Women of Color Award 2015 – Wright again

Tuesday, March 31st, Marshall Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidate Kristeena Ray Wright was flooded with emotion after her nominator of the Marshall student 2015 Women of Color Award stood before her and her peers announcing why she should receive this prestigious honor.

Ray Wright, Kristeena 3.31Words such as intelligent, personable, driven, approachable, professional, unassuming, open-minded, and dedicated, were used to help describe Kristeena. Also, anecdotal highlights were stated assuring the audience that Mrs. Wright is truly an amazing woman of color.

Once the award was announced, Kristeena turned to accept the beautiful and owner-signed Blenko vase, and saw her mother standing in front of her. Mrs. Ray had flown in from Chicago to surprise Kristeena and show her support for her as she received this special honor. Indeed it was special.Ray Wright Kristeena and mother 3.31

Kristeena Wright has been an advocate for equality for women, people of color, and various genders and sexual orientations. She has written performance pieces involving personal experiences, and openly shared them to help raise awareness. This provided pathways for others to connect and to feel understood. Additionally, Kristeena persevered through unavoidable personal difficulties, and not only continued through, but also strengthened the Biomedical Sciences doctorate program. Her commitment to her success has only inspired those around her.

Ray Wright Kristeena WOC 2015Congratulations to Kristeena!

To read the article in the local newspaper and see additional pictures, please visit: http://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/briefs/x294265737/3-honored-at-MU-Women-of-Color-event.

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine hosts 27th annual Research Day – Winners Announced

Congratulations to two Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. students for winning best oral and best poster presentations at the recent Marshall University JCE School of Medicine 27th Annual Research Day!

Winner of Basic Science Poster Presentation
Fischer, AdamAdam Fischer, Ph.D. student
, works in Dr. Sarah Miles’ laboratory and presented a poster titled “Normoxic accumulation and activity of HIF-1 is associated with ascorbic acid transporter expression and localization in human melanoma”. The other author is Sarah L. Miles.

 

 

 

 

Winner of Basic Science Oral Presentation
Kristeena Ray_web
Kristeena Wright, Ph.D. candidate, works in Dr. Nalini Santanam’s laboratory and gave an oral presentation titled “Polycomb group and associated proteins as potential therapeutic targets for endometriosis”. Other authors include Brenda Mitchell and Nalini Santanam. 

 

 

Winners of clinical categories are as follows:

Clinical Science Oral Presentation, Student CategoryBrandon J. Smith
“Impact of influenza vaccination on clinical outcomes of patients admitted in a university affiliated large medical center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania”

Clinical Science Oral Presentation, Resident CategoryA. Allison Roy
“Evaluating Buprenorphine Metabolism in Cord Blood from Neonates Born to Opiate Addicted Mothers as a Predictor of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in Rural Appalachia”

Clinical Case Poster Presentation, Student CategoryPaul Viscuse
“Fatigue, bruising, and weight loss in a teenage female with previously diagnosed thrombocytopenia”

Clinical Case Poster Presentation, Post-Graduate CategoryZain Qazi
“Atypical Growth of an Osteochondroma in a 31 year old female”

Clinical Science Poster Presentation, Student CategoryMaria Espiridion
The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit: Barriers and Patient Perceptions”

Clinical Science Poster Presentation, Post-Graduate CategoryJared Brownfield
“Placental ADRB1 mRNA as a Potential Predictor of Outcome and Possible Therapeutic Target in High Risk Pregnancies”

Earlier Press Release:

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Nearly 100 research projects and a keynote presentation focused on one of the region’s most pressing health problems, obesity, will mark the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s Health Sciences Center 27th Annual Research Day at Marshall University.

The two-day research event begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 23, with a community seminar on obesity, co-sponsored by Cabell Huntington Hospital (CHH) and its Senior Services Program.

Richard J. Johnson, M.D., chief of the division of renal disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado, will serve as special guest speaker for both the community event and Marshall’s academic event.

Johnson graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School and then completed a residency in internal medicine and fellowships in nephrology and infectious diseases at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Johnson’s community presentation, “Obesity,” is focused on the causes of weight gain and overall energy balance and concerns about the intake of added sugars containing fructose in the Western diet.  The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Harless Auditorium of the Marshall University Medical Center on the campus of Cabell Huntington Hospital.  The following day, Tuesday, March 24, Johnson also will deliver a lecture to medical students, residents and other medical personnel in the Harless Auditorium. The lecture, which begins at 11:30 a.m., is titled, “The Role of Sugar (Fructose) in the Great Epidemics of Diabetes and Obesity.”

Research Day showcases research conducted by medical students, graduate students, residents and postdoctoral fellows.   This year’s entries include a variety of projects that focus on various areas in medical and biomedical research. “The topic of our research day, obesity, is very important since most of the serious health care disparities affecting West Virginians result from obesity,” said Uma Sundaram, M.D., vice dean for research at the School of Medicine. “The presentations by Dr. Johnson and the cutting-edge research that will be presented during the research day illustrate our commitment to education, prevention and treatment of obesity and its many complications in West Virginia.”

For more information about Research Day contact the Office of Continuing Medical Education at 304-691-1770.

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Racine publishes with Rankin’s lab

Chris Racine, a Marshall Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidate, has been involved with two papers accepted for publication since October.

Racine RankinThe first manuscript, 3,4,5-Trichloroaniline nephrotoxicity in vitro: Potential role of free radicals and renal biotransformation, was published in the well-respected International Journal of Molecular Sciences in a Special Issue: Renal Toxicology—Epidemiology and Mechanisms. Racine is the first author on this publication. Please see http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/15/11/20900 to view the entire article.

Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D. authored the second paper with Mr. Racine and others in the lab including Adam Sweeny, Travis FergusonDeborah Preston, and Dianne K. Anestis. 4-amino-2-chlorophenol: Comparative in vitro nephrotoxicity and mechanisms of bioactivation was published in Chemico-Biological Interactions. This journal ranks in the top 25% of toxicology journals. The full article is available here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009279714002750

Chris conducts research in the lab of Dr. Rankin, a member of the Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences Cluster. Rankin’s lab explores the role that the kidney plays in metabolizing compounds used as intermediates in the production of a wide variety of agricultural products. Exposure to these compounds can occur both in industrial and environmental settings, and therefore, an understanding of the activation mechanism is important for better insight into kidney health.

Marshall Ph.D. student receives Chancellor’s Scholarship

Tenacious.  Passionate. Driven.  These are the words that Sean Piwarski uses to describe himself.

Piwarski is this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship, given to a student in Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program. The Chancellor’s Scholar Program is intended to recruit, educate and graduate underrepresented minority students in doctoral programs.  It offers a substantial tuition benefit and stipend as well as professional research and career development opportunities and a strong support network.  Further, it aims to provide support as the student transitions from his or her education into university faculty or administration roles.

Piwarski grew up in a bilingual, Hispanic household in California. He said that when he was a youngster, his mother provided “a lot of love” that allowed him to take risks and explore boundaries, while ensuring that he remained polite and stayed on the right path.  He was recruited to California Lutheran University on a football scholarship, where he double-majored in biology and chemistry.

One of his biggest influences was Dr. John Tannaci, who taught organic chemistry at California Lutheran, and to Piwarski’s surprise, made it fun and relatable.  Piwarski said that was not something that he often found in his science courses, so one of his goals is to bring that level of passion and interest to a new generation.

With his strong science background, Piwarski came to Marshall University to obtain his master’s degree in forensic science, focusing on toxicology and drug chemistry.  In deciding how to apply the knowledge and skills gained through that program, he realized that a Ph.D. was the logical next step, particularly with the interdisciplinary, team-based science program offered at Marshall.

Piwarski, Sean 2014Currently in his third year of a program that typically takes 5 to 6 years to complete, Piwarski is working with Dr. Travis Salisbury in the Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences cluster.  His research focuses on determining how certain chemical mechanisms in specific toxins may work to stop cancer metastasis.  He said it is a subject close to his heart, since several of his family members have lost battles with cancer.

Piwarski said that being the first Hispanic student to receive the Chancellor’s Scholarship is “very humbling,” and gives him the opportunity to pursue his passions.  He also said he believes that it gives validation to exploring his scientific ideas. When he was younger, he noticed that certain classes were considered to be only for the “smart people.”

“Science isn’t so much about being the smartest person in the room; it’s about tenacity,” Piwarski said.  “Try out creative ideas and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to further what is possible.”

Once he completes the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program, Piwarski says he will pursue an academic position where he can put the “swagger in science” and stimulate the same passion and drive for excellence in others.

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Multi-million dollar federal grant renewed for Marshall researchers and statewide collaborators

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Gary Rankin with the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and co-investigators at institutions around West Virginia, including West Virginia University, have received a five-year renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling more than $17 million for the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE).

Rankin, who is chairman of the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, serves as the grant’s principal investigator.

Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D.“We are really happy to be able to continue the work of the WV-INBRE program across our state,” Rankin said. “These funds will provide much-needed support for investigators at West Virginia colleges and universities to develop biomedical research programs and receive critical new equipment for their research activities.”

Rankin explained that researchers with the WV-INBRE research network are already studying many important health issues germane to West Virginia including cancer and cardiovascular disease, and the grant allows for expansion in those areas.

“The grant will also allow us to continue providing biomedical research opportunities for undergraduate students and faculty in all parts of West Virginia and help us train the state’s future workforce in science and technology,” Rankin said.

WV-INBRE is part of NIH’s Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program housed in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at NIH. The goals of the IDeA programs are to enhance biomedical research capacity, expand and strengthen the research capabilities of biomedical faculty, and, for INBREs, provide access to biomedical resources for promising undergraduate students throughout the 23 eligible states and Puerto Rico in the IDeA program.

“Our INBRE puts the IDeA approach into action by enhancing the state’s research infrastructure through support of a statewide system of institutions with a multidisciplinary, thematic scientific focus,” Rankin said. “For WV-INBRE this focus is cellular and molecular biology, with a particular emphasis on chronic diseases. We have also started an initiative to support natural products research in the areas of cancer and infectious disease research.”

Rankin said the research goals are accomplished through mentoring and administrative support provided by both Marshall University and West Virginia University.

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Contact: Leah C. Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, 304-691-1713

WV Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol 2014

Image for WVURD14

Following the poster presentations, a luncheon was held to honor the student researchers, their mentors, and to formally recognize the winners of grants awarded by The Higher Education Policy Commission’s (HEPC) Division of Science and Research.

The luncheon was sponsored by the WV HEPC Division of Science and Research; Expansion of STEM Doctoral Education Program, Marshall University; Marshall Health; and WVU’s Office of Graduate Education and Life.

Norton_WVURD_grant'14One of the award recipients is one of Marshall’s own, Dr. Michael Norton. Norton received a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Grant for $210,000.

Congratulations!

 

 

MU biomedical students showcase research

BILL ROSENBERGER
The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — Medical research that has an opportunity to affect the health and well-being of the general population should be celebrated, which is one of the reasons for the showcase at Pullman Plaza Hotel.

More than a dozen projects by Marshall University biomedical science graduate students and faculty members showcased their work as part of the ninth annual Biomedical Sciences Retreat. The event gives graduate students in the university’s biomedical sciences program an opportunity to share their research, including projects to study the effects of drugs on the kidney, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and how neurons respond to different patterns of neural activity.

Elsa Mangiarua, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology, said Ph.D. students get to share their work with each other, while newly admitted Ph.D. students get to see some of the research they will be getting into.

“There are a lot of good projects with positive results in translational research,” said Rachel Murphy, who is a first-year student from Kansas. “It sets the bar high to help medical science advance to the next step. It’s definitely inspiring.”

Marcus_Terneus2013That was also the observation from Marcus Terneus, senior manager of global EH&S occupational toxicology at Mylan Pharmaceuticals. He is a 2006 graduate of the Marshall Ph.D. program and served as the afternoon’s keynote speaker.

“I’m very proud. It’s exciting to see the growth and what projects are going on,” Terneus said. “I keep close eyes on what students are doing.”

He also told the group that the education and research opportunities he received prepared him for what he’s seen during the past seven years.

“It’s given me what I needed to succeed,” he said.

The research also was noted as impressive because of how groundbreaking the results could be. Second-year student Justin Tomblin’s project centered on the link between obesity and breast cancer and how to block the growth of abnormal tissue.

In West Virginia, which has high obesity rates, that kind of research could help quite a few folks, he said.

“It definitely feels like you are doing something that may help friends or relatives,” Tomblin said.

John Maher, the vice president for research at Marshall and executive director of the Marshall University Research Corporation, said after hearing some presentations that Marshall has a very strong biomedical sciences program. He also noted that they are working on relevant and important problems pertaining to regional health care.