Visiting Scholar Wins National Award in Spain

Published on 15 October 2018

Blanca Perez del Palomar, visiting pharmacology scholar at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, was the recipient of the National End-of-Career University Education Award from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training of Spain.

Perez-Palomar, who is a doctoral student at the University of the Basque Country in Spain, received the award in recognition of her overall academic and scientific merits and her performance during her undergraduate university career in which she ranked second in pharmacy and fourth in health sciences among students from across Spain.

 “I have to admit that I did not expect to win any award, but at the same time, I must say that I am proud of my achievements,” said Perez-Palomar. “It has been really hard work during these years, but I think it was definitely worth it.”

Perez-Palomar began working in the College’s Center for Clinical Pharmacology in May. Perez-Palomar’s visit is supported by the Spanish government.

Perez-Palomar is working with Jordan McCall, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the College and assistant professor of anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Ream Al-Hasani, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the College and adjunct assistant professor of anesthesiology at the School of Medicine.

“What attracted me most to Dr. McCall's and Dr. Al-Hasani’s lab is that they have a wide range of techniques that interest me,” said Perez-Palomar. “I was really interested in having the chance to learn with them and advance my research. I have been here for almost four months now, and I am learning a lot.”

Perez-Palomar’s research focuses on the study of the neurological basis of mental disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. The goal of her doctoral thesis is to develop and characterize an animal model of cognitive deficit of schizophrenia.

“Blanca’s project is helping connect laboratories across the globe, and is one piece of a large project aimed at developing new therapeutic targets for schizophrenia,” said McCall. “I think Blanca is a great example for those who will follow in her footsteps and is a great representative of the primary goal of the center - which is to rapidly translate basic science into clinical intervention.”

The center continues to help the next generation of researchers develop their techniques, while also providing them with access to state of the art technology. The center employs post-doctoral research associates, graduate students pursuing their doctorate and undergraduate students from Washington University and the College.

“Training the next generation of scientists is a key priority of the center,” said Karen Seibert, executive director of the center. “We definitely plan to bring in more visiting scientists like Blanca.”

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