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Elizabeth Crouch '04 Receives Prestigious NIH/Oxford/Cambridge Scholarship

November 16, 2006

Betsy Crouch.jpgNovember 16, 2006, Greencastle, Ind. - "I'm very proud of my degree from DePauw, and appreciative of the outstanding experiences I had there," says Elizabeth Crouch, a 2004 graduate of the University, who recently began her studies toward a M.D./Ph.D. degree in biomedical research through the prestigious NIH/Oxford/Cambridge Scholars Program.

As an NIH/Oxford/Cambridge Scholar, Betsy Crouch had the opportunity to apply to any of 40 U.S. medical schools who receive support from the NIH through its National Medical Scientist Training Program. Crouch elected to begin her training this fall as a student at Columbia University Medical School in New York. Betsy plans to embark on work toward a Ph.D. in the summer of 2008 through a collaborative program of the NIH and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. After approximately four years training at NIH and Cambridge University, Crouch will return to Columbia for the completion of her medical school training.East College Tower 2005.jpg

The NIH/Oxford/Cambridge Scholars Program is the most selective of all biomedical research Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs. Students selected for the Scholars Program embark on a course of training unlike any other. NIH/Oxford/Cambridge Scholars are trained in a manner which is accelerated, international, multidisciplinary, collaborative and draws from the world-class resources of the NIH, Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Betsy Crouch will receive funding for tuition, stipend, travel and other expenses, to support her training. Like each of the twenty 2006 NIH/Oxford/Cambridge Scholars, Crouch was selected for her extraordinary potential to contribute to the discovery of treatments, cures and preventative measures which will alleviate human suffering. "I chose this particular course of training because I felt that it uniquely prepared me to be a productive, creative scientist and physician," Crouch says.

"We are delighted to have one of the best and brightest from an outstanding institution such as DePauw University," says Dr. Michael Lenardo, director of the NIH/Oxford/Cambridge Scholars program. "Betsy represents a unique blend of medical and research training that we believe will lead to conquering the serious diseases that afflict humanity." Students August 2006 5.jpg

"Betsy Crouch is part of the continuing success of DePauw's science students and graduates who are experienced in research as undergraduates, gain international scientific experience, and earn advanced degrees (both Ph.D.s and M.D.s)," states Neal B. Abraham, executive vice president of DePauw and dean of the faculty. "She joins many distinguished science alumni, including Percy Lavon Julian '20 (who created the undergraduate research program for chemistry students in the 1930's), Nobel laureate in medicine Ferid Murad '58, former American Psychological Association President Norine Johnson '57 (co-author of Beyond Appearance: A New Look at Adolescent Girls), astronaut and and physicist Joseph P. Allen '59, former NIH Deputy Director Phyllis Leppert '60 (co-author of Primary Care for Women), and Harvard University Medical School Professor W. Alan Walker '59 (author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating During Pregnancy).

chemistry 1d.jpgBetsy Crouch graduated summa cum laude from DePauw University with a bachelor of arts degree in biochemistry. As an undergraduate, she won the Percy L. Julian ('20) Scholarship from the department of chemistry at DePauw and also was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior in recognition of her academic achievements.

Her interest in becoming a physician scientist began during the summer of 2002. In the lab of Dr. Karoly Mirnics at the University of Pittsburgh, she worked to clone and sequence over thirty genes to create a specific microarray chip to screen for schizophrenia. In the fall of 2004, Crouch began as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the lab of Dr. Rafael Casellas at the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders (NIAMS). Crouch's work in the Casellas lab earned her a scholarship from the Keystone Symposia to present her work on defining the extent of extrafollicular AID expression, which may contribute to disease under autoimmune conditions. Most recently, Crouch and her principal investigator completed a manuscript, on which she is first author, proposing that unchecked transcription near damage sites might interfere with DNA end processing during DSB repair. These results help to explain the observed immunodeficiency and high incidence of translocations in ataxia telangiectasia patients.

While at DePauw, Crouch served as a peer mentor in the Depauw.year1 program and was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She also served as chief project officer to coordinate a DePauw delegation to El Salvador with the DePauw Winter Term in Service Program in collaboration with Companion Community Development Alternatives, an American NGO in El Salvador. On a separate occasion, Crouch had the unique opportunity to be an official observer to the Salvadoran presidential elections in the state of Cabañas. Together with observers from other states in El Salvador they submitted an official report to the United Nations, documenting fraudulent and irregular election activities as a tool to strengthen the democratic process.

In her free time, Betsy Crouch has served as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician for the Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Maryland Rescue Squad.

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