Hempfield grad making her mark in health research |

Hempfield grad making her mark in health research

Kate Sadler, a fourth-year biology doctoral student, is the first graduate student from Duquesne University to receive a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. Sadler, a graduate of Hempfield Area High School, is researching how the brain is connected to bladder pain.

She works in the lab of Dr. Benedict Kolber, assistant professor of biological sciences at Duquesne.

“The ultimate goal of the research is to have a greater understanding of how the brain processes bladder pain,” Sadler said.

Her research could lead to new therapy and treatment options for people suffering with bladder pain.

The Kirschstein National Research Service Award memorializes Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein, the first female director of an NIH institute, a polio vaccine developer, a champion of research training and an advocate for including underrepresented individuals in the sciences.

Competition is fierce for the award, which provides $37,975 a year for three years. It is presented to less than 10 percent of all applicants.

It took Sadler the course of a semester to complete the application, which she turned in last April.

Sadler received confirmation that she received the award in September. It will offer financial support as she conducts her dissertation research in Kolber's lab. He is the research and education coordinator for the Chronic Pain Research Consortium at Duquesne.

It was in Kolber's lab that Sadler first learned about the award.

“Ben got the award as a graduate student,” she said. “He encouraged me to apply for it.”

Kolber said that Sadler “follows the research where it takes her.”

“She is very productive and comes up with interesting ideas in the lab,” he said.

Outside of the lab, Kobler noted, Sadler is friendly, full of personality and a great baker.

Sadler, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, anticipates a 2016 graduation from Duquesne.

She aspires to be a professor involved with undergraduate teaching and research.

Chloe Wertz is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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