Marshall investigators to help lead Research Challenge Fund projects for energy, cancer studies

The following story from the Marshall University Research Corporation highlights the cancer research of two professors from the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, Dr. Richard Niles and Dr. Donald Primerano. It also provides a spotlight on the WV Cancer Genomics Network,  which these two faculty members helped launch as Principal Investigators.


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Researchers at Marshall University are among the lead investigators on two projects to be funded through the state’s Research Challenge Fund, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission announced today.

Photo of Dr. Thomas WilsonMarshall faculty members Drs. Thomas Wilson, Richard Niles and Donald Primerano will help direct the projects—one to develop better electronics and the other to learn more about cancers affecting West Virginians. The projects began this month and will be conducted in cooperation with researchers at West Virginia University (WVU). Each project will receive a total of $1,350,000 over the next five years.

The Research Challenge Fund was established by the state legislature in 2002 to provide seed money for new research. Projects funded through the program support the creation of research centers and start-up businesses, and foster economic development and work force advancement.

Announcing the awards, Dr. Paul L. Hill, the commission’s chancellor, said, “The primary goal of the Research Challenge Fund is to sponsor innovative research at our colleges and universities while improving the institutions’ ability to compete for federal and private funding on the national level.”

Dr. John M. Maher, Marshall’s vice president for research, said, “Marshall University is pleased to have been selected to receive funding through this important program. The Research Challenge Fund is one of the state’s largest investments in research and innovation, and the application process is always quite competitive. The fact that our investigators are integral to two of the projects announced today speaks volumes about the quality of research being done at Marshall. I look forward to watching these projects develop over the coming years.”

The funding to create a Center for Energy Efficient Electronics at Marshall and WVU will be used to investigate and develop devices that will lead to next-generation electronics that are smaller, faster and more energy efficient than current technology allows. The principal investigators on the project are Wilson, who is a professor of physics at Marshall; Dr. David Lederman, a professor of physics at WVU; and Drs. Alan Bristow, Mikel Holcomb and Tudor Stanescu, associate professors of physics at WVU.

According to the investigators, there is strong interest in the research community in the concepts of spintronics and magnonics, where spin degrees of freedom and magnetic excitations are used for information storage and processing. Spintronics and magnonics are expected to result in electronic devices that are faster and use substantially less power than current electronics because spin and magnetic excitation currents do not dissipate nearly as much energy as charge currents.

“In my lab at Marshall, I will be probing the effects of applying uniaxial stress to the magnonic devices to adjust their frequencies,” said Wilson. “This proof-of-concept experiment will permit us to determine whether it is feasible to use strain to fabricate THz magnonic devices for ultrafast communication applications.”

The second research project will further develop and expand the West Virginia Cancer Genomics Network to involve Marshall, WVU and Charleston Area Medical Center. Network partners will develop a genetic database for cancers with a higher incidence in West Virginia. Researchers will use the data in studies and clinical trials funded by federal and/or private grants and to help develop start-up biotechnology companies. Principal investigators for this study are Niles, who is a professor and chairman of Marshall’s Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology; Primerano, who is a professor of biochemistry and microbiology at Marshall and the director of the university’s Genomics Core Facility; Dr. William Petros, a professor of biochemistry at WVU; and Dr. Todd Kuenstner, the director of pathology at Charleston Area Medical Center.

Photo of Dr. Richard Niles

Niles said, “We started the Cancer Genomics Network several years ago with money from the federal stimulus, to collect genetic information about cancers that have a high prevalence in West Virginia—namely lung, colorectal and ovarian cancers, and acute myeloid leukemia. Through this award, along with our network partners at WVU and CAMC, we’ll be working to identify new diagnostic/prognostic markers and new targets for cancer therapy.”

 

Primerano added, “At our Genomics Core Facility, we will be sequencing and analyzing the tissue samples collected through the network, allowing us to gain information critical to understanding, preventing and treating cancer in future patients.”

Photo of Dr. Donald Primerano

The grants announced today are the third round of Research Challenge Fund awards made since the program began. According to the Higher Education Policy Commission, the first round—a state investment of $8.4 million—produced more than $20 million in external funding, helped create five startup companies and led to 10 patent applications. Results from the second round of grants, awarded in 2007, are being analyzed and will be reported to the governor and legislature by the end of the year.

More information about the Research Challenge Fund program and other research initiatives is available at www.wvresearch.org.


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

WV-INBRE-Supported Research Project Awarded Top Prize at the American College of Cardiology National Conference

Christopher Adams, M.D., and Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H.Dr. Christopher Adams, first year Cardiology fellow, Marshall University, School of Medicine, Huntington WV, presented and won the top prize for the best poster presentation in both regional and national conferences held by the American College of Cardiology for his work on “Perivascular Fat Biomarkers and Corresponding Echocardiographic Evidence: WV‐Appalachian Heart Study”.

He was one of only twelve Cardiology clinical fellows from all the universities in the United States who was selected to present his work to the Board of Governors of the American College of Cardiology conference, held in Las Vegas, NV in February 2012. Dr. Nalini Santanam, Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Toxicology, Marshall University School of Medicine was the PI of this project. The other investigators of this study included Dr. Todd Gress (Department of Internal Medicine), Dr. Paulette Wehner (Department of Cardiology) and Dr. Nepal Chowdhury (Department of Thoracic Surgery) at MUSOM. This study was supported by the supplemental funds from NIH funded WV-INBRE.

Free seminar to focus on intellectual property in health care and life sciences

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– The Marshall University Technology Transfer Office will present a free program about intellectual property and patent protection in the health care and life sciences setting from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 10, in the Board Room of Cabell Huntington Hospital, 1340 Hal Greer Blvd., Huntington.

The program will begin with an overview of the main areas of intellectual property law (patent, trademark and copyright) and will continue with a focus specifically on patent protection in the health care and life sciences setting. The program will cover not only the requirements for obtaining a patent, but also will include discussions about ownership of inventions; the distinction between a patent application and publication of research; the differences between inventorship and authorship; preserving patent rights in health care and academic settings; and issues to consider when patenting surgical and diagnostic methods.

The seminar will be led by attorney Terry Wright of the firm Stites & Harbison PLLC in Louisville, Ky. He is one of 16 registered patent attorneys at the firm and is a member of the Intellectual Property and Technology Service Group. His practice focuses on patent‐related aspects of intellectual property, including patent drafting, patent prosecution, and counseling clients about infringement, validity and patentability.

Wright has a background in life sciences and experience with academic research in the areas of cardiovascular biology, molecular and cellular biology, pharmacology and biotechnology. He counsels companies and university technology transfer/licensing offices regarding strategies for protecting patent‐based intellectual property.

The program is free but reservations are requested. Send reservations totto@marshall.edu. For more information, contact Amy Melton at 304-696-4365.

###

Dr. Eric Blough presents research at national pharmacy conference

The following story from the Marshall University Research Corporation Website (MURC) features Dr. Eric Blough of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. He was a part of one of the interdiscplinary teams of researchers mentioned in the article. Dr. Blough researches within the Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity and Diabetes research cluster.


Eric Blough, Ph.D.HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Interdisciplinary teams of researchers representing four areas at Marshall University have had their abstracts accepted for the July 2012 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s annual meeting in Kissimmee, Fla.

The teams include faculty researchers and students from Marshall’s School of Pharmacy, School of Medicine, Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Diagnostic Nanosystems. Their research includes the following projects:

  • “Assessment of outcomes from use of a standardized behavioral interview within the candidate recruiting process.” Researchers include Robert Stanton, Ph.D.; Kimberly Broedel-Zaugg, Ph.D.; and H. Glenn Anderson, Ph.D. – all three faculty with the School of Pharmacy. The project reviews the validity of faculty scoring that occurs during a standard candidate interview.
  • “Reasons students choose pharmacy as a career.” The research team includes Broedel-Zaugg, and colleagues and students from Ohio Northern University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The goal of the research is to identify the factors that motivate students to choose pharmacy as a career and to determine if there are differences in factor choice between groups of students at different universities.
  • “Acetaminophen Reduces Lipid Accumulation and Improves Cardiac Function in Obese Zucker Rat.” The research team includes Eric Blough, Ph.D., faculty-School of Pharmacy; Paulette Wehner, M.D., faculty-School of Medicine; and Nandini Manne, a doctoral fellow in the School of Medicine. Additional team members include Miaozong Wu, Ph.D.; Ravi Arvapalli; Cuifen Wang, Ph.D.; and Satyanarayana Paturi,D.V.M, who are all with the Center for Diagnostic Nanosystems and the Department of Biological Sciences. The project looked at the effect of acetaminophen consumption on obesity-induced cardiac dysfunction.
  • “Protective Effect of Acetaminophen on Renal Dysfunction in Obese Zucker Rat.” Research team includes Wang, Blough, Arvapalli, Paturi, Manne and Wu. The study’s data suggests that chronic acetaminophen ingestion is associated with improved kidney structure and function in the obese Zucker rat.

The meeting is scheduled for July 14-18.

Progenesis to be featured at international biosciences conference

The following story from the Marshall University Research Corporation (MURC) features Progenesis Technologies, co-founded by Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program professors Dr. Hongwei Yu and Dr. Richard Niles. Progenesis is a research and development company focused on demonstrating the feasibility of manufacturing its genetically-engineered bacterial alginates on an industrial scale. It is one of the “high-tech spinout companies” from Marshall University mentioned in the article.

——————————————————————————–

Bio International Convention
The largest annual global event for the biotechnology industry, the BIO International Convention attracts an audience of more than 15,000 biotech business leaders, scientists, executives and investors from around the world.

Dr. John Maher, Marshall’s vice president for research, says the Bioscience Association of West Virginia (BioWV)—along with the West Virginia Development Office and the Biotech Alliance of the Huntington Area Development Council (HADCO)—is hosting a West Virginia Pavilion at the convention.

Maher, who is also vice-chairman of BioWV, said the Marshall-related companies to be featured at the pavilion include Vandalia Research, Progenesis Technologies and Cordgenics. All three businesses were founded based on technologies developed at Marshall and are headquartered in the state.

“The West Virginia Pavilion will highlight key participants in our state’s life sciences community,” he said. “There is a great deal of very exciting biotechnology work happening here at Marshall and we are pleased to have this opportunity to share it with conference attendees from the rest of the country and around the world.”

Bryan Brown, executive director of BioWV, added, “Not only will the West Virginia Pavilion highlight the outstanding bioscience companies in West Virginia and the excellent biomedical research at our major universities, we will also showcase all the state has to offer in terms of quality of life and increased business competitiveness to our colleagues from the rest of the country and around the world. We hope that participation in this event will help to attract new entrepreneurs, inventors, researchers, investors and businesses to West Virginia.”

BIO International Convention attendees include a mix of biotechnology, pharmaceutical, plant and life science, medical diagnostic, instrumentation and technology companies of all sizes, including the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world. Also represented are economic development organizations and businesses that support the industry, including law firms, service providers, investors, and suppliers of laboratory equipment and products. Representatives from more than 200 universities and academic communities also attend for networking, educational sessions and collaboration opportunities. There is a strong international attendance, with participants from approximately 60 countries.

Marshall University is a founding member of the Bioscience Association of West Virginia. The purpose of the association is to promote and strengthen the bioscience industry in the state by developing a cohesive community that unites biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and research organizations. To advance this mission, BioWV provides educational, networking and commercial opportunities for its members, and serves as an educational and information resource to advance public understanding about the bioscience industry. For more information, visit www.biowv.org.

Dr. Eric Blough publishes a study on metabolic syndrome and skeletal muscle

Dr. Eric Blough of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program recently collaborated with another Marshall University researcher on a study published in Science & Sports. Dr. Blough researches within the Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity and Diabetes research cluster.


Eric Blough, Ph.D.HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Collaboration between two Marshall University associate professors resulted in findings that were published in Science & Sports, a publication of the French Society of Sports Medicine. The research was about the effects of metabolic syndrome on skeletal muscle adaptation.

Dr. Eric Arnold, from Marshall’s School of Physical Therapy, and Dr. Eric Blough, from the School of Pharmacy, worked together on the project.

Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome, is one of the fastest growing health problems in the United States with more than one of every three adults suffering from the disorder, according to Arnold and Blough.

They also said that over the next two decades, the incidence of metabolic syndrome is projected to increase to epidemic levels in both the industrialized and developing worlds. Patients with metabolic syndrome typically are obese, suffer from insulin resistance and exhibit elevations in blood sugar and lipid levels.

“It’s important to assemble a team of experts from various health professions and scientific disciplines, to address the complexity of type 2 diabetes,” Arnold said. “That’s what it is all about, working together to research and discover an optimal therapeutic strategy for this chronic disease. Collaboration is important.”

Marshall’s researchers have been using the obese Zucker rat (Leprfa) which models many of the characteristic features of metabolic syndrome seen in humans to examine how the disorder may affect the ability of their skeletal muscles to adapt to an exercise stimulus.

“Because exercise is almost always prescribed as a treatment modality for these patients, we need to understand how skeletal muscles of someone with metabolic syndrome may respond to exercise if we ever want to optimize the therapeutic treatment of this disease,” Arnold said.

Their research, titled “Insulin resistance does not inhibit the ability of the mechanical overload to induce hypertrophy in the Obese Zucker Rat (Leprfa) plantaris muscle,” was published in April.

Significant findings provided evidence that metabolic syndrome did not impair the ability of the rat fast twitch plantaris muscle to experience hypertrophy when exposed to muscle overload as reflected by increases in myofibrillar protein content and increases in muscle fiber cross-sectional area.

“This finding is pretty interesting given that previous work by our group has shown the muscle adaptation in the slow twitch soleus muscle is impaired with metabolic syndrome,” Blough said. “This study, along with our other work, suggests that metabolic syndrome may affect different muscle types differently. This adds a level of complexity that I don’t think others have shown in the past and may have important implications in the design of exercise intervention programs.”

For more information, call Arnold at 304-696-5615 or Blough at 304-696-2708.

Ph.D. student to present diabetes research at conference next week

Aileen Marcello, Ph.D. candidateA Marshall University doctoral student will present her diabetes research next week at a conference focusing on the central nervous system.

Aileen Marcelo, a Ph.D. candidate in the university’s biomedical sciences program, will present a poster at the Barriers of the Central Nervous System Gordon Research Conference and will give a talk at the conference’s student seminar. The conference and seminar will be held June 16-22 at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H.

The conference will bring together clinical and basic scientists who are at the forefront of research into the system of regulatory interfaces between the blood and brain. This system is essential to brain function and has a major impact on the course and treatment of many neurological conditions, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.

Although there is considerable scientific evidence implicating diabetes as a major risk factor for many central nervous system diseases, there have been few studies investigating the effects of diabetes on this blood-brain barrier. Marcelo’s research project, “The Role and Regulation of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) at the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) in a Rat Model of Diabetes,” explores this connection.

She works in the lab of Dr. Richard Egleton, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Marcelo recently received one of eight Summer Thesis Research Grant Awards presented to outstanding graduate student researchers at Marshall. Each award provides $500 to cover the cost of expenses associated with thesis research. Award recipients were chosen on the basis of the quality and significance of their thesis research, the likelihood that the research will eventuate in a completed thesis and justification of the need for support. Funding for the awards was provided by the Marshall University Research Corporation.

Dr. Marcia A. Harrison publishes a book chapter

.entry-meta
{display: none}

Marcia A. Harrison, Ph.D.Marcia A. Harrison, Ph.D., recently had a chapter published in a 2012 release by Springer Science + Media. Dr. Harrison is a researcher within the Neuroscience and Developmental Biology research cluster in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

The book, published by Springer Science + Business Media, is entitled Phytohormones and Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants. This publication summarizes what is currently known regarding phytohormones, which are chemicals that regulate plant growth, and how they are influenced by the environmental stresses that plants encounter. Dr. Harrison penned Chapter 2, “Cross-Talk Between Phytohormone Signaling Pathways Under Both Optimal and Stressful Environmental Conditions.”

Dr. Harrison is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Her research focuses on the role of the plant hormone ethylene in regulating plant growth and growth movements. Ethylene often acts as a signal that triggers growth changes in response to changing environmental conditions.

Excellent work, Dr. Harrison!To learn more and to download the book, visit Springer’s website: http://www.springer.com/life+sciences/plant+sciences/book/978-3-642-25828-2.

Marshall professor to share kidney research in China

Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D.HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Marshall University professor will be in Beijing this week to present his research at BIT’s 5 World Cancer Congress and to meet with colleagues at a leading university.

Dr. Gary O. Rankin, professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, will be at the conference to give a talk about his work to study how a substance found naturally in red wine can reduce some of the harmful effects of a commonly used anti-cancer drug.

According to Rankin’s study conducted in cooperation with colleague Dr. Monica A. Valentovic, resveratrol, a natural component of red wine, grapes, blueberries and peanuts, can reduce toxicity to the kidney caused by the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. The work is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

“Dr. Valentovic and I are using a human kidney cell line to look into the protective effects of resveratrol,” said Rankin. “We have found that the compound’s powerful antioxidant properties may be important in helping to protect the kidney from cisplatin’s harmful effects.”

Also at the conference, Rankin will help lead a scientific session, “Cancer rehabilitation, nutrition and management of cancer related complications.”

Before the meeting in Beijing, Rankin has been invited to visit the School of Biosystems Engineering and Food Science at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, to give a seminar about his work in the field of chemical-induced injury to the kidney. He will describe how an agricultural fungicide, dimetachlone, which was developed in Japan and manufactured in China, causes kidney damage. He also will be presenting some of the work he and Valentovic have done on the protective effects of resveratrol on cisplatin toxicity.

Rankin will be accompanied on the trip by Dr. Yi Charlie Chen, an associate professor of biology at Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi.

Both Rankin and Chen are lead researchers in the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence—a federally funded program to help build biomedical research expertise across the state. Rankin is the principal investigator of the project and Chen is on the steering committee.

For more information, contact Rankin at 304-696-7313 or rankin@marshall.edu.

### 

Dr. Georgel presents at international scientific conference

Philippe Georgel, Ph.D.

Dr. Philippe Georgel recently traveled to San Antonio to present his research at the 20th International Analytical Ultracentrifugation Conference.

The following Marshall University press release highlights Dr. Philippe Georgel’s recent participation in the 20th International Analytical Ultracentrifugation Conference. In addition to teaching Biological Sciences at the main Marshall campus, Dr. Georgel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. Dr. Georgel researches in two research clusters: Cancer Biology and Neuroscience and Developmental Biology.


Huntington, W.Va.  – Dr. Philippe Georgel, a professor of biological sciences at Marshall University, recently traveled to San Antonio to present his research at the 20th International Analytical Ultracentrifugation Conference.

The biennial conference is focused on research done using a specific laboratory technique to characterize the size, shape and interactions of molecules and macromolecules in solutions. Analytical ultracentrifugation is widely used in molecular biology, biochemistry and polymer science.

Georgel studies the effects of chromatin—the combination of DNA and proteins that make up the contents of the nucleus of a cell—on nuclear functions. His conference presentation focused on his use of a new method called Quantitative Agarose Gel Electrophoresis, or QAGE. QAGE, allows for analysis of structure and composition of nucleo-protein complexes, and is complementary to the use of analytical ultracentrifugation.

The research Georgel presented was a collaborative effort among his group at Marshall; Dr. James Denvir, associate professor of biochemistry and microbiology at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine; and Dr. Stuart Lindsay and Dr. Qiang Fu from Arizona State University.
Georgel has already been invited back to present at the 2014 conference, which will be held in Japan.

For more information, contact Georgel at georgel@marshall.edu or 304-696-3965.

Biomedical Sciences students recognized at international science meeting

M. Allison Wolf, Ph.D. candidateHUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Two Marshall University students received special recognition for their research at this year’s international Experimental Biology conference held April 21-25 in San Diego.
 
M. Allison Wolf, a biomedical sciences doctoral candidate from Parkersburg, received first place in her group in a poster competition held as part of the conference’s Diet and Cancer mini-symposium. The mini-symposium was funded by the American Society of Nutrition.
 
Wolf’s presentation focused on her research on the anticancer effects of isothiocyanates—a natural compound extracted from cruciferous vegetables—on head and neck cancer. Her work shows the compound both inhibits head and neck metastasis and greatly increases sensitivity to chemotherapy in therapy-resistant head and neck cancers. Wolf works in the lab of Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, an associate professor in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the Departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Surgery at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.
 
Wolfe said she gained a great deal from the experience of attending the program and presenting her work.
 
“I really enjoyed this conference, particularly the Nutrition and Cancer Research Interest group, because it allowed me to be surrounded by people in my field,” she said. “Discussing my research with others also interested in or working on isothiocyanates gave me some promising future directions to pursue.”
 
Aaron Dom, a first-year MUSOM student and graduate of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate ProgramIn addition, Aaron M. Dom, a first-year medical school student from Wellersburg, Pa., was invited to do a special oral “blitz” presentation about his research on how a synthetic drug called MG624 can prevent new blood vessel growth in small cell lung cancer and could potentially serve as a therapy for the disease. Dom was invited to present by the Blood Vessel Club of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP). ASIP held its annual meeting in conjunction with the Experimental Biology conference. The club sponsors the short oral presentations to present exciting new vascular biology research and to give audience members an opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions about the research.
 
Dom, who is the president of the medical school’s Class of 2015, did the research in the lab of Dr. Piyali Dasgupta, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacol­ogy, Physiology and Toxicology.
 
He said of the experience, “Our lab is honored that I was selected to present at this special session, and we were excited to share some of the work that we are doing here at the medical school. Experiences like these—in both helping with this research and in presenting at and attending a conference of this size—have helped me gain a greater appreciation for research in medicine.”
 
Nearly 14,000 scientists and exhibitors representing academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations and private corporations attend the annual Experimental Biology meeting to share information about recent developments in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, nutrition and pharmacology.

Drs. Xie and Claudio receive grants for orthopedic and lung cancer research

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Two Marshall University scientists have been awarded grants of $25,000 each to advance their research, encourage collaborations and spur innovative approaches to healthcare.

Dr. Jingwei Xie and Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio are the recipients of the first grants awarded through the Joint Pilot Research Program set up by Marshall and the University of Kentucky (UK) as part of their Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) partnership. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the CTSA program is aimed at speeding the time for laboratory discoveries to benefit patients.

A senior scientist at the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, Xie will use his award to develop a method that may improve surgical repair of rotator cuff injuries.

Jingwei Xie, Ph.D.Xie, who is an expert in bone growth and development, will be working with Dr. Franklin D. Shuler, associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Among the most common conditions affecting the shoulder, rotator cuff injuries can occur from falls or repetitive motions like throwing a baseball. Rotator cuff repair is also one of the most common orthopedic surgeries, with approximately 300,000 procedures performed annually in the United States alone.

Xie explains that successful healing from rotator cuff surgery done with current methods has a failure rate that ranges from 20 to 90 percent, due in large part to the manner in which the tendons are reattached to the bone. For this project, he will use a multidisciplinary approach combining principles of engineering and biomedicine to construct a new type of biological device that will better mimic an uninjured tendon-to-bone attachment, and result in improved healing.

“We are pleased to be able to take advantage of this opportunity to combine expertise from two research groups at Marshall,” Xie adds. “My background in tissue engineering and Dr. Shuler’s extensive experience in clinical treatment of rotator cuff injury will allow us to do work that may very well improve the health and quality of life for individuals afflicted with these injuries. This research could also have a significant impact on the treatment of other, similar injuries of soft tissue-to-bone interfaces.”

Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.The second grant went to Claudio, associate professor in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the Departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Surgery at the medical school, to help develop an assay that will potentially allow the development of personalized treatment for lung cancer. He will collaborate with Dr. Rolf J. Craven of UK’s Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology on the project.

According to Claudio, lung cancer patients generally have a poor survival rate, mostly because of the high number of relapses they typically experience. Scientists believe these relapses are due to the presence of a rare population of cancer cells—called cancer stem cells—that have become resistant to conventional treatments.

Claudio’s laboratory in the university’s new McKown Translational Genomic Research Institute at the Edwards Cancer Center has developed an assay (ChemoIDSM) that measures the sensitivity of tumors to chemotherapy drugs. He says the work funded through this grant will provide information about how lung cancer cells respond to specific types, doses and combinations of drug therapies.

Claudio says, “Our model concentrates on recent discoveries that most tumors are derived from a small number of highly resistant cancer cells having stem cell properties, called cancer stem cells. By recognizing the existence of cancer stem cells, we have taken an important step toward understanding this complex disease.

“Once we have identified the cancer stem cells from patient tumor biopsies, we know how to identify most effective chemotherapy drugs that are already part of the standard of care. Our assay technology has particular value because it can help to determine the most effective drug for a patient’s tumor based on results from an in vitro chemo sensitivity assay.”

Currently, Claudio is conducting Phase-I clinical trials on lung, breast and brain cancers.

“We know that patients with the same stage and grade of cancer often vary considerably in their response to chemotherapy,” he adds. “Our research will provide information that may allow development of tailored therapies for lung cancer, resulting in more effective treatment strategies and better clinical outcomes in the very near future.”

Xie and Claudio both intend to use their findings from these awards as springboards to apply for larger federal grants for related research.

Dr. John M. Maher, vice president for research at Marshall, says this “seeding effect” is one of the emphases of this grant program.

“These pilot awards are relatively small from a research funding perspective, but they allow recipients to test their ideas and generate concrete results as the basis for proposals to the National Institutes of Health’s large grant programs,” Maher said. “It’s not unusual for collaborative projects like these to lead to multimillion dollar awards down the road, after the initial results show significant promise.”

The CTSA partnership between Marshall and UK supports scientists in Marshall’s clinical research program, training fellowships and early stage clinical research trials. The collaboration also gives Marshall investigators access to the expertise and resources at UK’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and opportunities to apply for significant research grants accessible only through the CTSA program.

Biomedical Sciences students recognized at international science meeting

M. Allison Wolf, Ph.D. candidateHUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Two Marshall University students received special recognition for their research at this year’s international Experimental Biology conference held April 21-25 in San Diego.

M. Allison Wolf, a biomedical sciences doctoral candidate from Parkersburg, received first place in her group in a poster competition held as part of the conference’s Diet and Cancer mini-symposium. The mini-symposium was funded by the American Society of Nutrition.

Wolf’s presentation focused on her research on the anticancer effects of isothiocyanates—a natural compound extracted from cruciferous vegetables—on head and neck cancer. Her work shows the compound both inhibits head and neck metastasis and greatly increases sensitivity to chemotherapy in therapy-resistant head and neck cancers. Wolf works in the lab of Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, an associate professor in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Surgery at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Wolfe said she gained a great deal from the experience of attending the program and presenting her work.

“I really enjoyed this conference, particularly the Nutrition and Cancer Research Interest group, because it allowed me to be surrounded by people in my field,” she said. “Discussing my research with others also interested in or working on isothiocyanates gave me some promising future directions to pursue.”

Aaron Dom, a first-year MUSOM student and graduate of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate ProgramIn addition, Aaron M. Dom, a first-year medical school student from Wellersburg, Pa., was invited to do a special oral “blitz” presentation about his research on how a synthetic drug called MG624 can prevent new blood vessel growth in small cell lung cancer and could potentially serve as a therapy for the disease. Dom was invited to present by the Blood Vessel Club of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP). ASIP held its annual meeting in conjunction with the Experimental Biology conference. The club sponsors the short oral presentations to present exciting new vascular biology research and to give audience members an opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions about the research.

Dom, who is the president of the medical school’s Class of 2015, did the research in the lab of Dr. Piyali Dasgupta, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacol­ogy, Physiology and Toxicology.

He said of the experience, “Our lab is honored that I was selected to present at this special session, and we were excited to share some of the work that we are doing here at the medical school. Experiences like these—in both helping with this research and in presenting at and attending a conference of this size—have helped me gain a greater appreciation for research in medicine.”

Nearly 14,000 scientists and exhibitors representing academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations and private corporations attend the annual Experimental Biology meeting to share information about recent developments in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, nutrition and pharmacology.

5K Race to benefit medical mission trip to Honduras

Mission M-Possible 5K race advertismentMission “M” Possible, a 5K race, is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 12, with proceeds to benefit a medical mission trip to Honduras.

The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is teaming with Global Medical Brigades to send a group of physicians, nurses and medical students to Honduras in June. All proceeds from the race will go toward funding the trip and medications for patients in Honduras.

The race will begin at the center of Ritter Park, continue on North Boulevard to the Memorial Arch (7th Street West), then come back along the Ritter Park trail and finish in the center of the park. Pre-registration for the event is available at www.tristateracer.com. Race day registration is also available.

The medical mission trip to Honduras has become an annual event for Marshall School of Medicine students thanks to the generosity of Ken and Sharon Ambrose who have financially supported the project in honor of their late son Dr. Paul Ambrose, a 1995 graduate of MUSOM. Dr. Ambrose was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

For more information about the race contact Jacob Kilgore by phone at 304-634-2448 or Brent Kidd by phone at 304-544-4585. Kilgore and Kidd are third-year medical students serving as coordinators for this year’s trip.

Donations for the trip may also be directed to Linda Holmes, Director of Development and Alumni Affairs, who can be reached by phone at 304-691-1711.

###

Dr. Hardman to be featured in an NIH newsletter

W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D.A study by Dr. W. Elaine Hardman has been selected to be featured in Nutrition Frontiers, a quarterly publication of the Nutritional Science Research Group (NSRG) of the Division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NCI is a subsection of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The electronic newsletter presents research that links diet to tumor behavior and cancer prevention. Each issue highlights two feature publications, chosen on the basis of innovation, scientific merit, and potential impact on public health. Feature studies have also been funded at least in part by the NSRG.

Dr. Hardman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and researches within the Cancer Biology research cluster. Her study is entitled “Dietary Walnut Suppressed Mammary Gland Tumorigenesis in the C(3)1 Tag Mouse.” This study was published last year in  Nutrition and Cancer.

Congratulations, Dr. Hardman!

Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio explores gene therapy ‘cocktail’ for feline fibrosarcoma

Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A team of researchers led by a Marshall University faculty member has found that a gene therapy “cocktail” may hold the key to treating feline fibrosarcoma—an aggressive type of cancer that affects thousands of cats in the U.S. each year. Current therapies for the disease are often ineffective for long-term tumor eradication.

The research was conducted by Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, associate professor in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the Departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Surgery at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and colleagues from the McKown Translational Research Institute at the school of medicine, the university’s Department of Biology, the Martin Veterinary Clinic in Ashland, Ky., and the University of L’Aquila in Italy.

According to Claudio, there are two types of feline fibrosarcomas. The most common type has been linked to the use of vaccines administered to prevent rabies and feline leukemia, and occurs at the site of the injection. The second type appears to occur spontaneously, without any known external cause.

The study at Marshall focused on the more rare, non-vaccination site fibrosarcomas, which have been found to be associated with genetic alterations. It seemed a natural fit for Claudio, whose research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms governing the growth of cancers to help develop new strategies for treatment.

“Gene therapy, which we study in my lab, uses genetic and cell-based technologies to treat disease,” he said. “Essentially, we were able to develop a cocktail of adenoviruses carrying functional therapeutic proteins that can be used to eliminate this deadly disease.”

Claudio pointed out that more studies need to be done to determine if his lab’s findings could also be applicable to cases of vaccine-induced fibrosarcomas.

The research was published yesterday in the journal PLoS ONE. The full article, “Targeting a newly established spontaneous feline fibrosarcoma cell line by gene transfer,” is available online at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037743.

Claudio is in Italy this week to present three invited lectures about his research. He will be speaking at the National Cancer Institute and the CEINGE Institute in Naples, and at the meeting “Fragment of history:  Seminar on the oral medicine of the past and of the future” in Sorrento.

For more information, contact Claudio at claudiop@marshall.edu or 304-696-3516.

Dr. Piyali Dasgupta presents at the 2011 Experimental Biology Conference

Piyali Dasgupta, Ph.D.Dr. Piyali Dasgupta, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacol­ogy, Physiology, and Toxicology, presented “Long-term exposure to nico­tine upregulates the expression of α7-nicotinic receptors by autoregulatory mechanisms in human squamous cell lung carcinoma,” at the Experimen­tal Biology conference, held April 9-13, 2011, in Washington, D.C. Four members of her laboratory also presented, including Mr. Brandon Shiflett, who was selected to present “MG624, an α7-nicotinic receptor antagonist suppresses the growth of human SCLC“ at a special session to highlight graduate student research in Pathology. Dr. Dasgupta was named “Outstanding Graduate Faculty Advisor of 2011” at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. 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. Travis Salisbury featured in the Neuron for cancer and obesity research

Dr. Travis Salisbury, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, was featured in the Spring 2012 issue of the Neuron for his research into the link between cancer and obesity.

Dr. Salisbury was recently awarded a $60,000 grant from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation to further his study.

The Neuron is a quarterly journal of science and research that contains features about research, researchers, and science-related news from West Virginia.

To read the story (featured on page four of the issue), download the pdf of the Spring 2012 issue of the Neuron:
http://www.wvresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Spring-Neuron-2012.pdf.

Dr. Maria Serrat featured in the Neuron for MU-Advance fellowship

Maria Serrat, Ph.D.Dr. Maria Serrat has been featured in the Spring 2012 issue of the Neuron, the West Virginia Journal of Science and Research. She was featured for being named one of this year’s faculty fellows and mini-grant recipients by MU-ADVANCE. Dr. Serrat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology and studies the impact of environmental factors on bone elongation through real-time imaging.

The Neuron is a quarterly journal of science and research that contains features about research, researchers, and science-related news from West Virginia.

MU-ADVANCE, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), seeks to support the research and professional development of female faculty in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

To read the story (featured on page four of the issue), download the pdf of the Spring 2012 issue of the Neuron:
http://www.wvresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Spring-Neuron-2012.pdf.

To learn more about MU-ADVANCE, consult: http://www.marshall.edu/muadvance.

Progenesis bioengineering company bringing ideas to Huntington

Dr. Niles and Dr. Yu (both pictured right) are the founders of ProgenesisHUNTINGTON Hongwei Yu, chief science officer and co-founder of Progenesis Technologies, is in the market for new business cards after the company hosted a grand opening in its new Huntington office and lab in the Red Cross Building.

As West Virginia’s only locally owned and operated genetic engineering company, Progenesis recently changed its address from South Charleston to Huntington, a move that was celebrated during a grand opening at the new office Friday.

The company has long had ties to Huntington, as it is a spin-off of sorts from Marshall University, where Yu is a professor.

The company, which was founded in 2008, had been operating out of South Charleston until moving into the Red Cross Building and beginning renovations in January.

Most of the Progenesis work force lives in Huntington, so Friday’s grand opening had been eagerly anticipated, Yu said.

“We are very excited to get to work so close to home,” Yu said. “It will make a big difference between shuttling back and forth. We work with the Biotechnology Center at Marshall, so this will allow us to come in anytime we want to or need to and be able to do our work more efficiently.”

Progenesis is a research and development company, which is focused on demonstrating the feasibility of manufacturing its genetically-engineered bacterial alginates on an industrial scale.

Bacterial alginates absorb water quickly, which makes them useful in everything from the agricultural and food industries to the cosmetic and drug markets.

In addition to the new office space, Progenesis’ new digs include a bigger, brighter lab space for employees to do their work in, said Richard Niles, CEO of Progenesis.

“It really is going to be a wonderful place to work,” Niles said. “We are on an upward curve of developing our product and the company, and these new facilities are part of the attraction of significant revenue that will allow us to add more employees, which is what we need to continue to produce and test the product of this company.”

While the company is the only one of its kind in the state, Niles said he sees a bright future for biotechnology in Huntington.

“We are part of a new group of companies, which, locally, includes Vandalia, in biotechnology, which is a growing field. It’s one that is going to diversify the economy in Huntington,” Niles said. “Anyone who is curious about what we do is welcome to come and look at what it is we’re doing. All it takes is giving us a call setting up a time to visit.” 

BBSC dedicates room in honor of Dr. Frederick J. Lotspeich

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. A conference room located in the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center at Marshall University has been named in honor of the late Frederick J. Lotspeich, Ph.D., who was the founding chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry. Lotspeich served as the chair from 1977 until 1991.

For 35 years, Lotspeich served medical education in West Virginia, beginning as an assistant professor of biochemistry at the West Virginia University Medical Center in 1956 and then joining the Marshall faculty in 1977.

Following his death in 1994, the School of Medicine dedicated a reading room at the Robert W. Coon Medical Education Building at the Huntington VA Medical Center in Lotspeich’s honor. Additionally, in memory of Lotspeich, his wife Kay created the Dr. Frederick J. Lotspeich Scholarship in Biomedical Sciences.

This year the scholarship was awarded to Wood County native M. Allison Wolf, a doctoral student working with Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, an associate professor in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Lotspeich was a native of Keyser. He graduated with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from West Virginia University and completed a doctorate at Purdue University.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLqz3QtwIBU&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Marshall University co-sponsors Appalachian Health Summit

Marshall University is partnering with the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Kentucky (UK) to present a one-day conference, “Appalachian Health Summit – Neurological Disorders: Quality of Life and Potential for Recovery,” on Thursday, March 29, at the Lexington Convention Center.

According to Dr. Richard M. Niles, senior associate dean for research and graduate education at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, a number of university researchers, including faculty, students and medical school residents, will present their work at the conference, while others will participate in the conference’s scientific sessions.

“This summit is an excellent opportunity for our faculty and students to share their work with colleagues from other institutions around the region,” he said. “We have at least eight Marshall researchers who will be traveling to Lexington to present the results of their studies in a variety of areas, including cancer and chemotherapy, endometriosis, diabetes and drug development.”

Niles said that although the summit is a scientific-based conference targeted at faculty and research personnel, anyone interested in improving the health status of citizens across the region is encouraged to attend the free program. He added that there will also be representatives from government agencies, private foundations and community organizations.

The summit will feature a keynote address by Dr. V. Reggie Edgerton, distinguished professor, Departments of Integrative Biology and Physiology, Neurobiology and Neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles. Other sessions will focus on therapies for stroke; chronic pain and substance abuse; new paradigms in drug delivery and development; quality of life following neurotrauma; risk-related behaviors; and research funding opportunities from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The summit is a program of the Appalachian Translational Research Network, whose mission is to enhance research collaborations among partner institutions, and to establish a platform for interaction and sharing best practices among academic institutions, healthcare providers and community organizations.

In addition to Marshall and UK, network partners include the Appalachian Regional Commission, Morehead State University, Ohio University, Ohio State University, University of Pikeville, University of Cincinnati, and the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Marshall and UK also are partnering as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutional Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program aimed at speeding the time for laboratory discoveries to benefit patients. The funding supports scientists in Marshall’s clinical research program, training fellowships and early stage clinical research trials.

CDDC announces 2nd Regional Research Symposium award winners

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

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

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

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

Award winners pictured:

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

Allison Wolf and Sarah Mathis, Ph.D. candidates

Dr. Claudio’s most recent study receives wide press coverage

Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.Dr. Claudio’s most recent study, “Cadmium Induces p53-Dependent Apoptosis in Human Prostate Epithelial Cells,” has received wide press coverage since its publication. The following sources have highlighted his work:

http://www.wvpubcast.org/newsarticle.aspx?id=24574

http://www.wowktv.com/story/17210933/marshall-university-study-may-lead-to-advancement-in-prostate-cancer-treatments

http://www.healthcanal.com/cancers/27717-Study-may-lead-new-treatments-for-prostate-cancer.html

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-03-treatments-prostate-cancer.html

http://www.bio-medicine.org/biology-news-1/Marshall-University-study-may-lead-to-new-treatments-for-prostate-cancer-24237-1/

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/cadmium-implicated-in-prostate-tumours/story-e6frgcjx-1226307489399

http://www.sciencenewsline.com/medicine/summary/2012032117500036.html

The first link is an excellent interview by WV Pubcast with Dr. Claudio that includes a downloadable mp3.

Congratulations, Dr. Claudio! Refer back to this article over time, as this list is sure to grow.

Biomedical Sciences graduate students present at the Annual Research Day

Anne Silves, Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidateThe Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine recently held its 23rd Annual Research Day. This event highlights the basic and clinic research work of basic scientists, medical students, graduate students, physicians, residents, and other interested health professionals. The goal of the Annual Research Day is to involve the community in the ongoing research being performed at the School of Medicine by allowing participants to formally present their research in oral or poster presentations.

Aileen Marcelo, Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. CandidateGraduate Students in the Biomedical Sciences Program at Marshall University had a strong showing at the event. Juliana Akinsete (Ph.D. Candidate), Aaron Dom (M.S. Medical Sciences Student), Meagan Valentine (Ph.D. Student), Anne Silvis (Ph.D. Candidate), and Gabriela Ion, Ph.D. (Post-doctoral Fellow) gave oral presentations. Ben Owen (M.S. Research Student), Siva Nalabotu (Ph.D. Candidate), and Aileen Marcelo (Ph.D. Candidate) presented posters.

One oral presenter and one poster presenter awarded in each of the three categories: clinical vignettes, clinical science, and basic science. In the basic science category, Anne Silvis and Aileen Marcello were the award winners.

24th Annual Research Day hosted at Marshall University School of Medicine

M. Allison Wolf, Ph.D. candidateOn March 20th, the Marshall University School of Medicine hosted its 24th Annual Medical School Research Day. This medical-school wide event, which also encompasses the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, is one of the few times in the academic year that everyone in the school community gathers to learn about the research taking place at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine (JCESOM).

The event included nearly 80 research presentations and a keynote speech by Dr. William Thies, the Chief Medical and Science Officer for the National Alzheimer’s Organization. The goals of Research Day include giving participants an opportunity to formally present their research, involving the community in the ongoing research being performed at JCESOM, and encouraging Continuing Medical Education in clinical research.

The presenters included professors, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, medical students, and residents. On the ground floor of the Marshall Medical Center, dozens of research projects were presented. According to Dr. Richard Niles, Senior Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education, the research presented ranged from Vitamin D3 supplementation to chili peppers and small cell lung cancer.

The following members of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program participated:

  • Dr. Piyali Dasgupta
  • Dr. Jung Han Kim
  • Flavia De Carlo, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab
  • Johannes Francois Fahrmann, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Elaine Hardman’s lab
  • Rounak Nande, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab
  • Aaron Dom, a medical student and former Medical Sciences Master’s student researching in Dr. Piyali Dasgupta’s lab
  • M. Allison Wolf, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab
  • Meagan Valentine, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Simon Collier’s lab
  • Miranda Carper, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab
  • Sarah Mathis, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab

The event followed an Alzheimer’s Disease Symposium, which took place on March 19th. Dr. Richard Egleton of the BMS Graduate Program was a guest speaker.

A few members of the BMS Graduate Program also received honors for their presentations at Research Day. M. Allison Wolf’s poster, entitled “Benzyl isothiocyanate targets chemoresistant and metastatic head and neck cell carcinoma cells,” won in the Poster Basic Science category. A researcher in Dr. Piyali Dasgupta’s lab, Clayton Crabtree, won in the Oral Basic Science category for his presentation, “Capsaicin induces apoptosis in human small cell lung cancer via the TRPV pathway.”

To learn more about the 24th Annual Research Day, look to the event website: http://musom.marshall.edu/research/. You can also download the following pdf documents directly:

Research Day 2012 Syllabus

Research Day 2012 Winners

Study by Dr. Claudio may lead to new treatments for prostate cancer

Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D.A recent study conducted at Marshall University may eventually help scientists develop new treatments for prostate cancer, the most common malignancy in American men.

The study, which focused on the effects of cadmium on the prostate, was conducted by Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, an associate professor in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and an international team of colleagues from the University of L’Aquila and the National Cancer Institute in Italy, and the University of Colorado Denver and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the United States.

An extremely toxic metal found in industrial workplaces, cadmium is commonly used in electroplating and is a key component in batteries and some paints. It is also found in cigarettes and some food supplies.

According to Claudio, scientists believe the prostate may be a target for cancer caused by cadmium, although the underlying mechanisms have been unclear.

“In our study, we investigated the effects of cadmium exposure in normal and in tumor cells derived from human prostate tissue,” he said. “We were able to demonstrate the molecular mechanisms cadmium uses to induce carcinogenesis in the prostate.”

Claudio, who said he has spent the last 15 years conducting research to understand the crosstalk between the factors that contribute to cancer progression versus those that protect from it, says this study is important because once those molecular mechanisms are understood, new therapies can be tailored to treat prostate cancer.

He added, “The focus of work in our laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanisms governing malignant transformation in order to tailor novel therapeutic strategies. To effectively design novel biological drugs, a thorough understanding of the mechanism of cancer pathogenesis is required. Our study will contribute to the body of knowledge available to science and may lead to exciting new treatments for this common cancer.”

###

The research was published today in the journal PLoS ONE. The full article, “Cadmium Induces p53-Dependent Apoptosis in Human Prostate Epithelial Cells,” is available online at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033647. You can also read more about this story at the following links:

http://www.wowktv.com/story/17210933/marshall-university-study-may-lead-to-advancement-in-prostate-cancer-treatments
http://www.healthcanal.com/cancers/27717-Study-may-lead-new-treatments-for-prostate-cancer.html
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-03-treatments-prostate-cancer.html
http://www.bio-medicine.org/biology-news-1/Marshall-University-study-may-lead-to-new-treatments-for-prostate-cancer-24237-1/
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/cadmium-implicated-in-prostate-tumours/story-e6frgcjx-1226307489399
http://www.sciencenewsline.com/medicine/summary/2012032117500036.html

The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.

For more information, contact Claudio at claudiop@marshall.edu or (304) 696-3516.

Graduate student Ben Owen to present at the National Student Research Forum

Benjamin Michael OwenBen Owen, a second-year student in the Biomedical Sciences M.S. program, has been selected to present a poster at the National Student Research Forum. The forum seeks to provide an opportunity for graduate students, medical students, interns, and residents conducting research in the biomedical sciences to assemble and receive recognition and feedback from established scientists. This event takes place yearly at the University of Texas Medical Branch campus in Galveston, TX and is planned and managed by students.

Ben’s project is entitled “Short-Term Activity-Dependent Changes in Axonal Function in Hippocampal CA3 Pyramidal Neurons.” The hippocampus is a region of the brain that is essential for normal memory function. Ben’s study examines how pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus function when they are activated at high frequencies (between 30 and 100 Hertz). This type of high-frequency activity in the neurons is common to normal processes, such as encoding and retrieving memory, as well as pathological processes, including seizures. Although scientists thoroughly understand how neurons create action potentials (the spike in electrical potential that is responsible for communication between neurons), little experimental attention has been given to how high frequency activation affects generation of action potentials. Ben researches within Dr. Larry Grover’s lab in the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center.

Ben says that he is excited to have the chance to share his research with fellow students and scientists on the national level. Congratulations to Ben on being selected for this opportunity!

Drs. Claudio and Dasgupta to lead sessions at bioscience conferences

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University cancer researchers Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio and Dr. Piyali Dasgupta have been invited to lead sessions at two upcoming international conferences.

Claudio, who is an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, will lead a session, “Cancer Biology and Therapy,” as part of the World Molecular & Cell Biology Online Conference later this month.

The conference will feature more than 60 professors and researchers giving oral presentations during 14 sessions spread over three days.

Claudio, who directs a laboratory in the new Charles H. McKown, M.D., Translational Genomic Research Institute at the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center, will also give a talk, “Developing an Effective Targeted Gene Therapy System for Prostate Cancer with the Potential to Translate from the Laboratory to the Clinic,” during the program.

Research in Claudio’s lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms governing the development of cancers to help develop new strategies for treatment.
Dasgupta, an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacol­ogy, Physiology and Toxicology, will co-chair a minisymposium titled “Modeling Cancer: Biological and Therapeutic Implications” at the Experimental Biology Conference to be held in San Diego in April.

The annual conference draws more than 14,000 scientists and exhibitors from universities, government agencies, private corporations and non-profit organizations.

Dasgupta’s research examines how the components of tobacco can promote the progression of lung cancer. In 2011, she was recognized with the university’s “John and Frances Rucker Graduate Advisor Award.”

For more information, contact Claudio at (304) 696-3516 or claudiop@marshal.edu, or Dasgupta at (304) 696-3612 or dasgupta@marshall.edu.