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CCU professor receives Fulbright Award to Austria

May 6, 2015

Coastal Carolina University assistant professor of biochemistry Rachel Hellmann-Whitaker has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research at the University of Applied Sciences in Vienna, Austria, during the 2015-2016 academic year.

She will be exploring the involvement of nuclear proteins in RNA processing, biogenesis and transport. The long-term benefits of this research will be to better understand tumor development in cancer patients.

The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board made the announcement recently. Whitaker is the third CCU professor to receive the award this year, and she joins 19 other current CCU faculty and 10 retired CCU faculty who have also received Fulbright awards. She is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2015-2016.

Whitaker earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She was a postdoctoral researcher in nucleic acid chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has been at CCU for three years. Her research focuses on structural biochemistry, involving the mechanisms of protein-protein interactions and in nucleic acid chemistry.

“The Fulbright program provides a wonderful way for talented professors and students to add an international dimension to their professional portfolio,” says Darla Domke-Damonte, associate provost for global initiatives for CCU.

For information about global initiatives at CCU, contact Domke-Damonte at 843-349-2129 or

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education.