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Grad student nabs gerontology dissertation prize

June 24, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University doctoral student in psychology has been awarded the 2009 George and Beatrice Fisher Gerontology Dissertation Prize for his research into an animal model of Alzheimer's disease.

John Panos, who is from Milwaukee, Wis., was awarded the prize and a $1,000 cash award for examining the neurochemical basis of the disease. He has published three journal articles and two research abstracts in the field of bio-gerontology. Those publications include a clinical case study of brain lateralization in a 77-year-old stroke patient and experimental research in animal models of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

"His dissertation research stands to make a significant contribution to existing knowledge regarding the role of beta-amyloid in the neuropathology and disease progression associated with Alzheimer's disease," says Dr. Lisa Baker, WMU professor of psychology and Panos' dissertation advisor.

Panos is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Society of Neurochemistry, the International Society for Neurochemistry and the Society for Neuroscience. He has been selected to participate in three highly competitive workshops at New York's Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, including a workshop this summer on "Molecular Neurology and Neuropathology."

The George and Beatrice Fisher Gerontology Dissertation Prize was established in 1999 through a generous endowment by Dr. George Fisher and his late wife--both WMU alumni. Fisher and his wife were deeply involved with community service organizations, including the Kalamazoo County Committee on Aging, and were acutely aware of the ever-expanding needs of older adults. They established the Fisher Gerontology Dissertation Prize to encourage research at WMU at the doctoral level related to gerontology and advancing improvement in the quality of life of older people.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8428, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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