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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

February 8, 2005
CONTACT: Lisa De Nike
(443) 287-9906

Thickman Chosen for Biophysical Society
Student Travel Award

Glastonbury, Conn., resident Karen Thickman, a graduate student in biophysics at The Johns Hopkins University, is one of 30 graduate students from colleges and universities all over the world chosen to receive The Biophysical Society's prestigious student travel awards, which offer recipients the opportunity to attend the organization's 49th annual meeting in Long Beach, Calif., Feb. 12 through 16.

Thickman, 28, was selected from more than 103 applicants, each of whom submitted a paper that was judged on its scientific merit by the society's scientific panel, according to Ellen Weiss, spokeswoman for the Bethesda, Md, based Biophysical Society. At the meeting, Thickman will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with close to 8,000 fellow students and scientists from Taiwan, Canada, France, Spain and England, as well as from all over the United States. She and the other travel award winners will be recognized during a special ceremony set for Feb. 12.

"I am honored and delighted to have been chosen both for a student award and to give a platform talk," Thickman said. "It is exciting to know that others are also interested in my research and rewarding to have other researchers recognize my hard work."

Titled "Protein-Protein Interactions Among pre-mRNA Splicing Factors Characterized by Isothermal Titration Calorimetry and Intrinsic Tryptophan Fluorescence," Thickman's paper investigates protein interactions responsible for the essential cellular process of messenger RNA splicing. During RNA splicing, genetic information is modified to encode thousands of different proteins. More than 15 percent of human genetic diseases are known to result from incorrectly spliced mRNA, which mistakenly encode for harmful or non-functional proteins. George Rose, chairman of the Department of Biophysics, said the entire department is proud of Thickman.

"This is one of the major annual meetings in biophysics and the travel awards are highly competitive," Rose said. "The award will provide Ms. Thickman with an opportunity to present her research to a large, international audience. Congratulations, Karen!" Thickman is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Biophysics. She is the daughter of Susan and Stuart Thickman and a graduate of Glastonbury High School. To speak with Thickman, call Lisa De Nike at 443-287- 9906.

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