Current ACS Foundation Utah Scholars

2017 - 2018 Scholars
Samual Sprawls

Sam is pursuing a doctoral degree in materials science and engineering with the goal of advancing his career in renewable energy photovoltaics (PV), a term which describes the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the phtovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photchemistry, and electrochemistry.  At the U, he will be working under the direction of associate professor Mike Scarpulla.  sam earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics specializing in materials science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.  He wrote, "After earning a PhD in materials science and engineering, I hope to be a leader of PV research and development in industry or government."  Sam also enjoys film and digital photography, cycling, and served as president of Habitat for Humanity.

Chantel Charlebois

Chantel came to the University of Utah Department of Bioengineering from the University of Vermont where she was a research assistant investigating ventilator-induced lung injury.  She completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.  Chantel was an RIT Presidential Scholar and received numerous academic awards and scholarships.  At the U, she will be working with associate professor Christopher Butson in the area of deep brain stimulation for the treatments of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.  Chantel worte, "I enjoy research at the boundary of engineering and medicine where advancements in engineering and methodology have the potential to have a profound impact on healthcare."  In her spare time Chantel enjoys a variety of outdoor activities such as horseback riding, skiing, mountain biking, hiking and sailing, among others.

Bradley Jacobsen, MD

Dr. Jacobsen is a first-year ophthamology resident at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah.  He plans to focus on the retina and the treatment of retinoblastoma--a type of eye cancer most common in children.  Jacobsen earned his medical degree from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and completed a general surgery residency at Baylor College of Medicine.  At UC Irvine, Jacobsen founded the International Ultrasound Project, which uses medical students to teach ultrasound and conduct research in Mwanza, Tanzania.  He also received a $60,000 John Tu grant to initiate what hs now become an integrated medical education course at a Mwanza medical school.

Jacobsen's many research projects range from investigating alternative treatments for patients with retinoblastoma to the feasibility of using ultrasound as a diagnostic imaging device in low-resource settings.  He plans to continue his research at Moran, combining it with his passion for furthering high_quality care in underserved and resource-limited areas.

2016 - 2017 Scholars
Alex Jafek

Alex completed his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering with a minor inmathematics at Brigham Young University. At the University of Utah, he is engaged in microfluidics research with Professor Bruce Gale, where he will be focused on advancing the understanding of exosomes function as a promising approach to cancer vaccines and therapeutic delivery vehicles. Alex hopes to devote his future to research a way of contributing to the world through scientific advancement and discovery. As an undergraduate, Alex worked on submarine acoustics and water surface measurements, intelligence gathering via satellites, and providing humanitarian aid through the development of a low-cost prosthetic limb. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society.

Marcus Perry

Marcus Perry was an exemplary student in chemistry at Westminster College. While he always intended to pursue graduate studies, Marcus accepted a position in industry to gain experience and help focus his interests. As a pharmaceutical chemist at Pharmatek Laboratories in San Diego, Marcus discovered his passion for materials science and engineering, especially in the characterization and development of novel materials. In addition to his active engagement in undergraduate research in computational chemistry and molecular modeling at Westminster, Marcus played on the Men’s Varsity Basketball Team and was named captain in his senior year. Marcus is currently working with Assistant Professor Taylor Sparks on the on the discovery, synthesis, and characterization of new materials for energy applications.

Amanda Reynolds

Amanda Reynolds completed a BS in biochemistry at the University of Florida in Gainesville. As an honors undergraduate, Amanda mastered advanced research techniques in fluorescent microscopy where she created protocols and ran her own experiments working as a research assistant in the Materials Science Department and Veterans Affairs Hospital. As a graduate student in Bioengineering, Amanda researches the properties and uses of Collagen Mimetic Peptides in drug delivery and imaging applications. She aspires to a career in pharmaceutical research.

Amanda receives continuing support from the Roche/ARCS Foundation Scholar Award in Life Sciences.

Rebekah Gensure

Rebekah Gensure graduated summa cum laude in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University, followed by graduate school at Rutgers University, receiving the PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2013 and MD degree in 2016. Rebekah performed her PhD thesis research with David J. Foran, PhD at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Rutgers University Center for Biomedical Imaging and Informatics. Using 3D tumor characteristics, she developed a prognostic tool for treatment planning and response assessment to radioembolization therapy in patients with liver cancer. Returning to the medical school curriculum, Rebekah served as a Vision Research Scholar in the Wills Eye Hospital Research Department under the direction of Julia A. Haller, MD and Lisa Hark, PhD, where she made significant contributions to a $3 million grant submission to the Department of Defense for the use of trans-corneal electrical stimulation for improvement of ocular dysfunction in patients with traumatic brain injury. Her remarkable research productivity includes eight peer-reviewed journal articles and 13 conference proceedings /abstracts.