Sundaram appointed to the West Virginia Science and Research Council

sundaram_biopicUma Sundaram, M.D., vice dean for research and graduate education at the School of Medicine has been appointed to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s
Science and Research Council.

The Science and Research Council provides expertise and policy guidance in science and research to state
policymakers, encourages research collaboration among institutions and promotes science, technology,
engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Daron-Mathis successfully earns her Ph.D.

Sarah Daron-Mathis has successfully defended her dissertation entitled: Cancer Stem Cells in the Screening of Anticancer Drugs for Central Nervous System Tumors. This research focused on the development of a test to predict the outcome of specific therapeutic treatments to give an individual patient the best results. After a surgery, it is often difficult to know which anti-cancer drug(s) will be most effective in continuing to treat a tumor. Daron-Mathis stated,The test is novel in that it not only looks at the whole tumor, but also at the subpopulation that is resistant and causes relapse in a patient. Determining the chemotherapeutic drug that will work on the whole of the tumor and also this resistant population, we can better predict which drug will give the patient the most optimal outcome.”

Sarah Daron-Mathis 4.28.15 Use2Pier Paulo Claudio. M.D./Ph.D., Sarah’s mentor, noted that Sarah has “conducted progressive, out-of-the-box, cancer research in the Translational Laboratories at the McKown Translational Genomic Research Institute (TGRI), Edwards Cancer Center,” as well as spending six months doing research at the National Center for Research in Rome, Italy. For that experience, “several experiments involving the effects of microgravity on stem cell growth were repeated by an independent laboratory,” Dr. Claudio stated. Claudio also pointed out several successful presentations at STaR Symposium, the American Society for Gravitational Space Biology, the American Institute for Cancer Research conference in Washington DC, the Cell Differentiation and Development Center symposium, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science Spring Conference, the Annual Marshall University Research Day at the School of Medicine, the Appalachian Regional Cell Conference, and Life in Space for Life on Earth that was held in France. Notably, Sarah won three First Place Posters during these conferences.

As Daron-Mathis reflected upon her time in the Biomedical Program, she found that it had not been easy but she had the strength to persevere. “I worked with people from all over the world and not only gained scientific experience but also culture and friendship. I am very thankful to my committee for their understanding as I worked through medical problems. If it wasn’t for that support, I would not have finished. In the last six years I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, married, began to raise a family, learned Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, had a baby girl, and now have received my Ph.D. Getting the Ph.D. was the second hardest thing I have ever done (having my daughter is by far #1.)”

Congratulations, Sarah Daron-Mathis, Ph.D. on everything that you have accomplished!

Nande successfully defends dissertation

NandeRounak P. Nande successfully defended his dissertation: Investigation of ultrasound -targeted microbubbles as a therapeutic gene delivery system for prostate cancer. Nande’s research in the laboratory of Pier Paulo Claudio, M.D./Ph.D., focused on utilizing these microbubbles to carry adenoviral vectors with therapeutic genes to a cancerous tumor site. This delivery is shielded from discovery and quick deterioration by the immune system. According to Rounak, “this is particularly important in cancer gene therapy for potentially inaccessible tumors because the microbubbles may also limit the amount of inflammatory response to the viruses and may allow repeated injections. Thus, our novel viral delivery technique mediated by microbubbles and ultrasound brings new hope to the frontier of gene therapy and its use in clinical settings.​​”

Rounak has presented several posters of his research at different conferences in the USA such as American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT), Star Symposium, Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), Experimental Biology Conference (EB), Annual Research Day at the school of medicine, and the Appalachian Regional Cell Conference (ARCC). Also, he has presented orally at the annual research day for four consecutive years. Rounak’s “accolades include receiving a travel award from Marshall University for the Experimental Biology Conference, and a paid trip to an international meeting for winning the Best Overall Performance as a Graduate Student award in 2014. Additionally, since ARCC’s inception, Rounak has won 1st or 2nd place in poster competition for every ARCC conference entered. Lastly, he has received the NASA West Virginia space grant in the years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015,” said Dr. Pier Paulo Claudio, Nande’s mentor. Claudio also stated that Nande’s research has resulted in two publications – a first author and a second author – in addition to a book chapter in Cutting Edge Therapies for Cancer in the 21st Century.

Congratulations on your graduation, Rounak Nande, Ph.D.!

Ahmad receives national recognition for leadership and service at Marshall

Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Candidate Taha Ahmad was recognized on May 1 as a distinguished leader and volunteer at Marshall University. The outgoing president of the Graduate Student Organization was amongst a group of students chosen to represent Marshall in the national ‘Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Ahmad, Taha_Who's Who National Recognition2015Colleges’. Since 1934 membership in the Who’s Who honors program has marked “a pinnacle of scholastic achievement” for recipients from over 1,000 colleges and universities. This year’s Marshall honorees were celebrated as part of the larger Leadership & Service Awards. The Marshall University Office of Student Affairs hosted the awards in the MU Foundation Hall to identify students that are making an impact on their school as well as their community.

Congratulations Taha!!

Second Annual BMS International Food Festival a success


GSOBMSGroupThe 2nd Annual Biomedical Sciences (BMS) International Food Festival was recently held at the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center’s second floor lounge. Sponsored by the Graduate Student Organization (GSO), students in Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine BMS Program along with some of its faculty, provided delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts to delight those lucky (and early) enough to enjoy.

Group at FoodMost cooks brought a favorite childhood dish or an offering that represents their ethnic background. Touring the world with freshly mashed guacamole and corn tortillas to Nepalese dumplings and other Asian favorites, on to Europe with sausage rolls, fettuccine, and fabulous desserts, and finally back to the Caribbean featuring spicy jerk chicken and Bahamian beans and rice, diners were treated to a fabulous journey.

Sean PiwarskiDr. Piyali Dasgupta loves different international cuisines and is happy to support the Student Organization, so she was excited to attend the Food Festival. GSO Historian, Rachel Murphy, agreed, saying, “the food is bangin’.”

Taha AhmadAlthough scheduled to run until 2pm, the lunch line had to close early since the tasty food disappeared so quickly. Taha Ahmad, GSO President, was pleased with the outcome. “The donations that we receive for this festival go to the scholarships that we provide. The more money that we can bring in with events like this, the more that we can support the people in our program with additional funding to attend scientific workshops, conferences, and other educational needs.”

Great cause, great conversation, great food. Yum!

Co-Directors named for biomedical sciences graduate program

Richard Egleton, Ph.D., associate professor, department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology and Todd L. Green, associate professor, department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology have been appointed co-directors of the biomedical sciences graduate program, Uma Sundaram, M.D., vice dean for research and graduate education announced today.

Egleton joined the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in 2007.  His key research areas of interest include blood brain barrier (BBB), drug delivery and role of the BBB in disease.  Green has been with the School of Medicine since 1991 and is involved in cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and neuroscience research.

The biomedical sciences graduate program at Marshall is an interdisciplinary program leading to the master of science and/or doctor of philosophy degrees in biomedical sciences.   For more information, visit

Pictured from left to right: Uma Sundaram, M.D., vice dean for research and graduate education, Richard Egleton, Ph.D., new co-director for the biomedical sciences graduate program, Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Todd L. Green, Ph.D., newly named co-director for the biomedical sciences graduate program.


Marshall School of Medicine researcher to receive national anatomy award – Marshall University represented by multi-disciplinary researchers at Experimental Biology conference

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—Maria A. Serrat, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of anatomy and pathology at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Basmajian Award by the American Association of Anatomists.

serrat photoSerrat will be recognized during the organization’s Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology which started at the end of March in Boston.

The Basmajian Award recognizes members teaching human or veterinary gross anatomy, in the formative stages of their career, who have made outstanding accomplishments in biomedical research or scholarship in education.

“I am indebted to Dr. Laura Richardson for nominating me for this prestigious award, and for supporting my research and professional development since I joined the department in 2009,” Serrat said. “I could not have made such achievements without the support of Dr. Richardson and our chairman of anatomy and pathology, Dr. Linda Brown.”

Serrat’s research specializes in growth and morphology of the postnatal skeleton. One area of grant-funded focus is on heat-enhanced molecular delivery to skeletal growth plates.

Serrat graduated from Miami University in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She then earned her master’s degree in anthropology from Kent State University and followed with a doctorate in biological anthropology from Kent State University in 2007. She completed postdoctoral training at Cornell University from 2008 to 2009.

In addition to receiving the award, Serrat will present “Imaging IGF-I uptake in growth plate cartilage using in vivo multiphoton microscopy” in a special symposium that she organized titled “Vascular and connective tissue imaging in situ: returning bone to the skeleton.”

In other conference news, school of medicine researcher Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, will lead a special symposium, “Pharmacogenetics and Drug Toxicity.”

Several Marshall graduate students were selected for graduate student travel awards for this year’s conference and will be showcasing their research through both oral and poster presentations. They are:

Jenna-KerbyJenna C. Kerby, first-year medical student, “Temperature-enhanced extremity lengthening is growth rate dependent.” Kerby was selected as one of only eight trainees to give an oral presentation in the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology Section of the American Physiological Society’s Abstract-Driven Trainee Featured Topic.

Caroline-2013-for-webCaroline Ann Hunter, biomedical sciences Ph.D. student, travel award received from American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), “c-Src regulates mitochondrial translation by phosphorylation of elongation factor Tu.”

Racine_Chris_2013Christopher Racine, biomedical sciences Ph.D. candidate, travel award received from American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), “Oxidative stress induced following exposure to 3,5-dichloroaniline (3,5-DCA) in vitro: Role in Nephrotoxicity.

Holly L. Tamski, biomedical sciences Ph.D. candidate, travel award from American Association of Anatomists (AAA), “Infrared Thermal Imaging to Collect Quantitative Surface Temperatures from Mice in Unilateral Limb Heating Study.”

Res07 Justin Kirk TomblinJustin K. Tomblin, biomedical sciences Ph.D. candidate, recipient of the Best Research Performance Award from Marshall’s biomedical sciences program which provides travel to a national meeting, “Pyrrolidine Dithiocarbamate Selectively Induces Autophagy and Cell Death in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells.”


Undergraduate student Miles Gray, a senior biochemistry major, is also traveling to the conference. In addition to the student researchers, Marshall University faculty, from a variety of disciplines and programs, are scheduled to present their findings.

Researchers from the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program,  Forensic Science Graduate Program, the School of Pharmacy, and the School of Medicine will present at the meeting which runs through April 1.

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