Alison Huxford Memorial Fellowship for Graduate Student Research in Biochemistry

It is a pleasure to announce that Ryne Holmberg has been named the 2022 Alison Huxford Memorial Fellowship for Graduate Student Research in Biochemistry. Established in honor of Dr. Tom Huxford’s sister, who passed away in June of 2019, this fellowship provides a cash award to help support graduate students working toward their doctorate in the field of biochemistry at San Diego State University. Due to the generosity of well over 200 different donors, the majority of whom are former SDSU students, in May of 2022, Ryne was selected as the second recipient of this annual award.

Previous Fellows

Ryne Holmberg, 2022 Alison Huxford Memorial Fellow

About the Fellow:  Ryne Holmberg is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University. He entered the graduate program in Chemistry & Biochemistry at SDSU as a direct admit doctoral student in 2016 and advanced to Ph.D. candidacy in 2019. Ryne’s doctoral research aims to understand how signaling to induce transcription factor NF-κB activity influences the ability of tumor initiator cells to survive chemotherapy and promote relapse in ovarian cancer patients who have entered remission. Ryne’s studies have demonstrated that an inflammatory cytokine known as TWEAK and its receptor Fn14 are highly expressed in ovarian tumors following chemotherapy and that TWEAK treatment of cultured ovarian cancer cells promotes their tumor-like behavior. Interfering with the NF-κB pathway that responds to TWEAK prolongs survival in mice with ovarian cancer after chemotherapy, suggesting that the TWEAK-Fn14-induced NF-κB signaling pathway is a promising target for the development of therapies to improve the outcomes of ovarian cancer patients.

Professor Tom Huxford

About the award: Tom Huxford is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at San Diego State University. During the last sixteen years, Dr. Huxford has worked with literally thousands of SDSU undergraduate and graduate students through his courses, including Introduction to General Chemistry (Chem 100), Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology I (Chem 365), General Biochemistry (Chem 560), and Intermediary Metabolism (Chem 562). The success and popularity of these courses stem directly from his involvement as an active research scientist and Principal Investigator of the Structural Biochemistry Laboratory.

One of the greatest challenges in leading a research laboratory is sustaining funding, and acquiring funds to augment the stipends of Ph.D. candidate graduate students is particularly difficult.

This issue was on Dr. Huxford’s mind when, in June 2019, he suffered the loss of his sister Alison. Alison Huxford was a great sister, a happy person, and a beloved friend to everyone she met. Although she never had the chance to study at a university, she was extremely proud of her younger brother and bragged about him all the time.

Alison and Tom Huxford, Fall 1975

In her honor, Dr. Huxford began working toward establishing an endowment to fund a graduate student biochemistry research at SDSU in perpetuity, to be known as the Alison Huxford Memorial Fellowship for Graduate Student Research in Biochemistry.  The response thus far has been outstanding and in Spring of 2021 Dr. Huxford decided to begin making what is planned to be an annual award of $2,500 to one SDSU biochemistry graduate student Fellow.

We still have a lot of fundraising to do to reach the goal of establishing an endowment that will continuously fund the Fellowship program in perpetuity.  If you or someone you know is a former student in one of Dr. Huxford’s courses or if you spent time as a research assistant in the lab or benefited in general from the enthusiasm Dr. Huxford has for biochemistry, then now is your opportunity to help him out.  Please consider making a generous donation to the Alison Huxford Memorial Fellowship for Graduate Student Research in Biochemistry.  A link to the web page where you can make a donation through SDSU is here.  Dr. Huxford and future generations of SDSU student researchers thank you sincerely for your kindness.

Huxford Lab Summer 2022