Matthew Van Hook, PhD, and Xinglong Wang, PhD, were named 2021 Vada Kinman Oldfield Scholars at a virtual award presentation April 19. The scholarships are awarded annually by the Vada Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer's Research Fund.
"We are grateful for the support from Vada Kinman Oldfield and Barney Oldfield who have made these awards possible," said Al Fisher, MD, PhD, chief of the UNMC Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Care Medicine. "This support has been particularly critical to help support early career faculty as they seek independent funding, and to catalyze student interest in Alzheimer's disease research as a future career."
Dr. Van Hook, assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences and cellular and integrative physiology, is driven by a desire to unravel the neurobiological processes linking injury to neurodegeneration in diseases of the visual system.
Dr. Wang, professor of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience, has a long-term interest in pathomechanisms underlying neuronal loss in various major neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS and frontotemporal dementia.
Both recently have made exciting advances in their research, and the Oldfield scholarships will help further this work.
Tamara Braley, research nurse coordinator and project coordinator, and Abi Heller, a first-year medical student, also were awarded Nancy and Ronald Reagan Scholarships at the same ceremony.
Braley manages an interdisciplinary dementia specialist team working with caregivers and persons with dementia in Nebraska and Iowa. Heller, who will be entering the MD/PhD program, focuses her research interests on the effects of the aging process on emotion, cognition and health, especially in populations with age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's.
Howard Fox, MD, PhD, provided the keynote address, and 2020 Oldfield awardee Yuri Lyubchenko, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, in the College of Pharmacy, also was recognized.
Vada Kinman Oldfield was a University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus, World War II military veteran, artist and philanthropist. When stricken with Alzheimer's in her late 70s, she immediately enrolled in a clinical trial in order to advance science in the search for a treatment. She maintained her fighting spirit through an 11-year struggle with the disease. Her husband, Col. Barney Oldfield, carried on her work until his own death in 2003.
Vada Kinman Oldfield's legacy lives on through education, programs and research, including at UNMC.
Congratulations! Drs. Wang and Van Hook!
Congratulations Dr Van Hook and Dr Wang. Interesting work.
Congratulations Drs. Van Hook and Wang.
Congratulations Dr. Van Hook and Dr. Wang. Great to see you recognized.
Congratulations and thank you for all the amazing work you do!
Congratulations Dr. Van Hook!
Congratulations Matt !