Clarissa Martins awarded prestigious Science Education Award for undergraduate cancer and nutrition research
RENO, Nev. – University of Nevada, Reno senior Clarissa Martins always knew she wanted to be involved in the medical field. Receiving the 2012 Thomas J. Bardos Award for her research involving cancer and nutrition is a reflection on those childhood dreams.
“Winning this award means so much to me, and shows that all my hard work is paying off,” Martins said. “Out of the 16,000 people who applied worldwide, I was one of the 17 people chosen for this award. It’s a huge honor.”
The award is intended to inspire young science students to enter the field of cancer research and to help those students develop their careers in science by providing a unique educational opportunity. Martins’ research is largely inspired by her mother, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
“When I was about nine years old, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and as a child, I didn’t really understand what that meant,” Martins said. “So, I began researching cancer and in my freshmen year of college I found the Pardini research lab. I started out helping with a couple projects there and learned about various research techniques. My passion for cancer research exploded from there.”
To be eligible for the award candidates must be a full-time, third-year undergraduate student majoring in science as well as a current American Association for Cancer Research member. Martins will receive $3,000 from the AACR, which grants the career-development award.
Martins said that she applied to the association upon the encouragement of her mentor Keith Kikawa, a postdoctoral scholar with the University’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
“My mentor initially told me about the award,” Martins said. “The minute the application was open I was applying for it with his help.”
The award is named after Thomas J. Bardos, a professor emeritus from the University at Buffalo, who participated in cancer research for more than 50 years.
Martins, scheduled to graduate in 2013, plans to be a clinical researcher in the oncology field.
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Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno has an enrollment of 18,000 students and is ranked in the top tier of the nation’s best universities. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University has the system’s largest research program and is home to the state’s medical school. With outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties and with one of the nation’s largest study-abroad consortiums, the University extends across the state and around the world. For more information, visit www.unr.edu.
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