Mar. 12, 2018

Grantee Spotlight: Tracoyia Roach, 2017 Gina M. Finzi Fellowship Recipient

PhD Candidate, Medical Sciences
Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine
University of Florida
Title of Project: Metabolic Functions of the Lupus Susceptibility Gene Pbx1

Tracoyia Roach is a recipient of the 2017 Lupus Foundation of America Gina M. Finzi Student Summer Fellowship. After losing her mother to lupus complications, she decided to pursue a career in lupus research to better understand the genetics behind the disease.

Currently, in her first year of her doctoral studies, Tracoyia is a diligent student and is dedicated to becoming an independent lupus investigator with the help of her mentor, Dr. Laurence Morel, a Professor of Pathology at the University of Florida. Their research is focused on identifying genetic pathways that are responsible for the onset of lupus.

“The Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship has helped me begin my career in lupus research and provided me with quality training as a young scientist” – Tracoyia Roach

After graduating, Tracoyia is committed to staying in the field to help advance lupus research and is applying for additional funding to support her ongoing projects. She is well on her way to becoming a scientist who is trained to make important contributions to society’s understanding of lupus and biomedical research.

The Foundation is now accepting applications for the following awards and fellowships in 2018:


Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship Program
The fellowship program aims to foster the interest among students in the areas of basic, clinical, translational, epidemiological or behavioral research relevant to lupus. Six awards will be given; one award will be in support of an underrepresented minority student, a second award will be in support of a student whose work directly impacts rural areas.

Career Development Award
The award is designed for second or third-year rheumatology, nephrology and dermatology fellows in the U.S. and Canada who are interested in lupus research. In support of the Foundation’s commitment to advance pediatric research one of the two awards will be granted to a qualified applicant with a study focused on pediatric lupus research.

Novel Pilot Therapeutic Approaches in Childhood Lupus Award
On behalf of the Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Research Program, the Novel Pilot Therapeutic Approaches in Childhood Lupus Award will provide one two-year grant award in the amount of $500,000 for a study that addresses the key issues relevant to treatment options for childhood lupus research. Applications for this award only are due on March 16th at 5 pm. Please email all application materials to Lyna Merzoug.

Lupus investigators who are interested in the grant opportunities may obtain more information and links to the online applications on our site. Applications are due by April 9th, 2018 at 5 PM EST.