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Peters Receives Otani Award

Brian M. Peters, a Ph.D. candidate at the dental school, was presented with the Otani Award on October 19, 2010. This prestigious University of Maryland Medical School award is given to a graduate student who demonstrates superior academic performance and also shows outstanding promise as an independent researcher.

"I have always been interested in science. It is really gratifying, personally, to be recognized for excelling academically, but even more so to be able to help my fellow students as a leader in the journal club and assist with experiments in the lab," says Peters.

Peters is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Microbiology and Immunology, mentored by Drs. Mark Shirtliff and Mary Ann Jabra-Rizk. He is working on a co-infection project with Candida albicans-Staphylococcus aureus. Brian is also studying differential gene and protein expression using genomic and proteomic techniques, biofilms and polymicrobial infections.

"There are certain students that can really take a project on and run with it," says Shirtliff. "Brian is actually a student who took a project and ran with it. Whether he was in another lab or my lab, Brian would have been standing up and receiving the award anyway. I only gave Brian the tools and support for him to excel."

After Peters defends his thesis in December, he will continue an extension of this project as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Louisiana State University. Since its inception four years ago, The Otani Award has been presented to two students from Dr. Shirtliff's lab.

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