Marshall Ph.D. student receives Chancellor’s Scholarship

Tenacious.  Passionate. Driven.  These are the words that Sean Piwarski uses to describe himself.

Piwarski is this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship, given to a student in Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program. The Chancellor’s Scholar Program is intended to recruit, educate and graduate underrepresented minority students in doctoral programs.  It offers a substantial tuition benefit and stipend as well as professional research and career development opportunities and a strong support network.  Further, it aims to provide support as the student transitions from his or her education into university faculty or administration roles.

Piwarski grew up in a bilingual, Hispanic household in California. He said that when he was a youngster, his mother provided “a lot of love” that allowed him to take risks and explore boundaries, while ensuring that he remained polite and stayed on the right path.  He was recruited to California Lutheran University on a football scholarship, where he double-majored in biology and chemistry.

One of his biggest influences was Dr. John Tannaci, who taught organic chemistry at California Lutheran, and to Piwarski’s surprise, made it fun and relatable.  Piwarski said that was not something that he often found in his science courses, so one of his goals is to bring that level of passion and interest to a new generation.

With his strong science background, Piwarski came to Marshall University to obtain his master’s degree in forensic science, focusing on toxicology and drug chemistry.  In deciding how to apply the knowledge and skills gained through that program, he realized that a Ph.D. was the logical next step, particularly with the interdisciplinary, team-based science program offered at Marshall.

Piwarski, Sean 2014Currently in his third year of a program that typically takes 5 to 6 years to complete, Piwarski is working with Dr. Travis Salisbury in the Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences cluster.  His research focuses on determining how certain chemical mechanisms in specific toxins may work to stop cancer metastasis.  He said it is a subject close to his heart, since several of his family members have lost battles with cancer.

Piwarski said that being the first Hispanic student to receive the Chancellor’s Scholarship is “very humbling,” and gives him the opportunity to pursue his passions.  He also said he believes that it gives validation to exploring his scientific ideas. When he was younger, he noticed that certain classes were considered to be only for the “smart people.”

“Science isn’t so much about being the smartest person in the room; it’s about tenacity,” Piwarski said.  “Try out creative ideas and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to further what is possible.”

Once he completes the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program, Piwarski says he will pursue an academic position where he can put the “swagger in science” and stimulate the same passion and drive for excellence in others.

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Biomedical Sciences research graduate has work on fatty acids published

Recent MU Biomedical Sciences Research M.S. graduate, William L. Patterson III, “Billy”, has authored a review on the relationship between omega-3 Fatty Acids (FA), inflammation and cancer with his graduate advisor, Dr. Philippe Georgel (Biomedical Science Graduate Program faculty in the Cancer Biology research cluster.)

Billy Patterson_news2014Mr. Patterson submitted a manuscript which reviewed the various pathways affected by omega-3 Fatty Acids related to cancer. The international journal, Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB), accepted this article for publication in May, and it appeared in a special edition of the BCB in July. This topic is highly relevant to the public interest regarding diet and health. It includes details of the biochemical processes that can be affected by the daily consumption of omega-3 Fatty Acids in the form of canola oil or fish products.

Dr. Georgel indicated that Mr. Patterson had performed the research for this analysis as a part of his thesis, and expressed the excitement that he always feels when a student’s work is recognized.

Since graduation, Billy continues to conduct research, but with Dr. Michael Norton (Biomedical Sciences Graduate Faculty, Neuroscience and Developmental Biology research cluster) on Marshall’s Huntington Campus.

For further information, please view the abstract for Patterson’s article.

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine releases the spring edition of its Professional Enhancement Newsletter (PEN)

Link to PENMarshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine has released the spring edition of its Professional Enhancement Newsletter (PEN). It is extremely informative about happenings in the fields of both clinical medicine and basic science research at Marshall University.

Twenty-five (25) Marshall University School of Medicine basic science faculty and biomedical sciences graduate students (and a few of our former faculty and students) are highlighted in this edition. They are recognized for numerous reasons ranging from winning teaching and/or service awards to receiving grant funding to publishing their research.

As you read the newsletter, look specifically for our BMS faculty and students; they are listed below in order of appearance in the newsletter:

Lora Beth Fetty, M.D. – former Medical Sciences’ student
Aaron Dom – former Medical Sciences’ student
Beverly Delidow, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Jung Han Kim, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Miranda Carper – Ph.D. candidate
Sarah Sexton – former Medical Sciences’ student
Richard M. Niles, Ph.D. – Vice Dean for Biomedical Sciences Research
Elsa I. Mangiarua, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Maria A. Serrat, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Uma Sundaram, M.D. – BMS faculty
Matt Christiansen, M.D. – former Medical Sciences’ student
Todd L. Green, Ph.D. – Director of Graduate Studies, BMS
Sasha N. Zill, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Mitchell Berk, Ph.D. – retired Anatomy professor
Susan Jackman, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Monica A. Valentovic, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Hongwei D. Yu, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Wei-ping Zeng, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., F.A.H.A., F.A.C.P., F.A.S.N. – School of Medicine Dean
Piyali Dasgupta, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Travis Salisbury, Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Jiang Liu, M.D., Ph.D. – BMS faculty
Nader G. Abraham, Ph.D., Dr. H.C., F.A.H.A. – Vice Dean for Research

Student researchers from 11 institutions participating in summer research opportunities at Marshall University

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Sixteen undergraduate students from 11 institutions are spending the summer conducting biomedical research in Marshall University’s laboratories. The students are participating in nine-week programs offered through the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) and the university’s Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS) initiative.

Dr. Elsa I. Mangiarua is a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and directs the WV-INBRE summer program. She said both programs allow participants to gain valuable, hands-on experience doing graduate-level research in the labs of some of Marshall’s top scientists.

“We are providing in-depth, mentored research opportunities for very talented undergraduates,” she said. “The programs also promote awareness of Marshall’s graduate degree programs and available careers in biomedical research.”

Kelly Carothers, who coordinates the SRIMS program, agreed, adding, “This is a chance for these students to do meaningful laboratory research, network with others in their field and enhance their academic competitiveness for graduate school.”

While at Marshall, the interns are working in the university’s state-of-the-art facilities on research projects related to cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, neuroscience, toxicology, immunological diseases and bioinformatics.

MU INBRE and SRIMS Group Photo 2013

SRIMS and WV-INBRE students and mentors at 2013 Research Symposium

The students will present their research results at a symposium at the end of the summer.

 

In addition to the formal research training they each receive from their Marshall faculty mentors, the interns are taking part in workshops and seminars about a variety of topics related to research and graduate education. Students in the two programs attend the same seminars and interact socially through a bowling outing, hiking and other special events outside of the laboratory environment.

Students participating in the WV-INBRE summer program include:

  • Rebecca Goydel, Fairmont State University (Dr. Eric Blough, mentor)
  • Alnairouz Katrib, West Virginia State University (Dr. Beverly Delidow, mentor)
  • Ankita Khunt, University of Charleston (Dr. Richard Egleton, mentor)
  • Jonathan Kinder, Bluefield State College (Dr. Piyali Dasgupta, mentor)
  • Kyle Lehosit, Bethany College (Dr. Hongwei Yu, mentor)
  • Renuka Mahatara, University of Charleston (Dr. Monica Valentovic, mentor)
  • Kenny Nguyen, University of Charleston (Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, mentor)
  • Courtney Pierron, University of Charleston (Dr. Sandrine Pierre, mentor)
  • KM Tanim, West Virginia State University (Dr. Travis Salisbury, mentor)
  • Jordan Tate, West Virginia Wesleyan College (Dr. Gary Rankin, mentor)
  • Judith Urbanic, Glenville State College (Dr. Larry Grover, mentor)
  • Linh Vu, University of Charleston (Dr. Monica Valentovic, mentor)

The WV-INBRE program also sponsors summer fellowships for instructors. This year’s fellowship recipient is Dr. Sobha Gorugantula, an assistant professor of chemistry at Alderson Broaddus University, who is working with Dr. Travis Salisbury.

WV-INBRE is funded through a $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Marshall—in partnership with researchers at West Virginia University—received the award to help build expertise in biomedical research.

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SRIMS and WV-INBRE 2013 interns, Ashlea Hendrickson and Becca Martin, out bowling

Students in this year’s SRIMS program are:

  • Luisa Hernandez, Fayetteville State University (Dr. Zijian Xie, mentor)
  • Steven Paniagua, University of California-Santa Cruz (Dr. Jung Han Kim, mentor)
  • Sheryl Vermudez, Chaminade University (Dr. Gary Rankin, mentor)
  • Saidah Wright, Claflin University (Dr. Jung Han Kim, mentor)

Support for the SRIMS program comes from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research, and private donations to the Marshall University Foundation SRIMS fund.

Each intern receives a stipend. Depending on the program in which they are participating, they may also receive room and board, and reimbursement for travel to and from Marshall.

For more information about the WV-INBRE program, visit www.wv-inbre.org or contact Mangiarua at mangiaru@marshall.edu or 304-696-6211. For more information about the SRIMS program, visit www.marshall.edu/bms/srims or contact Carothers at carothers@marshall.edu or 304-696-7279.

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Press Contact:  Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304-746-1964 (o) or 304-552-1287 (c), www.marshall.edu/murc

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!

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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.

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. 

WV Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol 2014

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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!