Towson University’s 'Welcome' addition

Biochemistry professor awarded Maryland Higher Education Commission grant

TOWSON, Md. (Sept. 4, 2007)—Ana Maria Soto, TU assistant professor of chemistry,

has been awarded the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s (MHEC) Henry C. Welcome Fellowship for FY ‘07. The fellowship is a competitive incentive program designed to help eligible Maryland universities recruit and retain a diverse and accomplished faculty.

Soto, who joined TU’s Department of Chemistry earlier this month, taught chemistry and biochemistry courses and a chemical thermodynamics lab for two years at the College

of New Jersey. A native of Peru, Soto came to the United States for graduate studies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and received a post-doctorate fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.

The fellowship is named for Henry C. Welcome, who served on the Maryland State Board

for Higher Education, the predecessor of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Awards are made to promising new full-time faculty who, by their appointment, will contribute to the diversity of the institution. Welcome Fellows are paid $20,000 over a three-year period in

support of their research, publications and speaking engagements.

During the first decade of her career Soto has published more than 20 peer review manuscripts in the area of biochemistry and molecular biology. “This is a remarkable record for any faculty member, considering that she obtained her Ph.D. as recently as 2002 and comes to TU from

an institution where her primary responsibility was teaching,” says James Saunders, director of TU’s Molecular Biology, Biochemistry & Bioinformatics (MB3) program.

Soto intends to apply most of her grant money toward equipment for a project titled, “Electrostatics Interactions in the Binding of TAR RNA by Antibiotics and Peptides.” She also plans on using funds to take students to conferences to present their research. “I believe students learn best when they’re actively engaged in the development of a concept,” says

Soto. “The Welcome grant will help me provide them with research and presentation opportunities.

“I’m honored by MHEC’s award,” says Soto. “I love teaching and conducting research, and appreciate the new opportunities TU has given me.”







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