Brittany Jenkins and Rachel Martini awardees

December 1, 2016

The University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences has awarded two prestigious fellowships to graduate students in the Department of Genetics, Brittany D. Jenkins and Rachel N. Martini.  Both students conduct human subjects breast cancer research in the lab of UGA Genetics and Medical Partnership faculty member, Dr. Melissa B. Davis. Rachel N. Martini received the 2016 Grimes Family Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Natural Sciences, and Brittany D. Jenkins received the 2016 Mary Laraine Young Hines Graduate Fellowship in Cancer Research, which is awarded to a single student in Franklin College. The Grimes Family Distinguished Graduate Fellowship is also only awarded to graduate students in Franklin College working within the area of natural sciences and cancer research. Both awards provide one year of research funding to each student toward their PhD dissertation work.

Rachel N. Martini is a second-year graduate student within the Department of Genetics and is one of two students receiving the Grimes Family Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in 2016. She conducts research to investigate how global genetic variants of the DARC gene render distinct functions in the regulation of immunological responses in breast cancer microenvironment. Functional studies of these population specific variants may define aspects of human diversity in anti-cancer immune responses.

Brittany D. Jenkins is a third-year graduate student in Genetics, and is the sole recipient of the Hines Fellowship for 2016. She does comparative characterizations of breast cancer subtype microenvironments and tumor immune responses that are related to chemokine signaling and chemokine receptor function. Her work may help unravel some of the biological underpinnings that drive race-specific differences in tumor progression and clinical outcomes of breast cancer.

Both fellowships support excellence, innovation, and commitment to cancer research within the Life Sciences at UGA. These awards also demonstrate the hard work and dedication of these students to quality scientific research and investigation.