April 30, 2004

Neonatology clinical fellow wins presenter award

Featured Image

Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., left, director of the Duke Center for Human Genetics, and Jonathan Haines, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Center for Human Genetics Research, are collaborating on the search for genes involved in Alzheimer's disease. Photo by Anne Rayner

Neonatology clinical fellow wins presenter award

Judy Anderson, M.D., a clinical fellow in the division of Neonatology, was surprised to see her research project go from a poster on the wall to a platform presentation in front of her peers.

Anderson earned a platform presentation and received one of 25 Wyeth President’s Presenters Awards at the annual meeting of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation in Houston late last month.

“I was surprised by the award,” Anderson said. “It was my first platform presentation, and my first time at this conference. It’s an exciting conclusion to this research project.”

The Wyeth honors are awarded to the most meritorious abstracts submitted by researchers still in training. Anderson’s abstract, “Differential Expression of Aquaporin Water Channel Genes in the Mouse Cervix During Parturition” is the first literature available on this subject, according to her mentor, Jeff Reese, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics.

“This is a nice honor for Dr. Anderson. SGI is a selective society, and just being able to present is quite an honor,” Reese said. “She has been tremendously dedicated to working in the lab and was willing to spend many hours to get answers.”

Anderson and Reese were trying to prove Aquaporins, or water channels, existed in the cervix, and facilitated the softening — or ripening — of the cervix late in gestation. Using mice, Anderson and Reese found that these channels do indeed play a role in this process.

According to the abstract, this discovery may provide new strategies to facilitate labor or postpone premature cervical ripening.