Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Nicholas Borcherding has been selected as a Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Thesis Award winner for 2016.

Nicholas Borcherding

Borcherding, who earned his master’s degree in pathology at the University of Iowa in 2014, won the biological and life sciences category for his thesis, entitled “Non-Canonical WNT Signaling in Breast Cancer Initiation and Progression.” His project revealed a number of previously unknown functions for the WNT5A pathway in breast cancer, while identifying possible new targets for therapy.

Borcherding’s research resulted in nine first author or co-author peer-reviewed manuscripts.

“This level of productivity would be considered extraordinary for a Ph.D. student in cancer research, let alone an M.S. student who completed his program in two years,” says Weizhou Zhang, assistant professor of pathology in the Carver College of Medicine and Borcherding’s thesis advisor.   

Borcherding was nominated for the MAGS Award after receiving the L.B. Sims Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award from the UI Graduate College.

Iowa now has four MAGS Distinguished Thesis Award winners. Kaylia Duncan (Pathology) and Anna Lynch (Religious Studies) both won the award in 2014. Brigitte Hecker Salami (Art History) received the honor in 1999.

“It’s an unexpected honor to receive the MAGS award,” Borcherding says. “I want to thank Weizhou Zhang, my mentor, and Tom Waldschmidt, my program director, for their excellent guidance. The award is as much a reflection of their excellent mentorship as my work.”

The Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools is a regional affiliate of the Council of Graduate Schools. MAGS member states include: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.