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Student Receives Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship (web article)


Jorge Maciel, a PhD graduate student in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, was named a 2004-2007 recipient of a Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship. The program is managed by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and funded by an AstraZeneca research grant.

Maciel will receive a $19,000 annual stipend for three years to conduct research. His research, entitled, “Genetic and Functional Investigation of Flagella in Malaria Transmission,” entails examining the role of flagella in the transmission biology of the Plasmodium parasite, the underlying cause of malaria. It is Maciel’s aim to gain an improved understanding of the complex biology demonstrated by the parasite as well as to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention and vaccine development. Maciel will have the opportunity to present his research results at the annual ASM General Meetings.

Maciel explained that the parasite is transmitted during the sexual maturation of the organism within the mosquito, and that this transmission stage is a critical target for intervention against malaria.

The Watkins fellowship seeks to increase the number of underrepresented minority researchers earning PhD degrees in the microbiological sciences. It is aimed at highly competitive minority graduate students with U.S. citizenship or permanent visas who have completed their first year as doctoral candidates in the microbiological sciences at accredited U.S. institutions.

The American Society for Microbiology is the oldest and largest single biological membership organization in the world, with over 40,000 members worldwide.

For more information on the Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship, visit

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