Ph.D. candidate Siva Nalabotu presents at seminar series in Charleston

On October 6th, Ph.D. candidate Siva Nalabotu was the guest lecturer at the Research Brown Bag Lecture at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UC SOP). The Research Brown Bag Lecture Series at UC SOP helps pharmacy students to stay abreast of the latest developments in diverse fields of research. Siva learned of the opportunity to speak at the lunch lecture series through Dr. Michelle Herdman, an assistant professor at UC SOP who is an alumnus of the Marshall University Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

Before this invitation, Siva had only spoken outside of Marshall once, giving a poster presentation at the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting last March. He says that Dr. Herdman and Dr. Gagan Khuashal were very helpful throughout the experience, and that the faculty and students were very welcoming. Siva highly recommends this speaking opportunity to others. He says the experience encouraged him to give further presentations outside Marshall when given the chance. He would like to express his thanks to Dr. Herdman for arranging this experience and to his audience for being so accommodating. Everyone seemed to appreciate the opportunity to learn about the potential problems of the application of nanotechnology within organisms.

Siva’s presentation, “Nanomaterials and Nanotoxicity: Should we be scared?” discusses both the beneficial and potentially dangerous qualities of nanomaterials. According to Siva, his topic seemed to be of special interest to the pharmacy students, as nanotechonology has tremendous potential to treat various medical conditions. Although pharmacy students may be aware of the applications of nanotechnology, they may not often come across information on toxicity of nanomaterials and the reasons for these toxicities. His presentation draws a clear connection between the good and bad effects of nanomaterials.

Specifically, Siva’s research targets the toxicological effects of cerium oxide nanoparticles. These nanoparticles have been shown to be excellent antioxidants that show promise in treating a variety of medical conditions. In addition, they have industrial applications as an additive in polishes, abrasives, and fuels. Siva’s research evaluates the fates of cerium oxide nanoparticles in rats and the ways in which they interact with various organ systems. Nanomaterials are being used ever more progressively, making it crucial to understand their potential effects on living organisms.

Siva says that he has seen a “tremendous change” in his oral presentation skills since joining the BMS Ph.D. program. He now feels confident when speaking in front of an audience. He also credits the program with preparing him to give effective presentations for both lay and scientific audiences. According to Siva, Dr. Delidow’s Communication Skills class and her interest in teaching effective presentation skills were especially helpful in allowing him to become comfortable speaking in front of an audience. He also singles out his advisor, Dr. Eric Blough, for teaching him how to prepare effective presentation slides and to keep the audience engaged in a presentation. He says that Dr. Blough has been a tremendous help every step of the way in his professional career at Marshall, including being his advisor for his Master’s in Biology before he began pursuing a Ph.D.

Great job representing the Marshall BMS Program, Siva! 

Dr. Georgel and BMS doctoral student J. Adam Hall co-author chapter

Philippe Georgel, Ph.D.Marshall University doctoral student J. Adam Hall and faculty member Dr. Philippe T. Georgel have collaborated to write a chapter for a new book focusing on RNA processing in animal and plant cells.

Their chapter describes the interaction between RNA splicing and chromatin, and appears in the book “RNA Processing,” which was edited by Paula Grabowski and published in August. The book is freely available online through open access publisher InTech.

In describing their research, Hall explains that RNA, or ribonucleic acid, acts as the “middle man” of molecular biology. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the carrier of basic genetic information. A cell uses DNA to make RNA, which in turn makes proteins.

Hall says that alterations to RNA can have a significant influence on the type and/or amount of protein produced, creating crucial differences in the identity of the cell and how it functions. The study of these modifications caused by factors outside of the DNA sequence itself is known as “epigenetics.”

“Factors and mechanisms involved in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression and protein production have been linked to a variety of human diseases and developmental disorders,” said Hall. “Furthering the knowledge of these epigenetic processes and the factors involved, including the information we highlighted for this publication, will be a crucial component of translating scientific advances into potential medical breakthroughs down the road.”

Georgel added, “In recent years, a much better understanding of gene regulation has led to many important breakthroughs in the fields of cellular differentiation, development and disease. The specific mechanism of regulation we describe in this chapter has never been reported before in any biological system, so we think it could be an important contribution to the existing body of work.”

J. Adam Hall, Ph.D. studentA native of Crown City, Ohio, Hall received his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Marshall in 2005 and started his doctoral studies in 2006. He finished his graduate coursework with a 4.0 grade point average and was awarded the Biomedical Sciences program’s top award for academic performance in 2007 and research performance in 2008. In 2009, Hall became the first Marshall student to receive the prestigious National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein Pre-doctoral Fellowship, which provided two years of support totaling more than $70,000. He will complete his Ph.D. in December and plans to continue his scientific career in the field of epigenetics, with a focus on translational research.

Georgel is a professor of biological sciences and director of Marshall’s Cell Differentiation and Development Center. He has been at Marshall since 2002.

The complete chapter is available at http://www.intechopen.com/source/pdfs/18456/InTech-The_worlds_of_splicing_and_chromatin_collide.pdf.

For more information, contact Georgel at georgel@marshall.edu or call 304-696-3965.

2011 SRIMS participant wins travel award to present at national conference

Rebecca Furby, 2011 SRIMS studentRebecca Furby, a participant of the 2011 SRIMS program at Marshall University, has won an award from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, or FASEB, to present at a national conference. The FASEB Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program’s mission statement is to “achieve greater participation in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise of this country by individuals from underrepresented minority groups.” Underrepresented minority undergraduate and graduate students, post-baccalaureates, postdoctorates, junior faculty, and faculty scientists in the behavioral and biomedical sciences are eligible to apply for the award.

The MARC program reimburses students for meeting registration and travel-related expenses, including lodging and transportation. Rebecca Furby will be using her award to attend the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) 2011 meeting in St. Louis, MO, November 9-12. According to its website, the ABRCMS meeting is the largest professional conference for biomedical and behavioral science students and attracts over 3,300 participants from more than 350 U.S. colleges and universities. In addition to poster and oral presentations, students have the opportunity to network with representatives from graduate schools, summer research internships, government agencies, and professional scientific societies.

Rebecca researched in Dr. Nalini Santanam’s lab over the summer. Dr. Santanam, a professor in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, studies obesity, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive endocrinology within the Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, and Diabetes research cluster.

Congratulations, Rebecca, on winning the FASEB MARC award!

To learn more, use the following links:

BMS Program celebrates Seventh Annual Biomedical Sciences Research Retreat

Students attending the research retreatOn August 19, the faculty, staff, and students of the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program gathered together for the Seventh Annual Biomedical Sciences Research Retreat. Held at the Ramada Limited in Huntington, the retreat served as an excellent opportunity to socialize in an informal setting over a tasty lunch, share research projects and advancements, welcome a guest alumni speaker, and present awards for outstanding service and research. Dr. Elsa Mangiarua organized the event, as she does every year. Thanks to her guidance the event, as always, went smoothly and was a great success.

The event began with a buffet lunch, followed by time to mingle and view research posters. After lunch, a lively discussion commenced as research students and faculty members discussed their research projects with each other. Although this is a small group that interacts frequently, events such as this still evoke quite a bit of exchange and interest.

George Kamphaus, Ph.D.The poster presentations were followed by a seminar delivered by Dr. George Kamphaus, a graduate of the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program who completed a Post-Doc at Harvard. He delivered a seminar entitled “Fc-Fusion of Clotting Factor IX: Development of a Long-acting Clotting Factor.” Dr. Kamphaus is currently a Senior Scientist working for Syntonix Pharmaceuticals. There is currently only one drug on the market targeted to treated Hemophilia B, and his company is working diligently to change this fact. Currently, Hemophilia B patients must receive injections of this drug twice weekly to treat their disease. The drug that Syntonix is developing is a clotting factor that has a longer duration of action, enabling patients to instead receive weekly injections. According to Dr. Kamphaus, there are patients in India suffering from this condition who must currently travel more than 12 hours to receive their injections; a drug that can be injected once weekly will make a significant difference in the lives of such patients.

During his seminar, Dr. Kamphaus spoke highly of the BMS Ph.D. Program, expressing that it prepared him well for a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Unlike more established academic programs that may employ a silo structure, pharmaceutical companies are often smaller start-ups that require researchers to frequently interact. According to Dr. Kamphaus, the interdisciplinary nature of the BMS Program prepared him well for this. He also spoke fondly of the level of concern from BMS Program instructors: “They care about their students, and this really comes across. The individual attention to students is extraordinary, and much different than what you would find in other programs. I think this sets up BMS graduates well for success.”

After the seminar, a representative from each research cluster delivered a short presentation covering current cluster research. Ben Owen, a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience and Developmental Biology Cluster, discussed his research on action potentials; Aileen Marcelo, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, and Diabetes Cluster, spoke of her work focusing on VEGF; Johannes Fahrmann, a Ph.D. Student in the Cancer Biology Cluster, discussed the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on downregulating NFkB within early-stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Dr. Gary Rankin of the Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences Cluster updated the group on his work on genetic polymorphisms and unexpected methodone mortality; and Dr. Wei-ping Zeng of the Infectious and Immunological Diseases Cluster elaborated on his work with CD4 T cell differentiation.

Paula KounsThe cluster updates were followed by the presentation of awards for the 2010-2011 school year. Miranda Carper, President of the BMS GSO, presented the faculty awards. Awards were given to Dr. Travis Salisbury for Faculty Appreciation and Paula Kouns for Staff Appreciation. Dr. Salisbury was lauded for his accessibility to students. A student who nominated Dr. Salisbury remarked, “I appreciate the fact that he talks to me like an equal or a colleague.” In praise of Paula Kouns, another student stated: “Outside of being a genuinely nice and caring person, Paula goes above and beyond as our department secretary.”

 

Dr. Richard Niles presented the graduate student awards. The following students received awards: 

Sunil Kakarla, Ph.D. candidateBest Research Performance (Plaque and a paid trip to a national meeting up to $2,000): Sunil Kakarla

 

 

 

 

Anne Silvis, Ph.D. candidateBest Overall Performance as a Graduate Student (Plaque and a paid trip to an international meeting, up to $3,500): Anne Silvis

 

 

 

 

Highest GPA for a First Year Medical Sciences student (Plaque): Ross DeChant, Brittany Wall

Highest GPA for a First Year Research student (Plaque): Steven Rogers

Lotspeich Award ($1,000): Jesse Thornton

Best Creative Title for the Inaugural Issue of the BMS Magazine ($100): Miranda Carper

Thank you to our participants, speakers and award-winners. Also, a big thank you goes out to Dr. Mangiarua for doing such a great job in organizing the event! We look forward to seeing everyone at the gathering again next year.

2011 incoming students join in annual BMS Program picnic

Billy Howard, DVMOn August 18th, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program hosted a picnic in honor of incoming students in the Medical Sciences, Research Master’s, and Ph.D. programs. This annual event provides an opportunity for all participants in the BMS Program (students, staff, and faculty alike) to interact in a fun and relaxing environment.

The picnic has been held at Rotary Park for the last three years. As always, the event involved a lot of food and fun.

BMS Ph.D. candidate Mike Brown presents paper at symposium in Ireland

Mike Brown, Ph.D. candidateMike Brown, a Ph.D. candidate in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, recently presented at the Lipid Biology and Lipotoxicity Symposium in Kerry, Ireland. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Science Foundation of Ireland. The symposium focused on metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, conditions of high prevalence in West Virginia.

Mike’s paper is entitled “S-Adenosyl-L-methionine Attenuation of Lipid Peroxidation Markers Following Acetaminophen Toxicity.” Acetaminophen toxicity induces cellular changes that generate a reactive substance called 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE). 4-HNE can become adducted to proteins through lipid peroxidation, which is the free radical break down of lipids. According to Mike, before this study, no one had studied exactly how this by-product binds to proteins. S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) has many important functions in the liver and serves as the body’s main defense mechanism against oxidative stress. It helps to replenish the cellular supply of glutathione, an important antioxidant that is depleted by acetaminophen poisoning. Mike prepared this paper in coordination with research technician John G. Ball, and his mentor, Dr. Monica Valentovic. His research is part of an ongoing collaboration with the University of Arizona that has been in existence for five years.

Although Mike has been to many conferences, this was his first time attending a Keystone Symposium. Keystone is a non-profit organization that, according to its mission statement, “is dedicated to connecting the scientific community for the benefit of the world community and accelerating life science discovery.” Mike calls the event an “immersive experience” that spanned seven days and included a plethora of oral presentations on cutting-edge science. Attendees came from across Europe and from as far as Asia, and Mike valued the opportunity to interact with people from such diverse places. In addition, Mike was able to see much of Southwest Ireland, as the meeting allowed plenty of unstructured time for participants to engage in local tourism. Mike’s travels included Blarney Castle, home of the famous Blarney Stone of St. Patrick’s Day lore. He also had the opportunity to travel to the town of Killorglin to participate in the King Puck festival, one of Ireland’s oldest celebrations, in which a wild goat is caught and crowned king.

In order to qualify to attend and present at the conference, Mike was required to submit an abstract of his research, which had to withstand a selection process. He recommends the conference highly, as it provided an intimate setting of only a few hundred participants. Mike has attended conferences with thousands of attendees, and he appreciated the opportunity to have more one-on-one time to discuss his poster.

Mike’s travel to the conference was funded for by the Biomedical Science Graduate Program’s Best Overall Performance Award of 2010. Each year, this award is given to a BMS Graduate Student with the best overall combination of academic achievement, research achievement, and service to the BMS Graduate Program. It provides $3500 toward attendance at an international research meeting. The award covers airfare, accommodations, and conference fees.

For Mike, the greatest benefit of the conference was the opportunity to gain valuable résumé-building experience. “The opportunity to attend an international conference is invaluable,” he says, “and this is something that Marshall makes a good push to get students to do.” Mike was even approached with a post-doctoral opportunity, proof of the amazing networking opportunities such a conference brings.

To learn more about the Lipid Biology and Lipotoxicity Symposium, you can review Keystone Symposia’s Lipid Biology and Lipotoxicity Symposium website.

Aileen Marcello to present at international symposium in Barcelona

Aileen Marcello, Ph.D. candidateAileen Marcello, a Ph.D. graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences Program at Marshall University, has been invited to present a poster at the International Symposium in Cerebral Blood Flow, Metabolism, and Function in Barcelona, Spain. She will present her research project entitled “Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Signaling and Its Potential Role at the Blood Brain Barrier in Diabetes.” This is Aileen’s first time attending an international conference, which she learned of from Dr. Egleton, who has previously attended. You can download Aileen’s research abstract at this link.

I recently interviewed Aileen to get her thoughts on attending, and the following is a transcript of that exchange.


Question: How did you learn about the conference, and what is its significance in your field?
Answer: I heard about the conference from Dr. Egleton, as he has been to this conference before. It is my first international conference so obviously I’m very excited. I will probably meet some familiar faces in Barcelona, as some of the experts in the blood brain barrier field will be there. Hence, this conference is significant in my field because of the blood brain barrier connection, but also it will give me an opportunity to see what other scientists are doing in the area of cerebrovascular research. This is especially important since I am a senior graduate student, and I’m sort of “testing the waters” as to where I may go when I “retire” from being a graduate student.

Question: What was the application process like?
Answer: The application process is fairly similar to other conferences. I had to submit an abstract, signifying that I was interested in attending the conference. The abstracts are pooled together and the committee will select abstracts to be included in the conference. So, acceptance of your abstract is an invitation to register for the conference, as not all abstracts are accepted. Upon registration, you have to submit a letter from the head of the department (Dr. Rankin) to show evidence that you are indeed a graduate student. After that, you can book your hotel through the conference website.

Question: How do you feel about being accepted and being able to travel to this conference?
Answer: It’s an honor to be accepted to such a prestigous conference. I think this is one of the important conferences to attend in my area of research, and to go as a graduate student is exciting because it will surely give me avenues to think about when I pursue my career outside of graduate school.

Question: Will you be able to stay the full four days?
Answer: I will be gone all week!!! I leave on May 23 and arrive in Barcelona on the 24th. So that gives me a couple of hours to relax and enjoy the scenery. I believe I present on the 26th (have to double check on that) so I hope to experience more of Barcelona and enjoy some tapas.

Question: Will you be able to do any travel activities outside of the conference?
Answer: As in sight seeing? I hope so. I’ve been to Barcelona before so my plan is to go to the places I didn’t have a chance to see. Picasso Museum!!!

Question: What are you hoping to bring back to Marshall from this experience?
Answer: I hope to get some fresh ideas on which direction to take my research.

Question: Is there anything else you’d like to say about this opportunity?
Answer: I AM TOTALLY EXCITED TO BE LEAVING THE AREA FOR A WEEK!!!

BMS Medical Sciences students hold 2011 Spring Minisymposium

On April 12th and 15th, students enrolled in the Medical Sciences Program participated in the Spring 2011 Medical Sciences Minisymposium. Held each year, this event provides Medical Sciences students the experience of researching, organizing, and presenting a 20-minute talk on a topic of their choice. The theme of this year’s minisymposium was cancer, and this year’s participants presented on breast, testicular, lung, skin, and brain cancer.

The Medical Sciences area of emphasis is a two-year, non-thesis Master’s of Sciences degree offered by the Marshall University Biomedical Sciences Program. Most students enrolled in this program are pursuing admission to doctoral programs in medicine or other allied health sciences or health professions. In addition to attending courses side-by-side with medical students, each semester, Medical Sciences students participate in a Seminar course that focuses on improving the presentation skills of graduate students. Dr. Egleton, the course director, views this speaking opportunity as an advantage to students applying to medical school and other doctoral programs, as it gives them experience that will aid them in their application interviews.

To learn more about the Medical Sciences Program at Marshall University, please refer to the Medical Sciences page.

BMS Graduate Student Organization elects 2011-2012 officers

The GSO, or Graduate Student Organization, of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program has elected new officers for the 2011-2012 academic year. The new officers are Miranda Carper, Allison Wolf, and Johannes Fahrmann.

Miranda Carper, Ph.D. candidateMiranda Carper will serve as the newly-elected President of the GSO. Miranda is a Ph.D. candidate as of November 2010 and is currently researching for the third year in Dr. Claudio’s lab. She is studying in the Cancer Biology Research Cluster within the Biochemistry/Microbiology Department. Miranda says that part of what attracted her to the Biomedical Sciences Program at Marshall University was the warm and welcoming nature of its students. After her second year in the program, she served as Secretary/Treasurer in order to become more involved with the GSO, as she feels it provides a great opportunity for students to collaborate in support of one another. Of her time in this position, she says that it “was a wonderful experience and allowed me to get my feet wet in the various things the GSO is involved in.” She decided to run for president this year with the goal of growing as an invidividual and as a leader. During her time as President, she hopes to live up to the example set by Aileen Marcelo and other predecessors by encouraging students to become more involved in improving the GSO and the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. In keeping with the GSO’s tradition of service, she also wants to hold a fundraiser to support those in need in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami.


Allison Wolf, Ph.D. candidateAllison Wolf, the GSO’s new Vice President, is a second year student and a Ph.D. student. She also researches in the Cancer Biology Cluster in Dr. Claudio’s lab. She applauds the GSO for helping to achieve many positive changes to the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program within the past few years. She wanted to serve in this position, because its duties include serving as a liaison between the faculty and students. She feels that this bridge provides one of the best opportunities available for students to help the program be the best it can be. Of her election to the post, Allison says, “I am really proud to be a member of this organization. Apart from keeping the interests of the students addressed, we really do have a strong volunteer aspect to our organization.” During her year of service, she hopes to help improve the website as a resource for students searching for funding opportunities, to aid in guiding new and incoming students, and to encourage students to give voice to their concerns and ideas for the program.

Johannes Fahrmann, Ph.D. candidateRounding out the list of new officers is Johannes Fahrmann, the new Secretary/Treasurer for the GSO. Johannes is a Ph.D. student in Biochemistry and researches in the Cancer Biology Cluster with an emphasis on Nutrition and Cancer. He researches in Dr. W. Elaine Hardman’s lab. Johannes sought the position to become more involved with the organization and to help give back to the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and its future students. He feels that the GSO is doing an excellent job in its service to the program and hopes to fulfill the functions of the position to his utmost ability. Of his goals for his new position, he says, “I would like to target fundraising by improving or introducing new novel fundraising events so that the organization may be able to expand its capabilities and related events.”

Congratulations to the new officers, and a big thank you to last year’s officers for their service to the GSO!

Dr. W. Elaine Hardman honored at “Women in Medicine and Science” luncheon

Dr. W. Elaine Hardman of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine was honored on February 16 at a luncheon hosted by the Women in Medicine and Science program. The program is hosted about four times a year and features guests who speak to a collective group of women about their achievements. Dr. Hardman is an Associate Professor for the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology.

Dr. Hardman was recognized for her achievements throughout her career and was asked to speak about her success. “She is a very accomplished researcher, not only in the area, but nationally,” said Professor Darshana Shah, the School of Medicine’s Associate Dean for Professional Development in Medical Education. “So I think that it would be a great opportunity for young people to look up to her and to see how she has gone the path she did.” Professor Shah is in charge of the program and said that its purpose was for students to learn by hearing her success story.

Professor Hardman has been working in the area of nutrition and cancer research for about 20 years. Currently, her research on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on breast cancer has received six externally funded grants, including large grants form the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. “She has a love of knowledge and she imparts that onto her students,” said Anne Silvis, a graduate student and Ph.D candidate for cancer biology. “She gets them excited about research and excited about the world of science.”

As she spoke to the collective group of women, who were not only graduate students but also professors, she said that she always knew what she wanted to do with her life, and that was science. Professor Hardman completed three years of her undergraduate degree by the time she turned 18 and then married. She raised her family and went back to school to finish her degree and later earned her Master’s. While she was a graduate student, she received her first funding grant and has received funding ever since.

“There is always an overriding importance for what she does and that is always apparent when you are talking to her about anything in her research,” Silvis said.

One of the graduate students in attendance said she found her story to be not only interesting, but also inspiring. “I have three young children myself and had also married young and returned to school,” said Tamara Trout, a graduate student in the Medical Sciences Program. “I always thought ‘How am I going to do it?’ But then you meet someone like Professor Hardman and it shows that you can do it.”

Chrystal Phillips can be contacted at phillips152@marshall.edu. The original story can be read on the website for Marshall University’s Student Newspaper, “The Parthenon.”

BMS Graduate Student Brandon Shiflett invited to special session by ASIP

Brandon ShiflettBiomedical Sciences Graduate Student Brandon Shiflett has been selected for a special honor by the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP). Brandon is only one of eighteen students who have been chosen to present their research projects at a special session of the ASIP Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2011 in Washington, DC. The session is entitled “Highlights: Graduate Student Research in Pathology.” According to the ASIP, it is considered an honor to be invited to this special session. More about the ASIP, its annual meeting, and this special session can be found on the ASIP website.

Brandon’s abstract is entitled “MG624, an α-7nicotinic receptor antagonist suppresses the growth of human SCLC.” SCLC, or Small Cell Lung Cancer, is a rapidly-progressing disease that metastasizes early and has very low survival rates. Interestingly, nearly 90% of all reported SCLC cases have been correlated to smoking, which suggests that nicotine and other tobacco components may contribute to the disease’s pathophysiology. The data Brandon will present shows that long-term nicotine exposure stimulates the growth of human SCLCs. Nicotine stimulates nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), causing these cells to proliferate. By isolating and disabling a specific subunit of a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, α7-nAChR, Brandon and others on his project were able to suppress nicotine’s stimulatory effects. This indicates that the α7-nAChR subtype is important in the proliferation of human SCLCs, and that antagonizing it could be a possible treatment for the condition. One such antagonist, called MG624, was shown in Brandon’s study to not only induce apoptosis, or cell death, in human SCLC cells, but also suppress the nicotine-induced growth of these cells. The data from his study suggests that MG624 may have potential for treating human SCLCs.

Brandon Shiflett works in the laboratory of Dr. Piyali Dasgupta at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. He is currently completing his second year as a Medical Sciences student in the M.S. in Biomedical Sciences Program at Marshall. He will join the medical school in the fall as a first-year student.

Congratulations to Brandon Shiflett, Dr. Dasgupta, and all others who participated in this project!

Dr. Sollars and Jasjeet Bhullar to be published in Immunogenetics

A paper by Dr. Vincent Sollars and Ph.D. candidate Jasjeet Bullar of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program will be published in an upcoming edition of Immunogenetics. This journal spotlights research concerning the genetic control of the immune system, including immune response and susceptibility to disease. More about the journal can be found at the Immunogenetics website.

The paper is entitled “YB-1 expression and function in early hematopoiesis.” YB-1 is a gene that encodes for a “cold shock” protein that is a part of the stress response system. It is expressed broadly during development and serves as a cell survival factor, regulating the transcription and/or translation of numerous genes controlling cellular growth and death. According to their research, YB-1 is already known to be involved in the progression of cancers, and he is investigating its possible role in leukemia. His research specifically focuses on the characterization of the expression pattern and role of the YB-1 gene in early hematopoiesis and leukemia. YB-1 and Hsp90, another gene studied by Dr. Sollars, comprise a new arena of cancer therapeutic targets that offer aJasjeet Bhullar, Ph.D. candidate lot of promise. Jasjeet Bhullar was the primary author of the paper.

To learn more about the exciting biomedical research being performed by Dr. Sollars and other professors at the Marshall University Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, please visit the Marshall University Nutrition and Cancer Center website.

Incoming Class of 2010 joins annual picnic for BMS program

It is always a good time when people can get to know each other in a relaxing and fun environment.  This is exactly what happened once again this year as Biomedical Sciences (BMS) new and current students, faculty, and staff came together at Rotary Park last week. There was plenty of food and drink as well as plenty of games and socializing.  Perhaps this is a story that can best be captured with photos (and maybe a few captions).

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Open House Expands to Include Forensic and Biological Sciences

Marshall University’s Annual Biomedical Sciences Open House for prospective students took place on Friday, October 23rd.  This year was different from the past, however, because students interested in Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, or Forensic Sciencewere all invited to spend the day learning about these programs at Marshall University.  In years past, Biomedical Sciences was the only STEM graduate program offering an open house event.

Students from colleges and universities in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania traveled to see what Marshall has to offer and were not disappointed.  The day was spent learning about the state-of-the-art core facilities, research opportunities, and admissions as well as getting to meet with faculty and current graduate students.  What more could one ask for?  Lunch.  Lunch was enthusiastically catered by the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Organization, and it was delicious.  Students and faculty from biomedical and biological sciences took this opportunity to come together to celebrate and share their passion for research at Marshall University.

As for Forensic Science, students were also catered to by department faculty and current students.  Although they did not take the tour of the biotechnology facilities, they made up for it by touring the crime scene house and exploring the intricacies of the FEPAC accredited Forensic Science, M.S. program. Few forensic science graduate programs can boast a 100% placement rate and none can say that they have a CODIS laboratory on site! Needless to say, the students had a real treat by experiencing the Marshall University Forensic Science Center first-hand.

MU Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. alumna contributes to Parkinson’s study

Angela Ridgel earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Marshall University in 2000 and is now Assistant Professor at Kent State University. She started studying walking in insects and robots in Dr. Sasha Zill’s lab (and as a postdoc at Case Western), but is now conducting research on walking in patients with Parkinson’s disease. She has found that they benefit greatly from intense exercise.

Cycling for a cure - assisted exercise shows positive benefits for Parkinson's patients

 

 

 

 

Her work was recognized and is featured on the cover of Kent State’s online magazine and on MSNBC. It currently can be found by clicking the links below:

MSNBC video about Ridgel’s research of tandem cycling and Parkinson’s disease patients

Please take a moment to read this amazing research completed by a Marshall University Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. alumna. Approximately 6,000,000 people are afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, and Dr. Ridgel’s research just might help alleviate some of their symptoms.

To learn more about Dr. Sasha Zill’s research, please visit the Marshall University School of Medicine’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program website.