Vision research students receive UMKC research awards

Two students working on research projects with the School of Medicine’s Vision Research Center have received awards to support their efforts.

Ravali Gummi, a fifth-year medical student, received an award from the 2017 Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund for glaucoma research. William Dexter, a graduate student in the university’s Interdisciplinary Studies Ph.D. program, received the UMKC School of Graduate Studies Research Award.

Gummi is exploring how over time glaucoma alters properties of nerve cells and proteins in the retina. The goal is to identify new signaling mechanisms and/or molecules that become the target of novel drugs that may prevent or reverse the disease.

The women’s council fund assists students with the completion of requirements for graduate and first professional degrees, and aids in studies beyond the classroom through enriching and encouraging educational experiences. More than 1,800 UMKC students have received fellowships or aid through the fund since it was established in 1971.

Dexter is currently working on identifying novel hormone signaling pathways in nerve cells.

Graduate studies awards are designed to increase the visibility of research and economic development activities at the university. Recipients present their work at the annual Community of Scholars Symposium and Awards Ceremony that is sponsored each spring by the School of Graduate Studies.

Both students are conducting their research under the mentorship of Peter Koulen, Ph.D., director of basic research at the Vision Research Center.