Biographies of the 2012-2013 Scholars:
Amelia Seraphia Derr, School of Social Work
Amelia is a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Work. Originally from Chicago, she received her BA from Macalester College and her MSW, with a concentration in multi-ethnic community practice, from the University of Washington. She completed her masters thesis research on international human trafficking and then worked for five years as a program director at a nonprofit providing immigrant advocacy and support services. She is earning her doctorate studying health outcomes of the migration and immigrant incorporation process. Amelia has been a National Institute of Mental Health Prevention Research Trainee and is currently a National Institute of Health Clinical Translational Research Trainee. Her dissertation topic is disparities in health care access and the role of religious beliefs and practices in the help-seeking process for immigrants.
Astrid Suchy-Dicey, School of Public Health
Astrid Suchy-Dicey was born and grew up in west Texas with 4 sisters and a menagerie of animals, including birds, fish, cats, rabbits, lizards, dogs, and the odd garden ‘pet’. She attended Smith College in Northampton Massachusetts, where she received a BA in Biology and African History and developed a strong interest in genetics and medicine. After graduation, she pursued a post-bac/pre-med program at Harvard University, while she worked in a Cardiovascular Pathology lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. There, she used animal and human cell models to study the bio-molecular bases of atherosclerosis, with a focus on hemodynamics and the endothelium. She came to UW for the doctoral program in Epidemiology and joined the Cardiovascular Health Research Unit as part of the NHLBI-funded training program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology, wanting to learn more about population genetics and cardiovascular disease. Her master’s thesis project focused on atherosclerosis and candidate gene variability; she extends these interests with her dissertation work on diabetes, medication use, and gene expression. She has many hobbies, including quilting and painting, although much of her extracurricular time is spent training and competing as a member of the Rat City Rollergirls athletic organization. She has reduced her live-in menagerie to one cat, named Vinaigrette.
Eri Nakatani, School of Pharmacy
Eri was born in Kanazawa, Japan but spent most of her life in Tucson, AZ where she attended the University of Arizona and earned her B. S. in 2008 in biochemistry and molecular biophysics. At the University of Arizona she had her first experience with research, working in Prof. Indraneel Ghosh’s lab where she studied multivalent compounds with anti-HIV properties. Currently she is in her fourth year of graduate studies at the University of Washington working toward a Ph. D. in medicinal chemistry in the School of Pharmacy. She is a member of Prof. Carlos Catalano’s lab. She has multiple projects aimed at construction of nanoparticle therapeutics including one composed of an HIV surface protein embedded in a water-soluble, nanoscale lipid bilayer system. If successful, this project could provide the building blocks for a novel HIV vaccine candidate that may address some of the problems seen with previous vaccines. When not pursuing research, Eri enjoys artistic diversions like drawing, making jewelry, and sewing.
James Stewart Lang, School of Medicine
James grew up in Mill Creek, WA, the youngest of nine children, all UW graduates. In 2007, he graduated from UW with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. As a Mary Gates Scholar he participated in biochemical research in the Kimelman lab, studying the cellular effects of the protein Gravin, a key regulator in gastrulation and a potent tumor metastasis inhibitor in prostate cancer. He spent his third undergraduate year abroad in Cadiz, Spain, developing his love of culture and language. Volunteering in a local community health clinic and traveling to South America fostered his passion for immigrant and underserved health. Upon graduation he became a Patient Navigator at Sea Mar Community Health Center through Americorps/Healthcorps. There he helped pilot a chronic care coordinator program, focused on diabetes care management. As he was guiding the care for a panel of patients with diabetes, his sister passed away after a long battle with complications resulting from type 1 diabetes. This drastic event deepened his passion for diabetes treatment and prevention, inspiring him to become a Chronic Care Coordinator at Sea Mar CHC until entering medical school in 2010. His involvement has continued in medical school ranging from volunteering in a free clinic to organizing conferences as an American Medical Student Association representative. In May 2011, he completed a project in Yakima, WA that focused on bringing local physicians together to create a sustainable, evidence-based, bilingual childhood obesity treatment and prevention program. This year he became a member of the NGO Salud Juntos, to help create sustainable, culturally competent chronic care programs for the underserved of Central and South America, now in the final stages of developing and implementing a diabetes treatment program in Punta Ocote, Yoro, Honduras. Further, he is involved in the UW student group Education Transforming Community Health (ETCH), serving to provide preventative health education to homeless adults who utilize the Urban Rest Stop, a hygiene facility in downtown Seattle. He is also in the Underserved and Hispanic Health Pathways, mentored by physicians in these fields. His career goals focus on diabetes treatment and prevention while specializing in either Family Medicine or Internal Medicine and Endocrinology. While enjoying studying medicine, he manages to slip in some running, skiing, surfing, painting and singing, and you might even find him playing the piano in the UWMC lobby.
Juliet Dang, School of Dentistry
Juliet was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB, Canada where the treacherous winters would fall to -40 degrees C, and where Winnie the Pooh got his name. She grew up as an only child and was involved in various activities. Juliet has played piano since the age of six, took ballet lessons, played the flute, and obtained her black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Currently, Julietʼs activities include rock climbing, yoga, acting/modeling, cooking French cuisine, baking delicious desserts, and of course, spending time with her adorable Shiba Inu, Yuki. Her mother, a dedicated teacher, was an inspiration to her when she was growing up. She values tutoring and mentoring and has been a member of the University of Washingtonʼs Dream Project assisting high school students with their college applications. She also volunteers with a leadership/mentoring program for Vietnamese girls. Juliet graduated in 2002 from The University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. In 2006, she obtained a Dental Hygiene Diploma from The University of Manitoba. After working full-time for two years, she was accepted into the Oral Biology Masterʼs program at The University of Washington. Soon after graduation, Juliet was eager to obtain more research experience and was accepted into the PhD program in Oral Biology. She is currently in her third year, and her thesis is focused on the identification and characterization of novel types of human papillomavirus in oropharyngeal cancer.
I Chun Liu, School of Nursing
I Chun is a doctoral candidate in Nursing Science. Originally from Taiwan, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Yang-Ming University in Taiwan and a Master of Science degree in Nursing from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. She was a clinician and an educator in nursing. She worked as a registered nurse in Taiwan, as a nurse practitioner in the United States, and as a lecturer in Taiwan. She feels fortunate to have Dr. Elaine Thompson as her advisor and the Chair of her Dissertation Supervisory Committee while she is preparing to be a nurse scientist. She was a Graduate Assistant in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Nursing Fellow at the School of Nursing. The GAANN Nursing Fellowship enhanced her ability to have a teaching and research career in nursing. Her research interests include dietary acculturation and its association to immigrant health (diabetes, cancer and heart disease). Her dissertation research involves dietary acculturation in Chinese Americans.