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USC Davis spotlights two top-tier scientists

Two doctoral students at the USC Davis School of Gerontology are ending the school year with major reasons to celebrate.

Doctoral students Krista Garcia and Laura Corrales-Diaz Pomatto (Photo/Christine McDowell)

Doctoral students Krista Garcia and Laura Corrales-Diaz Pomatto (Photo/Christine McDowell)

Krista Garcia has been selected to receive the National Institute on Aging’s Aging Research Dissertation Award to Increase Diversity, which will support two years of dissertation work as well as provide funds for additional expenses.

“Nearly half of men and a third of women will develop cancer in their lifetime. However, it is unclear what the long-term effects of cancer are on survivors,” Garcia said. “I hope to address this research void and to improve our understanding of the adverse physical and cognitive health outcomes following a cancer diagnosis in older adults, which can inform interventions and help identify at-risk groups.”

Crediting her adviser, Professor Eileen Crimmins, as well as the insight and guidance of postdoctoral researcher Jennifer Ailshire and research administrator/program manager Linda Hall, Garcia expressed gratitude for USC’s Multidisciplinary Research Training in Gerontology Program.

“The success of my application is attributed to my outstanding mentoring team and to the strong institutional support I receive here at the USC Davis School,” Garcia said. “I am very grateful and very proud.”

Fellow doctoral student Laura Corrales-Diaz Pomatto has earned a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which will support three years of research with the possibility of additional expenses.

“This will provide me the opportunity to focus entirely upon research and to further explore the role of a mitochondrial stress response protein known as the Lon protease,” she said. “I plan to solve the mystery of how it is regulated and to achieve one of my major goals: to be a part of a collaboration between gerontology and engineering to improve the aging process.”

Corrales-Diaz Pomatto attributed much of her success to the guidance she received from her mentor, Kelvin Davies, vice dean of USC Davis, as well as to the discipline and camaraderie of rowing on USC’s crew team.

“The concept of ‘Fight on’ has become more than a school motto. It embodies how I hope to approach life — that regardless the challenges, I will continue to persevere,” she said.

“With sterling records as students and scientists, both Krista and Laura represent the highest ideals of USC as well as those of the field of gerontology itself,” said USC Davis Dean Pinchas Cohen. “We are so proud that the National Institute on Aging and the National Science Foundation recognized how exceptional these two women are, and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish next.”

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USC Davis spotlights two top-tier scientists

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