Pharmacy Students Receive Gateway to Research Scholarships

American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education award encourages students to pursue careers in research

Mary Paige Thrash

OXFORD, Miss. – Austin Fitts and Mary Paige Thrash, both rising second-year professional students at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, have been named recipients of the Gateway to Research Scholarship by the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

The award provides students an opportunity to work on faculty-mentored research projects while improving their knowledge of clinical skills.

“I was extremely excited because this fellowship, quite literally, will be used as my gateway to research the topics which I am interested in, such as oncology,” said Fitts, a native of Myrtle.

Fitts has worked with Chalet Tan, UM associate professor of pharmaceutics and drug delivery, exploring the delivery of microRNA via exosomes to treat a variety of cancers. His interest in this area came after studying the isolation and characterization of exosomes at Jackson State University in summer 2016.

Fitts hopes this award will assist in his plan of earning a doctorate in biochemistry, cancer biology or medicinal chemistry.

“I am very proud of Austin for receiving this scholarship,” Tan said. “Austin has an inquisitive mind and unusually strong interest in cancer biology and drug delivery. His undergraduate research training was exceptional, which is the key impetus for the current project.”

Austin Fitts

Originally from Columbus, Thrash is studying new ways to target and defeat cancer cells along with forming new therapies. She said she believes this award will allow her to develop new laboratory skills.

“When I heard the good news, I was very excited,” Thrash said. “I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of the research community that is making strides to advance the field of medicine. I am honored to be given this chance to learn and work alongside faculty who have inspired and supported me throughout my research experience.”

Thrash recently helped design and create new molecules that could have potential therapeutic benefits for diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s and based her Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College thesis on the research. She is a member of the research team of John Rimoldi, UM professor of medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology, who called Thrash’s commitment to research “extraordinary.”

“I was thrilled to learn that Mary Paige was awarded this highly competitive AFPE scholarship,” Rimoldi said. “She is most deserving of this award, and I am confident she will make significant and impactful contributions towards her proposed research in drug discovery and development.”

Food Service Management Institute Renamed Institute of Child Nutrition

UM center remains focused on providing resources and training to school lunch workers and managers

The new logo for the Institute of Child Nutrition.

The new logo for the Institute of Child Nutrition.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s National Food Service Management Institute has changed its name and logo to the Institute of Child Nutrition, reflecting its mission to serve child nutrition programs across the country.

As a part of the UM School of Applied Sciences, ICN is the only federally funded national center dedicated to child nutrition. For more than 25 years, the institute has been the leading child nutrition center in the United States, providing resources, training and research. During that time, the institute has experienced tremendous growth in the amount of resources and services provided.

Inspired by this growth, the institute’s administrators searched for a new name that would reflect its image of professionalism and service in the field of child nutrition.

“The school is very proud of all that the institute has accomplished,” said Velmer Burton, dean of the School of Applied Sciences. “With this new name and logo, the Institute of Child Nutrition will continue to improve the lives and conditions of children all across the United States.”

Aleisha Hall-Campbell, who previously was the associate director of cooperative agreements for the National Food Service Management Institute, is the institute’s acting executive director.

“Dr. Hall-Campbell received strong recommendations from many constituents to provide leadership during this interim period,” Burton said. “We trust she will be the perfect leader during this transition.”

A search for a permanent executive director will be launched once ICN completes its name change and rebranding.

“I’m completely honored by my new position at ICN,” Hall-Campbell said. “We have a lot to look forward to in the future, and I have a wonderful team to help continue our success.”

The institute’s staff looks forward to ongoing success and growth as ICN remains dedicated to serving child nutrition professionals, she said.

For more information and resources about the Institute of Child Nutrition, visit http://www.theicn.org

NFSMI Executive Director Addresses Global Child Nutrition Workshop

Katie Wilson to share the importance of establishing nutrition standards and education

OXFORD, Miss. – The head of the National Food Services Management Institute at the University of Mississippi is sharing her expertise in nutrition standards and education this month at a global conference.

NFSMI Executive Director Katie Wilson is a featured presenter at the 2013 Global Child Nutrition Foundation’s World Food Forum, which runs May 20-24 in Salvador, Brazil. Representatives from health and government agencies in Africa and North, South and Central America are also scheduled to participate in discussions. The theme of the weeklong event is “School Feeding as a National Investment: How to Achieve It.”

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NFSMI Welcomes White House Chef

Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef, spoke with school chefs, dieticians, and directors at the NFSMI Second Annual Major Cities Training Symposium at Ole Miss today. Video by Mary Stanton.

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