March 26, 2010

Graduate student to attend Nobel Laureate meeting

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Graduate student Sarah Kurley, here with her thesis adviser, Al Reynolds, Ph.D., will attend this summer’s Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany. (photo by Mary Donaldson)

Graduate student to attend Nobel Laureate meeting

Sarah Kurley, a graduate student in Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, looks forward to attending the 60th Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany, this summer.

During the annual meeting, Kurley will join young researchers from around the world to interact with Nobel laureates from the fields of chemistry, physics, and medicine or physiology.

The goal of these meetings is to inspire and motivate them through lectures, panel discussions and seminars on current and future scientific research topics.

After going through a preliminary evaluation, Kurley was one of 700 young scientists from around the world selected by the review panel of the Nobel Laureate Meetings to receive an invitation to Lindau. She is sponsored by Mars Inc., and Oak Ridge Associated Universities is handling her travel arrangements.

“I am honored to represent Vanderbilt University at this amazing conference, and I am thankful to Mars and Oak Ridge Associated Universities for sponsoring and arranging my trip,” Kurley said.

“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary and intergenerational scientific discussions,” she said. “I have no doubt that this experience will change the way I look at science and will motivate me to teach my love of science to future generations when given the opportunity.”

Al Reynolds, Ph.D., professor of Cancer Biology and Kurley's thesis adviser, said he is thrilled. “This will be an amazing experience. How often do you get to meet Nobel Laureates?”

Pursuing a Ph.D. in cancer biology, Kurley investigates how p120-catenin, a protein, performs in mammary functions and breast cancer by using knockout mouse models. She wants to learn how normal cells transform into cancer cells.

Since the first Nobel Laureate Meeting in 1951, more than 25,000 students from 80 countries have participated in the weeklong event.

Past recipients include Bryan Ringstrand in the Department of Chemistry under Piotr Kaszynski, Ph.D., associate professor of Chemistry, and Chris Brosey in the Department of Biochemistry and the Center for Structural Biology under Walter Chazin, Ph.D., Chancellor's Professor of Biochemistry and Physics.