kate-watsonKate Watson, a graduate student in the Ferrara Lab, has won the 2014 Max Kleiber Graduate Research Prize and the Loren D. Carlson Prize in Physiology for her dissertation, “Ultrasound is Making Waves in Cancer Diagnosis, Monitoring, and Treatment.” The Kleiber Prize is awarded annually in recognition of the most outstanding research dissertation in the areas of nutrition and metabolism with the emphasis that the recipient has demonstrated superior scholarly achievement and promise in research. The Carlson Prize in Physiology recognizes demonstrated superior scholarly achievement and promise for teaching and research, awarded to a graduating medical student for outstanding research performed in the School of Medicine.

In 2014 Kate received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Integrative Physiology as part of the Veterinary Scientist Training Program (VSTP) that enables students at the School of Veterinary Medicine to graduate with dual DVM and PhD degrees. As a graduate student in Dr. Katherine Ferrara’s lab, her work focused on the use of therapeutic ultrasound to induce mild hyperthermia and tissue ablation within solid tumors to enhance chemotherapeutic accumulation and efficacy.

Kate’s focus as a veterinary scientist training fellow is to engineer solutions that promote non-invasive diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to advance both animal and human health.  Early detection, characterization and therapy are key components in disease management.  By having a foothold in both research and medicine, she hopes to enhance communication between physicians, veterinarians and researchers to improve global health initiatives.

“Kate is a terrific scientist who worked within our laboratory and then entered the DVM-PhD program.  Her thesis involved ultrasound imaging and therapy and demonstrated the use of imaging to monitor therapy in new ways.  She has been blazing trails scientifically and in her academic programs, leading study groups and helping UCD in the development of unique training programs,” said Katherine Ferrara.

Her dedication to research is balanced by her commitment to family and community outreach.  In addition to coaching/refereeing soccer for her twin 6 year-old boys, she founded the School of Veterinary Medicine Radiology Club to enhance the diagnostic skills of veterinary students. She is also Vice President of the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SCAVMA), and an advocate for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  After graduating Kate plans to apply for a residency in Anatomic Pathology to continue to make discoveries in disease pathophysiology that will guide her development of diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.

This is the second year in a row that a biomedical engineering Ph.D. student has won the Loren D. Carlson Prize. In 2013,  Hillary Davis, a former student in the Leach Lab, won the Carlson Prize.