By Wendy Sarubbi | August 15, 2014 3:11 pm

The Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences welcomed 37 new graduate students this week who are starting masters and Ph.D. programs — from as far away as India as well as students who studied at UCF as undergraduates.

Ph.D. candidate Levi Adams, originally from Maine, received a Research Excellence Fellowship at the Burnett school after attending the University of North Texas. He said he knew he wanted to attend UCF for his doctorate after visiting the campus last fall.

“I’m impressed with the energy of the faculty,” he said, “There’s a feeling of growth and excitement and I want to be a part of an institution that’s growing.”

His research interests are in neuro science, health and nutrition and he said he was particularly drawn to the Burnett school after reading a paper by Assistant Professor Dr. Yoon-Seong Kim on Parkinson’s disease.

“There’s a lot happening here,” said Adams, pointing to the variety of research posters presented by students August 14 at the annual Graduate Research Symposium. “I like the speed that UCF is growing and its impact it’s having nationally.”

The symposium brought together faculty from all three of the Burnett School’s faculties – two on the main UCF campus and one at Medical City — who mingled with new students and explained their research. The event also included guest speaker Leland Chung Ph.D., director of the Cancer Institute at Cedar-Sinai who presented “Recruitment and Reprogramming of Bystander Cells in Cancer Metastasis.”

Burnett school masters student Erica Cipparone will study for her graduate degree in biomedical sciences part-time while holding down a job as a patent attorney in downtown Orlando.  Cipparone graduated from Rollins College with a degree in biology before getting her law degree and wants to extend her scientific knowledge to benefit her legal practice. She said she was drawn to the College of Medicine partly because of the patents she sees daily as an attorney.

“UCF does very innovative and cutting edge work… and this is the place to be,” she said.

As part of the symposium, students and faculty had the opportunity to meet and greet Dr. Griffith Parks, the new director of the Burnett school. Dr. Parks joined the College of Medicine from Dr. Parks, who joined the College of Medicine from Wake Forest University, where he was formerly chair of that university’s Department of Microbiology. He, like the new graduate students, is excited about UCF’s biomedical sciences program and its potential to reach new heights.

He advised the new students to work hard, learn from their mentors and not to be afraid of risk. “I hope you’re here for the excitement of discovery,” Dr. Parks said. “I’m looking forward to going down the halls and hearing cries of eureka! We want lots of eurekas.”

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