Marshall biomedical researchers to present at the World Congress on Endometriosis in Brazil

Biomedical Sciences Doctoral candidate receives prestigious travel grant

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Two investigators from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University will be traveling later this month to Sao Paolo to present their research at the World Congress on Endometriosis.

The congress is held every three years and brings together scientists, clinicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals involved in research or treatment of endometriosis—a chronic, inflammatory condition that affects young women and adversely impacts their fertility and quality of life.

Dr. Nalini Santanam, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, and doctoral student Kristeena Ray said they are looking forward to participating in the conference, which is being held April 30-May 3.

Santanam“Though 10 to 15 percent of young women suffer from endometriosis and almost two-thirds of these women suffer from chronic pain, the exact nature of this disease is not very well understood. My laboratory has a long-standing interest in understanding why some women get endometriosis and have pain,” said Santanam. “We are very honored that our abstracts were chosen for presentation at this meeting. The most exciting part was to find out that Kristeena was selected to give an oral presentation and was one of only six investigators selected to receive the Rodolphe Maheux Travel Grant.”

The Rodolphe Maheux Travel Grants are awarded by the World Endometriosis Society to help young researchers attend scientific meetings. The program is named in honor of the society’s co-founder.

The balance of Ray’s travel expenses are being funded by the university’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology.

Ray said, “I was not sure if I had any chance of receiving the travel grant, since any young Kristeena Ray Spring 2014researcher including faculty and fellows under 40 years of age were eligible to compete. I was surprised that I was selected and am thrilled to go to Brazil to present my findings.”

Ray is a third-year Ph.D. candidate. She works in Santanam’s laboratory studying the epigenetics of pain in endometriosis—the changes caused to DNA and genes by environment and lifestyle. Last summer, she was selected for the university’s Chancellor’s Scholar Program, an initiative to help ensure the academic success of underrepresented minority doctoral students.

Their research is partially funded through Marshall’s partnership with the University of Kentucky and the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards program aimed at speeding the time for laboratory discoveries to benefit patients.

The researchers expressed their appreciation to Dr. Robert Nerhood and Dr. David Jude, the past and present chairmen of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for their support and acknowledged Sandy White and Carla Cook for coordinating the clinical study.

Santanam added, “This study would not have been possible without the collaboration and intellectual contributions of Dr. Brenda Mitchell, who is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. We express special thanks to Dr. Mitchell.”

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BMS associate professor invited to chair at international meeting

Dr. Piyali Dasgupta has been invited to chair a minisymposium entitled “Lung Cancer” at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 conference in San Diego. The invitation to chair the special session came from the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP).

When asked to comment on being selected for this position, Dr. Dasgupta replied: “The ‘chair’ is selected based on their research and publications in the field of lung cancer. So, we feel thrilled that our work is being noticed by other researchers at an international level.”

piyali_dasguptaDr. Dasgupta is a member of the ASIP and has regularly presented at Experimental Biology over the past few years, including several oral seminar presentations. In 2012, she was invited to chair a special session at the EB 2012 entitled “Modeling Cancer: Biological and Therapeutic Implications.”

Experimental Biology is an annual meeting that draws almost 14,000 scientists and exhibitors. Scientists attending represent universities, academic institutions, government agencies, private corporations, and non-profit organizations. Participating societies include the ASIP, the American Association of Anatomists (AAA), the American Physiological Society (APS), the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and others.

Dr. Dasgupta is Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacol­ogy, Physiology, and Toxicology. She received the “Dean’s award for Excellence in Basic Research, 2013” at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University. Her research examines the effects of nicotine (the active component of cigarettes) in regulating cellular responses, such as programmed cell death and cell growth, in the context of lung cancer. Dr. Dasgupta will have the opportunity to share her research by giving an oral presentation in addition to serving as chair of the Lung Cancer minisymposium.

Being asked to chair a session at such a prestigious conference is quite an honor. Congratulations to Dr. Piyali Dasgupta!

For more information, please visit: https://www.asip.org/meetings/2014/minisymposia.cfm.

School of Medicine Research Day Winners

Congratulations to School of Medicine Research Day award recipients, Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. student Caroline Hunter and Ph.D. candidate Allison Wolf!

CarolineandKoc13

Caroline (on left) with her mentor, Emine Koc, Ph.D.

Best Poster Presentation in the Basic Science Category
BMS Ph.D. student Caroline A. Hunter – Mitochondrial Elongation Factor Tu:  Translational Regulation by Phosphorylation
Mentor: Emine Koc, Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

Allison_W_2014_OralWinner

Allison (on left) receiving award from Mr. Bailey

Best Oral Presentation in the Basic Science Category
BMS Ph.D. candidate M. Allison Wolf – - Benzyl Isothiocyanate Sensitizes Hnscc Cells To Cisplatin, And Inhibits Hnscc Cell Migration And Invasion
Mentor: Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D./Ph.D.

 

 

 

There were many clinical categories in addition to the two basic science categories. Those winners are listed below.

Research Day winners announced

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The 26th annual Research Day at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine wrapped up earlier this week with awards presented to eight students and medical residents.

The two-day event showcases the work of medical students, graduate students, residents and postdoctoral fellows, and includes both poster and oral presentation competitions. This year’s entries included projects that focused on heart disease, children and physical activity, lung and other cancers, drug abuse during pregnancy, and many other areas of biomedical and clinical research.

The winners were:

POSTER PRESENTATIONS

Basic Science Category
Caroline A. Hunter – Mitochondrial Elongation Factor Tu:  Translational Regulation by Phosphorylation
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology

Clinical Case Study Category (Student)
Jill Goodwin – Posterior Tibial Tendon Dislocation:  A Case Report
Department of Orthopaedics

Clinical Case Study Category (Resident)
M. Adeel Mahmood – An Atypical Presentation of Adrenal Insufficiency in Pregnancy as Recurrent Abdominal Pain
Department of Internal Medicine

Clinical Science Category (Student)
Laura G. Wilson – Withdrawing into Society: Characteristics of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome on Final Day of Admission
Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Science Category (Resident)
Heidi Michael – Retrospective analysis of patients entering the Maternal Addiction and Recovery Center (MARC) program evaluating pregnancy and neonatal outcomes
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

ORAL PRESENTATIONS

Basic Science Category
M. Allison Wolf – Benzyl Isothiocyanate Sensitizes Hnscc Cells To Cisplatin, And Inhibits Hnscc Cell Migration And Invasion
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology

Clinical Science Category (Student)
Rebecca M. Hayes – Development of Phone Application for Congestive Heart Failure Patients in a Rural Setting
Department of Internal Medicine

Clinical Science Category (Resident)
Jodi Pitsenbarger – Total Postnatal Opiate Exposure Using Two Different Weaning Methods in Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Richard M. Niles, vice dean for biomedical sciences at the school of medicine, congratulated all the winners, saying, “We had more than 80 presentations this year and the competition was outstanding. It is quite exciting to see all the fascinating research being done at our medical school and to know these students will be making a real difference in the lives and health of those who live in our communities.”

For more information about Research Day, contact the Office of Continuing Medical Education at 304-691-1770.

Marshall School of Medicine researchers and students

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Researchers with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will present their findings at the national Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) meeting in New Orleans that began Saturday.

Maria Serrat, Ph.D.Dr. Maria A. Serrat, assistant professor in the department of anatomy at the school of medicine and a clinical assistant professor in the department of orthopaedics, will present her team’s research model on the effects of temperature on the acceleration of bone growth in mice.

“We developed a model to study how the application of heat on the body’s surface can stimulate bone elongation,” Serrat said.  “By validating this model, we are looking at future possible clinical treatments to lengthen bones in children with growth issues or orthopaedic trauma using non-invasive methods.”

Serrat’s team includes Dr. Franklin D. Shuler, a professor in the department of orthopaedics, vice chair of research for the department of orthopaedics, and medical director for the Senior Fracture Program at Cabell Huntington Hospital. He says the opportunity to present on this national platform speaks highly of Marshall’s program.

“To have a podium presentation at this high-level meeting truly indicates that the faculty at Marshall are participating in leading-edge musculoskeletal research that has the capability of transforming patient care,” Shuler said.

Along with Serrat and Shuler, the following students participated in the research:

  • Justin M. Godby, first-year medical studentHolly Tamski, Ph.D. student
  • Thomas J. Schlierf, fourth-year medical student
  • Laura M. Stanko, second-year medical student
  • Holly L. Tamski, biomedical sciences doctoral student

Morgan L. Efaw, former biomedical sciences student at Marshall, also was a member of the team.

Also presenting a poster at the ORS meeting is third-year medical student Alexander H. Slocum, Jr., Ph.D. who, along with collaborators from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will showcase their findings, “Enhancing Orthopaedic Joint Lubrication using Synovial Fluid Impregnated Super-Wetting Porous Coatings,” an investigation reviewing ways of improving the use of prosthetic implants.

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Dr. Maria Serrat also was selected as the featured researcher in Marshall University’s School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences magazine, We Are…Bridging Medicine and Science.

Former BMS Medical Sciences’ student honored by state senate

Matthew Q. Christiansen “Matt” joined Marshall’s School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences, M.S. Medical Sciences Program as a student in 2008 with the determination to become more competitive to enter medical school. This goal was quickly accomplished as he was accepted into and entered Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in fall 2009.

The story below is being shared to help further recognize one of our most successful former students, Dr. Matthew Q. Christiansen. We are not surprised at his continued success, and note that great contributions to society will continue to come from Dr. Christiansen. _________________________________________________________________________

Health policy fellows honored by state senate

Matthew Q. Christiansen, M.D.Calling their service commendable, the West Virginia State Senate on March 6 adopted a resolution honoring School of Medicine resident physicians for their work at the Legislature providing physician resources through the Paul Ambrose Health Policy Fellowship Program. Dr. Kimberly R. Becher, a third-year resident from Sissonville, W.Va., Dr. Matthew Q. Christiansen, a first-year resident from Spencer, W.Va., and Dr. Kane A. Maiers, a third-year resident from Short Gap, W.Va., were honored by the resolution authored by Sen. Robert H. Plymale of Wayne County.The resolution also names Dr. Tracy Hendershot, MUSOM class of 2008, who served as the first Ambrose fellow. “Our physicians have worked diligently to help our lawmakers explore and vet dozens of issues that affect the health and well-being of the citizens of West Virginia,” said Dr. Stephen M. Petrany, co-director of the health policy track at Marshall and chairman of the department of family and community health.  “One of the goals of this program is to help young physicians fine-tune their leadership skills so they can effectively contribute to the health policy process. They have committed many hours to the process and we are very proud of their efforts.” Both Becher and Maiers have served in the program for three years and tackled such topics as this year’s catastrophic water crisis in central West Virginia and the Methamphetamine Lab Eradication Act. The Ambrose Health Policy Program was started at Marshall University in 2010 and is believed to be the only such program of its type in the country. It is a partnership of Marshall’s department of family and community health, Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health, and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.    It was inspired by namesake Paul Wesley Ambrose, a Marshall medical alumnus whose life and dynamic health policy career were cut short on September 11, 2001. ———————- Photo: Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Ambrose Health Policy Fellows are, from left, Dr. Kimberly Becher,  Dr. Kane Maiers and Dr. Matthew Christiansen. Photo by Martin Valent, West Virginia Legislative Photography, 2014. 

Brain Expo returns Friday

More than 630 elementary school children from around the Tri-state region will visit the Memorial Student Center Friday to participate in activities designed to help them learn about the brain and nervous system.

The sixth Brain Expo at Marshall will feature more than 25 interactive stations where children will explore how the various parts of their nervous system are responsible for how their bodies function and learn how healthy lifestyle choices lead to better brain health. brain expo picture of brainActivities will include testing their reflexes, playing memory games, coloring their own “brain hats” and building brain cell-shaped key chains.

More than 200 Marshall students and faculty from the  College of Science and Psychology Department, as well as the Department of Neuroscience at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, will oversee the activities. The St. Mary’s Medical Center also will be on hand with a station about brain and spinal cord safety.

The event is part of Brain Awareness Week, an annual global effort founded in 1996 by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. The Brain Expo at Marshall was founded by Dr. Nadja Spitzer and Dr. Brian Antonsen, both of whom are neuroscientists and assistant professors in the Department of Biological Sciences.

“Events like the Brain Expo are an excellent way to increase public awareness of brain research at Marshall and gain the interest of students who may choose a career path in science, technology, engineering or mathematics,” said Spitzer, the program director. “People are fascinated by the brain and there are many fun hands-on activities, like optical illusions, that show how the nervous system works. Our goal is to interest children in science and research at a young age by using games and activities that demonstrate the relevance of neuroscience in everyday life.”

Spitzer said registration for this year’s event is full, but anyone interested in next year’s program can e-mail brainawareness@marshall.edu.

For more information about the Brain Expo and Marshall’s Brain Awareness Program, visitwww.marshall.edu/baw.

The Brain Expo is supported by the National Science Foundation (Cooperative Agreement Award number EPS-1003907) and the College of Science, Department of Biological Sciences, Cell Differentiation and Development Center, and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

This story was taken directly from: http://www.marshall.edu/wamnewsletter/2014/02/25/brain-expo-returns-friday/.

Marshall BMS Program is accepting applications for its Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS)

Marshall University’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program is accepting applications for its sixth annual Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS)!

Application deadline is February 15th! Apply Now!

The SRIMS program includes nine weeks of graduate-level research in the field of biomedical sciences. Participants receive formal research training while expanding their learning experience through workshops, seminars on current topics, mentoring and use of state-of-the-art core facilities.

Annesha_King and Dr. Koc

2013 SRIMS Intern Annesha King with her mentor, Dr. Emine Koc

Each year, applications from undergraduate and underrepresented minority students who have not graduated by August of the program year are considered. Also, students are required to present their research at the WV Summer Research Symposium the last week of the program and should note this as they commit to the program.

A stipend of $3,000 will be provided to each participant for the nine-week experience. Participants will receive free room and board, as well as assistance with travel.

 

Visit the SRIMS webpage for more specifics!

WV Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol 2014

Image for WVURD14

Following the poster presentations, a luncheon was held to honor the student researchers, their mentors, and to formally recognize the winners of grants awarded by The Higher Education Policy Commission’s (HEPC) Division of Science and Research.

The luncheon was sponsored by the WV HEPC Division of Science and Research; Expansion of STEM Doctoral Education Program, Marshall University; Marshall Health; and WVU’s Office of Graduate Education and Life.

Norton_WVURD_grant'14One of the award recipients is one of Marshall’s own, Dr. Michael Norton. Norton received a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Grant for $210,000.

Congratulations!

 

 

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Wins Best Poster Award at Regional Society of Toxicology Meeting

Christopher Racine, a fourth year Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Candidate, won the Ohio Valley Regional Chapter/Charles River Laboratories Best Ph.D. Student Poster Presentation Award at the Ohio Valley Regional Society of Toxicology meeting held at the University of Louisville, Louisville Kentucky.

Racine_Chris_2013

Mr. Racine’s poster was entitled, “Role of renal biotransformation in 1,2,3-trichloro-4-nitrobenzene induced nephrotoxicity in vitro,” and co-authored by Travis Ferguson, Deborah Preston, Dianne K. Anestis and Dr. Gary O. Rankin. The project was designed to begin to determine how 1,2,3-trichloro-4-nitrobenzene, a commonly used chemical intermediate, causes damage to the kidney. Racine’s work explored if the kidney could directly change the chemical to a toxic form and whether oxidative damage might play a role in how the nitrobenzene compound damaged kidneys. His work documented that several different metabolizing enzyme systems could change the nitrobenzene compound to new toxic compounds called metabolites that harmed the kidney cells. He also found that chemical-induced oxidative damage was contributing to the mechanism by which the nitrobenzene was causing kidney toxicity.

Future work will explore which toxic metabolites are formed from 1,2,3-trichloro-4-nitrobenzene and what parts of the kidney cells these metabolites attack. Mr. Racine is currently conducting his research in the laboratory of Dr. Gary O. Rankin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Congratulations, Chris!

MU biomedical students showcase research

BILL ROSENBERGER
The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — Medical research that has an opportunity to affect the health and well-being of the general population should be celebrated, which is one of the reasons for the showcase at Pullman Plaza Hotel.

More than a dozen projects by Marshall University biomedical science graduate students and faculty members showcased their work as part of the ninth annual Biomedical Sciences Retreat. The event gives graduate students in the university’s biomedical sciences program an opportunity to share their research, including projects to study the effects of drugs on the kidney, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and how neurons respond to different patterns of neural activity.

Elsa Mangiarua, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, said Ph.D. students get to share their work with each other, while newly admitted Ph.D. students get to see some of the research they will be getting into.

“There are a lot of good projects with positive results in translational research,” said Rachel Murphy, who is a first-year student from Kansas. “It sets the bar high to help medical science advance to the next step. It’s definitely inspiring.”

Marcus_Terneus2013That was also the observation from Marcus Terneus, senior manager of global EH&S occupational toxicology at Mylan Pharmaceuticals. He is a 2006 graduate of the Marshall Ph.D. program and served as the afternoon’s keynote speaker.

“I’m very proud. It’s exciting to see the growth and what projects are going on,” Terneus said. “I keep close eyes on what students are doing.”

He also told the group that the education and research opportunities he received prepared him for what he’s seen during the past seven years.

“It’s given me what I needed to succeed,” he said.

The research also was noted as impressive because of how groundbreaking the results could be. Second-year student Justin Tomblin’s project centered on the link between obesity and breast cancer and how to block the growth of abnormal tissue.

In West Virginia, which has high obesity rates, that kind of research could help quite a few folks, he said.

“It definitely feels like you are doing something that may help friends or relatives,” Tomblin said.

John Maher, the vice president for research at Marshall and executive director of the Marshall University Research Corporation, said after hearing some presentations that Marshall has a very strong biomedical sciences program. He also noted that they are working on relevant and important problems pertaining to regional health care.

WV-INBRE summer research program wraps up with annual symposium

Undergraduate college students, the majority from West Virginia, showcased their summer research projects at Marshall University in July as part of the 12th Annual West Virginia IDeA Network for Biomedical Research (WV-INBRE) Summer Research Symposium.  MU INBRE and SRIMS Group Photo 2013The projects, which were researched under the direction of faculty mentors during an intensive 9-week period, included studies on the treatment of chronic low back pain, treatment and prevention of obesity, the pathophysiology of infectious diseases, the harmful effects of diabetes on brain and cardiac function among others.

WV-INBRE, which is designed to support biomedical research in the state, is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Marshall University, in cooperation with West Virginia University and eleven other colleges and universities in the state.  The program allows students at undergraduate institutions research opportunities in labs at both Marshall and WVU.  In addition to the formal research Brandon Kirby, WV-INBRE intern from Bluefield State Collegetraining they receive, students attended workshops and seminars aimed at helping them understand the research process and graduate education.

This year’s summer research symposium featured keynote speaker, Brad Goodner, Ph.D., professor of Biology at Hiram College in Ohio.

Students in this year’s WV-INBRE program at Marshall University included Jaya Ale, University of Charleston; Joshua Easterling, University of Charleston; Bishnu Kafley, Berea College; Rebecca Martin, Davis and Elkins College; Hajer Mazagri, University of Charleston; Noah Mitchell, Bluefield State College;  Rishi Reddy, West Virginia State University; Anthony Schnelle, Wheeling Jesuit University; and Linh Vu, University of Charleston.

Annesha_King and Dr. Koc_3Also participating in this year’s symposium where three students with the university’s Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS) who worked closely with WV-INBRE interns.  They included Emmanuel “Manny” Rosas, University of Texas at Brownsville, Annesha King, University of the Virgin Islands and Ashlea Hendrickson, Oakwood University.

In addition to the participants listed above, students and faculty associated with WV-INBRE through other programs were selected to present their research findings in an oral presentation.  They are:

  • Jessica Allen, Concord University
  • Cara Halldin, Ph.D., an alumnus of the WV-INBRE program and currently an epidemiologist with the Centers for the Disease Control and PreventionMahavadi_2013
  • Kathy Loughman, John Marshall High School (WV-INBRE high school component)
  • Rebecca Martin, Davis & Elkins College
  • Sricharan Mahavadi, Shepherd University
  • Jennifer Franko, Ph.D., Biology Department, Bethany College

Applications for next year’s WV-INBRE internship will be available after January 1 at http://www.wv-inbre.net/.

Students interested in applying to the SRIMS program may find the application information at http://www.marshall.edu/wpmu/bms/future-students/summer-research-internship/.

Biomedical sciences student selected for Chancellor’s Scholar Program

Marshall University biomedical sciences graduate student Kristeena L. Ray has been selected for the university’s Chancellor’s Scholar Program, an initiative to help ensure the academic success of underrepresented minority doctoral students.

The program will provide Ray with a stipend of $10,000 per semester. In addition, she will receive mentoring and research opportunities through the university, networking opportunities through the Southern Regional Education Board doctoral scholars program, and financial support for her dissertation and thesis work.

A native of Glen Allen, Va., Ray received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Duke University in 2009. She worked as a research assistant at Duke and as a process development engineer at Talecris Biotherapeutics in Clayton, N.C. She has been a graduate student at Marshall since 2011.

“Kristeena is a truly outstanding graduate student and we are thrilled to present her with our first award from the new Chancellor’s Scholar Program,” said Dr. Shari Clarke, vice president for multicultural affairs. “The ideal candidate, she is dedicated, well-rounded and committed to her research.”

Kristeena Ray_webRay said, “Being part of this program is such a gift and an honor. The stipend lightens the burden of locating funding and allows me to really focus on my research. I am also excited to take advantage of the additional benefits, including networking opportunities and membership in key organizations in my field.”

Ray works in the lab of Dr. Nalini Santanam, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Her research is focused on endometriosis and the pain caused by the disease, which is characterized by cells normally present in the uterus migrating outside the organ and attaching to other places in the pelvis. At least one in seven women suffers from the condition.

Specifically, Ray is investigating the epigenetics of pain in endometriosis—the changes caused to DNA and genes by environment and lifestyle.

She said, “We’re looking at epigenetic markers in patients with endometriosis. We believe that our continuing research in this area will help us better understand what leads to endometriosis in some women and find alternate treatment options for its symptoms.

“Long-term, I am interested in the research and development behind drugs and therapies, such as one that may benefit women with endometriosis.”

In April, she presented her research at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which was held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology conference in Boston.

Ray serves as president of the Graduate Student Organization, is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and volunteers with the March of Dimes and the Tri-State Literacy Council.

The Chancellor’s Scholar Program at Marshall is funded through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

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BMS Professor Receives Distinguished Artists and Scholars Award

Congratulations to Dr. Monica A. Valentovic, for receiving Marshall University’s 2013 Distinguished Artists and Scholars Award!

Monica Valentovic, Ph.D.

The award is given annually to recognize distinction in the fields of artistic and scholarly activity on the part of the Marshall faculty. Dr. Valentovic, a professor of biomedical sciences and in the Marshall School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Toxicology, was the senior recipient for Sciences and Technology. In addition to the honor, she received $2,000.

When asked about receiving this praiseworthy award, Dr. Valentovic responded: “Receiving the Marshall University Distinguished Scholars and Artists Award is a very special honor that was quite unexpected. There are many individuals committed to research at the medical school who are very deserving. This award has motivated me to work toward increasing research opportunities for graduate students, medical students, undergraduates as well as residents.”

Congratulations, Dr. Valentovic!

To learn more about Dr. Valentovic and her accomplishments, please visit her webpage.

 

BMS Cancer researcher presents technology developed to help personalize chemotherapy

 

HFL-2_CHEMO-ID

Healthy for Life: ChemoID: What’s Next? [WCHS-TV Eyewitness News: July 12, 2013]

P-CHEMO-ID

Groundbreaking Cancer Research May Help Chemo Patients [WCHS-TV Eyewitness News:  July 5, 2013]

 

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University biomedical sciences researcher Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio traveled to a national medical meeting in Chicago earlier this month to present a technology he and his colleagues think will help physicians personalize chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.Claudio’s presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology focused on ChemoID, a system he has developed with Marshall biology professor Dr. Jagan Valluri to measure the sensitivity of patients’ tumors to chemotherapy drugs.

“Oncologists every day face many challenges in determining the best course of therapy for an individual cancer patient,” says Claudio. “The basic problem is that patients with similar diagnoses don’t always respond to the same chemotherapy. This technology we have developed could help physicians select the appropriate chemotherapy for an individual patient—giving them an edge in the fight against cancer.”

He says ChemoID is the first chemosensitivity test for both cancer stem-like cells and bulk tumor cells.

According to Claudio, cancer stem-like cells are a small, resilient subset of cells found in tumors. Current anticancer therapies are imperfect because they target the tumor without treating the root of the cancer—the small subpopulation of these tumor-initiating cancer stem cells thought to be responsible for recurrences. The result is that the tumor often shrinks but soon grows back. In addition, the stem-like cells appear to be preferentially resistant to both standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

He says more evaluation of the technology is needed, but a clinical trial on a small number of patients found ChemoID 100 percent accurate in predicting which drug is more effective in treating patients affected by brain cancer if the cancer stem-like cells are evaluated.

The upshot for a cancer patient, he says, is that ChemoID may make possible personalized treatment by predicting the most effective drug combination to successfully target that specific patient’s cancer—increasing the chance the drugs will work and perhaps reducing side effects by helping the patient avoid unnecessary drugs.

Claudio acknowledged the contributions of Dr. Anthony Alberico, chairman of the Department of Neuroscience at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, for providing the clinical samples, as well as his co-investigators at the school of medicine, McKown Translational Genomic Research Institute and Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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