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Jennifer Spence, a master's student in biological sciences at Old Dominion University, won a Young Investigator Award and a prize of $1,000 at the 55th annual meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Nov. 12-16 in Atlanta.

Spence, a master's student of Roland Cooper, assistant professor of biological sciences, won the award for her presentation of malaria-related research titled, "Inhibition of Yeast Hexokinase Activity by Artemisinin: an in vitro Model of Drug-Protein Binding".

Young Investigator Awards are presented for both quality of the talk and research presented, according to Cooper, who attend the conference with Spence and several other students. "This is an international meeting with nearly 3,000 attendees from many of the world's top research institutions," he added. "I think the award reflects on the kind of work we can do at ODU, and I hope this kind of recognition will help garner improved support for research among students and the newer faculty members."

Cooper's research focus is the action of drugs and drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum, the lethal human malaria parasite. Compounds such as the artemisinin studied by Spence have been used for centuries to cure malaria, but we still do not have a good understanding of how these drugs kill the parasite.

This article was posted on: November 21, 2006

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