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U Medical School Researcher Wins Prestigious Pew Scholarship

October 7 , 2003 — A University of Utah School of Medicine neurobiologist has been chosen as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences–one of only 20 researchers nationwide to receive the honor.

Richard I. Dorsky, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy, will receive $240,000–$60,000 annually over four years–to study the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in determining nervous system development. Wnts are proteins that bind to the outside of cells and assist in transmitting signals across the cell membrane.

Dorsky will study the Wnt pathway in early spinal cord and brain development in Zebrafish at the U of U’s $1.1 million CZAR (Centralized Zebrafish Animal Resource) center. Zebrafish make good models of study because of their relative simplicity and fast development.

The Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences is designed to support young investigators of outstanding promise in the basic and clinical sciences relevant to the advancement of human health. The program is open to junior university faculty members who have been full-time not more than three years.

The awards are funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.