon and Marco Grados M.D. will be working on family genetic studies of hoarding behavior, accounting for comorbidity within the phenotype.

Thanks to all who submitted entries, who are mentoring students in their research, and who helped to judge this year’s Walker Awards.