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College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

CMB Graduate Students Newick and Cunniff Receive Awards

Kheng Newick and Brain Cunniff
UVM CMB graduate students Kheng Newick (left), and Brian Cunniff (right) recently received awards. (Photo: Raj Chawla/UVM Medical Photography)

Kheng Newick and Brian Cunniff, two University of Vermont doctoral students in the Cell, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences (CMB) Program, recently received prestigious awards. Both students are being mentored by Nicholas Heintz, Ph.D., professor of pathology.

Originally from Malaysia, Newick joined the CMB Program in the fall of 2009 and works in Heintz’s lab studying the cell biology of mesothelioma with an aim to discover novel therapy targets for the treatment of this disease. She received a travel award to attend the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMIG) meeting, which took place September 11 to 14, 2012 in Boston, Mass., where she presented a poster titled “Combinatorial Approaches for Targeting Mitochondrial Redox Signaling and FOXM1 Expression in Malignant Mesothelioma.” Newick’s co-investigators on this research include Heintz, Brooke Mossman, Ph.D., professor of pathology, Arti Shukla, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, fellow CMB graduate student Brian Cunniff, and several other colleagues. She previously was awarded a travel fellowship by the Society for Free Radical Biology in 2009 and was first author on a paper titled "Peroxiredoxin 3 is a redox-dependent target of thiostrepton in malignant mesothelioma," which was recently published in PLoS ONE. Newick graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. and M.S. in microbiology.

Brian Cunniff, also a doctoral student in the CMB Program, was recently awarded a four-month Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine Research mini-fellowship, which began in September 2012. Currently working in Cambridge, England with Michael Murphy, Ph.D., in the Mitochondrial Biology Unit of the Medical Research Council, Cunniff is conducting a research project titled “Combinatorial Approaches for Targeting Mitochondrial Redox Signalling and FOXM1 Expression in Malignant Mesothelioma.” He was also recently presented a Young Investigator Award for his platform presentation titled “Mitochondrial Architecture, Oxidant Production and Redox Signaling in Malignant Mesothelioma Cells,” at the Society for Free Radical Research International meeting, which was held September 6 to 9, 2012, at Imperial College in London, England. Cunniff received a B.A. degree from The Elms College in Chicopee, Mass., and worked as a cytogenetics technologist at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., prior to coming to UVM in the fall of 2009.