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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Marshall Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program is well represented at Experimental Biology Meeting

Allison, Miranda, Kristeena

BMS Ph.D. students, Allison, Miranda, and Kristeena, take a time out from research to enjoy a Boston Red Sox game!

Marshall University’s Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program was well represented at the Experimental Biology Meeting that recently took place in Boston, MA. The annual national meeting involves over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors representing fields of study ranging from anatomy, physiology, pathology, and biochemistry to epigenetics, nutrition, cancer biology, and pharmacology. Some Marshall School of Medicine faculty and students were invited to give oral presentations of their research, while others were able to present their research during the poster sessions. The list of attendees is given below.

Oral presentations by:

Piyali Dasgupta, Ph.D.

Piyali Dasgupta, Ph.D. -
Invited speaker for special session “Molecular Biology of Lung Malignancy” – Title: “Nicotine increases the expression of alpha7-nicotinic receptors (alpha7-nAChRs) in human squamous cell lung cancer cells via Sp1/GATA pathway”

 

 

W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D.W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D. – Invited speaker for special session “What Comes First: The Food or the Nutrient?” – Title: “Whole foods or their bioactive components? Potential of walnuts in cancer prevention and treatment.” 

 

 

Maria Serrat, Ph.D.

Maria Serrat, Ph.D. – Invited speaker for special session “Bone Physiology under Environmental Stress” – Title: “Temperature effects on the growth plate and its vasculature”

 

 

 

Allison Wolf, Ph.D. CandidateM. Allison Wolf, BMS Ph.D. Candidate – Invited speaker for special session – Title: “Benzyl isothiocyanate enhances chemosensitivity and inhibits migration and invasion of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma”

 

 

 

 

Katie_Brown_EB

Katie Brown, M.S. – Invited speaker for special session “Molecular Biology of Lung Malignancy” – Title: “Inhibition of cholinergic signaling causes apoptosis in human bronchioalveloar carcinoma”

 

 

Ron, Miranda, Allison, Johannes, Kristeena_EB

Poster presentations by:
Miranda Carper, BMS Ph.D. Candidate
Johannes Fahrmann, BMS Ph.D. Candidate Christopher McNees, MU student 
Rounake Nande, BMS Ph.D. Student
Chris Racine, BMS Ph.D. Student
Kristeena Ray, BMS Ph.D. Student
Cody Stover, MU student
Brent Thornhill, MU graduate
Monica Valentovic, Ph.D., Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences’ Research Cluster Coordinator
Gary Rankin, Ph.D., Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences’ 
Research Cluster

Dr. Maria Serrat, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Pathology and researcher within the Neuroscience and Developmental Biology Research Cluster, had the opportunity to give an oral presentation as well as participate in a focus group that evaluated anatomy education material for a publisher. 

Johannes at Poster

Serrat said she was happy to see Marshall well represented at the meeting and that “the large number of Marshall attendees says a lot about the expanding research emphasis of our institution.”

Kristeena at Poster

Carper at Poster

 

 

Marshall’s BMS students recognized at the national level

Marshall’s BMS students recognized on a NATIONAL level for their recent Young Adult Science Café! The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology posted a press release on their Public Outreach website. Check it out: www.asbmb.org/PublicOutreach/Templates/PubOutreachDefault.aspx?id=40020

Withers selected for an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) student travel award

 by M. Allison Wolf

Ryan-Withers

T. Ryan Withers, a Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Candidate working for Dr. Hongwei Yu, has been selected for an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Student Travel Award to attend the 113th ASM General Meeting in Denver, Colorado.  At the conference Withers will be presenting a research project entitled “Truncation in type-IV pilin induces mucoidy in Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO579.”  Part of this research was recently accepted for publication in the journal MicrobiologyOpen (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23533140).

When asked what the benefits are to attending a Microbiology-specific meeting Withers said, “The advantages are the ease in which you can communicate and advance your research. Typically, your fellow conference attendees are familiar with the existing research and nomenclature, so you spend little time reviewing background information and more time discussing your contributions and receiving in-depth criticism of your research. Additionally, it is a great opportunity to establish a relationship with other PIs, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and research associates specific to your field of interest.” 

OR:

To read the article published in MicrobiologyOpen: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23533140

Racine attends the Society of Toxicology General Meeting in San Antonio, Texas

by M. Allison Wolf

Chris Racine, Ph.D. student, on far leftBiomedical Sciences Ph.D. student Chris Racine recently presented his research at the Society of Toxicology (SOT) General Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The study Chris presented at this meeting was entitled “Role of renal cytochrome p450 isozymes in the bioactivation of 3,5-dichloroaniline in vitro.” The long term goal of this project is “to determine the biotransformation of 3,5-dichloroaniline (3,5-DCA), mechanisms for bioactivation of 3,5-DCA to nephrotoxic species by the kidney, and if gender differences exist in the susceptibility of the kidney to the toxic effects of 3,5-DCA.”   

The SOT conference, which was held from March 10-14, is the largest toxicology meeting in the world and it brings together scientist in academia, government, and industry from various countries. Dr. Gary Rankin, Chris Racine’s Ph.D. advisor said that, “It is important for students to experience the scientific exchange that happens at a national research conference. There is no substitute for attending such a meeting in person. The meeting also gives the advisor the opportunity to introduce the students to other top scientists and students in their field, and the feedback received at a national presentation can be very helpful for the student’s research projects.”

Congratulations, Chris!

Teen Science Café to be held at Marshall on March 6, 2013

The BMS Graduate Student Organization (GSO), in collaboration with the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and Cabell Midland High School, are hosting an outreach program, Teen Science Café, on March 6, 2013 at the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Center.

The purpose of this event is to stimulate scientific interest in younger students and to emphasize the exciting careers available in research and science. This Teen Science Café will highlight Marshall’s Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program and Forensic Science Master’s Program. Diana Maue, will begin the Teen Science Café by giving an overview of the BMS Program and career opportunities available. A hands-on and interactive discussion will be hosted by Drs. Richard Egleton, Maria Serrat, and Wei-Ping Zeng from the BMS program and Dr. Graham Rankin and Ms. Nadine Borovicka from the Forensic Science program. GSO President and BMS Ph.D. candidate Allison Wolf and BMS Ph.D. student Kristeena Ray will give the attendees a student’s perspective on the BMS Program. And, the event will conclude with a tour of the Forensic Science program’s crime scene house.

Allison Wolf and Ph.D. candidate Johannes Fahrmann, BMS GSO Vice President, are co-organizers of this event. Fahrmann stated, “he hopes by organizing the Teen Science Café he will spark an early interest in science and research among the attendees, and events like this will continue in the future.” 

Marshall University receives $2.5 million BrickStreet Foundation gift for research

Brickstreet Marshall $2.5 M

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University has received a $2.5 million gift from the BrickStreet Insurance Foundation Inc. to establish a research endowment.

The donation is expected to be matched through the state’s “Bucks for Brains” West Virginia Research Trust Fund, for a total benefit to Marshall of $5 million.

Proceeds from the endowment will be used to support research at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, particularly projects related to occupational and environmental health.

Greg Burton, president and chief executive officer of BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company, presented the donation to university representatives today at the company’s headquarters in Charleston.

“Through the leadership and vision of our board, BrickStreet has set up a foundation focused on giving back to the community in which we live,” said Burton. “Through this partnership with Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, BrickStreet is proud to support their continued research efforts. Many of our employees are Marshall graduates, so our partnership with the university runs deep and I know this investment will be used to not only strengthen the university’s research efforts in occupational and environmental health, but also to continue to fulfill its mission to improve the health and wellness of our communities.

“As one of the largest workers’ compensation providers in the region, we understand that the graduates of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will be our future partners in continuing to improve occupational health across West Virginia.”

Dr. Stephen J. Kopp, president of Marshall University, thanked BrickStreet for the contribution, saying, “We are very pleased and proud that BrickStreet has chosen to make this gift commitment in support of endowment-based biomedical research focused on some of the most pressing occupational and rural health problems confronting our state and region. The Marshall University School of Medicine is a leader in rural medicine and the support provided by BrickStreet will be amplified by matching support from the West Virginia Research Trust Fund. This research endowment fund offers great promise to help improve the health and wellness of our rural communities.”

Dr. Joseph I. Shapiro, dean of Marshall’s medical school, added, “I couldn’t be more pleased to receive this generous gift from BrickStreet. It will most certainly benefit thousands of West Virginians. With this gift, Marshall researchers will conduct work that will span the spectrum from basic molecular research to practical, workplace-based research, finding both laboratory and clinical answers to help improve the quality of life for those in our state and region. BrickStreet has provided us with the necessary funding to get these projects under way and we can’t wait to get started.”

Last year, BrickStreet donated $300,000 to Marshall to support athletics, academics and research. A portion of that gift was matched by the state’s trust fund.

The state legislature created the West Virginia Research Trust Fund in 2008 with an initial appropriation of $15 million for Marshall. The university can tap into this fund to double private gifts that support specific research initiatives linked to economic development, health care and job growth.


Photo:  From left, Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp; Greg Burton, president and CEO of BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company; Dr. Ron Area, CEO of the Marshall University Foundation; and Dr. Joseph Shapiro, dean of the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, display an oversized check for $2.5 million presented by BrickStreet Foundation to the Marshall University Foundation today at the BrickStreet office in Charleston. The donation will be used to establish a research endowment at Marshall. Photo by Rick Haye/Marshall University


Contact:  Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304.746.1964