Marshall biomedical researchers to present at the World Congress on Endometriosis in Brazil

Biomedical Sciences Doctoral candidate receives prestigious travel grant

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Two investigators from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University will be traveling later this month to Sao Paolo to present their research at the World Congress on Endometriosis.

The congress is held every three years and brings together scientists, clinicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals involved in research or treatment of endometriosis—a chronic, inflammatory condition that affects young women and adversely impacts their fertility and quality of life.

Dr. Nalini Santanam, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, and doctoral student Kristeena Ray said they are looking forward to participating in the conference, which is being held April 30-May 3.

Santanam“Though 10 to 15 percent of young women suffer from endometriosis and almost two-thirds of these women suffer from chronic pain, the exact nature of this disease is not very well understood. My laboratory has a long-standing interest in understanding why some women get endometriosis and have pain,” said Santanam. “We are very honored that our abstracts were chosen for presentation at this meeting. The most exciting part was to find out that Kristeena was selected to give an oral presentation and was one of only six investigators selected to receive the Rodolphe Maheux Travel Grant.”

The Rodolphe Maheux Travel Grants are awarded by the World Endometriosis Society to help young researchers attend scientific meetings. The program is named in honor of the society’s co-founder.

The balance of Ray’s travel expenses are being funded by the university’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology.

Ray said, “I was not sure if I had any chance of receiving the travel grant, since any young Kristeena Ray Spring 2014researcher including faculty and fellows under 40 years of age were eligible to compete. I was surprised that I was selected and am thrilled to go to Brazil to present my findings.”

Ray is a third-year Ph.D. candidate. She works in Santanam’s laboratory studying the epigenetics of pain in endometriosis—the changes caused to DNA and genes by environment and lifestyle. Last summer, she was selected for the university’s Chancellor’s Scholar Program, an initiative to help ensure the academic success of underrepresented minority doctoral students.

Their research is partially funded through Marshall’s partnership with the University of Kentucky and the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards program aimed at speeding the time for laboratory discoveries to benefit patients.

The researchers expressed their appreciation to Dr. Robert Nerhood and Dr. David Jude, the past and present chairmen of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for their support and acknowledged Sandy White and Carla Cook for coordinating the clinical study.

Santanam added, “This study would not have been possible without the collaboration and intellectual contributions of Dr. Brenda Mitchell, who is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. We express special thanks to Dr. Mitchell.”

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BMS associate professor invited to chair at international meeting

Dr. Piyali Dasgupta has been invited to chair a minisymposium entitled “Lung Cancer” at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 conference in San Diego. The invitation to chair the special session came from the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP).

When asked to comment on being selected for this position, Dr. Dasgupta replied: “The ‘chair’ is selected based on their research and publications in the field of lung cancer. So, we feel thrilled that our work is being noticed by other researchers at an international level.”

piyali_dasguptaDr. Dasgupta is a member of the ASIP and has regularly presented at Experimental Biology over the past few years, including several oral seminar presentations. In 2012, she was invited to chair a special session at the EB 2012 entitled “Modeling Cancer: Biological and Therapeutic Implications.”

Experimental Biology is an annual meeting that draws almost 14,000 scientists and exhibitors. Scientists attending represent universities, academic institutions, government agencies, private corporations, and non-profit organizations. Participating societies include the ASIP, the American Association of Anatomists (AAA), the American Physiological Society (APS), the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and others.

Dr. Dasgupta is Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacol­ogy, Physiology, and Toxicology. She received the “Dean’s award for Excellence in Basic Research, 2013” at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University. Her research examines the effects of nicotine (the active component of cigarettes) in regulating cellular responses, such as programmed cell death and cell growth, in the context of lung cancer. Dr. Dasgupta will have the opportunity to share her research by giving an oral presentation in addition to serving as chair of the Lung Cancer minisymposium.

Being asked to chair a session at such a prestigious conference is quite an honor. Congratulations to Dr. Piyali Dasgupta!

For more information, please visit: https://www.asip.org/meetings/2014/minisymposia.cfm.

School of Medicine Research Day Winners

Congratulations to School of Medicine Research Day award recipients, Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. student Caroline Hunter and Ph.D. candidate Allison Wolf!

CarolineandKoc13

Caroline (on left) with her mentor, Emine Koc, Ph.D.

Best Poster Presentation in the Basic Science Category
BMS Ph.D. student Caroline A. Hunter – Mitochondrial Elongation Factor Tu:  Translational Regulation by Phosphorylation
Mentor: Emine Koc, Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

Allison_W_2014_OralWinner

Allison (on left) receiving award from Mr. Bailey

Best Oral Presentation in the Basic Science Category
BMS Ph.D. candidate M. Allison Wolf – - Benzyl Isothiocyanate Sensitizes Hnscc Cells To Cisplatin, And Inhibits Hnscc Cell Migration And Invasion
Mentor: Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D./Ph.D.

 

 

 

There were many clinical categories in addition to the two basic science categories. Those winners are listed below.

Research Day winners announced

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The 26th annual Research Day at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine wrapped up earlier this week with awards presented to eight students and medical residents.

The two-day event showcases the work of medical students, graduate students, residents and postdoctoral fellows, and includes both poster and oral presentation competitions. This year’s entries included projects that focused on heart disease, children and physical activity, lung and other cancers, drug abuse during pregnancy, and many other areas of biomedical and clinical research.

The winners were:

POSTER PRESENTATIONS

Basic Science Category
Caroline A. Hunter – Mitochondrial Elongation Factor Tu:  Translational Regulation by Phosphorylation
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology

Clinical Case Study Category (Student)
Jill Goodwin – Posterior Tibial Tendon Dislocation:  A Case Report
Department of Orthopaedics

Clinical Case Study Category (Resident)
M. Adeel Mahmood – An Atypical Presentation of Adrenal Insufficiency in Pregnancy as Recurrent Abdominal Pain
Department of Internal Medicine

Clinical Science Category (Student)
Laura G. Wilson – Withdrawing into Society: Characteristics of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome on Final Day of Admission
Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Science Category (Resident)
Heidi Michael – Retrospective analysis of patients entering the Maternal Addiction and Recovery Center (MARC) program evaluating pregnancy and neonatal outcomes
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

ORAL PRESENTATIONS

Basic Science Category
M. Allison Wolf – Benzyl Isothiocyanate Sensitizes Hnscc Cells To Cisplatin, And Inhibits Hnscc Cell Migration And Invasion
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology

Clinical Science Category (Student)
Rebecca M. Hayes – Development of Phone Application for Congestive Heart Failure Patients in a Rural Setting
Department of Internal Medicine

Clinical Science Category (Resident)
Jodi Pitsenbarger – Total Postnatal Opiate Exposure Using Two Different Weaning Methods in Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Richard M. Niles, vice dean for biomedical sciences at the school of medicine, congratulated all the winners, saying, “We had more than 80 presentations this year and the competition was outstanding. It is quite exciting to see all the fascinating research being done at our medical school and to know these students will be making a real difference in the lives and health of those who live in our communities.”

For more information about Research Day, contact the Office of Continuing Medical Education at 304-691-1770.

Marshall School of Medicine researchers and students

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Researchers with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will present their findings at the national Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) meeting in New Orleans that began Saturday.

Maria Serrat, Ph.D.Dr. Maria A. Serrat, assistant professor in the department of anatomy at the school of medicine and a clinical assistant professor in the department of orthopaedics, will present her team’s research model on the effects of temperature on the acceleration of bone growth in mice.

“We developed a model to study how the application of heat on the body’s surface can stimulate bone elongation,” Serrat said.  “By validating this model, we are looking at future possible clinical treatments to lengthen bones in children with growth issues or orthopaedic trauma using non-invasive methods.”

Serrat’s team includes Dr. Franklin D. Shuler, a professor in the department of orthopaedics, vice chair of research for the department of orthopaedics, and medical director for the Senior Fracture Program at Cabell Huntington Hospital. He says the opportunity to present on this national platform speaks highly of Marshall’s program.

“To have a podium presentation at this high-level meeting truly indicates that the faculty at Marshall are participating in leading-edge musculoskeletal research that has the capability of transforming patient care,” Shuler said.

Along with Serrat and Shuler, the following students participated in the research:

  • Justin M. Godby, first-year medical studentHolly Tamski, Ph.D. student
  • Thomas J. Schlierf, fourth-year medical student
  • Laura M. Stanko, second-year medical student
  • Holly L. Tamski, biomedical sciences doctoral student

Morgan L. Efaw, former biomedical sciences student at Marshall, also was a member of the team.

Also presenting a poster at the ORS meeting is third-year medical student Alexander H. Slocum, Jr., Ph.D. who, along with collaborators from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will showcase their findings, “Enhancing Orthopaedic Joint Lubrication using Synovial Fluid Impregnated Super-Wetting Porous Coatings,” an investigation reviewing ways of improving the use of prosthetic implants.

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Dr. Maria Serrat also was selected as the featured researcher in Marshall University’s School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences magazine, We Are…Bridging Medicine and Science.

Former BMS Medical Sciences’ student honored by state senate

Matthew Q. Christiansen “Matt” joined Marshall’s School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences, M.S. Medical Sciences Program as a student in 2008 with the determination to become more competitive to enter medical school. This goal was quickly accomplished as he was accepted into and entered Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in fall 2009.

The story below is being shared to help further recognize one of our most successful former students, Dr. Matthew Q. Christiansen. We are not surprised at his continued success, and note that great contributions to society will continue to come from Dr. Christiansen. _________________________________________________________________________

Health policy fellows honored by state senate

Matthew Q. Christiansen, M.D.Calling their service commendable, the West Virginia State Senate on March 6 adopted a resolution honoring School of Medicine resident physicians for their work at the Legislature providing physician resources through the Paul Ambrose Health Policy Fellowship Program. Dr. Kimberly R. Becher, a third-year resident from Sissonville, W.Va., Dr. Matthew Q. Christiansen, a first-year resident from Spencer, W.Va., and Dr. Kane A. Maiers, a third-year resident from Short Gap, W.Va., were honored by the resolution authored by Sen. Robert H. Plymale of Wayne County.The resolution also names Dr. Tracy Hendershot, MUSOM class of 2008, who served as the first Ambrose fellow. “Our physicians have worked diligently to help our lawmakers explore and vet dozens of issues that affect the health and well-being of the citizens of West Virginia,” said Dr. Stephen M. Petrany, co-director of the health policy track at Marshall and chairman of the department of family and community health.  “One of the goals of this program is to help young physicians fine-tune their leadership skills so they can effectively contribute to the health policy process. They have committed many hours to the process and we are very proud of their efforts.” Both Becher and Maiers have served in the program for three years and tackled such topics as this year’s catastrophic water crisis in central West Virginia and the Methamphetamine Lab Eradication Act. The Ambrose Health Policy Program was started at Marshall University in 2010 and is believed to be the only such program of its type in the country. It is a partnership of Marshall’s department of family and community health, Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health, and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.    It was inspired by namesake Paul Wesley Ambrose, a Marshall medical alumnus whose life and dynamic health policy career were cut short on September 11, 2001. ———————- Photo: Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Ambrose Health Policy Fellows are, from left, Dr. Kimberly Becher,  Dr. Kane Maiers and Dr. Matthew Christiansen. Photo by Martin Valent, West Virginia Legislative Photography, 2014. 

Brain Expo returns Friday

More than 630 elementary school children from around the Tri-state region will visit the Memorial Student Center Friday to participate in activities designed to help them learn about the brain and nervous system.

The sixth Brain Expo at Marshall will feature more than 25 interactive stations where children will explore how the various parts of their nervous system are responsible for how their bodies function and learn how healthy lifestyle choices lead to better brain health. brain expo picture of brainActivities will include testing their reflexes, playing memory games, coloring their own “brain hats” and building brain cell-shaped key chains.

More than 200 Marshall students and faculty from the  College of Science and Psychology Department, as well as the Department of Neuroscience at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, will oversee the activities. The St. Mary’s Medical Center also will be on hand with a station about brain and spinal cord safety.

The event is part of Brain Awareness Week, an annual global effort founded in 1996 by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. The Brain Expo at Marshall was founded by Dr. Nadja Spitzer and Dr. Brian Antonsen, both of whom are neuroscientists and assistant professors in the Department of Biological Sciences.

“Events like the Brain Expo are an excellent way to increase public awareness of brain research at Marshall and gain the interest of students who may choose a career path in science, technology, engineering or mathematics,” said Spitzer, the program director. “People are fascinated by the brain and there are many fun hands-on activities, like optical illusions, that show how the nervous system works. Our goal is to interest children in science and research at a young age by using games and activities that demonstrate the relevance of neuroscience in everyday life.”

Spitzer said registration for this year’s event is full, but anyone interested in next year’s program can e-mail brainawareness@marshall.edu.

For more information about the Brain Expo and Marshall’s Brain Awareness Program, visitwww.marshall.edu/baw.

The Brain Expo is supported by the National Science Foundation (Cooperative Agreement Award number EPS-1003907) and the College of Science, Department of Biological Sciences, Cell Differentiation and Development Center, and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

This story was taken directly from: http://www.marshall.edu/wamnewsletter/2014/02/25/brain-expo-returns-friday/.

Marshall BMS Program is accepting applications for its Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS)

Marshall University’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program is accepting applications for its sixth annual Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS)!

Application deadline is February 15th! Apply Now!

The SRIMS program includes nine weeks of graduate-level research in the field of biomedical sciences. Participants receive formal research training while expanding their learning experience through workshops, seminars on current topics, mentoring and use of state-of-the-art core facilities.

Annesha_King and Dr. Koc

2013 SRIMS Intern Annesha King with her mentor, Dr. Emine Koc

Each year, applications from undergraduate and underrepresented minority students who have not graduated by August of the program year are considered. Also, students are required to present their research at the WV Summer Research Symposium the last week of the program and should note this as they commit to the program.

A stipend of $3,000 will be provided to each participant for the nine-week experience. Participants will receive free room and board, as well as assistance with travel.

 

Visit the SRIMS webpage for more specifics!

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!

 

 

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Wins Best Poster Award at Regional Society of Toxicology Meeting

Christopher Racine, a fourth year Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Candidate, won the Ohio Valley Regional Chapter/Charles River Laboratories Best Ph.D. Student Poster Presentation Award at the Ohio Valley Regional Society of Toxicology meeting held at the University of Louisville, Louisville Kentucky.

Racine_Chris_2013

Mr. Racine’s poster was entitled, “Role of renal biotransformation in 1,2,3-trichloro-4-nitrobenzene induced nephrotoxicity in vitro,” and co-authored by Travis Ferguson, Deborah Preston, Dianne K. Anestis and Dr. Gary O. Rankin. The project was designed to begin to determine how 1,2,3-trichloro-4-nitrobenzene, a commonly used chemical intermediate, causes damage to the kidney. Racine’s work explored if the kidney could directly change the chemical to a toxic form and whether oxidative damage might play a role in how the nitrobenzene compound damaged kidneys. His work documented that several different metabolizing enzyme systems could change the nitrobenzene compound to new toxic compounds called metabolites that harmed the kidney cells. He also found that chemical-induced oxidative damage was contributing to the mechanism by which the nitrobenzene was causing kidney toxicity.

Future work will explore which toxic metabolites are formed from 1,2,3-trichloro-4-nitrobenzene and what parts of the kidney cells these metabolites attack. Mr. Racine is currently conducting his research in the laboratory of Dr. Gary O. Rankin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Congratulations, Chris!

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/.

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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BMS Professor Receives Distinguished Artists and Scholars Award

Congratulations to Dr. Monica A. Valentovic, for receiving Marshall University’s 2013 Distinguished Artists and Scholars Award!

Monica Valentovic, Ph.D.

The award is given annually to recognize distinction in the fields of artistic and scholarly activity on the part of the Marshall faculty. Dr. Valentovic, a professor of biomedical sciences and in the Marshall School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Toxicology, was the senior recipient for Sciences and Technology. In addition to the honor, she received $2,000.

When asked about receiving this praiseworthy award, Dr. Valentovic responded: “Receiving the Marshall University Distinguished Scholars and Artists Award is a very special honor that was quite unexpected. There are many individuals committed to research at the medical school who are very deserving. This award has motivated me to work toward increasing research opportunities for graduate students, medical students, undergraduates as well as residents.”

Congratulations, Dr. Valentovic!

To learn more about Dr. Valentovic and her accomplishments, please visit her webpage.

 

BMS Cancer researcher presents technology developed to help personalize chemotherapy

 

HFL-2_CHEMO-ID

Healthy for Life: ChemoID: What’s Next? [WCHS-TV Eyewitness News: July 12, 2013]

P-CHEMO-ID

Groundbreaking Cancer Research May Help Chemo Patients [WCHS-TV Eyewitness News:  July 5, 2013]

 

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University biomedical sciences researcher Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio traveled to a national medical meeting in Chicago earlier this month to present a technology he and his colleagues think will help physicians personalize chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.Claudio’s presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology focused on ChemoID, a system he has developed with Marshall biology professor Dr. Jagan Valluri to measure the sensitivity of patients’ tumors to chemotherapy drugs.

“Oncologists every day face many challenges in determining the best course of therapy for an individual cancer patient,” says Claudio. “The basic problem is that patients with similar diagnoses don’t always respond to the same chemotherapy. This technology we have developed could help physicians select the appropriate chemotherapy for an individual patient—giving them an edge in the fight against cancer.”

He says ChemoID is the first chemosensitivity test for both cancer stem-like cells and bulk tumor cells.

According to Claudio, cancer stem-like cells are a small, resilient subset of cells found in tumors. Current anticancer therapies are imperfect because they target the tumor without treating the root of the cancer—the small subpopulation of these tumor-initiating cancer stem cells thought to be responsible for recurrences. The result is that the tumor often shrinks but soon grows back. In addition, the stem-like cells appear to be preferentially resistant to both standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

He says more evaluation of the technology is needed, but a clinical trial on a small number of patients found ChemoID 100 percent accurate in predicting which drug is more effective in treating patients affected by brain cancer if the cancer stem-like cells are evaluated.

The upshot for a cancer patient, he says, is that ChemoID may make possible personalized treatment by predicting the most effective drug combination to successfully target that specific patient’s cancer—increasing the chance the drugs will work and perhaps reducing side effects by helping the patient avoid unnecessary drugs.

Claudio acknowledged the contributions of Dr. Anthony Alberico, chairman of the Department of Neuroscience at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, for providing the clinical samples, as well as his co-investigators at the school of medicine, McKown Translational Genomic Research Institute and Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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BMS Cancer researcher presents technology developed to help personalize chemotherapy

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University biomedical sciences researcher Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio traveled to a national medical meeting in Chicago earlier this month to present a technology he and his colleagues think will help physicians personalize chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.Claudio’s presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology focused on ChemoID, a system he has developed with Marshall biology professor Dr. Jagan Valluri to measure the sensitivity of patients’ tumors to chemotherapy drugs.

“Oncologists every day face many challenges in determining the best course of therapy for an individual cancer patient,” says Claudio. “The basic problem is that patients with similar diagnoses don’t always respond to the same chemotherapy. This technology we have developed could help physicians select the appropriate chemotherapy for an individual patient—giving them an edge in the fight against cancer.”

He says ChemoID is the first chemosensitivity test for both cancer stem-like cells and bulk tumor cells.

According to Claudio, cancer stem-like cells are a small, resilient subset of cells found in tumors. Current anticancer therapies are imperfect because they target the tumor without treating the root of the cancer—the small subpopulation of these tumor-initiating cancer stem cells thought to be responsible for recurrences. The result is that the tumor often shrinks but soon grows back. In addition, the stem-like cells appear to be preferentially resistant to both standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

He says more evaluation of the technology is needed, but a clinical trial on a small number of patients found ChemoID 100 percent accurate in predicting which drug is more effective in treating patients affected by brain cancer if the cancer stem-like cells are evaluated.

The upshot for a cancer patient, he says, is that ChemoID may make possible personalized treatment by predicting the most effective drug combination to successfully target that specific patient’s cancer—increasing the chance the drugs will work and perhaps reducing side effects by helping the patient avoid unnecessary drugs.

Claudio acknowledged the contributions of Dr. Anthony Alberico, chairman of the Department of Neuroscience at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, for providing the clinical samples, as well as his co-investigators at the school of medicine, McKown Translational Genomic Research Institute and Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

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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

 

 

School of Medicine increases space for research and economic development

Partnership with Huntington Area Development Council to facilitate expansion

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is expanding its research and development operations by acquiring laboratory and office space in the university’s Forensic Science Center Annex from the Huntington Area Development Council.

Today’s announcement by Dr. Joseph I. Shapiro, dean of the School of Medicine, reflects an agreement among the Huntington Area Development Council, the Marshall University Research Corporation and the medical school that will give the school the space it needs to grow its biomedical research program.

“I am thrilled we will soon expand our biomedical research operations into space at the Forensic Science Center Annex,” Shapiro said. “Through our partnership with HADCO and the Marshall University Research Corporation, the School of Medicine will now be able to move forward with research projects guided by our new vice dean for research, Dr. Nader Abraham.  Moreover, I’m certain expansion of our research capabilities will eventually lead to additional opportunities and ultimately to better health care for our patients.”

Forensic Science AnnexThe School of Medicine’s new space is in an area of the annex designated for research and biotechnology startup companies when the facility was built. HADCO, using $1 million in federal funding, partnered with Marshall University to build the annex with a goal of creating an environment for “new economy” jobs. Through the agreement announced today, the School of Medicine will sublease from HADCO 2,100 square feet for its new laboratories and offices.

Researchers in the new labs will be investigating the causes of kidney disease and hypertension as well as conducting clinical trials on medications to improve heart function and decrease body weight.    

“This is exactly what HADCO envisioned several years ago,” said Stephen J. Golder, chairman of HADCO’s executive committee.  “HADCO will continue to encourage research throughout Marshall University and the School of Medicine that can result in the creation of ‘new economy’ jobs in our region.”

Golder went on to say the partnership is a great example of how public and private entities can work to foster economic development in the region.

Dr. John M. Maher, Marshall’s vice president for research, added, “We are excited by this rapid response to demand for new research space at the School of Medicine to accommodate new grant-funded researchers. With our partner HADCO, we look forward to the innovation and technology-based economic development that will follow this new research activity. This is another significant step in making Huntington a leading regional center for translational research.”

The research space is expected to be ready for occupancy this fall. It is located at the corner of 14th Street and Charleston Avenue in Huntington.

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Taken from Press Release by Leah C. Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, 304-691-1713

 

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

Dr. Gary Rankin receives alumni award from Ole Miss

Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D.Dr. Gary O. Rankin, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, was recently honored by the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy with its Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumni Award.

Rankin, who graduated with his doctorate from “Ole Miss” in 1976, joined the Marshall University faculty in 1978 after completing postdoctoral work at the Medical College of Ohio, now the University of Toledo. Rankin serves as principal investigator for the National Institutes of Health-funded West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) program. He has authored or coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, eight review articles, 13 book chapters and nearly 200 research presentations at local, regional, national and international meetings.

Rankin was honored in March during a ceremony in Oxford, Miss.

This article was published in this week’s edition of the We Are…Marshall newsletter. (http://www.marshall.edu/wamnewsletter/2013/04/16/dr-gary-rankin-receives-alumni-award-from-ole-miss/

Marshall to host 900 scientists next week at Association of Southeastern Biologists meeting

Contact:  Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304-746-1964, www.marshall.edu/murc

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University will host the 74th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists next week in Charleston.

The meeting will bring 900 researchers, university faculty members and students from 20 states and Washington, D.C., to the Charleston Civic Center April 10-13.

Dr. Chuck Somerville, dean of Marshall’s College of Science, is a member of Marshall’s planning group and will welcome participants at the opening session. He said hosting the conference is a good opportunity to showcase Marshall and West Virginia.

“It’s very exciting that Marshall is the host institution for this year’s meeting,” he said. “This is a high-quality scientific conference with close to 1,000 attendees. We are excited about welcoming our colleagues to West Virginia and are looking forward to both the scientific sessions and showing our visitors some of the beautiful natural attractions in our region.”

Somerville said presentations will focus on the latest research conducted by association members and will cover a wide range of topics.

“Biology is a diverse field. We’ll have presentations about everything from a study of efforts to restore the American chestnut tree in central Appalachia to elk habitat use in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to crayfish and centipedes in West Virginia,” he added. “We’ve also got people who will present cutting-edge genetics and cancer research.”

In addition to learning about current research, Somerville said meeting attendees will participate in field trips to Kanawha State Forest, New River Gorge, the Huntington Museum of Art plant conservatory, West Virginia State University’s microbiology fermentation facility and Carter Caves.

Conference planners estimate the regional economic impact of the conference at $900,000.

The Association of Southeastern Biologists membership includes 1,400 members from 42 states and 13 countries.

For more information about next week’s meeting, visit www.sebiologists.org or contact Somerville at 304-696-2424 or somervil@marshall.edu.

Dr. Dasgupta’s research highlighted on WV Public Broadcasting radio

Study at Marshall focuses on new therapies for lung cancer

By Clark Davis
 
 
March 27, 2013 · Researchers from Marshall University are studying treatment options for lung cancer.

A study conducted by Marshall University associate professor Dr. Piyali Dasgupta may be the beginning of something big. In fact, the study was recently published in a highly respected medical journal called Cancer Research. The professor of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology worked on a study that could lead to new treatments for lung cancer.

Dasgupta said cells in the body are used by nicotine to promote the growth and survival of bronchioalveolar carcinomas or BACs. Dasgupta says they were able to find that using certain drugs to interrupt neurotransmitters, suppresses nicotine induced growth. Dasgupta said they hope to produce compounds based on the original agent vesamicol that are more potent in the fight of the cancer cells. 

“What we are hoping is that in the future using some kind of studies that are chemistry based, we can come up with novel compounds that are more potent and more specific which will have the same anti-cancer effects, it’s novel because it provides a new molecular target which can be used for the treatments of these cancers,” Dasgupta said.

Dasgupta said it’s exciting to find a unique angle to fighting lung cancer. 

“Yes I do think in tobacco dependent lung cancers that this is a novel strategy for therapy so we’ll see how things go, but as of now we are excited about it,” Dasgupta said.

Dasqupta said nicotine itself is not a carcinogen, but studies have shown it can induce the growth of lung cancers and even protect lung cancer cells against chemotherapy. Dasgupta said the study is important in West Virginia. 

“The angle of tobacco and lung cancer is a very relevant problem that we face in West Virginia and people are exposed to nicotine by second hand smoke and people that quit are exposed to patches and gums and then you have the electronic cigarette, but researchers within West Virginia we understand the urgency in this,” Dasgupta said.

Dasgupta used the help of a research team made up of undergraduate and graduate students and said these findings wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Dr. Yi Charlie Chen, a professor of biology at Alderson-Broaddus in Philippi.

“With the collaboration she’s able to accomplish more you know on her research and it’s the same for me, it’s very nice and important to have a collaborator so we can raise more questions,” Chen said.

Dr. Dasgupta said that ability to lean on a respected fellow researcher like Chen is important. 

“He did these experiments at his end and quantitated the results and we were thrilled to find out that he was getting exactly the same results that we were which means validation of your work in different sources, so yes he’s been a big part of our research program,” Dasgupta said.

That validation led to the work being published in Cancer Research, the most cited cancer research journal in the world.

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!

First Outreach Science Café recently hosted by Marshall students, ASBMB, and Cabell Midland High School

Marshall’s Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Student Organization (GSO), in collaboration with the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and Cabell Midland High School, recently hosted the first Outreach Science Café at Marshall’s Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center. The intent of this event was to advocate scientific literacy, increase awareness for funding, and promote scientific interest among our youth. A total of 23 students from Cabell Midland High School attended this event, which highlighted two key graduate programs: the BMS and Forensic Science programs. Each program provided a unique perspective as well as a “hands-on” interactive session.

Synopsis: Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D. and M.S.

To facilitate a sense of excitement and opportunity, the BMS program focused on providing four unique perspectives of the BMS Program. First, Mrs. Diana Maue, Program Recruitment and Communication Coordinator, presented the overall goal of the BMS program, as well as the vast research and career opportunities available to students. Dr. Maria Serrat, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology, followed by giving an account of how she became fascinated with her field of interest (the effects of the environment and temperature on bone growth),  and what the BMS program can provide to future research scientists. Finally, second year Ph.D. student Kristeena Ray, and Ph.D. candidate M. Allison Wolf, spoke about what led them to act on their passion for science, and what it is like to pursue a doctorate in biomedical sciences at Marshall University.

Teencafe_BMS

Next, the students were divided into two groups for “hands-on” interactive sessions, which were graciously led by Richard Egleton, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, and Wei-ping Zeng, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology. The purpose of these sessions was to provide participants with a unique opportunity to participate in various research-related angles of the BMS Program.

“I think the science café was an excellent opportunity for me to interact with high school students. This kind of event is a very good way to spark an interest in science and hopefully after this, these students will want to pursue science as undergraduates.” said Dr. Egleton when asked about the importance of the ASBMB Outreach Café. Similarly, Dr. Zeng agreed on the importance stating that “it exposes the younger generation to scientific research and ideas.”

Synopsis: Forensic Science, M.S.

Following the Biomedical Sciences graduate program section, participants heard from Dr. Graham Rankin, Professor of Forensic Science, on behalf of the Forensic Science master’s program at Marshall University. Students subsequently ventured to the Crime Scene House, located near campus, and were given a tour. High school students learning about crime scene evidence in Marshall's Forensic Science Crime Scene HouseThere, they used crime scene investigation equipment, and were shown how different evidence (e.g. latent fingerprints, footwear impressions, forensic photography, etc.) can be analyzed to help solve crimes.

When asked about the overall response from the students, Ms. Myriaha Selbee, a collaborator and teacher at Cabell Midland High School, stated “I heard nothing but positive remarks from my students” and that she was “very impressed with the amount of professional support that was allotted to my students.” She hopes that future ASBMB Outreach Cafés will keep Cabell Midland High School in mind.

Additionally, one participant went on to say that “this is a wonderful program and I would love to continue coming. I have taken away information about the program and other career options.”

Overall, the ASBMB Outreach Café was a wonderful success. Future events will be aimed at further diversifying our target population, and breaking out the café into more specific areas of interest.

Study focuses on potential lung cancer therapies

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Scientists from Marshall University, Piyali Dasgupta, Ph.D.along with colleagues at Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, have completed a study that may eventually help lead to the development of new treatments for lung cancer.

Their results were published in the Feb. 15 issue of Cancer Research, the most frequently cited cancer journal in the world.

At Marshall, Dr. Piyali Dasgupta, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology in the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, worked on the study with her research team of Jamie Lau, Kathleen Brown and Brent Thornhill, and undergraduate students Cody Stover and Christopher McNees.

Researchers in Dasgupta’s lab explore how the various components of tobacco, especially nicotine, advance the progression of lung cancer.                                       

Dasgupta said this study focused on a specific type of lung cancer called bronchioalveolar carcinomas, or BACs, which are known to be associated with smoking. She and the other scientists working on the project looked at the cellular pathways through which nicotine—the addictive component in cigarettes—promotes the growth and survival of BACs. 

According to Dasgupta, nicotine itself is not a carcinogen, but studies have shown it can induce the growth and metastasis of lung cancers. It can also protect lung cancer cells against the beneficial effects of chemotherapy.

She said, “In this study, we found that nicotine raised the levels of specific neurotransmitters, or ‘chemical messengers,’ in human BACs. When we used a drug, vesamicol, to interrupt the neurotransmitters’ pathways, the nicotine-induced growth of these carcinomas was significantly suppressed. Our findings are important because they indicate that agents like vesamicol may be useful in the treatment of human lung cancers.” 

More information about the research is available online at http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/73/4/1328.abstract?sid=c29c4530-21a3-4652-a977-23b25019258a.

The study was funded in part by a Young Clinical Scientist Award from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute.

For more information, contact Dasgupta at dasgupta@marshall.edu or 304-696-3612.

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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.” 

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