Gopi Podila Memorial Scholarship awarded to UAHuntsville senior

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Sept. 15, 2011) - The first Gopi Podila Memorial Scholarship was presented to The University of Alabama in Huntsville biology student David Gray this week.

memorial scholarship

in the photo, left to right: Adam Hott, Ph.D., representing the Partnership for Biotechnology Research; Debra Moriarity, Ph.D., chair of the UAHuntsville Biological Sciences Department; David Gray, UAHuntsville senior and recipient of the Gopi Podila Memorial Scholarship; and Leland Cseke, Ph.D., UAHuntsville biology professor.

Gray, a senior and non-traditional student at age 32, should receive his bachelor's degree this spring. According to Leland Cseke, Ph.D., a professor at UAHuntsville specializing in plant molecular biology, Gray has an independent way of thinking about science.

"He clearly sees links between science disciplines," said Cseke, "and that prompts him to explore new ways of doing things." Cseke noted that Gray's curiosity led him to uncover and correct mistakes in accepted genomic sequencing data. Cseke, who nominated Gray for the scholarship, added that the biology senior is highly self-motivated while also being a team player who has helped to advance a community gardens program.

The scholarship was made possible through funds donated by the family of Gopi Podila, Ph.D., former professor and chair of the UAHuntsville Biological Sciences Department. The memorial scholarship salutes Podila's dedication to the educational advancement of students in the biological sciences.

Each year, the biological sciences faculty at UAHuntsville will identify a deserving undergraduate student to receive the $1,000 scholarship. Selection is based on academic performance, service to the department and a demonstrated interest in biological research. Individuals who wish to contribute to the Gopi Podila Memorial Scholarship Fund should contact the Partnership for Biotechnology Research at

For more information,
contact Ray Garner