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Maldonato wins TL1 research grant

Ben MaldonatoBen Maldonato is busier than usual this summer. The Medicinal Chemistry grad student is one of the 2015 cohort of predoctoral students chosen to receive a summer TL1 grant from the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS). During this 3-month research experience, Ben is conducting independent research with faculty mentor Rheem Totah, attending an Interdisciplinary Clinical Research Methods Seminar, and participating in colloquia and informal gatherings throughout the UW health sciences community. He will generate a research abstract from his chosen project.

“I’m pretty new to the grant writing process, so I was surprised and excited to be selected,” said Ben.

The TL1 Predoctoral Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Summer Program is an expression of ITHS’s focus on moving scientific discovery quickly to its practical application in clinical and community settings. Participants receive a stipend, tuition for the seminar, and up to $400 for research expenses.

Ben’s research project involves the enzyme Thiol Methyltransferase (TMT), known to metabolize drugs such as Clopidogrel and Prasugrel (blood thinners), among others. Inconsistency in TMT activity may be the key to discovering the reason for the variety in adverse side effects observed when different people are given the same dosage of the drug.

“It’s a great feeling when your research idea is supported with an award,” said Ben. “I’m really grateful for this chance to work with Dr. Totah on research that could help reduce side effects for people who are using these types of drugs.”

Ben’s faculty mentor, Rheem Totah (Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry), commented, “I’m pleased to be working with Ben on this project. The goal of the TL1 program is to train clinician-scientists who can translate scientific discovery into practice more rapidly, for the benefit of patients in the northwest U.S. I know Ben will make the most of this opportunity and will have an impact on the field in the future.”

Congratulations, Ben, on this well-deserved honor!