Released: May 24, 1999
Centre College Senior Becomes Fulbright Scholar
DANVILLE, KY -- For the tenth time in nine years, a Centre College senior has been tapped to become a Fulbright Scholar. John Ballert, a resident of Prospect and graduate of Ballard High School, was chosen for the prestigious international program and will spend a year studying in Australia.
Ballert is completing a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and molecular biology (he will graduate from Centre on Sunday, May 30) and will pursue research in that field. He will work at the Childrens Cancer Research Institute in Sydney on the topic of apoptosis, sometimes referred to as cell suicide.
As Ballert explains, many cells in the body routinely die off in what is a normal process, and researchers would like to find a way to get cancer cells to do that. Ballert will join a team doing an in-depth study of bone marrow samples from children whose leukemia went into remission, then returned. If we look at the differences in what the cells are doing between the samples, Ballert says, we may find whats going on differently between the healthy and the cancerous cells. That will give us more insight into how to treat it, because well know whats going wrong.
During his undergraduate studies at Centre, Ballert had several opportunities for advanced research in collaboration with professors. He joined a chemistry professor to study carbon molecules and collaborated with a biochemistry/molecular biology professor to investigate the role of vitamin A metabolism in eyesight.
Ballert also earned a spot on a summer research team at the University of Louisville, and he will enroll in the UofL medical school upon his return from Australia.
A campus leader, Ballert recently was one of two seniors named for the colleges Ormond Beatty Prize, which recognizes exceptional achievements in academics, leadership and service. He worked on the college housing staff three years as a resident advisor, chaired the Student Judiciary and was president of Omicron Delta Kappa, a leadership organization.
With his selection as a Fulbright, Ballert joined recent graduates including Brian Mattingly, class of 1998, who went to Spain to study gypsy culture.
The Fulbright program, which is funded by the United States and other countries, is designed to promote mutual understanding of people from countries around the world.
Ballert will leave for Australia in July.
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