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TWU graduate student LaTondra Lawrence receives international recognition


Photo credit: Ronda DuTeil

DENTON – LaTondra Lawrence of Lewisville, a Texas Woman’s University doctoral student in molecular biology, was one of only 10 researchers internationally to receive a Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID) Eugene M. Farber Travel Award for Young Investigators.

As a result of receiving the award, Ms. Lawrence presented her research on the role of HMGN1 protein in the repair of DNA-damage caused by ultraviolet irradiation of human cells at the 2011 Montagna Symposium on the Biology of the Skin, which was held last fall in Stevenson, Wash.

“Attending and presenting at the symposium was a great networking experience for me and gave me the chance to present my work in front of an audience of my peers and scientists whom I respect,” Ms. Lawrence said. “It is a great feeling to know that my university and my research lab are ranked high among other top national and international research labs.”

Ms. Lawrence was selected for the award from an international pool of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, residents and junior faculty. Other recipients of the 2011 Farber Travel Award were from the University of Leipzig in Germany, the National Cancer Institute, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Berkeley, Ohio State University, Oregon Health & Science University’s School of Medicine, the University of Minnesota, the MD Anderson Cancer Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Ms. Lawrence also was the only recipient of the symposium’s prestigious Farber Director’s Award for her research.

“The selection of Ms. Lawrence to attend and present at this conference clearly demonstrates that our students and the research at TWU are competitive and recognized at the highest level,” said Dr. Michael Bergel, Ms. Lawrence’s mentor and TWU associate professor of biology. “Furthermore, LaTondra’s research has implications to the prevention of skin cancer, which is why it was so significant that she got to present at this prestigious conference.”

The late Eugene M. Farber, M.D. dedicated his life to dermatology. He served for 36 years as professor and chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine and president of the Psoriasis Research Institute of Palo Alto. He lectured in many countries, received honorary memberships and awards from dermatological societies worldwide, authored 225 publications, and received the award of Master in Dermatology from the American Academy of Dermatology.

The Annual Symposium on the Biology of Skin, now the Montagna Symposium on the Biology of Skin, was initiated at Brown University in 1950 by Dr. William Montagna. The Symposium grew from the need to communicate investigative work in cutaneous biology and to provide a link between basic scientists studying the skin in man and animals and the clinically trained scientists in investigative dermatology. In its 60-year history, more than 5,000 scientists, physicians, and students from around the world have attended the annual Symposium, which addresses a single major topic in cutaneous biology. For more information, visit

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Amanda Simpson
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page updated 10/2/2014 10:59 AM