Neuroscience Graduate Student Margaret Tish wins 2020 Kwak-Ferguson Fellowship

Maggie TishUniversity of Iowa graduate student Margaret Tish has won the 2020 Kwak-Ferguson Fellowship, a $10,000 award from the Iowa Neuroscience Institute for an upper level graduate student working in the area of neurodegenerative diseases.

Tish is a 4th year student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience and conducts research in the lab of Joel Geerling, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology. Her research focuses on Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, a debilitating cause of dementia characterized by enlarged cerebral ventricles. Outward symptoms include gait impairment, cognitive dysfunction, and urinary incontinence.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is one of the only reversible forms of dementia, as it can be treated by surgically inserting a shunt that drains excess fluid from the cerebral ventricles. However, many patients are left with one or more symptoms that do not respond to this treatment.

The award supports Tish’s research to identify the mechanisms of each symptom. Learning how changes in the brain cause the individual symptoms may lead to new treatments for those for whom the shunt treatment is ineffective.

Geerling said the fellowship recognizes both Tish’s current work and her potential as a scientist. “Her hard work and dedication have already resulted in several important scientific observations and discoveries,” he said. “We are at the very front edge of what she can accomplish in her thesis work and scientific career beyond that.”

Tish’s previous awards include a Young Investigator Travel Award from the Hydrocephalus Association and a post-comprehensive research fellowship from the UI Graduate College.

The Kwak-Ferguson Fellowship was established by Donald Timm, a Muscatine native and graduate of the UI College of Law who spent more than 30 years working for the U.S. Department of Defense as an expert on international law. He created the fellowship in honor of two individuals—his friend and mentor, Mr. Myung-Duk Kwak, a Korean attorney and statesman, and his aunt, Louise A.M. (Amelia Marie) Brown Ferguson, an educator and missionary—both of whom died due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.



Friday, September 11, 2020