September 20, 1996

Biomedical science potential leads to fellowships for pair

Biomedical science potential leads to fellowships for pair

Sarah K. England, postdoctoral fellow, and Constance M. Mobley, graduate student, have been selected as United Negro College Fund-Merck Science Fellows.

The two join a group of 37 promising African American students pursuing careers in scientific research, and were chosen from a nationwide, competitive pool of applicants for their academic achievements and their potential in the field of biomedical science.

The fellows are receiving scholarship or fellowship stipends and are paired with Merck scientists who will provide research assistance, guidance and will mentor the fellows through their grant cycle. The UNCF-Merck Science Initiative also provides for institutional support through grants to the department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, where England and Mobley work.

England is researching ion channels and channel subunits in the cardiovascular system. She studies the regulation of cardiac excitability, which is how ionic currents move across cell membranes.

"Channels are composed of multiple subunits through which currents flow," says England. "I'm trying to find out where they're localized and how they behave. This grant will support my research through the next year. It pays my salary, and it provides supplies, equipment and travel expenses for scientific meetings.

"I am happy to receive this award because it's great to be considered along with the other UNCF-Merck Fellows that I met. They were a competitive group of scientists."

Mobley is studying the transcriptional regulation of a cancer-causing virus. She is characterizing an initiator element in the Rous sarcoma virus and elucidating the components of the CCAAT-binding complex, which binds to the enhancer of the virus.

"This fellowship provides me with much-needed resources for my dissertation research," says Mobley. "I eagerly anticipate meeting with Merck scientists throughout my tenure as a UNCF-Merck Fellow."