Graduate students receive summer fellowships to conduct research to combat kidney, neurodegenerative diseases

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Researcher works in Professor Rebecca Wingert’s lab

Three graduate students from the University of Notre Dame have received fellowships from Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics. Each fellowship recipient will spend their summer conducting research at Notre Dame that aims to combat disease or promote health.

In discussing the fellowships, Paul Bohn, Arthur J. Schmitt Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and director of Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics, said, “There are many ways to foster research across campus, but these summer fellowships allow for the acceleration of student and faculty research, while supporting new and bold ideas with the potential for real-world impact.”

Recipients of Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics summer fellowships are:

  • Joshua Berwanger, graduate student in chemistry and biochemistry, who has received the Leiva Graduate Fellowship in Precision Medicine to research the use of monoclonal antibodies, which are used to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases and infections, in the lab of Merlin Bruening, Donald and Susan Rice Professor of Engineering and faculty affiliate of the Harper Cancer Research Institute.
  • Joseph Chambers, graduate student in biological sciences, who has received a summer fellowship to study the genetics of polycystic kidney disease in the lab of Rebecca Wingert, Elizabeth and Michael Gallagher Associate Professor of Biological Sciences.
  • Caitlin Donahue, graduate student in chemistry and biochemistry, who has received the inaugural O’Brien Family Endowment for Excellence Fellowship to develop laboratory tools that raise and lower the pH level in individual cells, which could help diagnose and treat neurodegenerative diseases, in the lab of Katharine White, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The Leiva Graduate Fellowship in Precision Medicine recognizes students who have demonstrated outstanding performance or who bring special qualities or abilities to Notre Dame in precision medicine research. To learn more about the fellowship and application requirements, visit

The O’Brien Family Endowment for Excellence Fellowship supports efforts to develop biomedical tools and techniques that provide new capabilities to combat a wide range of illnesses and diseases. To learn more about this inaugural fellowship program, visit

Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics is a community of affiliated researchers who tackle a wide range of biomedical and environmental health problems – such as sepsis, cancer, influenza, wound healing, drug addiction, mosquito-borne diseases, autism, cystic fibrosis, air pollution, invasive species and many others – through innovation, invention and real-world applications.

Contact: Corrine Hornbeck, administrative assistant, Notre Dame Research,, 574-631-7385; @nddiagnostics

Originally published by Brandi Klingerman at on May 23.