Grad Student Awarded Fellowship


Sophie Desbiens (BME ’09)
Sophie Desbiens (BME ’09)

Sophie Desbiens (BME ’09) is one of six Ph.D. students in America to win a predoctoral fellowship in pharmacology and toxicology from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation (PhRMA), a nonprofit organization that promotes public health through scientific and medical research.

“It’s very nice to have my research recognized,” says Desbiens, a doctoral candidate in biomedical engineering at the College of Engineering and the Boston University School of Medicine. “I am very happy to get this award because it’s very competitive.” Because there are so many applicants for the fellowship, the PhRMA Foundation accepts only one application per academic institution.

Desbiens, a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the Society for Neuroscience, will use her award to explore changes in the brain, at the molecular level, following cocaine addiction. The research may lead to a new treatment option for drug addiction.

“It’s appealing research to fund because it increases our understanding of basic mechanisms, but it also leads to possible new therapeutic targets,” Desbiens says.

Over the past 40 years, the PhRMA Foundation has provided grants and fellowships to more than 2,000 young scientists to further their careers in pharmaceutical research.