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Cottrell Scholar Award, 2010

Prof. Linda Columbus received one of the 11 recipients of the ‘s Fall 2010 Cottrell Scholar Awards.  Prof. Austen Lamacraft in the UVA Physics Department also lindareceived this honor. These Awards provide $75,000 to each recipient and represent admission to an exclusive community of scholars. The Cottrell Scholar Awards are designed for institutions and faculty members who are committed to excel at both teaching and research. These awards enable recipients to implement their plans to become outstanding scientists and educators as well as tomorrow’s academic and scientific leaders. The awards also seek to reinforce faculty mentoring, communication, and a heightened appreciation for instruction in university science departments.

The Cottrell Scholar Awards, instituted in 1994, are named in honor of Frederick Gardner Cottrell, scientist, inventor, and philanthropist. Dr. Cottrell founded Research Corporation for Science Advancement in 1912 and provided means for scientific research and experimentation at scholarly institutions. He not only contributed fundamentally and practically to scientific knowledge, but he dedicated his career to enlisting science in the service of society.

The award supports Prof. Columbus’ research on the structure and dynamics of bacterial outer membrane proteins and their interactions with host receptors. Specifically, the proposal focuses on the outer membrane opacity-associated proteins (Opa) from Neisseria, which induce engulfment of the bacterium in non-phagocytic cells by binding to host receptors. The results may provide insight into the pathogenesis of Neisseria, aid in the rational design of novel antibiotics, vaccine development, and targeting of liposome pharmaceutical carriers. The education component of the award allows Prof. Columbus to offer a UVA chemistry undergraduate course, which will introduce methods of drug discovery, entitled “From Lab Bench to Your Medicine Cabinet” in Fall 2011.

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