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UI Medical Student Is Named Fogarty Scholar, Will Conduct Research In Zambia

A third-year student in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine has received a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical research fellowship that will enable her to conduct clinical research training for 10 months in Zambia in southern Africa.

Gina Clark, D.Phil., was selected as an international clinical research fellow by the Fogarty International Center, part of the NIH. The fellowship gives next-generation clinical investigators the opportunity to focus on international health issues by providing hands-on clinical research experience in developing countries. The program strives to encourage the researchers to pursue careers in global, health-related clinical research.

Beginning in August, Clark will study at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia, under the supervision of Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute for Global Health and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Clark will oversee a large clinical trial comparing two strategies of viral-load (the amount of virus present in the bloodstream) monitoring to improve AIDS survival in low-resource settings.

Clark, a native of Monticello, Iowa, holds a doctorate in clinical neuroscience from Oxford University and a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in psychology from Northwestern University.

As a student in the UI Carver College of Medicine's research distinction track, Clark is studying sex differences in first-episode schizophrenia as part of an 18-year longitudinal study being led by her mentor, Nancy Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the UI.

In the summer of 2005, Clark served as the principal investigator on a collaborative study between the UI and the South Africa AIDS Vaccine Initiative in Cape Town, South Africa. She studied the potential impact of migration on HIV vaccine clinical trials.

Clark's research interests include mental health issues in a variety of settings; neurological and psychiatric manifestations of HIV and AIDS; and the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032, david-pedersen@uiowa.edu; Writer: Krystal Loewe