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"The PECASE award recognizes Rachel Brewster as one of the nation's most promising young scientists. Through her research and teaching, she is mentoring and inspiring a new generation of researchers.”

President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III

 

UMBC Biologist Receives Top Honor for Young Scientists

 

September 26, 2006 UMBC biologist Rachel M. Brewster has received the nation's highest honor for promising young scientists, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

The PECASE provides up to five years of financial support for research and community outreach. Brewster was one of just three U.S. biologists nominated by the National Science Foundation and selected for the award. Brewster and 59 other awardees from a variety of fields were recently honored at a White House ceremony.

Brewster will use her PECASE funding to involve high school, undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds in her research. She uses genetic analysis of zebra fish embryos to better understand the causes of brain and central nervous system birth defects such as spina bifida, the leading cause of childhood paralysis in the United States.

In her acceptance speech, Brewster recognized the University's Meyerhoff Scholarship Program for providing her lab with talented student researchers. She credited UMBC alumna and former Meyerhoff Scholar Keisha John '06, who now attends the Watson Graduate School of Biological Sciences, with producing some key data that made the award nomination possible.

"Rachel Brewster is a wonderful colleague, an inspiring role model and a dedicated mentor to many students at UMBC," said Lynn Zimmerman, professor of biological sciences and vice provost for academic initiatives at UMBC. "She is a tremendous asset to UMBC's biological sciences department, and we are delighted to see her receive this well deserved national recognition."

 


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