Meet our current scholars.


Photo of Gunnars Osis

Gunars Osis

Theme: BSSB
Mentor: Anupam Agarwal, Nephrology

My long-term goal is to pursue a career in academic research with the focus on renal physiology and pathophysiology. I currently am pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Sciences with a goal of becoming an independent researcher and obtaining my own funding to develop a translational research laboratory. When I was choosing between grad schools, UAB has offered me an AMC21 scholarship which swayed my decision to join UAB. The ability to purchase the necessary equipment and attend the conferences, as well as workshops, without any concerns regarding funding is a fantastic attribute of this scholarship.

Additionally, it provided me with the opportunities to have one-on-one meetings with the faculty who are invested in my success. I have also been offered to have my grants reviewed prior to submission which is another great resource that AMC21 is providing. As an international student ineligible for F31, I have applied to the highly competitive American Heart Association as well as American Society of Nephrology pre-doctoral fellowships. To my delight I have been placed first in both study sessions and have been offered both fellowships and ended up accepting American Heart Association one. Anything I needed to succeed – this scholarship provided it for me.

  • Fellowships:
    • American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Fellowship – offered and accepted
    • ASN KidneyCure Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Program – offered and declined
  • Conferences attended:
    • ASN Kidney Week 2019
    • SSWKC meeting 2019

Photo of Sam MabrySam Mabry

Theme: Neuroscience
Mentor: Aurellio Galli, Surgery

I am a third year graduate student in the neuroscience theme of the GBS program. I have chosen to do my thesis work in the lab of Dr. Aurelio Galli, where I utilize Drosophila melanogaster as an animal model to elucidate how amphetamine operates mechanistically at the dopamine transporter.

The funding from the AMC21 program allowed me flexibility in picking my lab which allowed me to find a perfect fit of scientific interest while also setting me up to achieve my career goals. Furthermore, the discretionary funds have already been very impactful, both for my research and for my growth as a scientist through allowing me to travel to international conferences. I have used the money to purchase a new computer for my lab that is powerful enough to allow me to analyze complex fly behavior videos, a key component of my research. Furthermore, I have attended both the Society for Neuroscience and the Brain in Flux conferences in 2019, where I was able to present my research in the form of a poster at both conferences.

Photo of Rachel AndrewsRachel Andrews

Theme: Microbiology
Mentor: Olaf Kutsch, ID Division DOM



Photo of Robert PhillipsRobert Phillips

Theme: Genetics
Mentor: Jeremy Day, Neurobiology

The main advantage of being an AMC21 scholar is the community of faculty members and graduate students who have served as a support group throughout my graduate career. I have been able to reach out to faculty members involved in the AMC21 scholar program for advice regarding choosing a lab, project ideas, and life post graduate school.

The discretionary funds is another major advantage of being an AMC21 scholar. First, I have been able to use my discretionary funds to present at both national and international conferences. This has allowed me to begin networking and build connections early on in my graduate school career.


  • Poster presentation at GRC-Catecholamines (Summer 2019) 
  • Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience (Fall 2019) 
  • Poster presentation at Dopamine 2020
  • Oral presentation at Dopamine 2020


Photo of Gretchen BollarGretchen Bollar

Theme: Microbiology

In my opinion, the biggest advantage of being an AMC21 scholar is having access to a team of knowledgeable individuals that can help guide and inform fellowship applications. This provides a competitive edge by offering expertise and unique insights outside of my own committee.

I am a first-year graduate student, and as such have just begun my research journey with this program, but I have recently joined my dissertation laboratory and am excited to begin applying to conferences very soon. I have not yet accessed my discretionary funds, but I plan to spend a portion on a research computer with a large processor – my work involves a fair amount of imaging techniques, so this will hopefully allow me to handle large files and data sets faster and more efficiently. 

Photo of Gabrielle ChildersGabrielle Childers

Theme: Immunology

The AMC21 scholars program was one of the main factors in my decision to come to UAB, not just for the stipend support and extra discretionary funds, but also for the extra support from a committee of outstanding research faculty. While I have not used my discretionary fund yet, I am already excited at the opportunities a fund like this has opened up for me. I plan to utilize the funds to expand my training and networking opportunities throughout my graduate career here at UAB by attending additional conferences and taking the AAI Advanced Course in Immunology.

Photo of Jennifer FisherJennifer Fisher

Theme: Genetics

I am a first-year student in Dr. Lasseigne Lab, applying machine learning approaches to uncover biomarkers for drug repurposing, liquid biopsies, and chromosomal instability.

I am already seeing the benefit of being a part of the AMC21 scholar’s program. Faculty recognize AMC21 scholars as creative, motivated students, and I was able to rotate in the top and most interesting labs on campus. Additionally, AMC21 stipend support benefits my current lab. Within the program, a network of outstanding faculty and students provide advice, feedback on fellowship applications, and answers to science-related questions.  In the future, I plan to use my discretionary funds for conferences and a short course at another institution. 

Photo of Chanelle HunterChanelle Hunter

Theme: Cancer Biology

The main advantage of the AMC21 scholars program is the network of faculty, staff, and scholars that students are able to form early in their graduate studies. Being an AMC21 scholar also provides the opportunity to improve your public speaking, interpersonal communication skills, and receive guidance from those who are excelling in both research and academia.

As a new member of the AMC21 program, I am planning to use my discretionary funds for travel purposes to present my research at both national and international conferences, as well as purchase any supplies/technology that I may need to conduct data analysis for my research project efficiently. Since joining the program, I have been accepted into the NSF-Funded Bridge to Doctorate program at UAB, a fellowship program designed to address the shortage of researchers nationwide from underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Phot of Julie ZiebroJulia Ziebro

Theme: Immunology

In my opinion, the primary advantage of being an AMC21 scholar is having access to amazing faculty with different perspectives and areas of expertise for help with networking and career development.

As a first year student, I have not yet had the opportunity to explore the use of my discretionary funds, but I plan to use them to potentially purchase a computer for my bioinformatics-based project, and to attend conferences which will contribute to my training plan and networking opportunities.


Photo of Tanya PierreTanya Pierre

Theme: CMDB

The main advantage of being a member of the AMC21 scholars program is the mentorship opportunity. The access to faculty members with different backgrounds and knowledge bases for guidance throughout a rigorous PhD program is invaluable and allows for the establishment of a scientific support network.


Photo of Derian PughDerian Pugh

Theme: Neuroscience

I think the main advantage of being an AMC21 scholar are the unique funding opportunities the program offers. As an incoming graduate student looking for a mentor, it is advantageous to have funding to bring to the table when selecting a laboratory for my dissertation work. Most importantly, funding for travel to scientific conferences and professional development will help launch me into career as I pursue my doctoral degree. I also appreciate having a support system of mentors in place willing to review fellowship applications.

Photo of Eddie WilliamsEddie Williams Owiredu

Theme: PPP

As an aspiring academic researcher, the main advantage of being an AMC21 Scholar, in my opinion, is that it positions me favorably and supports me with the means to accomplish my short and long-term career goals. First, the two-year scholarship that can go toward my stipend support makes me competitive for top labs. In addition to meeting and connecting with keynote speakers during the Annual AMC21 Scholar Program Symposium, the scholarship also provides discretionary funds that can be used to attend scientific conferences. This potentiates the existing opportunity to interact and network with top scientists both at UAB and other institutions. Apart from conferences, I plan to use a part of this fund to purchase a computer and software(s) for my research. Another major benefit is the AMC21 scientific mentoring committee which is dedicated to reviewing fellowship applications for Scholars. This will be key to being successful in obtaining highly competitive fellowships.