UNCF, Bristol Myers Squibb Announce Second Cohort of the Ernest E. Just Postgraduate Fellowship and Extension of Partnership Through 2026

Friday, 02. October 2020 14:00

WASHINGTON, D.C., and PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The UNCF and Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) today announced the second cohort of the Ernest E. Just Postgraduate Fellowship in the Life Sciences, as well as an extension of the organizations’ innovative partnership that was initially established in 2017.   

Antentor Hinton Jr., Ph.D. and Cornelius Taabazuing, Ph.D. are the latest outstanding recipients of this highly competitive fellowship. Dr. Hinton is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Iowa conducting research at the Francois M. Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center, and Dr. Taabazuing is an American Cancer Society Research Fellow working in the Chemical Biology Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. UNCF and Bristol Myers Squibb have also agreed to extend this partnership through 2026. Over that time, eight cohorts of African American scientists will be selected to participate in this fellowship program and engage with Bristol Myers Squibb scientific leaders to learn about biopharmaceutical drug research and development.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to extend our partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb and expand the number of E. E. Just fellows in the program with the second cohort of African American scientists,” said Chad Womack, Ph.D., founder of the Ernest E. Just Life Science initiative and the Senior Director for STEM Programs and Initiatives at the UNCF.  “Drs. Hinton and Taabazuing are outstanding scientists who have clearly demonstrated a very high level of scientific accomplishment and leadership with their cutting-edge research in their respective fields.”

Womack continued, “We are greatly appreciative of the tremendous support that Bristol Myers Squibb has and continues to provide for this program. It gives us a unique opportunity to assist our fellows in their transition into independent careers as academic scientists or R&D professionals in the biopharma industry. Through this initiative and additional commitment, we will continue to build a community of outstanding African American biomedical scientists.”  

Dr. Hinton earned his bachelor’s degree at Winston Salem State University and Ph.D. from the Integrative Molecular Biomedical Sciences program at Baylor College of Medicine.  Dr. Hinton’s work is focused on elucidating interactions between mitochondrial lipids and OPA-1 in skeletal muscle.  The award will help move his research towards a human model with primary skeletal muscle cell lines and will assist his investigations into how the mitochondrial contact site and christae organizational system proteins interact with OPA-1 and participate in regulating lipid-mitochondrial dynamics.  Dr. Hinton’s research has direct implications for understanding the underlying pathophysiology of Type II Diabetes – a disease that disproportionally affects African Americans. 

Dr. Taabazuing earned his bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  His postdoctoral research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is focused on the role caspase-1 plays in the immunoregulation and pathogenesis of cancer, autoimmune disorders and inflammation.  The award will help Dr. Taabazuing further his cutting-edge translational research to identify and characterize novel caspase-1 substrates with the goal of providing novel insights into pathogenic mechanisms that will potentially serve as a platform for drug design and pharmacotherapeutic intervention.

“Bristol Myers Squibb is proud to continue our support of the E. E. Just Postgraduate Fellowship program and we congratulate Drs. Hinton and Taabazuing on this achievement,” said Rupert Vessey, M.A., B.M., B.Ch., F.R.C.P., D.Phil., Executive Vice President and President, Research & Early Development, Bristol Myers Squibb. “Partnering with organizations like the UNCF is critical because scientific discovery and advancement is dependent on diverse perspectives and experiences.”

Drs. Hinton and Taabazuing join the inaugural recipients, Bianca Jones Marlin, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Ransey, Ph.D., as E. E. Just fellows. Dr. Marlin is a neuroscientist and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute; and Dr. Ransey is a postdoctoral scientist in the Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroengineering at Duke University. Drs. Marlin and Ransey were hosted and celebrated at the Bristol Myers Squibb Lawrenceville site in October 2019, where they showcased their research and networked with scientific leaders and mentors at the company. 

“Bristol Myers Squibb has supported UNCF for many years because we know the value programs like the E. E. Just Postgraduate Fellowship can bring not only to the individual recipients, but to the community and global companies like ours,” added David L. Gonzales, Global Chief Diversity Officer, Bristol Myers Squibb. “Having critical new ideas and perspectives that are valued leads to a sense of belonging and collaboration that drives both scientific innovation and business performance.  Clearly, when diversity is celebrated and inclusion is intentional, everyone wins, especially our patients.”

 

About the Ernest E. Just Postgraduate Fellowship Program

The Ernest E. Just Postgraduate Fellowship Program in the Life Sciences was created in 2017 as a partnership between UNCF and Bristol Myers Squibb. It aims to accelerate the career development of African American scientists pursuing research careers in academic or biopharmaceutical industry R&D. Named in honor of Dr. Ernest Everett Just, a pioneering biologist and one of the most prominent African American scientists of the twentieth century, the three-year fellowship includes a stipend, research budget, travel award for research conferences, and access to mentors and professional networks. The program also provides fellowship recipients with opportunities to engage with Bristol Myers Squibb scientists in the company’s research and early development division to learn about biopharmaceutical careers in research and translational medicine. 

 

About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students' education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF annually awards $100 million in scholarships and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter, @UNCF.

 

About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are wholly owned subsidiaries of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. In certain countries outside the U.S., due to local laws, Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are referred to as, Celgene, a Bristol Myers Squibb company and Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol Myers Squibb company.

 

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Monique LeNoir
United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF)
202-810-0231
monique.lenoir@uncf.org

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