UCR graduate student wins best poster at Environmental Mutagen Society Meeting

June 24, 2003

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- (www.ucr.edu) -- Yet another UC Riverside graduate student has won the Best Poster award at a research meeting (see additional links below). Andrew Olaharski of the environmental toxicology graduate program won the Best Poster award at the Environmental Mutagen Society's 34th annual meeting - "Environmental Mutagenesis: From Mechanisms to Risk Assessment" - held in Miami Beach, Fla., last month. Thirty other posters were judged. Researchers from all over the world attended the meeting.

The title of Olaharski's poster was "Characterization of the Numerical Chromosomal Aberrations During Cervical Carcinogenesis Using Multiple Probe Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization in a Mexican Population." Other co-authors of the poster were Patricia Guzman, Maria Gonsebatt, Rita Sotelo-Regil, and David Eastmond.

"I was very surprised and honored to have won the best poster award," said Olaharski. "Every scientist wishes to present his or her research in a clear and understandable manner that is also interesting to a broad audience. Winning this award has made me feel like I achieved that goal."

In the poster, Olaharski identifies the chromosomal changes that occur during the development of cervical cancer and correlates these changes with Pap Smear diagnoses. "I am trying to determine the relevance of these chromosomal changes," he said. "The question we're addressing is: Are these changes truly representative of an unstable intermediate in the process of cervical carcinogenesis? I am trying to determine, too, if the changes can be used to identify women who are at an increased risk of developing cercival cancer."

David Eastmond, Olaharski's advisor, said, "Drew's research on chromosomal changes in cervical cancer is progressing nicely and we are beginning to see some interesting relationships between chromosomal alterations and disease progression. Winning the student poster award at the EMS meeting is a nice recognition of the quality of Drew's work, and is also a reflection of the effort that he has invested to make this project succeed."

In the past, Olaharski won the Chancellor's Distinguished Fellowship at UC Riverside. His research has been funded through two grants through the Multi-Campus Research Incentive Fund and through UCMEXUS (the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States). Before coming to UC Riverside, he attended Penn State University and majored in biology, with a focus on ecology, with a minor in Spanish.

The University of California, Riverside offers undergraduate and graduate education to nearly 16,000 students and has a projected enrollment of 21,000 students by 2010. It is the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse campus of the preeminent ten-campus University of California system, the largest public research university system in the world. The picturesque 1,200-acre campus is located at the foot of the Box Springs Mountains near downtown Riverside in Southern California. More information about UC Riverside is available at www.ucr.edu or by calling 909-787-5185. For a listing of faculty experts on a variety of topics, please visit http://mmr.ucr.edu/experts/.

University of California - Riverside

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