Brian Palmisano, a senior biochemistry and chemistry major at the University of Rochester's College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, was selected as one of 14 winners of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship. He was selected from a pool of nearly 250 students nationwide who are pursuing science and social-science health-related majors. He is the first undergraduate student at the University to be named a NIH Undergraduate Scholar.
Palmisano will receive up to $20,000 in scholarship funds for his senior-year college expenses, a 10-week paid summer research laboratory experience at an NIH facility after graduation, formal seminars and professional mentoring, and a full-time paid NIH research position following completion of his doctoral degree.
Palmisano is a native of Quakertown, Pa., and is a perennial Dean's List student and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. He is also a recipient of the Kearns Scholarship for Leadership and Diversity in Science and Engineering, the Class of 1970 Reunion Scholarship, and the Department of Chemistry Merck Index Award. As an undergraduate, Palmisano has acquired a range of laboratory experiences in evolutionary biology, molecular biology, and pathology through positions in several research labs at the University of Rochester and at the University of Pennsylvania. After three years of research in several labs, he became interested in research in cardiovascular disease and its relation to diabetes. "I look forward to branching out some of my interests during the 10-week summer internship," Palmisano added. "In graduate school, I'd like to pursue a doctorate in molecular medicine or experimental therapeutics because programs in these areas focus on research in human disease and how to integrate the research into treatment and prevention of human disease."
During the scholarship process, Palmisano worked with Belinda Redden, director of fellowships for the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering, to prepare for the national interview that entailed a practice interview with a panel of College deans and faculty. "I was pleased, but not surprised, to hear that Brian was awarded this fellowship," said Kara Bren, an associate professor of chemistry who participated in the practice panel. "During his practice interview, Brian mentioned the significant amount of responsibility he had while working in labs and he shows excellent progress in developing skills as a researcher."