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Paige Wins National Fellowship

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Carleitta Paige, a graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, has won a fellowship from the Department of Homeland Security to pursue research on the agent that causes anthrax. She is one of 105 students nationwide selected for the program.

The program is designed to address homeland security challenges, while at the same time educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers to improve homeland security.

For her doctoral research project, Paige will work in the laboratory of Al Claiborne, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and co-director of the Center for Structural Biology. His research focuses on identifying proteins that enable microscopic bacteria to cause disease.

Paige’s project is based on the hypothesis that certain proteins in the bacterium that causes anthrax enable anthrax spores to germinate in the body, leading to an anthrax infection. Her project will involve deleting the genes that manufacture these proteins to see if it stops the germination process.

The study is being carried out in collaboration with David Popham, Ph.D., associate professor of biology at Virginia Tech, through the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences operated jointly by Wake Forest University and Virginia Tech.

The fellowship pays Paige a monthly stipend as well as tuition and fees and can be extended for a maximum of three years. It includes a 10-week internship at a location sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.

Paige is the daughter of Janet A. Johnson of Washington, D.C.

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Media contacts: Karen Richardson,; or Shannon Koontz,; at 336-716-4587.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. It is licensed to operate 1,282 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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