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 www.heart.org/missionlifeline.

Summer Researchers at Marshall University

Eighteen undergraduate students from nine institutions are spending the summer conducting biomedical research in Marshall University’s laboratories. The students are participating in nine-week programs offered through Marshall’s school of medicine SRIMS,-INBRE-Group-Photo-'14Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS), the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE), and the American Heart Association Undergraduate Summer Internship Research (AHA-USIR) program.

Dr. Elsa I. Mangiarua is a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and directs the WV-INBRE summer program. She said the programs allow participants to gain valuable, hands-on experience doing graduate-level research in the labs of some of Marshall’s top scientists.

Renuka-INBRE SRIMS 2014“We are providing in-depth, mentored research opportunities for very talented undergraduates,” she said. “The programs also promote awareness of Marshall’s graduate degree programs and available careers in biomedical research.”

Kelly Carothers, who coordinates the SRIMS program, agreed, adding, “This is a chance for these students to do meaningful laboratory research, network with others in their field and enhance their academic competitiveness for graduate school.”

Dr. Nalini Santanam, Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology will direct the newly funded AHA-USIR program. This program provides an opportunity specifically for Marshall undergraduate students to participate in research related to cardiovascular diseases.

While at Marshall, the interns are working in the university’s state-of-the-art facilities on research projects related to cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, neuroscience, toxicology, immunological diseases and bioinformatics.

The students will present their research results at a symposium at the end of the summer.

In addition to the formal research training each student receives from his or her Marshall Sheryl, Sammy the Hot Dog, Luisa, and Sai SRIMS summer 14faculty mentors, the interns are taking part in workshops and seminars about a variety of topics in research and graduate education. Students in the programs attend the same seminars and interact socially through a bowling outing, hiking and other special events outside of the laboratory environment.

Students in this year’s SRIMS program are:

  • Jonique George, University of the Virgin Islands (Dr. Nalini Santanam, mentor)
  • Sofia Romero, University of California-Santa Cruz (Dr. Jung Han Kim, mentor)
  • Leslie Fogwe, Delaware State University (Dr. Jiang Liu, mentor)

Support for the SRIMS program comes from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research.

Students participating in the WV-INBRE summer program include:

  • Ana Maria Peña, University of Charleston (Dr. Philippe Georgel, mentor)
  • Megan Boone, West Virginia Wesleyan College (Dr. Monica Valentovic, mentor)
  • Ankita Khunt, University of Charleston (Dr. Richard Egleton, mentor)
  • Seth Deskins, University of Charleston (Dr. Vincent Sollars, mentor)
  • Madison Crank, Concord University (Dr. Travis Salisbury, mentor)
  • Alexandria Carter, University of Charleston (Dr. Hongwei Yu, mentor)
  • Natalia Skilioutovskaya-Lopez, University of Charleston (Dr. Monica Valentovic, mentor)
  • Christiana Hess, Shepherd University (Dr. Lawrence Grover, mentor)
  • Jordan Tate, West Virginia Wesleyan College (Dr. Gary Rankin, mentor)
  • Sarah Marshall, Davis and Elkins College (Dr. Nalini Santanam, mentor)

Bowling-Group-Photo_SRIMS-INBRE-2014The WV-INBRE program also sponsors summer fellowships for instructors. This year’s fellowship recipient is Dr. Gary Morris, associate professor of Biology at Glenville State College, who is working with Dr. Travis Salisbury.

WV-INBRE is funded through a $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Marshall—in partnership with researchers at West Virginia University—received the award to help build expertise in biomedical research.

Students selected from Marshall University for the AHA-USIR program include:

  • Janae Jackson (Dr. Nalini Santanam, mentor)
  • Ibrahim Mohammed (Dr. Subha Arthur, mentor)
  • Reagan Stafford (Dr. Monica Valentovic, mentor)
  • Akhil Gudivada (Dr. Jung Han Kim, mentor)
  • Amber Bryant (Dr. Sandrine Pierre, mentor)

The AHA-USIR program is funded by the American Heart Association’s Great Rivers Affiliate Undergraduate Student Research Program and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Each intern receives a stipend. Depending on the program in which they are participating, they may also receive room and board, and reimbursement for travel to and from Marshall.

For more information about the SRIMS program, visit www.marshall.edu/bms/srims or contact Carothers at carothers@marshall.edu or 304-696-7279. For more information about the WV-INBRE program, visit www.wv-inbre.org or contact Mangiarua at mangiaru@marshall.edu or 304-696-6211. See http://www.marshall.edu/bms/research-clusters/cardiovascular-disease-obesity-and-diabetes/american-heart-association-undergraduate-summer-internship-research-program/ for additional information about the AHA-USIR program or contact Santanam at santanam@marshall.edu or 304-696-7321.

 

Marshall SOM Biomedical Sciences’ professors awarded American Heart Association research grants for students

Congratulations to Nalini Santanam, Ph.D. and her team (Elsa Mangiarua, Ph.D. and Monica Valentovic, Ph.D.) on receiving the Great Rivers Affiliate Undergraduate Student
Research Program Award from the American Heart Association for Marshall University. The grant encourages promising Marshall University students from all disciplines, including women and members of minority groups underrepresented in the sciences, to consider research careers while supporting the highest quality scientific investigation broadly related to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

American Heart Association logo 1.8.15

Because of this grant, Marshall University undergraduate students have an opportunity to conduct graduate-level research this summer for nine-weeks with outstanding school of medicine faculty and in amazing research facilities. Interns will receive a $4,000 stipend. Applications are due by February 20th. Click the logo above to see the application.

The peer-reviewed process focuses on evaluation of program organization, training opportunities, science and academic qualifications
of faculty, resources and funding available to students and history of student research training.

Students will learn and utilize a variety of genetic, epigenetic, molecular, morphological and physiological experimental techniques and apply them to models at the animal, tissue, cell and molecular levels. The students will also have an opportunity to work on translational research projects with leading scientists and clinical faculty. The results of each student’s research would contribute directly to a greater understanding of cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes, their interrelationships and the development of improved treatments.

The Research Program is scheduled for summer 2015, and the application deadline is February 20th.

Interns will receive a $4,000 stipend for the nine-week research experience.

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Marshall biomedical professor invited to present her research internationally

Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology in the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University, has been invited to present her research, yet again.

2nd World Congress on Fertility and Antioxidants Therapy 2012Dr. Santanam will be presenting her research internationally at the International Society of Antioxidants in Nutrition and Health’s (ISANH) 2nd World Congress on Fertility and Antioxidants Therapy, December 6 – 7, 2012 in Paris, France.

Santanam’s talk is relevant to all with a condition called Endometriosis. Endometriosis is a clinical condition that afflicts 10-15% of women of reproductive age (mainly diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 35), posing a major cause for infertility and chronic pain. Since the etiology of this disease is still unknown, very few treatment options are available. Surgery is currently the best treatment; however, due to a high recurrence rate, the disease commonly returns within three to six months post-surgery. The conference provides attendees the opportunity to present and discuss new research relating to the condition. Dr. Santanam’s talk scheduled for Friday, December 7th, is titled “Prostaglandin-Like Lipid Oxidation Products in the peritoneal Fluid of Women with Endometriosis Respond to Antioxidant Therapy.” In addition to her presentation, she also will be co-sharing the meeting on December 7th, 2012. Dr. Santanam would like to acknowledge the continued collaboration with Dr. Brenda Dawley from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

It is quite an honor to be selected at such a high level in her field, and though Dr. Santanam is not foreign to these invites, she remains humble. This is the second time she has been recognized and invited to present her research in just two months. Dr. Santanam recently presented her research at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles, California in November. Her talk was titled  “Sex differences in epicardial fat biomarkers,” which highlighted the research she has conducted over the past three years in collaboration with Marshall’s Department of Cardiology and Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. She studied the adipose tissue surrounding the heart and blood vessels in patients with coronary artery disease. 

This epicardial and perivascular fat has unique biomarkers that show differences between Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H. the sexes; she states that with this study, they are “trying to identify biomarkers unique to this particular fat so that we can use it in the future to diagnose or in the treatment of coronary artery disease.”  Additionally, the biomarkers found in the adipose tissue have been correlated to patients with hypertension. This study is part of the West Virginia Appalachian Heart Study; therefore most of the individuals included in this study are Appalachians. Dr. Santanam would like to acknowledge: Dr. Christopher Adams, Dr. Nepal Chowdhury, Dr. Todd Gress, and Dr. Paulette Wehner.

Dr. Santanam is the chair of the Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, and Diabetes research cluster within Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, and is a member of its Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology. 

Congratulations on your continued achievements, Dr. Santanam!