WV Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol 2014

Image for WVURD14

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!

 

 

MU biomedical students showcase research

BILL ROSENBERGER
The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — Medical research that has an opportunity to affect the health and well-being of the general population should be celebrated, which is one of the reasons for the showcase at Pullman Plaza Hotel.

More than a dozen projects by Marshall University biomedical science graduate students and faculty members showcased their work as part of the ninth annual Biomedical Sciences Retreat. The event gives graduate students in the university’s biomedical sciences program an opportunity to share their research, including projects to study the effects of drugs on the kidney, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and how neurons respond to different patterns of neural activity.

Elsa Mangiarua, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, said Ph.D. students get to share their work with each other, while newly admitted Ph.D. students get to see some of the research they will be getting into.

“There are a lot of good projects with positive results in translational research,” said Rachel Murphy, who is a first-year student from Kansas. “It sets the bar high to help medical science advance to the next step. It’s definitely inspiring.”

Marcus_Terneus2013That was also the observation from Marcus Terneus, senior manager of global EH&S occupational toxicology at Mylan Pharmaceuticals. He is a 2006 graduate of the Marshall Ph.D. program and served as the afternoon’s keynote speaker.

“I’m very proud. It’s exciting to see the growth and what projects are going on,” Terneus said. “I keep close eyes on what students are doing.”

He also told the group that the education and research opportunities he received prepared him for what he’s seen during the past seven years.

“It’s given me what I needed to succeed,” he said.

The research also was noted as impressive because of how groundbreaking the results could be. Second-year student Justin Tomblin’s project centered on the link between obesity and breast cancer and how to block the growth of abnormal tissue.

In West Virginia, which has high obesity rates, that kind of research could help quite a few folks, he said.

“It definitely feels like you are doing something that may help friends or relatives,” Tomblin said.

John Maher, the vice president for research at Marshall and executive director of the Marshall University Research Corporation, said after hearing some presentations that Marshall has a very strong biomedical sciences program. He also noted that they are working on relevant and important problems pertaining to regional health care.

WV-INBRE summer research program wraps up with annual symposium

Undergraduate college students, the majority from West Virginia, showcased their summer research projects at Marshall University in July as part of the 12th Annual West Virginia IDeA Network for Biomedical Research (WV-INBRE) Summer Research Symposium.  MU INBRE and SRIMS Group Photo 2013The projects, which were researched under the direction of faculty mentors during an intensive 9-week period, included studies on the treatment of chronic low back pain, treatment and prevention of obesity, the pathophysiology of infectious diseases, the harmful effects of diabetes on brain and cardiac function among others.

WV-INBRE, which is designed to support biomedical research in the state, is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Marshall University, in cooperation with West Virginia University and eleven other colleges and universities in the state.  The program allows students at undergraduate institutions research opportunities in labs at both Marshall and WVU.  In addition to the formal research Brandon Kirby, WV-INBRE intern from Bluefield State Collegetraining they receive, students attended workshops and seminars aimed at helping them understand the research process and graduate education.

This year’s summer research symposium featured keynote speaker, Brad Goodner, Ph.D., professor of Biology at Hiram College in Ohio.

Students in this year’s WV-INBRE program at Marshall University included Jaya Ale, University of Charleston; Joshua Easterling, University of Charleston; Bishnu Kafley, Berea College; Rebecca Martin, Davis and Elkins College; Hajer Mazagri, University of Charleston; Noah Mitchell, Bluefield State College;  Rishi Reddy, West Virginia State University; Anthony Schnelle, Wheeling Jesuit University; and Linh Vu, University of Charleston.

Annesha_King and Dr. Koc_3Also participating in this year’s symposium where three students with the university’s Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS) who worked closely with WV-INBRE interns.  They included Emmanuel “Manny” Rosas, University of Texas at Brownsville, Annesha King, University of the Virgin Islands and Ashlea Hendrickson, Oakwood University.

In addition to the participants listed above, students and faculty associated with WV-INBRE through other programs were selected to present their research findings in an oral presentation.  They are:

  • Jessica Allen, Concord University
  • Cara Halldin, Ph.D., an alumnus of the WV-INBRE program and currently an epidemiologist with the Centers for the Disease Control and PreventionMahavadi_2013
  • Kathy Loughman, John Marshall High School (WV-INBRE high school component)
  • Rebecca Martin, Davis & Elkins College
  • Sricharan Mahavadi, Shepherd University
  • Jennifer Franko, Ph.D., Biology Department, Bethany College

Applications for next year’s WV-INBRE internship will be available after January 1 at http://www.wv-inbre.net/.

Students interested in applying to the SRIMS program may find the application information at http://www.marshall.edu/wpmu/bms/future-students/summer-research-internship/.

Marshall hosting students from eight institutions for biomedical research internships

Ashlea and Dr. YuHUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Twelve undergraduate students from eight institutions are spending their summer doing biomedical research in Marshall University’s laboratories. The students are participating in nine-week programs sponsored by the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) and the university’s Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS) program.

Dr. Elsa I. Mangiarua, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, directs the WV-INBRE summer program. She said both programs give participants the opportunity to do meaningful research and much more.

“Over the summer, these students will gain valuable, hands-on experience doing graduate-level research in the labs of some of Marshall’s finest scientists,” she said. “We also teach them how to share their findings at a scientific meeting and to network, all of which helps them build academic competitiveness for graduate school.”

Diana R. Maue, who coordinates the SRIMS program, agreed, adding, “It’s exciting that we are able to provide these in-depth, mentored research opportunities for very talented undergraduates, and it’s equally important that these programs promote awareness of graduate degree programs and careers in biomedical research. We are helping to develop a pipeline for training tomorrow’s scientists.”

Manny (front) and Hajer (back)While at Marshall, the interns are working in state-of-the-art facilities on research projects related to cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, neuroscience, toxicology and environmental health, infectious diseases and bioinformatics. The students will present their research results at a symposium on July 29 at the university’s Memorial Student Center.

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 many of the same seminars and interact socially through a bowling outing, ice cream socials and other special events intended to help them get to know one another outside of the laboratory environment. 

Students participating in the WV-INBRE summer program include: 

  • Jaya Ale, University of Charleston (Dr. Eric Blough, mentor)
  • Joshua Easterling, University of Charleston (Dr. Elaine Hardman, mentor)
  • Bishnu Kafley, Berea College (Dr. Travis Salisbury and Dr. Jim Denvir, mentors)
  • Rebecca Martin, Davis and Elkins College (Dr. Piyali Dasgupta, mentor)
  • Hajer Mazagri, University of Charleston (Dr. Richard Egleton, mentor)
  • Noah Mitchell, Bluefield State College (Dr. Nalini Santanam, mentor)
  • Rishi Reddy, West Virginia State University (Dr. Larry Grover, mentor)
  • Anthony Schnelle, Wheeling Jesuit University (Dr. Monica Valentovic, mentor)
  • Linh Vu, University of Charleston (Dr. Gary Rankin, mentor)

The WV-INBRE program also sponsors summer fellowships for instructors. This year’s fellowship recipients are science teacher Olivia Boskovic of Huntington High School and Dr. Sobha Goraguntula, an assistant professor of chemistry at Alderson-Broaddus College. Boskovic is working in the lab of Dr. Emine Koc. Goraguntula’s mentor is 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. 

Students in this year’s SRIMS program are:

  • Annesha King, University of the Virgin Islands (Dr. Emine Koc, mentor)
  • Ashlea Hendrickson, Oakwood University (Dr. Hongwei Yu, mentor)
  • Emmanuel Rosas, University of Texas at Brownsville (Dr. Richard Egleton, mentor)

Support for the SRIMS program comes from the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research.

Each student receives a stipend. Depending on the program in which they are participating, they may also receive room and board, lab fees, 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/future-students/summer-research-internship or contact Maue at maue1@marshall.edu or 304-696-3365.

 

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

Funding for collaborative medical research announced at Marshall University

Translational research aims to transfer discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside quickly

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine officials today announced $150,000 in funding for six research grants associated with the school’s translational medicine research program.

The Marshall Health Translational Pilot Grant program, created in 2012, encourages collaborative research between basic scientists and clinical physicians in an effort to speed up the process of laboratory discovery to clinical application for patients.  The grants are funded by Marshall Health.

“We are very pleased that Marshall Health has created this grant program to stimulate research efforts,” said Richard M. Niles, Ph.D., senior associate dean for Biomedical Sciences at the School of Medicine. “Moving Marshall to the next level of medical research takes vision, commitment and of course, funding.  This grant allows 12 researchers, as well as medical residents and students, the opportunity to explore very diverse areas.”

Marshall Health is the faculty practice plan for the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and supports the clinical, educational, research and services missions of the school.  Beth Hammers, executive director of the organization, says the pilot grant program provides one year of support at $25,000 for each grantee, with additional funding based on progress of the research.

“Medical research is essential to the development of new medical treatments and cures for patients,” Hammers said.  “We are thrilled to help stimulate a robust, viable grant program which pairs basic scientists from Marshall University with School of Medicine physicians to work on projects which will lead to the betterment of our community.”

The investigators and their projects are listed below:

Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, and Dr. Anthony Alberico, Department of Neuroscience – “Chemotherapy resistance and sensitivity testing in tumors of the central nervous system”

Dr. Elaine Hardman, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, and Dr. James Jensen, Department of Surgery – “Feasibility and Safety of Nutritional Supplementation with Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Reduce Prostate Specific Antigen Rise in Men with Biochemical Failure after Prostatectomy or External-Beam Radiotherapy”

Dr. Nalini Santanam, Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, and Dr. Paulette Wehner, Department of Cardiology – “Perivascular Fat Relation to Hypertension—Appalachian Heart Study”

Dr. Nalini Santanam, Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, and Dr. Abid Yaqub, Department of Medicine, Endocrinology Section – “Impact of Technology-based Behavioral Intervention on Molecular and Clinical Parameters in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes”

Dr. Monica Valentovic, Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, and Dr. Brenda Dawley, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology – “Prenatal Exposure to Heavy Metals and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) Alter Umbilical Cord Blood Levels of Thyroid Hormone and Vitamin D”

Dr. Hongwei Yu, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, and Dr. Yoram Elitser, Department of Pediatrics – “Investigate the distribution of segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) in American children and the presence of SFB with childhood diseases”

Other current translational research under way at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine includes a partnership with the University of Kentucky (UK) as part of the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards program, which also is aimed at speeding the time for laboratory discoveries to benefit patients.

In 2011, UK and its partners received $20 million for the program to support research at UK’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, making Marshall part of a select national biomedical research network.


Contact:  Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304.746.1964, or Leah C. Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, 304-691-1713

BMS Graduate Student Organization participates in the Jared Box Project

by Saeed Keshavarzian, keshava1@live.marshall.edu

BMS students from left: Brad, Bill, Holly, Miranda, Allison, Johannes, and Saeed

As the holiday season approaches, we are reminded to think about others outside of our busy lives. This year, the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Student Organization (GSO) would like to share with you Jared’s story. He was a special five-year-old boy who, in 1999, was diagnosed with an incurable brainstem tumor; he unfortunately lost his battle with cancer in November 2000. In his short time on Earth, Jared went from doctor appointment to doctor appointment and always carried a backpack filled with his favorite toys and games. Those toys and games brought Jared such joy that, for a brief moment, he was not thinking about his illness, but was just being a child captivated in play.

This is the second year the BMS GSO has participated in the Jared Box Project, an endeavor to share the same joy and relief that toys brought to Jared with other children suffering similar childhood illnesses. Allison Wolf, GSO President and a BMS Ph.D. candidate, along with other BMS students organized the toy drive and a bake sale to contribute to filling Jared boxes.

Miranda and Allison, all smiles, with the toys for the children at Cabell Huntington Hospital

The GSO members delivered the toys to children at Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center on Friday, December 7th.  Allison said, “We have a wonderful group of students and faculty in our program who make events, such as the Jared Box Project, a success.” Miranda Carper, BMS Ph.D. candidate agreed, and also said that, “this is the second year I have participated and the experience left me feeling happy, humbled, and heart-broken all at the same time. Seeing the children’s faces light up when I handed them a gift warmed my heart, but also left me feeling amazed by their strength and determination.” 

Johannes organizing presents for the children

GSO Vice President, Johannes Fahrmann, who helped organize the Jared Box Project for the second time said that “being a part of this project is a great feeling and instills a sense of unity amongst the organization and the community. It also highlights the warmth that people have in their hearts and highlights one of the main goals, in my opinion, of the GSO which is to give back to those less fortunate.”

For more information on the Jared Box Project, please visit this website: http://www.thejaredbox.com/.

Marshall biomedical sciences’ researchers publish e-book on nutrition and cancer

Cover of "Nutrition and Cancer: From Epidemiology to Biology"Researchers at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine have collaborated on an electronic book, “Nutrition and Cancer From Epidemiology to Biology,” recently published by Bentham Science Publishers.

This ebook is one of the latest efforts of researchers at the Marshall University Nutrition and Cancer Center.

A collection of scientific articles written by Marshall faculty members and students, the publication was edited by Dr. Richard M. Niles, professor and chairman of the university’s Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, and Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and director of the McKown Translational Genomic Research Institute.

According to the publisher, various estimates suggest that between 30-40% of all human cancers are related to dietary patterns. Strong epidemiological evidence from studies points to dietary constituents that either contribute or protect against the development of various forms of cancer.

This e-book reviews some traditional and relatively new areas of nutrition and cancer. Epidemiological data is combined with molecular biology research and, where available, clinical trial data. The emerging science of “Nutrigenomics” is discussed with chapters on the biological role of various nutrition components from red wine, peppers, green tea, fish oil, cruciferous vegetables, retinoids; and the intersection of nutrition and epigenetics in hematopoiesis.

The publication will be of interest to researchers in the nutrition and cancer fields, physicians in family and community medicine, internal medicine and oncology, and dieticians providing counseling to cancer patients and cancer survivors.

by Ginny Painter
Director of Communications
Marshall University Research Corporation 
ginny.painter@marshall.edu 
www.marshall.edu/murc  

 

You are invited to enjoy the fall 2012 issue of “We Are…Bridging Medicine and Science”

Marshall University’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program invites you to enjoy reading the Fall 2012 | Issue 2 of We Are…Bridging Medicine and Science!

Click the publication’s front cover below to link to the magazine: 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Vincent Sollars serves as guest editor of an ebook on epigenetics with Genetics Research International

Cover image (links to full cover): The Role of Epigenetics in Evlotion

Dr. Vincent E. Sollars of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program recently served as the guest editor of an ebook for Genetics Research International. The ebook is entitled The Role of Epigenetics in Evolution: The Extended Synthesis.

The purpose of the publication is to provide discourse on the ways in which epigenetics, or non-sequence-based changes in DNA, can be incorporated into evolutionary theory.  According to Dr. Sollars, “The traditional dogma of mutational change, leveraged by natural selection, leaves out the advancing field of epigenetics.  This book will assist in incorporating those ideas into evolutionary theory.”

Dr. Sollars is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He researches within two research clusters: Cancer Biology and Infectious and Immunological Diseases.

Genetics Research International publishes articles covering many diverse areas of genetics. It is an open access, peer-reviewed journal featuring review articles, research articles, and clinical studies. The intended audience for this ebook includes researchers in the field of epigenetics and/or evolution.

Digital copies and hard copies can be procured online via the publisher, Hindawi, at the following link:

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/gri/2012/286164/ 

First Annual Appalachian Regional Cell Conference to be held in October

Appalachian Regional Cell Conference Posterby Allison Wolf

A collaborative effort between students at Marshall University, WVU, UK and OU has led to the organization of the first annual Appalachian Regional Cell Conference (ARCC). The goal of this scientific symposium is to foster interaction and future collaboration among students. Miranda Carper, former President of the GSO, calls the event a “a dynamic and interactive opportunity for research students to present their work to their peers.” The conference will host poster and oral presentations.

The event will be held on October 12, 2012 at the Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, WV. A grant received from the American Society for Cell Biology will provide the funding.

Dr. Vinay Pathak, who has worked with the National Cancer Institute since 1999 as a Senior Investigator, will deliver the keynote speech. Dr. Pathak’s lab focuses mostly on research projects relating to HIV drug resistance.

According to Graduate Student Organization (GSO) Vice President, Johannes Fahrmann, “one of the biggest advantages to a student run conference is the fact that it takes out some of the intimidation factor that may be involved with a larger scale meeting that is run by mostly established individuals.” GSO secretary Ben Owen adds that, “because this meeting is a smaller conference, as compared to national conferences sponsored by societies, students will have a better chance of networking with others in a more relaxed atmosphere.”

If you would like to receive an application, or have any questions about the ARCC conference, please contact Allison Wolf (teter6@marshall.edu).

CDDC announces 2nd Regional Research Symposium award winners

Madhukar Kolli, BMS Ph.D. CandidateOn March 23, 2012, the Marshall University Cell Differentiation and Development Center (CDDC) held its second annual regional research symposium. The CDDC symposium focused on bioinformatics and the ways in which it is used to study the molecular interactions involved in the regulation of gene expression.

The event involves poster presentations, scientific talks, and awards. The following are the recipients of this year’s awards:

  • Undergraduate winner: Clayton Crabtree (from Dr. Dasgupta’s lab)
  • Graduate winners: M. Allison Wolf and Sarah Mathis (both from Dr. Claudio’s lab)
  • Graduate runners-up: Madhukar Kolli (from Dr. Blough’s lab) and Gargi Bajpayee (a medical student who researched in Dr. Santanam’s lab)

The CDDC was formed in 2007 and seeks to enhance the research environment on the Marshall campus and throughout West Virginia. Although its research interests are diverse, the center focuses on the epigenetic mechanisms linked to cell differentiation and development.

Award winners pictured:

Right: Madhukar Kolli
Directly below (from left to right): M. Allison Wolf and Sarah Mathis
Bottom photo: Gargi Bajpayee

Allison Wolf and Sarah Mathis, Ph.D. candidates

Area high school students perform award-winning research with Dr. Collier

From left to right: David Neff, Dr. Simon Collier, Nathan Wang, and Jared GallowayTwo area high school students are receiving national recognition for their research working in the lab of Dr. Simon Collier, Chair of the BMS program’s Neuroscience and Developmental Biology research cluster.

The students, Nathan N. Wang and Jared M. Galloway, are seniors at Fairland High School in Proctorville, Ohio. They have been working in Collier’s lab since summer 2010 with Marshall graduate student David Neff on a project to explore the function of a rubber-like protein, resilin, in insect flight.

Research in Collier’s lab focuses on the genetic control of the basic developmental processes of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. According to Collier, Drosophila has been studied for more than 100 years because the organism has many genes and genetic pathways similar to humans. Collier is considered a pioneer in the field.

Neff, who is overseeing the students’ research, said, “This is an important project because not only has it increased our understanding of insect flight, it also has potential implications for the design of biotechnological devices and possibly tissue implants, which could employ molecularly engineered protein sheets.”

Wang and Galloway were nationally recognized for their research in October, when they were named semifinalists in the 2011 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. The highest science honor awarded to American high school students, the award is sponsored by the Siemens Foundation. Their project was one of only three from Ohio to reach the national semifinals.

Earlier this year, their project earned them superior ratings at the Fairland Schools Local Science Fair, the Ohio Academy of Science District 14 Science Day and the Ohio Academy of Science State Science Day, where they were recognized with the Sigma Xi Interdisciplinary Research Award presented by the Ohio State University chapter of the scientific research society.

Collier said, “Nathan and Jared are indeed outstanding young students with very bright futures ahead of them. They are doing exemplary research in our lab and I’m looking forward to watching where their academic careers take them.”

The research was supported with funding from the National Science Foundation and the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

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.