Biomedical Research Retreat 2015

The eleventh Annual Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Research Retreat at the Pullman Plaza Hotel was a wonderful cap to the previous year and a great way to get ready for the upcoming semester.

Retreat Organizer, Elsa Mangiarua, Ph.D., said, “The BMS Research Retreat is a Mangiarua,-E_Retreat2015wonderful opportunity for students and faculty to present and discuss the work being done in their labs. I’m impressed every year by the quality of the projects and the enthusiasm of the participants, and each year it seems to get even better.  One of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of the retreat is visiting with one of our former students who comes to give the keynote speech. This year, it was great to have Sean Thatcher, Ph.D., and hear of his success as a basic science researcher at the University of Kentucky. When you ask the retreat participants what they enjoyed at the event, one of the most common responses is that they loved the opportunity to meet and interact with the research community in our program. We enjoy each other’s company and this is one of the few times in which all of us get together in a relaxed atmosphere to talk science and celebrate our accomplishments.”

All research faculty, staff, students, and supporters enjoyed a luncheon followed by poster presentations featuring the latest laboratory projects.Kutz,-L-and-Tamski,-H_Retreat2015    Chaudry,-_Retreat2015

The featured speaker, Sean Thatcher, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences at the Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Kentucky, is a graduate of Marshall University’s Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program.


He presented “Possibilities and Pitfalls: Stories of an Early Career Investigator.” In addition to discussing his current research, he offered some “real-world” advice to students about how to manage their careers.

Attendees also heard from two BMS Faculty.


Richard Egleton, Ph.D., Co-Director of BMS, detailed the work on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) that is studied by several researchers in the areas of neuroscience and developmental biology research.







The various investigations performed by infectious and immunological disease researchers were summarized by Tim Long, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy.





Awards for excellence within the program were also part of the Retreat. Todd Green, Ph.D., Co-Director of Biomedical Sciences, had the honor of making the following announcements:

The Goran Boskovic, Ph.D. Best Academic Performance for a First Year BMS Medical Sciences Student went to Amanda Krauss.

Krauss,-A-and-Green,-T_Retreat2015Roy Al Ahmar, Ph.D. student was the winner of the Goran Boskovic, Ph.D. Award for Best Academic Performance for a First Year Research Student.
Al Ahamar, R and Green, T_Retreat2015

The award for Best Research Performance This Year, which includes funds to attend a national research conference, was given to Chris Racine, Ph.D. Candidate.


Kristeena Wright, Ph.D. Candidate, was awarded Best Overall Performance as a Graduate Student and will receive funds to attend an international research meeting.Wright,-K-and-Green,-T_Retreat2015

The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) President, Rachel Murphy, presented awards for:


Best Faculty: Richard Egleton, Ph.D.







Best Staff: Kelly Carothers, Assistant Graduate Recruiter and Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS) Coordinator





GSO Scholarship, Ph.D.: Taha Ahmad, Ph.D. Candidate   Amad,-T-and-Murphy,-R_Retreat2015   11_MedSci_Preeya_Shah

                                          GSO Scholarship, Medical SciencesPreeya Shah, M.S.

Congratulations to all of the award winners and a big thank you to the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program for hosting this important event.

Health care and research funding partnership for Marshall and WVU

Marshall University and West Virginia University partner for three-year, $1.5 million health care and research funding program
Each institution pledges $250,000 annually to effort

ROANOKE, W.Va. – West Virginia’s two largest universities are coming together to support collaborative research and health care projects addressing the Mountain State’s health issues.

Marshall University and West Virginia University have each pledged $250,000 annually for a three-year combined effort to support innovative clinical projects and translational research that ultimately will help faculty members at both schools attract future external funding.

The program will accept applications for awards of up to $50,000 for initiatives that include project leaders from both WVU and Marshall.

To kick off the partnership, leaders from both institutions recently gatthered at Stonewall Jackson Resort in Roanoke, W.Va., to discuss the program. Deans and department chairs from health sciences disciplines as well as clinical leadership will discuss targeted research and clinical care areas to address West Virginia’s biggest health concerns.

“This collaborative effort will provide foundational support and structure for our physicians and scientists to advance health and wellness in West Virginia,” said Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “By strengthening our connections, West Virginians and others in the Appalachian region will benefit.”

“There is no higher obligation for either of our universities than to address the health issues of West Virginia,” said Clay Marsh, M.D., vice president and executive dean for health sciences at WVU. “We share a vision of a healthier state and are united in this effort, and many others, to make that a reality.”

Both universities will also maintain their commitments to ongoing statewide health improvement collaborations and look forward to extending partnerships with other entities throughout the state to continue to address health disparities.

Investigators will work together over the coming months to prepare their proposals by the Nov. 6 submission deadline. Awards will be announced in December and projects will begin Jan. 1, 2016.

Contact Leah Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine & Pharmacy, 304-691-1713, for additional information.

Five recent biomedical students received white coats

Amos, Michael_whitecoat2015The Biomedical Sciences M.S., Medical Sciences program had another successful year with several students admitted to the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

White-Coat-Ceremony2015_Krauss,-AAmanda Krauss, Michael Amos, and Trevor Roston began the Med. Sci. program in 2014. Ms. Krauss noted that, “[she is] super excited to start medical school and thankful for the support and confidence the [biomedical sciences] BMS program gave me.”

John Hurley and Cathryn Stevenson matriculated into the Med. Sci. program in 2013 and received their M.S. degrees this spring.

As an inspiring start to their medical school careers, all of the first year students receive white coats.

School of Medicine marks annual White Coat Ceremony


Welcome new Biomedical Sciences PhD students

Welcome and congratulations to our new Biomedical Sciences PhD students! They joined the program just a few short weeks ago, and have already completed Biomedical Sciences PhD Boot Camp, and begun their first lab rotation.

PhD 2015 Class picture

From L to R – Jamie F., Lexie K., Jackie P., Sarah S., Diane D. (MD/PhD student), and Becca M.

Boot Camp was a week full of opportunities that involved current faculty, staff, and students, research discussions, assignments, lab skills, in-depth tours of facilities, team building exercises, and a discussion panel. The panel was added specifically for this year’s students because all five of the students are female. (Yes! All of the new PhD students are female!) These ladies were provided the opportunity to learn from a panel of female scientists about the challenges of being female in the world of science. What an opportunity!

From L to R – Minqi H. (Research MS student), Jackie, Jamie, Sarah, Diane (MD/PhD student), Becca, and Lexie

Another part of the Boot Camp was team building. The students got to know one another by having to work out challenges as a team – something they likely will be doing for the next five years in a lab setting.

One exercise involved following one student’s directions to complete an obstacle course. This is quite a challenge, especially since the followers were blind-folded!

Bootcamp team building 2015_Lexie w ball
Students also worked in pairs to read leadership-relative quotes then discuss and present what parallels they might encounter in a lab setting.

Boot Camp involved the five new PhD students as well as the one MD/PhD student – Diane D. – who is now beginning the PhD portion of the program, and one of the Research MS students – Minqi H.

Welcome students!

2015 West Virginia Research Symposium

The 2015 West Virginia Research Symposium took place at Marshall University this year.

Romero, Sofia_posterUndergraduate students participating in the WV-Idea Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) program at both Marshall University and West Virginia University, Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS), American Heart Association Undergraduate Summer Internship Research (AHA-USIR), Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) and summer researchers from several West Virginia universities and colleges presented posters detailing their summer research. Also included were WV-INBRE Fellows (high school and college faculty.)2015Symposium_Tate, J & S.-Lopez, N

2015Symposium_Stafford, R







Marshall hosted WV-INBRE, SRIMS and AHA-USIR members in our graduate biomedical research laboratories for nine weeks. In addition to their experiments, students had social networking opportunities and workshops on topics from laboratory safety to career and graduate school preparation.


We were pleased to welcome so many talented people to Huntington and our campus. The quality of work, evident in the laboratories and presentations, and the enthusiasm for research resulted in a very rewarding and energetic symposium. Thank you to all the planners, participants, faculty and staff who make this possible each year!

American Heart Association speaker at Marshall University

Cynthia-Keely.7Cynthia Keely, Mission: Lifeline Director for the local affiliate of the American Heart Association (AHA), recently spoke to summer interns, graduate students, and laboratory personnel. She detailed the AHA’s current initiatives and why their work is important in the region. Heart disease is one of the largest causes of death, and related issues such as stroke and diabetes are endemic in West Virginia. A current goal of the Association is to increase heart healthiness by 20% by the year 2020.

Ms. Keely reviewed some of the ways that her organization is assisting in the treatment of the worst forms of heart attacks through creation and improvement of care systems including Emergency Services, Referral Centers, and Receiving Centers. She also shared information about their multicultural initiatives to transform community health environments, Hands-Only CPR courses, fundraising events, and other awareness activities.

As future biomedical researchers and/or physicians, it was beneficial for the summer interns to learn about some of the strategies that are currently utilized to combat heart health-related challenges and to imagine how their education and work will contribute to those efforts.

Marshall University School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program received a grant from the Great Rivers Affiliate of the AHA to sponsor five undergraduate summer research internships related to cardiovascular issues. Please contact AHA-USIR Director, Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.H.A., for further information on this program.

For additional material about AHA’s work, please see