3rd International Food Festival was a success!



The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) again hosted one of their most anticipated events: International Food Festival. This fundraiser helps to provide the money needed for the GSO’s yearly student scholarships.

This year, there were foods representing Italy, Nepal, Mexico, US regional favorites and many more. Spaghetti and meatballs, curried couscous, and tabbouleh salad all fought for space on plates along with tiramisu and chocolate cake.


Students and faculty enjoy the food at the International Food Festiva

Jamie Friedman, PhD Student, brought beef brisket made with her mother’s recipe and said that she really enjoyed sharing it with others. One happy participant declared, “This food is really amazing!”

Ahmad_Taha“Not only is this a good moneymaker but it is a great chance for everyone in the Byrd Biotechnology Science Center (BBSC) to get to know each other better, learn about the cultural heritage and traditions of our peers through their food,  and gain an appreciation of the diversity in the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) program,” stated Taha Ahmad, PhD Candidate.

If you missed this fantastic event, make sure to mark your calendar for next year!




Heart Walk!

American Heart Association logo 1.8.15The American Heart Association Heart Walk is Saturday, April 16 at Ritter Park. Kevin Pauley, communications director for the West Virginia American Heart Association, said the funds from the walk will go toward research which is being done in the state at facilities like Marshall University. Several Biomedical Science labs focus on research in cardiovascular disease and related issues, and the American Heart Association sponsors five undergraduate summer interns for projects relating to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Enjoy a beautiful day and a fun walk!

For further details please see: http://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/heart-walk-planned-for-saturday/article_dcd269f2-3ca9-548a-b431-5fdab6545cd7.html

Travelin’ Man

Chris Racine, PhD candidate, attended the 55th Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology (SOT), held in New Orleans, where he presented a poster entitled “In vitro renal cytotoxicity induced by putative metabolites of 3,5-dichloroaniline”. Racine explained, “The study looked at possible metabolites that are formed by the kidney after being exposed to 3,5-dichloroaniline (3,5-DCA). 3,5-DCA is a commonly used chemical intermediated used to make a number of pharmaceutical and agricultural compounds. Previous work has suggested that 3,5-DCA is toxic to the kidney and that some of the damage is because of the kidneys ability to metabolize or change 3,5-DCA into different more toxic compounds. This work is important in order to gain a better understanding of the kidney’s role in metabolism.” Racine conducts his research in the lab of his mentor, Gary Rankin, PhD.



Mr. Racine also traveled to his alma mater, Davis and Elkins College, to meet and encourage excellent undergraduate students to consider Marshall for their graduate education. During his talk, loosely entitled: “How I got here,” Racine was able to connect with about 15 students and two to three faculty members. Diana Maue, Graduate Recruiter said “Chris has great presentation skills, and I am happy to have him represent the BMS program at his old stomping grounds.”



BMS faculty and student success at the Experimental Biology Meeting


Student researcher, Zak Robateau, presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting in San Diego. His work, along with his collaborators, in the lab of Piyali Dasgupta, PhD, resulted in the abstract entitled “Anti-angiogenic activity of nicotinic receptor antagonists in lung cancer.” This research focuses on a lung cancer therapy that may assist in delaying relapses and improving patient outcomes. The American Society of Investigative Pharmacoloy (ASIP) observed that the project had the potential to receive interest from the media, and placed the presentation on a short list for special promotion in a media releations effort.




Piyali Dasgupta, Ph.D.

Dr. Dasgupta also chaired a session at the conference sponsored by ASIP, “Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease: From Prevention to Cancer Metastasis.”

Please see the press release: http://healthmedicinet.com/i/cancer-research-at-marshall-university-shows-promise-for-combating-deadly-lung-cancer/



New findings in breast cancer research


Justin Tomblin, PhD candidate, conducts research in the lab of Travis Salisbury, PhD. He was recently the first author on a paper, Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) regulation of L-Type Amino Acid Transporter 1 (LAT-1) expression in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, in Biochemical Pharmacology Journal.

Mr. Tomblin explained, “Our recent report is important in that we have identified the transcription factor we study, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), which regulates the levels of an important amino acid transporter in breast tumor cells, L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1). Importing of amino acids is critical for the growth and survival of the tumor. We found that compounds that activate AHR increase the level of LAT1 expression in cancer cells, and that endogenous AHR signaling also regulates LAT1, without the addition of any added AHR activating compounds. This is important as prior reports have linked high levels of the LAT1 transporter with increased resistance to commonly used cancer chemotherapeutics in breast tumors, like the estrogen receptor targeting drug tamoxifen. Therefore, given our findings, combining AHR antagonizing compounds in combination with standard chemotherapy options could lead to a better treatment outcome for patients with breast cancer in the future.

“Working with Dr. Salisbury has definitely made me a better researcher. His knowledge of molecular biology combined with his drive and enthusiasm makes working in the lab a fun and rewarding experience. We have developed a friendship over the years that will last long after my tenure at Marshall is over, and if I can become half the researcher that he is, it will be quite an achievement. On the whole, I feel the BMS program in general has provided me with a knowledge base where I can branch out successfully into several different directions, no matter what the future holds,” Mr. Tomblin also noted.

For the full article please see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26944194

Travel award winners!

Murphy, Rachel_august2015Amos, Debbie_2015_headshot


Rachel Murphy, PhD candidate, and Deborah Amos, PhD student have won Graduate Student Travel Awards offered by American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) to attend the Experimental Biology (EB) Meeting http://experimentalbiology.org/2016/Home.aspx in San Diego, CA. Up to $1000.00 will be awarded to offset conference registration and travel. Ms. Murphy and Ms. Amos will receive their checks and certificates at the ASPET Business Meeting and Awards Presentation on the first day of the EB meeting that takes place from April 2-6.

The Travel Award Program is intended to encourage developing scientists by providing opportunities to network with peers and experts, access to the latest advances in pharmacology, and contribute their own work to the field.

Ms. Murphy works in the lab of Monica Valentovic, PhD, and her research focuses on Tenofovir, a drug used to treat HIV and Hepatitis B, and how it affects the kidney.  She will present her poster on April 3 entitled Anti-viral Agent Tenofovir Induces Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis in HK-2 Cells. Additional contributors to the research are: Reagan M. Stafford, Megann Boone, Brooke Petrasovits and Monica A. Valentovic, PhD.

Nalini Santanam, PhD, MPH, FAHA, mentors Ms. Amos who conducts research on the effect of exercise on metabolic diseases.  Her poster will be presented on April 2.

There will be further updates regarding this important conference and participants in the coming days.

Research Day Winners

Congratulations to the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) students who were winners at the 28th Annual Research Day 2016 at the Marshall University Health Science Center.

Taha Ahmad and Justin K. Tomblin were winners in Oral, Basic Science. ARCC2015_Ahmed,-T-and-Egelston,-RPhD candidate Ahmad presented The Significance of CYP2B6 Genetic Polymorphisms in Unexpected Fatalities of Methadone Users in Caucasians of WV and KY Appalachia Region, which detailed research that she has completed under the guidance of Gary Rankin, PhD. TomblinJ.Cabell-Research-DayTomblin, also a PhD Candidate, offered 2,3,7,8_tetrachlorodibenzo_p_dioxin (TCDD)/Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) Regulation of Large Neutral Amino Acid Transporter 1 (LAT1) in Breast Cancer Cells. He conducts research in the lab of Travis Salisbury, PhD.

piwarskiS.Cabell-research-daySean Piwarski, PhD Candidate, won in the category for Poster, Basic Science. Piwarski is also mentored by Travis Salisbury, PhD with his work on Exploring the Mechanism by Which 2,3,7,8_tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD) Regulates Jagged_1 via the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor.

For the full list of winners, see http://jcesom.marshall.edu/media/54630/2016-winners.pdf