Undergrad Research Program Expands in Size, Scope

Studying a molecular model for psychosis and finding new ways to measure how cells metabolize fat are some of the research topics presented recently by a group of UT Dallas undergraduates on the campus of UT Southwestern Medical Center.

A recent poster session highlighted the accomplishments of students in the expanded Green Fellowship Program, in which UT Dallas undergraduates spend a semester immersed in research at UT Southwestern.  Students work alongside professors there in biochemistry, cancer immunobiology, cell biology, clinical nutrition, immunology, internal medicine, psychiatry and many other disciplines.

Undergraduate research in collaboration with leading institutions is an important and expanding part of UT Dallas’ research mission.  Now in its fifth year, the program almost doubled in size this year, from nine students in 2009 to 17 this year.  Fellows receive a research stipend, which increased this year from $3,500 to $4,000. 

The program has expanded to include students from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) in addition to students from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science

The program is led in part by Dr. A. Dean Sherry, professor of chemistry and Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Systems Biology Science at UT Dallas. Sherry is director of UT Southwestern’s Advanced Imaging Research Center.   

The program is also directed by Dr. Nancy Street, associate dean at the Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

“We are always excited to expand the program to include even more of UT Dallas’ finest scholars,” Sherry said.  “The addition of BBS students this year brought new and interesting research into the program, and we were delighted to almost double the number of students participating overall.”

This year’s group includes the following majors:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Electrical engineering
  • Molecular and cell biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physics

Green Fellows spent 16 weeks pursuing individual research projects under the guidance of faculty at the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.   Rather than having to split their attention between classes and time in the lab, the students focused their entire Green Fellowship semester on research.

“Each year, the UT Southwestern faculty continues to be impressed by the enthusiasm, dedication and success of the Green Fellows during their time on our campus,” Street said.  “This program is an asset to the success of scientific research at UT Southwestern and we look forward to continuing and growing the program in the years to come.”

2010 Green Fellows

Top row: Ofek Levy, Nate Milburn, Monish Modi.Fourth row: Nizar Ghneim, Laura Yuan.Third row: Felix Tang, Gina Vento, Kelly Dye.Second row: Tommy Lee, Sara Arnold, Sara Kee, Kerye Ward.Front row: Sana Zekri, Dave Settles, Ashley Combs, Kalyn Hanson. Sonya Veron.

“The Green Fellows Program allowed me to delve deeply into the scientific field and has convinced me of what I want to do in the future,” said Laura Yuan, neuroscience major. “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.”


“Being able to apply the theories of science into practical reality is truly an invigorating feeling that motivates me to pursue a career in research,” said biology major Tommy Lee.


“The Green Fellowship allowed me to fully experience what scientific research really is: developing the initial hypothesis, testing possible ideas and finally analyzing the data that has been gathered,” said biochemistry major Sonya Veron.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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