WORCESTER, Mass.--Charisa Cottonham, a PhD candidate in the University of Massachusetts Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, has been named a recipient of a 2010 Hope Scholarship by the Biomedical Science Careers Program (BSCP). Cottonham, who works in the laboratory of Lan Xu, PhD, in the Program in Molecular Medicine, studies the function of microRNAs in TGF-beta-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process that is directly relevant to cancer metastasis.

“I am extremely honored to be a 2010 Hope Scholarship recipient,” said Cottonham. “Participation in other BSCP activities over the years has allowed me to share and receive feedback about my research. BSCP-sponsored events have increased my knowledge about the opportunities available to me upon completion of the Ph.D., which will help me decide how to pursue the next stages of my career to ultimately become an independent investigator.”

Over the past three years, Cottonham has participated in several BSCP-sponsored events: In 2007 and 2009, she presented her research at the New England Science Symposium and in 2010, attended the BSCP Student Conference. She served as a panelist at both the 2008 BSCP “Skills Workshops for College and High School Students” and the 2010 BSCP Student Conference “Getting into Health Professional School.”

Founded in 1991 by Harvard Medical School, the BSCP provides students of all races, ethnic backgrounds, gender and financial status with encouragement, support and guidance needed for the successful pursuit of careers in biomedical sciences. Since its inception, more than 5,300 students and over 500 post-doctoral trainees and junior faculty have participated in BSCP programs. The founding sponsors of the Biomedical Science Careers Program are the Harvard Medical School Minority Faculty Development Program, the New England Board of Higher Education and the Massachusetts Medical Society.

BSCP's principal objectives are to identify, inform, support and provide mentoring for academically outstanding students, particularly African-American, Hispanic American and American Indian/Alaskan Native students. These students range from the high school to post-doctoral level.

The overall aim of all BSCP activities is to increase the representation of minorities in the biomedical and biotechnology fields while helping health care institutions, biotechnology firms, educational institutions, professional organizations and private industry members meet their need for a diverse workforce.

Cottonham will receive the award April 29 at the 13th Annual Evening of Hope in Boston. For more information, go to