Former Runner from Oak Ridge High School Awarded National Science Foundation Research Fellowship

by Placerville Newswire / May 08, 2020 / comments

[InEDC May 8, 2020]

In 2010 Trojan Cross Country runner LeeAnn Hold of El Dorado Hills took first place in the girls junior varsity cross country race in the Sac-Joaquin Section.  She set several Seasonal Records racing as an Oak Ridge runner in 3 Miles and 5,000 Meter races.

In 2020 LeeAnn Hold, University of Idaho human tendon student-researcher is awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Biological Engineering Research Program Fellowships for 2020.  Her research examines the mechanisms behind the formation and healing of tendon tissue.

The fellowship program recognizes outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and math. Fellows earn a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 and a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees.

LeeAnn’s research is partially funded through a National Institutes of Health grant. She was also a 2018 Beckman Scholar. Students receive up to $21,000 over the course of two summers and an academic year to conduct undergraduate research. An additional $5,000 goes to the lab in which the student is conducting research.

LeeAnn’s Research involves Load-bearing tendons, like a human Achilles tendon, are constantly being subjected to different levels of force as we walk, run and move.

Enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases or MMPs within these tendons are continually at work breaking down and rebuilding the internal structure of connective tissues within the tendon.

“Think of it kind of like a scaffold of a building that provides extra support,” LeeAnn Hold said. “These enzymes are able to break down and rebuild this scaffolding in order to optimize the environment for your tendons.”

A Beckman Scholar beginning in the summer of 2018, Hold’s research has focused on how MMPs work and how the same biochemical processes could potentially be used down the road in tendon tissue development.

“Right now, the only way to repair your tendon is to sew it back together,” she said. “Think of that like trying to sew together two paintbrushes. It’s impossible.”

Hold was in the Navy for three years and thought about going into nursing before choosing biological engineering at the U of I.

“Using math and biology at the same time, it’s such a cool bridge between the two,” she said.


2010 Season  Oak Ridge HS 11th Grade
3 Miles
14  20:10.0 Sep 11 Sac State Hornet Jamboree  
19  19:58.0SR Oct 6 Delta River League Meet  
20:26.0 Nov 6 Sac-Joaquin Sub-Sections  
5,000 Meters
62  20:25.3SR Sep 25 Nike Pre-Nationals  
25  20:35.3 Oct 16 Bronco Invitational  
18  20:59.0 Oct 30 Delta River League Championships  
20:38.0 Nov 13 Sac-Joaquin sections  
2009 Season  Oak Ridge HS 10th Grade
2,500 Meters
9:59.0PR Sep 5 Willow Hills Relays  
2 Miles
15:57.0 Sep 9 SVC League Meet #1  
12:53.0PR Sep 12 HORNET JAMBOREE  
3,300 Meters
14:23.0SR Sep 19 Trojan XC Invite  
3 Miles
10  20:31.0 Sep 30 SVC League Meet #2  
10  19:59.0SR Nov 7 CIF SJS Sub Sections  
5,000 Meters
90  20:51.0 Sep 26 Stanford Invitational  
68  19:56.0SR Oct 10 2009 31st Clovis Cross Country Invitational  
14  20:20.0 Oct 29 SVC League Finals  
13  20:04.0 Nov 14 Sac Joaquin Sections  
134  19:56.0 Nov 28 2009 CIF State Cross Country Championships  
2008 Season  Oak Ridge HS 9th Grade
2,500 Meters
10:21.0SR Aug 30 Willow Hills Relays  
3,000 Meters
23  13:14.4PR Sep 5 Thunder Invite  
2 Miles
13:07.0SR Sep 10 SVC League Meet #1  
3,300 Meters
14:08.0PR Sep 20 2008 Trojan XC Invite  
3 Miles
18:37.0PR Oct 2 SVC League Meet #2  
19:02.0 Nov 8 Sac Joaquin Sub Sections  
5,000 Meters
20:13.0 Sep 27 Stanford Invitational  
26  18:53.0PR Oct 11 2008 30th Clovis Cross Country Invitational  
20:12.0 Oct 30 SVC League Finals  
19:48.0 Nov 15 Sac Joaquin Sections  
87  19:39.0 Nov 29 2008 CIF State Cross Country Championships