Game night fun!

Students from the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) graduate programs and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, recently gathered at the Erma Ora Byrd Clinical Center to enjoy an evening of appetizers and games.

Each semester, the two groups come together for a mixer to encourage networking and the development of a peer group across both clinical and research areas.

Several folks participated in a spirited game of Cranium.


Teams answered trivia questions and identified objects through drawing (sometimes with their eyes closed!) and sculpting with Play-doh. The BMS students congratulate,sadly (only kidding, of course), the winning team of medical students.

Research in Progress Conference Series

Shrikant Anant, PhD, will be the next guest speaker for this conference series, presenting Stem, the root cause of Cancer: Tales from the Crypt. Anant,-Shrikant Dr. Anant, a pioneering biologist, joined The University of Kansas Cancer Center in July 2010. He is the associate director of Cancer Prevention and Control.

Prior to coming to The University of Kansas Cancer Center, Dr. Anant led the gastrointestinal cancers program at the University of Oklahoma Cancer Institute. A professor of cell biology, medicine/gastroenterology and nutrition, he was also director of gastroenterology research at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Anant led a team of researchers who discovered a new gene, RBM3, which can cause normal cells to turn into cancer cells; also, stopping RBM3’s expression in cancer cells causes the cancer cells to die. Earlier, while on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, he discovered the first tumor-suppressing RNA-binding protein.

“Dr. Anant comes to us with an outstanding national reputation in gastrointestinal cancer research, particularly as it relates to cancer prevention,” says Roy A. Jensen, MD, director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. “His research spans a wide range of activities – from understanding molecular biology questions to determining the mechanisms of action for certain natural products and their role in cancer prevention.”

“There’s a lot of excitement here,” Dr. Anant says of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. “The university is putting in the resources to develop high-powered teams of researchers to identify methods to stop cancer development and treat cancers. They are also interested in preventing cancers. My task is partly to lead a team of scientists in this effort.”

He will also serve as Associate Dean for Research at the University of Kansas Medical Center and as Kansas Mason Professor of Cancer Research in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, with a secondary appointment to the Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology. He is also a KBA Eminent Scholar.

See more at:


BMS Medical Sciences student success

Preeya Shah is a recent graduate from the Biomedical Sciences MS with an emphasis in Medical Sciences program, and will be starting her first year at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in Fall, 2016. Her time since graduation has been well spent and has resulted in several publications.Shaw,-Preeya

Ms. Shah is first author on Dashing away hypertension: Evaluating the efficacy of the dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet in controlling
high blood pressure, published in the November 23, 2015 edition of the World Journal of Hypertention. See for the full article.

Most recently, Ms. Shah’s work has been featured in the Marshall Journal of Medicine.  View for Why Does Obesity Lead to Hypertension? Further Lessons from the Intersalt Study.

Congratulations on your success, Preeya!

BMS faculty members receive grants

Congratulations to Biomedical Science Faculty Donald Primerano, PhD; Piyali Dasgupta, PhD; James Denvir, PhD.; Richard Egleton, PhD; and Elaine Hardman, PhD!

Donald Primerano, Ph.D.Egleton,-R_Retreat2015


They have all been awared project grants for translational research sponsored by Marshall and West Virginia University’s Health Grants Program.

W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D.Jim-Denvir-2012-thumb


See the full story here

A special project supported by a special program

Prior to the holidays, the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) solicited donations of toys, games, and other kid-related items from the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) family.  This yearly event, “The Jared Box Project” is a nation-wide mission to improve the lives of hospitalized children by providing opportunities to play. Once the offerings were collected, the GSO wrapped and delivered the gifts to children, from newborn to 18 years old, at Cabell-Huntington Hospital.

Jared Box2015.murphyR, PanwarM, AhmedT, AmosD, WrightK    Jared-Box2015.WrightK,AmosD,MurphyR,AhmedT

This year’s delivery team included Rachel Murphy, PhD Candidate and GSO President; Rabia Ahmed (Taha’s sister); Taha Ahmed, PhD Candidate; Debbie Amos, PhD student and GSO Vice President; and Kristeena Wright, PhD Candidate.

Jared Box2015.AhmedT    Jared-Box2015.WrightK

It is hard to say who had a better time, those getting the gifts or those who were able to share them!

Ms. Murphy extended a “big THANK YOU” to everyone who donated toys or cash to this great project.”

Bluefield State College science students introduced to Biomedical Sciences program

Students from Bluefield State College (BSC) recently visited the Byrd Biotechnology Science Center (BBSC) to learn more about the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program.


Seven bright and engaged students in the BSC Biomedical Club received an overview of the graduate degrees including the newly added Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Science (CTS), the Transforming Interdisciplinary Graduate Research and Education (TIGRE) program goals, and the Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS) from Co-Director of Graduate Studies, Richard Egleton, PhD, and Diana Maue, Graduate Recruitment and Communication Coordinator.

The Bluefield group was also able to meet with BMS graduate students to hear “the inside scoop,” and tour the BBSC core facilities with special stops at the Genomic facility with Donald Primerano, PhD, and the Molecular and Biological Imaging Center to hear from David Neff, MS.

Headshot - PrimeranoDavid Neff, Imaging Specialists

James Walters, PhD, Assistant Professor at BSC, has brought his best students for this introduction to Marshall University for the past couple of years.  Walters is mentored by Nalini Santanam, PhD, MPH, FAHA, through West Virginia Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE).

2015 Appalachian Regional Cell Conference held at Marshall University

Marshall University Biomedical Sciences (BMS) again hosted the Appalachian Regional Cell Conference (ARCC) attended by students and faculty from four area institutions: Marshall University, West VirginiaARCC2015_Stevens,-S-and-Dawley,-D University, University of Kentucky and Ohio University. This year, 60 participants presented 30 posters and four oral presentations on a variety of biomedical sciences research topics.















Alejandro SanchARCC2015_Alejandro-Sanchez-Alvarado,-PhDez Alvarado, PhD, from Stower’s Institute in Kansas City was the Keynote Speaker. His research and presentation focusing on the molecular mechanisms of tissue regeneration in invertebrates were fascinating for the attendees.







Learn more about his work at:

The Marshall Representative for ARCC, Kristeena Wright, BMS PARCC2015_Wright,-K.bhD Candidate,
noted, “As always, the conference allowed for sharing of great scientific findings, interesting conversation, and networking by students and faculty alike. We look forward to another successful conference next year!”

Two Marshall students each won Second Place for their poster presentations. Alexandra Nichols has worked for a year in the lab of Komal Sodhi, MD, following the completion of her undergraduate degree in December 2013. Their presentation of Role of Serum Biomarkers in Early Detection of Diabetic Cardiomyopathy in West Virginia Population highlighted the laboratory’s focus on translational medicine. This research can give medical practitioners additional diagnostic tools to determine a diabetic patient’s risk in developing diabetic-related problems in the future. Since this information could be gleaned from the blood panel that doctors would have already ordered, it is cost effective, and it is not as intimidating to a patient as another test might be.  Nichol’s study looked for certain identifiers on the serum test that can predict a patient’s Alexandra Nichols     Sodhi, Komal_May2015b

proclivity for developing fibrosis, diastolic dysfunction and inflammation in the tissues (tissue disease). This investigation used samples from current patients at Cabell Huntington Hospital under the care of Dr. Ellen Thompson. Nichols was excited by this project since it was the first study design that she has been able to bring to completion. “It is very special to be able to do research that is clinical and represents an actual person in our community. This can have a real impact on more effective patient care.”

Sean Piwarski, BMS PhD Candidate, was also awarded Second Place for his poster, Exploring the Mechanism by which TCDD Regulates Jagged-1 via the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor. Piwarski is mentored by Travis Salisbury, PhD, whose lab researches environmental links to breast  cancer.

ARCC2015_Piwarski,-S.-b  Salisbury-2.3.12

“Agent Orange from the Vietnam War is known to induce multiple types of cancers, but if you expose cancer cells to Agent Orange the metastasis will stop. My research involves understanding the mechanism by which TCDD stops metastasis and to see if it can be used as a chemotherapy target for triple negative breast cancer,” explained Piwarski.

Conference Presentation Awards:

Endocrinology 1

1st- Sarah Metro, Ohio University

2nd- Alexandra Nichols, Marshall University

Endocrinology 2

1st- Reetobrata Basu, Ohio University

2nd- Amrita Basu, Ohio University

Cancer and Other Disease

1st- Aaron Snoberger, West Virginia University

2nd- Sean Piwarski, Marshall University

2nd- Aric Logsdon, West Virginia University

Regeneration, Development and Disease 1

1st- Danielle Shepherd, West Virginia University

2nd- Kimberly Alonge, West Virginia University

Regeneration, Development and Disease 2

1st- Mark Slayton, Ohio University

2nd- Skye Hickling, West Virginia University

Oral Presentation

1st- Maria Muccioli, Ohio State University

Congratulations and thanks go to the organizers, participants and winners in this important regional research conference.