NEWS | July 31, 2012

Graduate student wins top research fellowship


Andrea Ferrero, a UC Davis Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering, has been awarded a 2012 Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research Fellowship for his work on use of PET/CT scanning to monitor the effects of breast cancer treatment.

The coveted fellowship recognizes "exceptional academic and personal achievements" and the institutes's "confidence in (his) great potential to become a leader in academic science."

Andrea Ferrero ©
Andrea Ferrero

The fellowship, which will cover Ferrero's remaining work on his Ph.D., pays an annual stipend of $30,000 and a $3,000 allowance and provides $10,000 to the medical school in lieu of Ferrero's tuition and fees.

Ferrero, born in Italy, received his master's degree in medical imaging from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. He completed his master's thesis under the supervision of Ramsey Badawi, UC Davis associate professor of radiology and biomedical engineering. Ferrero is currently working on his Ph.D. conducting research in Badawi's laboratory. Biomedical engineering is one of six scientific programs of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"I am working on a project that aims to assess the potential role of high resolution PET/CT for the monitoring of tumor response to pre-surgical chemotherapy for breast cancer patients," Ferrero explained. "It is truly an interdisciplinary project as it spans from bench work building our scanners all the way to the operating room and subsequent histopathology analysis."

Another UC Davis graduate student, Liang-Tien Hsieh, of Taiwan, also won a Howard Hughes International Student Research Fellowship this year for his work characterizing the neural mechanisms of temporal memory in the human brain. 

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a medical research organization dedicated to biomedical research and education.  The international student research fellowships are designed to facilitate the research training of outstanding international pre-doctoral students (who are ineligible for fellowship or training grant support through federal agencies) in the biomedical and related sciences.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 9,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory (JAX West), whose scientific partnerships advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis collaborates with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer care. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit