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

Researcher receives $432,000 grant to study progression of cancer, involve students

The following news story provides different information about Dr. Sollars’ research than the previous one posted on our News page.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Vincent E. Sollars, an associate professor of biochemistry and microbiology at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, has received a $432,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute to research a cutting edge concept to fight cancer.

The Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) will fund a three-year project in “epigenetics,” a relatively new concept in cancer therapies that has shown great promise.

“The basic question we are trying to answer is ‘What are the processes that enable a normal cell to start misbehaving and become cancer cells?’” says Sollars.

As he explains, the process that cells undergo to become cancer cells ultimately produces a cell that stops listening and cooperating with neighboring cells. That communication, however, is necessary for the complex mixture of cells our bodies contain.

He says, “This grant will investigate a process known as ‘canalization.’ Much like a canal for water directs the flow of water, canalization directs a cell as it matures into the specific type of cell needed by the body. Disrupting the canalization process can cause a cell to change and lose its direction, potentially pushing it down paths that lead to cancer.”

Sollars said his team will be testing the role of Vincent-Sollars-2012canalization in the process of maturing cells and cancer development. They will be targeting leukemia specifically with this grant but the results of their study can apply to all types of cancers.

“We think our work can have a great impact on science’s understanding of  how cancer progresses and will even help develop new treatments for most cancers,” he added.

This particular award is specifically designed to give students practical opportunities to participate in cutting-edge academic research. Over the course of the project, Sollars anticipates involving eight students from Marshall’s undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as students from the medical school. The grant also will fund a full-time technician.

The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training.

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

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Grant to fund MU’s new cancer research

HUNTINGTON — A new concept in cancer treatment will be future explored at Marshall University thanks to a grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Cancer Institute awarded a $432,369 three-year Academic Research Enhancement Award to the Marshall Vincent-Sollars-2012University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine to launch a cancer biology research project in “epigenetics,” a relatively new concept in cancer therapies, according to a press release from Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.

The concept deals with a new chemotheraputic target in cancer treatment, said Dr. Vincent E. Sollars, an associate professor of biochemistry and biology at Marshall.

“It’s a great way for me and the students to get involved in some research I’ve wanted to do for some time,” Sollars said. “We’re targeting leukemia specifically with this grant, but the this could have ramifications on all types of cancers.”

Over the course of the three-year project, Marshall University anticipates involving eight students from undergraduate, master’s and doctoral academic programs, as well as students enrolled in the med school.

Sollars said the medical school also will hire a full time technician through the grant.

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.