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Medical student receives Hughes fellowship at NIH

Rob Oxford. Photo by Cliff Hollis.
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (June 5, 2001)   —   Rob Oxford, a second-year student at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, has won a Howard Hughes fellowship award to work at the National Institutes of Health for approximately one year beginning in August.

A native of Granite Falls in Caldwell County, Oxford will work in the laboratory of his choice at the NIH performing biomedical research. Oxford is one of 42 medical students from across the United States selected for the fellowship from the more than 169 individuals who applied. He is the fourth Brody School of Medicine student to receive this fellowship after performing a research project in the Department of Biochemistry.

At the medical school, Oxford has performed research with Dr. Joseph Chalovich, professor of biochemistry, for the past year on the cause of the genetic disorder familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. "There's not a complete understanding about this disorder," Oxford said, "so after we fully understand the disorder then a therapy could possibly be developed. With this problem, the heart continues to grow bigger and bigger inside the chest because the proteins are defective. It can often be a hidden disorder which can be present in otherwise healthy individuals."

Chalovich, who is collaborating on research with a Hanover, Germany, lab on familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, described Oxford as "intelligent, inquisitive and hard working."

The veteran medical school faculty member added, "He has a deep-seated desire to improve the human condition. He sees himself in the role of a physician scientist, someone who can bridge the gap between basic biomedical research and primary patient care. (He) has a talent for research but more than that he is motivated by the human condition."

During his fellowship that will continue until June 2002, Oxford will live on grounds of the NIH in provided housing. "I’m extremely excited about this opportunity. I think it's going to be a great opportunity," he said.

A 1995 graduate of South Caldwell High School, Oxford is the son of Bob and Sharon Oxford of Granite Falls. He earned his undergraduate degree from N.C. State University in 1999 and is undecided on his area of specialization in medicine.


Contact: Jeannine Hutson | 252-744-2481