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Release: April 13, 2000

(Note to broadcasters: Sanxay is pronounced SANK-say)

UI awards Sanxay Prize for graduate study to Ali Jalali

IOWA CITY, Iowa –-University of Iowa senior chemistry major Ali Jalali is the recipient of the 2000 Sanxay Prize, which the UI Graduate College awards annually to a senior from Iowa who shows promise of high achievement in graduate studies. Jalali, an Iowa City resident, has been accepted into the M.D./Ph.D. programs at the UI and Northwestern University. He currently awaits responses from Harvard and Yale.

Interested in becoming a physician-scientist with an academic position in a university-hospital environment, Jalali has been working on two biomedical/biochemical research projects since his entrance into the university in 1996. One project involves molecular computational analysis of a hydrogen bond system that models the active site of a serine protease enzyme. Jalali will write his honors thesis based on the study's research findings.

"I have always been interested in the science behind medicine because scientific research is both challenging and rewarding," Jalali said. "The sense of gratification is greatly enhanced if one's scientific discovery results in saving or improving the quality of people's lives."

While maintaining a 4.23 GPA, Jalali has worked in a neurophysiology laboratory in the department of internal medicine and has published numerous articles based on this research and his chemistry research. He has been a UI tutor since 1997 and an undergraduate teaching assistant in the department of chemistry since the fall of 1998. Jalali is currently president of the UI Persian Student Organization, which is active in many community and cultural events.

"In my estimation, Ali is the best in a group of more than 2,000 premedical students that I have taught during my 17 years at Iowa," said Daniel Quinn, professor and chair in the UI department of chemistry and Jalali's undergraduate research mentor. "But Ali is more than an excellent student. He is a genuinely warm and caring individual who will one day make an outstanding physician and scholar."

The Sanxay Prize, first awarded in 1926, is made possible by the trust fund of Theodore F. Sanxay. The award carries a cash stipend of $1,000 that may be used to pursue graduate work at the UI or any other accredited university in the United States or abroad.