Co-Directors named for biomedical sciences graduate program

Richard Egleton, Ph.D., associate professor, department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology and Todd L. Green, associate professor, department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology have been appointed co-directors of the biomedical sciences graduate program, Uma Sundaram, M.D., vice dean for research and graduate education announced today.

Egleton joined the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in 2007.  His key research areas of interest include blood brain barrier (BBB), drug delivery and role of the BBB in disease.  Green has been with the School of Medicine since 1991 and is involved in cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and neuroscience research.

The biomedical sciences graduate program at Marshall is an interdisciplinary program leading to the master of science and/or doctor of philosophy degrees in biomedical sciences.   For more information, visit

Pictured from left to right: Uma Sundaram, M.D., vice dean for research and graduate education, Richard Egleton, Ph.D., new co-director for the biomedical sciences graduate program, Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Todd L. Green, Ph.D., newly named co-director for the biomedical sciences graduate program.


Marshall School of Medicine researcher to receive national anatomy award – Marshall University represented by multi-disciplinary researchers at Experimental Biology conference

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—Maria A. Serrat, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of anatomy and pathology at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Basmajian Award by the American Association of Anatomists.

serrat photoSerrat will be recognized during the organization’s Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology which started at the end of March in Boston.

The Basmajian Award recognizes members teaching human or veterinary gross anatomy, in the formative stages of their career, who have made outstanding accomplishments in biomedical research or scholarship in education.

“I am indebted to Dr. Laura Richardson for nominating me for this prestigious award, and for supporting my research and professional development since I joined the department in 2009,” Serrat said. “I could not have made such achievements without the support of Dr. Richardson and our chairman of anatomy and pathology, Dr. Linda Brown.”

Serrat’s research specializes in growth and morphology of the postnatal skeleton. One area of grant-funded focus is on heat-enhanced molecular delivery to skeletal growth plates.

Serrat graduated from Miami University in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She then earned her master’s degree in anthropology from Kent State University and followed with a doctorate in biological anthropology from Kent State University in 2007. She completed postdoctoral training at Cornell University from 2008 to 2009.

In addition to receiving the award, Serrat will present “Imaging IGF-I uptake in growth plate cartilage using in vivo multiphoton microscopy” in a special symposium that she organized titled “Vascular and connective tissue imaging in situ: returning bone to the skeleton.”

In other conference news, school of medicine researcher Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, will lead a special symposium, “Pharmacogenetics and Drug Toxicity.”

Several Marshall graduate students were selected for graduate student travel awards for this year’s conference and will be showcasing their research through both oral and poster presentations. They are:

Jenna-KerbyJenna C. Kerby, first-year medical student, “Temperature-enhanced extremity lengthening is growth rate dependent.” Kerby was selected as one of only eight trainees to give an oral presentation in the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology Section of the American Physiological Society’s Abstract-Driven Trainee Featured Topic.

Caroline-2013-for-webCaroline Ann Hunter, biomedical sciences Ph.D. student, travel award received from American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), “c-Src regulates mitochondrial translation by phosphorylation of elongation factor Tu.”

Racine_Chris_2013Christopher Racine, biomedical sciences Ph.D. candidate, travel award received from American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), “Oxidative stress induced following exposure to 3,5-dichloroaniline (3,5-DCA) in vitro: Role in Nephrotoxicity.

Holly L. Tamski, biomedical sciences Ph.D. candidate, travel award from American Association of Anatomists (AAA), “Infrared Thermal Imaging to Collect Quantitative Surface Temperatures from Mice in Unilateral Limb Heating Study.”

Res07 Justin Kirk TomblinJustin K. Tomblin, biomedical sciences Ph.D. candidate, recipient of the Best Research Performance Award from Marshall’s biomedical sciences program which provides travel to a national meeting, “Pyrrolidine Dithiocarbamate Selectively Induces Autophagy and Cell Death in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells.”


Undergraduate student Miles Gray, a senior biochemistry major, is also traveling to the conference. In addition to the student researchers, Marshall University faculty, from a variety of disciplines and programs, are scheduled to present their findings.

Researchers from the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program,  Forensic Science Graduate Program, the School of Pharmacy, and the School of Medicine will present at the meeting which runs through April 1.

This news story can also be found at and

Women of Color Award 2015 – Wright again

Tuesday, March 31st, Marshall Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidate Kristeena Ray Wright was flooded with emotion after her nominator of the Marshall student 2015 Women of Color Award stood before her and her peers announcing why she should receive this prestigious honor.

Ray Wright, Kristeena 3.31Words such as intelligent, personable, driven, approachable, professional, unassuming, open-minded, and dedicated, were used to help describe Kristeena. Also, anecdotal highlights were stated assuring the audience that Mrs. Wright is truly an amazing woman of color.

Once the award was announced, Kristeena turned to accept the beautiful and owner-signed Blenko vase, and saw her mother standing in front of her. Mrs. Ray had flown in from Chicago to surprise Kristeena and show her support for her as she received this special honor. Indeed it was special.Ray Wright Kristeena and mother 3.31

Kristeena Wright has been an advocate for equality for women, people of color, and various genders and sexual orientations. She has written performance pieces involving personal experiences, and openly shared them to help raise awareness. This provided pathways for others to connect and to feel understood. Additionally, Kristeena persevered through unavoidable personal difficulties, and not only continued through, but also strengthened the Biomedical Sciences doctorate program. Her commitment to her success has only inspired those around her.

Ray Wright Kristeena WOC 2015Congratulations to Kristeena!

To read the article in the local newspaper and see additional pictures, please visit:

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine hosts 27th annual Research Day – Winners Announced

Congratulations to two Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. students for winning best oral and best poster presentations at the recent Marshall University JCE School of Medicine 27th Annual Research Day!

Winner of Basic Science Poster Presentation
Fischer, AdamAdam Fischer, Ph.D. student
, works in Dr. Sarah Miles’ laboratory and presented a poster titled “Normoxic accumulation and activity of HIF-1 is associated with ascorbic acid transporter expression and localization in human melanoma”. The other author is Sarah L. Miles.





Winner of Basic Science Oral Presentation
Kristeena Ray_web
Kristeena Wright, Ph.D. candidate, works in Dr. Nalini Santanam’s laboratory and gave an oral presentation titled “Polycomb group and associated proteins as potential therapeutic targets for endometriosis”. Other authors include Brenda Mitchell and Nalini Santanam. 



Winners of clinical categories are as follows:

Clinical Science Oral Presentation, Student CategoryBrandon J. Smith
“Impact of influenza vaccination on clinical outcomes of patients admitted in a university affiliated large medical center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania”

Clinical Science Oral Presentation, Resident CategoryA. Allison Roy
“Evaluating Buprenorphine Metabolism in Cord Blood from Neonates Born to Opiate Addicted Mothers as a Predictor of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in Rural Appalachia”

Clinical Case Poster Presentation, Student CategoryPaul Viscuse
“Fatigue, bruising, and weight loss in a teenage female with previously diagnosed thrombocytopenia”

Clinical Case Poster Presentation, Post-Graduate CategoryZain Qazi
“Atypical Growth of an Osteochondroma in a 31 year old female”

Clinical Science Poster Presentation, Student CategoryMaria Espiridion
The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit: Barriers and Patient Perceptions”

Clinical Science Poster Presentation, Post-Graduate CategoryJared Brownfield
“Placental ADRB1 mRNA as a Potential Predictor of Outcome and Possible Therapeutic Target in High Risk Pregnancies”

Earlier Press Release:

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Nearly 100 research projects and a keynote presentation focused on one of the region’s most pressing health problems, obesity, will mark the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s Health Sciences Center 27th Annual Research Day at Marshall University.

The two-day research event begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 23, with a community seminar on obesity, co-sponsored by Cabell Huntington Hospital (CHH) and its Senior Services Program.

Richard J. Johnson, M.D., chief of the division of renal disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado, will serve as special guest speaker for both the community event and Marshall’s academic event.

Johnson graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School and then completed a residency in internal medicine and fellowships in nephrology and infectious diseases at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Johnson’s community presentation, “Obesity,” is focused on the causes of weight gain and overall energy balance and concerns about the intake of added sugars containing fructose in the Western diet.  The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Harless Auditorium of the Marshall University Medical Center on the campus of Cabell Huntington Hospital.  The following day, Tuesday, March 24, Johnson also will deliver a lecture to medical students, residents and other medical personnel in the Harless Auditorium. The lecture, which begins at 11:30 a.m., is titled, “The Role of Sugar (Fructose) in the Great Epidemics of Diabetes and Obesity.”

Research Day showcases research conducted by medical students, graduate students, residents and postdoctoral fellows.   This year’s entries include a variety of projects that focus on various areas in medical and biomedical research. “The topic of our research day, obesity, is very important since most of the serious health care disparities affecting West Virginians result from obesity,” said Uma Sundaram, M.D., vice dean for research at the School of Medicine. “The presentations by Dr. Johnson and the cutting-edge research that will be presented during the research day illustrate our commitment to education, prevention and treatment of obesity and its many complications in West Virginia.”

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


Mixer brings biomedical and medical school students together

Students from the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BMS) and first-year Joan C.Edwards School of Medicine class enjoyed a mixer on March 18. Around 20 people, including several MS-1 class officers and BMS Graduate Student OrganizationMixer event_March 2015 leaders, shared fun conversations, chips, fruit, brownies, and sloppy joe sandwiches at the Byrd Clinical Center. After all, it was National Sloppy Joe Day!

These gatherings will be held once per semester to assist in developing comfortable relationships and peer networks between the clinical and research area participants.

Racine publishes with Rankin’s lab

Chris Racine, a Marshall Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidate, has been involved with two papers accepted for publication since October.

Racine RankinThe first manuscript, 3,4,5-Trichloroaniline nephrotoxicity in vitro: Potential role of free radicals and renal biotransformation, was published in the well-respected International Journal of Molecular Sciences in a Special Issue: Renal Toxicology—Epidemiology and Mechanisms. Racine is the first author on this publication. Please see to view the entire article.

Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D. authored the second paper with Mr. Racine and others in the lab including Adam Sweeny, Travis FergusonDeborah Preston, and Dianne K. Anestis. 4-amino-2-chlorophenol: Comparative in vitro nephrotoxicity and mechanisms of bioactivation was published in Chemico-Biological Interactions. This journal ranks in the top 25% of toxicology journals. The full article is available here:

Chris conducts research in the lab of Dr. Rankin, a member of the Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences Cluster. Rankin’s lab explores the role that the kidney plays in metabolizing compounds used as intermediates in the production of a wide variety of agricultural products. Exposure to these compounds can occur both in industrial and environmental settings, and therefore, an understanding of the activation mechanism is important for better insight into kidney health.

School of Medicine researchers continue to battle endometriosis in laboratory

Nalini Santanam, PhD, MPHA pair of School of Medicine researchers is making great strides in understanding endometriosis, a disorder that often leads to chronic pain and/or infertility in many women of reproductive age. Dr. Nalini Santanam, Professor, Department of Pharma- cology, Physiology & Toxicology and Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidate Kristeena Ray Wright have published two publications in the last two months regarding their research on endometriosis and pain. The first, “Power over Pain: a brief overview of current and novel interventions for endometriosis associated pain” was published in the Journal of Endometriosis and  Pelvic Pain Disorders at the end of 2014.

The second manuscript “Oxidation Sensitive Nociception Involved in Endometriosis Associated Pain”, is published in “Pain” which is a top impact journal in pain research, in January 2015. This study summarizes some of the seminal work performed in Dr. Santanam’s laboratory over the past several years that led to a ground-breaking discovery in the mechanisms of pain in endo- metriosis.

Both publications were in collaboration with Dr. Brenda Mitchell, Professor Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology.