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Brittany Jennings
May 11, 2022

Ph.D. student Rebeca Stiepel

Ph.D. student Rebeca Stiepel is the 2022 recipient of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Kathryne A. Brewington Graduate Research Award.

The School presents the award annually to the most outstanding doctoral student in pharmaceutical sciences in honor of the late Katherine Brewington’s commitment to public service and higher education. Brewington passed away while pursuing her doctoral degree at the School.

Stiepel studies in the School’s Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics under advisor Kristy Ainslie, Ph.D.

“I am truly honored and thankful to be receiving this award. I really appreciate all of the support I’ve had from my colleagues and my advisor, Dr. Kristy Ainslie. Under Dr. Ainslie’s mentorship, I have had exciting opportunities to build on my foundation in chemical engineering to gain experience in biomedical research, especially in drug delivery and immunomodulation. By combining these fields, I’ve been able to develop my passion for interdisciplinary research with the end goal of positively impacting human health,” Stiepel said.

Her graduate research focuses on developing an antigen-specific treatment for autoimmune disorders. She is currently working on a “tolerogenic vaccine” for multiple sclerosis.

“From when Rebeca first started in my lab as a SOLAR undergraduate student, it was clear that she had an outstanding passion and aptitude for research, particularly in pharmaceutical sciences. As she began to pursue a Ph.D. in my lab, that effort has only blossomed and she has been able to accomplish so much, including several first author publications and awards for poster presentations. It’s an honor to have one of my students receive the Kathryne A. Brewington Graduate Research Award and it only underscores all the great achievements Rebeca has accomplished and will continue to accomplish in her career,” Ainslie said.

About the future, Stiepel said she wants to mentor others in STEM fields and one day run her own research laboratory.

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