Mixer brings biomedical and medical school students together

Students from the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BMS) and first-year Joan C.Edwards School of Medicine class enjoyed a mixer on March 18. Around 20 people, including several MS-1 class officers and BMS Graduate Student OrganizationMixer event_March 2015 leaders, shared fun conversations, chips, fruit, brownies, and sloppy joe sandwiches at the Byrd Clinical Center. After all, it was National Sloppy Joe Day!

These gatherings will be held once per semester to assist in developing comfortable relationships and peer networks between the clinical and research area participants.

Racine publishes with Rankin’s lab

Chris Racine, a Marshall Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidate, has been involved with two papers accepted for publication since October.

Racine RankinThe first manuscript, 3,4,5-Trichloroaniline nephrotoxicity in vitro: Potential role of free radicals and renal biotransformation, was published in the well-respected International Journal of Molecular Sciences in a Special Issue: Renal Toxicology—Epidemiology and Mechanisms. Racine is the first author on this publication. Please see http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/15/11/20900 to view the entire article.

Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D. authored the second paper with Mr. Racine and others in the lab including Adam Sweeny, Travis FergusonDeborah Preston, and Dianne K. Anestis. 4-amino-2-chlorophenol: Comparative in vitro nephrotoxicity and mechanisms of bioactivation was published in Chemico-Biological Interactions. This journal ranks in the top 25% of toxicology journals. The full article is available here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009279714002750

Chris conducts research in the lab of Dr. Rankin, a member of the Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences Cluster. Rankin’s lab explores the role that the kidney plays in metabolizing compounds used as intermediates in the production of a wide variety of agricultural products. Exposure to these compounds can occur both in industrial and environmental settings, and therefore, an understanding of the activation mechanism is important for better insight into kidney health.

School of Medicine researchers continue to battle endometriosis in laboratory

Nalini Santanam, PhD, MPHA pair of School of Medicine researchers is making great strides in understanding endometriosis, a disorder that often leads to chronic pain and/or infertility in many women of reproductive age. Dr. Nalini Santanam, Professor, Department of Pharma- cology, Physiology & Toxicology and Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidate Kristeena Ray Wright have published two publications in the last two months regarding their research on endometriosis and pain. The first, “Power over Pain: a brief overview of current and novel interventions for endometriosis associated pain” was published in the Journal of Endometriosis and  Pelvic Pain Disorders at the end of 2014.

The second manuscript “Oxidation Sensitive Nociception Involved in Endometriosis Associated Pain”, is published in “Pain” which is a top impact journal in pain research, in January 2015. This study summarizes some of the seminal work performed in Dr. Santanam’s laboratory over the past several years that led to a ground-breaking discovery in the mechanisms of pain in endo- metriosis.

Both publications were in collaboration with Dr. Brenda Mitchell, Professor Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Recent Biomedical Sciences graduate, Miranda Carper, PhD, publishes in prestigious journal

Miranda Carper, Ph.D., a December 2014 graduate of Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program, had her manuscript published in Genes and Cancer, a leading journal in the field. Dr. Carper worked in the lab of Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D./Ph.D.

RGS16, a novel p53 and pRb cross-talk candidate inhibits migration and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells focuses on the identification of a protein that is able to inhibit Carper, Miranda_12.14.14pancreatic cancer cell invasion and migration. The research provides information on why this protein is down-regulated in metastatic pancreatic cancer and makes the case for continued investigation. Read the entire article here (November Issue): http://www.impactjournals.com/Genes&Cancer/files/papers/1/43/43.pdf.

Congratulations on your publication and recent graduation, Dr. Miranda B. Carper!

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