NSF awards support grad students in pharmacy research

By Lorraine Nelson, College of Pharmacy

NSF-pharmacy-studentsSPOKANE, Wash. – The National Science Foundation has awarded three years of research support to two doctoral students in the College of Pharmacy at the Washington State University health sciences campus in Spokane.
Kari A. Gaither and Elizabeth R. Duenwald will each receive $32,000 per year for three years, beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.

Gaither-K-2014-80Gaither’s research focuses on the mechanisms with which chronic diseases – including cancer – impair the functions of specific T cells that are important to inhibiting the progression of disease. Her work also examines the interactions between alcohol and cancer related to dysfunction of those T cells. She is in the research lab of Gary Meadows and Hui Zhang.

Duenwald-E-2014-80Duenwald is conducting her research in Susan Marsh’s lab, where the overall focus is to better understand how the heart responds to exercise, diabetes and diet. Duenwald’s project looks at how altering gene regulation of proteins in the heart affects endurance capacity and physical activity.

“Part of being a researcher involves finding funding to perform your work,” Gaither said. “I was particularly interested in the NSF fellowship because the NSF supports worthwhile research in all realms of sciences, and I wanted to show that my research has broad significance and application to other areas.”

She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from The Evergreen State College and began her Ph.D. in 2012.

Duenwald said receiving an NSF fellowship opens the door for her to apply for support from the U.S. Agency for International Development so she can do research in developing countries.

“Together, NSF and USAID have a mission ‘to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity,’” she said. “It would be humbling to have even a small role in their challenging goals.”

She has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and exercise physiology from WSU and began her Ph.D. in 2013.


Lorraine Nelson, WSU College of Pharmacy communications, lanelson@wsu.edu, 509-368-6671