Welcome new med. sci. students!

Twelve Biomedical Sciences (BMS) MS, Medical Sciences emphasis (med. sci.) students recently attended orientation. Uma Sundaram, MD, Vice Dean Biomedical Sciences Research and Education, Todd Green, PhD, Co-Director Biomedical Sciences, and Richard Egleton, PhD, Co-Director Biomedical Sciences offered a welcome and program overview. After course introductions and a Q&A with Cynthia Warren, Assistant Dean of Admissions, MU School of Medicine, there was a picnic at Ritter Park sponsored by the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) for all new and returning students.


These awesome students received their undergraduate degrees from as close as Marshall University and as far away as University of California–Riverside. Among the group, there is a classically trained pianist, a competitive swimmer and competitive baseball player, and fans of soccer, volleyball, and martial arts. Don’t forget the published poet, and the one who may be related to the original Colonel Sanders!

Be sure to welcome our new med. sci. and research students, and see if you can learn their “secret identities” as writers, athletes, and more.

Santanam receives federal grant

Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.H.A., has received funding from the National Institute on Aging to further her investigations into heart disease related to obesity and aging. Congratulations Dr. S.! Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Full story:

Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor in the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, has been awarded a federal grant to continue her work on obesity and aging with regard to heart disease.

The $356,946 grant was announced last week by the U. S. Health and Human Services’ National Institute on Aging.

“Dr. Santanam is working very hard to address medical issues that are relevant to West Virginians and others in central Appalachia,” said Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the school of medicine. “This federal award is very important to her research program as well as our entire university.”

In congratulating Santanam on her work, Marshall University Interim President Gary White described her as one of Marshall’s finest researchers.

“Her work is indicative of the quality of faculty we have at Marshall,” White said. “Dr. Santanam’s investigations into these common health issues could very well have a significant impact on human health—both right here in our communities and around the world.”

The risk of developing obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (cardiometabolic risk) increases with age. And, according to Santanam, though the mechanisms are still unclear, these diseases are directly linked to adipose (fat) tissue dysfunction which increases with age.

“This study will investigate the role of epigenetic regulators and RNA regulatory mechanisms in adipose dysfunction with aging,” Santanam said. “Our findings will shed light on the mechanisms that lead to age-related diseases and identify targets to treat them.”

Santanam joined the school of medicine in 2006.

In addition to her appointment in the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, she also is an adjunct professor in the department of cardiology.

Link to original story: http://www.marshall.edu/ucomm/2015/08/25/4006/.

Senator Capito and Marshall Officials meet at WVU to draw attention to biomedical research

Recently, Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., Dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D., Chair of the Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology Department, were ableShapiro_fullsize to participate in a visit with Senator Shelly Moore Capito, and John R. Lorsch, Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Rankin noted, “This visit  by Senator Capito, her staff and the National Institute of Health (NIH) officials was an opportunity for the IDeA programs in West Virginia  (INBRE, COBREs and CTR) to highlight the cooperativity that has developed among our programs and the progress the programs are making in building basic and clinical research programs and infrastructure. It was great to be able to showcase what we are do across the state through providing research opportunities for students and faculty and making health-related discoveries that will ultimately have a positive impact on the health of all West Virginians. The IDeA programs are clearly making a difference in West Virginia”

Capito-and-Rankin,-G_at-WVUThe IDeA program was started in 1993 to help increase the biomedical research competitiveness in states that receive only small amounts of research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) was designed to create centers with a biomedical research focus at larger research schools.  To build the biomedical research infrastructure at smaller colleges and universities, and to provoide biomedical research training to undergraduate students, the IDeA Network for Biomedcial Research Excellence (INBRE) was developed.  Clinical and Translational Research (CTR) was intended to expand our infrastructure for, and practice of, clinical and translational research to a competitive level.

Please see below for the full article about this important visit.

Capito Hosts NIH Officials, University Leaders to Highlight Biomedical Research at West Virginia Universities

“From cancer detection and treatment, to the cause and effects of stroke, West Virginia’s Universities are making significant contributions to biomedical research.” – Senator Capito

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) hosted Director Jon R. Lorsch from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences at West Virginia University (WVU).

Senator Capito and Director Lorsch were joined by leaders from WVU and Marshall University for a discussion highlighting the groundbreaking biomedical research occurring in West Virginia with the help of investments from NIH’s Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. The group toured the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, the Neuroscience Center and the Center for Basic and Translational Stroke Research at WVU.

“From cancer detection and treatment, to the cause and effects of stroke, West Virginia’s Universities are making significant contributions to biomedical research,” said Senator Capito. “Funding from NIH’s IDeA program has enabled our state to build its capacity, and I am grateful that leaders from NIH, WVU and Marshall University came together today for an important discussion about continued investment in our state’s biomedical research programs.”

“I have been extremely impressed by what I have seen in West Virginia, particularly the cooperation among its institutions. Their ability to work together to leverage taxpayer funds for biomedical research will increase the chances for medical breakthroughs. This kind of cooperation should serve as a model for research happening across the country,” said Director Lorsch.

Great academic centers like WVU, Marshall University and others should be solving the problems of real people so that we can improve their health. The programs that have been funded by NIH and supported by Senator Capito have helped provide a network of health centers across West Virginia that can address health disparities to how we can best deliver care to the people of this state,” said Clay Marsh, MD, Executive Dean and Vice President, WVU Health Sciences Center.

West Virginia is one of several small states that receive health-related research funding to serve rural and medically underserved communities through NIH’s IDeA program. Currently, West Virginia receives four IDeA grants totaling $11.3 million in funding.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Capito advocated for increased funding for the IDeA program. As a result, the committee passed a budget of $300 million for the IDeA program for Fiscal Year 2016, an increase over last year’s enacted level and the president’s budget request.

Participants in today’s visit hosted by Senator Capito included Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at NIH; W. Fred Taylor, Ph.D., acting director for the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences Center for Research Capacity Building; West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee; John Maher, Ph.D., Vice President for Research, Marshall University; Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University; Clay Marsh, M.D., Executive Dean and Vice President, West Virginia University Health Sciences Center; and Dr. Gary Rankin, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at Marshall University and Principal Investigator of West Virginia’s Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).

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