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Federal funding supports this student’s research

Kristin Dupre’s research of Parkinson’s disease has earned her a prestigious honor from the National Institutes of Health.

Dupre, a 25-year-old doctoral student in the behavioral neuroscience program, has received the National Research Science Award, an NIH-funded, two-year training grant that will not only pay her tuition, but provide the time and resources needed for work on a dissertation about a disease that affects 1 million people in the United States.

“It is quite an honor to get a grant while you’re trying to get your PhD,” says Dupre, who has also had eight papers published, including one last year in the Journal of Neuroscience. “I was ecstatic -- pure happiness. I feel so blessed overall.”

Dupre works as one of four doctoral students in the lab of Christopher Bishop, assistant professor of psychology, studying the side effects of Parkinson’s treatment: Patients taking a treatment called L-DOPA often develop abnormal movements called dyskinesia after nine-10 years. Dupre is helping to determine how a class of compounds can work with L-DOPA to reduce the effects of dyskinesia.

Working with Bishop, who has received national attention for his work, has been a highlight of Dupre’s time at Binghamton.

“He’s a fantastic mentor,” she says. “He allows us to express our ideas. He’s great at giving guidance, but lets us be independent.”

“She’s a fabulous student,” Bishop says. “What sets her apart is her willingness to learn new techniques, approach things from an innovative angle and think about things a little bit differently than others have.”

Binghamton represents a homecoming for Dupre, who grew up in Vestal and graduated from Seton Catholic Central High School. She did her undergraduate work in psychology at LeMoyne College in Syracuse. Dupre said an interview with psychology faculty members and graduate students at Binghamton was what solidified her return to the area.

“This is my home, but I felt at home meeting the psychology department,” she says. “It just felt like the best program out of the ones I applied to.”

Dupre, who received her master’s in psychology in the spring, hopes to have a career in research and aspires to work for the NIH. But she also knows the importance of having fun in light of the seriousness and importance of her research: She finds time for playing soccer, kickball and the drums.

“You have to do something or you’ll go crazy if all you do is work in the lab,” she says.

 

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Last Updated: 2/10/10