By Wendy Sarubbi | May 14, 2012 2:15 pm

The UCF College of Medicine’s Dr. Mariana Dangiolo is a winner of the first Richard Tucker Gerontology Applied Research Grants for her work incorporating geriatrics into Anatomy Lab for first-year medical students. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Dangiolo and M-3 students Christina Hsu, Malgorzata Krzyszczak, Reid Green, and Edward Sanchez, the 17-week lab now includes training on the role of aging on the body’s systems and how lifestyle issues affect the body over a lifetime.

The research awards were presented by the Learning Institute for Elders @ UCF, also known as LIFE At UCF. Participants in the program take courses, work on projects and interact with the entire university with the motto, “Life is all about learning…and learning never grows old.” The awards were presented at the Student Union’s Cape Florida Auditorium in front of hundreds of seniors.

In addition to Dr. Dangiolo’s team, LIFE presented awards to three graduate and undergraduate students, all from the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, who are researching Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

This year, LIFE raised $9,000 for gerontology research and awarded the first grants in the name of Dr. Richard Tucker of UCF’s Department of Psychology, who serves at LIFE liaison. “The award ceremony was a very emotional event for me,” said Dr. Dangiolo. “I felt deeply humbled and honored to receive this recognition from the hands of the community I care so much about: the seniors.”

Student winners were Neha Kohli, Bonnie Berry and Mario Pita. Other faculty winners were Michael Boyce, Dr. Maren Fragala and Dr. Ming Su.

LIFE also honored 20- and 10-year members. “You are great role models, supporters and a critical part of our university and our community,” Dr. Michael Hampton, UCF director of interdisciplinary studies, said in recognizing the seniors. “You are what we want our students to become.”

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