DELAWARE, OH (04/09/2012)(readMedia)-- Ohio Wesleyan University student Bradley P. Turnwald has been named a 2012-2013 Goldwater Scholar by the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.
Turnwald, a junior from Ottoville, Ohio, is one of 282 college students nationwide selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. He was chosen from a field of more than 1,100 mathematics, science, and engineering students nominated by their professors for the honor. The one- and two-year Goldwater Scholarships provide up to $7,500 a year for college costs.
At Ohio Wesleyan, Turnwald is pursuing a major in biochemistry and a minor in zoology with a career goal of earning a medical or doctoral degree in molecular biology. He hopes to conduct academic research in molecular biology and teach at the graduate level.
During summer 2011, Turnwald investigated Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), one of the world's most common sources of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and hospital-acquired bacterial infections.
"CDI is a serious infection that is difficult to accurately diagnose [but] must be detected quickly and accurately since the infection can be deadly in severe forms," Turnwald stated.
His research included measuring levels of specific cell-signaling protein molecules called cytokines in order to improve the ability of doctors to diagnose and treat CDI. Though he didn't discover the secret to CDI diagnosis, Turnwald did reach an important conclusion.
"I propose using genetics for a new approach: prediction of susceptibility to enteric (intestinal) disease," he said.
"Research of this kind may open up new approaches to treatment of infectious diseases like CDI that were previously thought to be relatively independent of host genetic factors," Turnwald continued. "Genetic technologies also provide a preventative approach to treatment that can save lives and money if we can identify patients that are more susceptible to a disease, leading to targeted proactive treatment. Also, the identification of genes that confer susceptibility or resistance to a pathogen will offer insight into new therapeutic targets."
Turnwald conducted his research under the direction of Herbert L. DuPont, M.D., director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas School of Public Health. DuPont, a 1961 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, is one of the founders of the International Society of Travel Medicine, the author or co-author of more than 600 scientific publications, and the author or editor of 19 books.
Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., praised Turnwald and DuPont for their groundbreaking research.
"Brad has a passion for learning and for helping others," Jones said. "I am confident he will continue to look for new and innovative ways to treat illnesses and will help to improve lives worldwide. He also has had the great fortune of working with Bert DuPont, a leader in the field of internal medicine and infectious diseases. This type of Ohio Wesleyan student-alumnus connection is powerful and impactful."
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona, who served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years.
The Foundation seeks to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields. According to the Foundation, recent Goldwater Scholarship winners have been awarded 78 Rhodes Scholarships, 112 Marshall Awards, 104 Churchill Scholarships, and numerous other distinguished fellowships.
Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed more than 6,200 scholarships worth approximately $39 million. Learn more at http://www.act.org/goldwater.
Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio's capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU's close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives," and is included on the "best colleges" lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.