Dr. Rankin elected president

Gary O. Rankin, PhD, has been elected the President of the Division of Toxicology of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) for 2015-2016. The Division of Toxicology serves national and international members involved with neurotoxicology, teratology, molecular and cellular mechanisms of drug and chemical toxicity, immunotoxicology, organ toxicities, risk assessment, environmental toxicology, models of toxic injury, toxic intermediates, and mechanisms of chemical interactions.

Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D.

This leadership position is a great opportunity to showcase Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and the excellent toxicology research conducted in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

Racine Rankin

Dr. Rankin noted, “I will have the opportunity to influence programming in toxicology for the national American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics meeting within the Experimental Biology Meeting for 2017, oversee awards to deserving graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and toxicology researchers at various stages of their career, and promote toxicology as a discipline within the pharmacology community.”

Cookies and Milk!

Students from the Biomedical Sciences Program and School of Medicine came together for an afternoon cookie break.Mixer_john,-travis,-monty

It was a welcome diversion from studying on a rainy afternoon for most who attended.




Mixer_mdphd,-som,-taha  Mixer_Caroline,-Kristeena

Mixer coordinator, Kelly Carothers, said, “It’s great to provide a relaxed event so that participants from both the research and clinical sides of medicine can network and become more comfortable. Many of these students will share some classes or collaborate in the future.”

Biomedical Sciences PhD Candidate, Kristeena Wright, offered words of encouragement at Convocation

Kristeena Wright, PhD Candidate, was selected to be a presenter at this year’s President’s Freshman Convocation. She began with a description of her own Convocation as an undergraduate at Duke University with presenter Maya Angelou just ten years ago.


Wright spoke of three areas that she felt would assist the Class of 2019 to be successful at Marshall University:

  1. Don’t be afraid to stand out.
  2. Don’t doubt your potential.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone.

These points were illustrated with examples of the challenges and successes that Mrs. Wright has experienced during her years at Marshall University.


Another focus of the presentation was the wonderful support system and mentors that Kristeena has found in the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program, as well as Marshall University as a whole. Mrs. Diana Maue, Graduate Recruiter and Communication Coordinator, has been a particularly valuable supporter.

As Kristeena has been motivated by many here at Marshall, she has surely inspired a great many others. She is a “phenomenal woman.”

See the full Convocation Ceremony.

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.

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 www.heart.org/missionlifeline.

Second Annual BMS International Food Festival a success


GSOBMSGroupThe 2nd Annual Biomedical Sciences (BMS) International Food Festival was recently held at the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center’s second floor lounge. Sponsored by the Graduate Student Organization (GSO), students in Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine BMS Program along with some of its faculty, provided delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts to delight those lucky (and early) enough to enjoy.

Group at FoodMost cooks brought a favorite childhood dish or an offering that represents their ethnic background. Touring the world with freshly mashed guacamole and corn tortillas to Nepalese dumplings and other Asian favorites, on to Europe with sausage rolls, fettuccine, and fabulous desserts, and finally back to the Caribbean featuring spicy jerk chicken and Bahamian beans and rice, diners were treated to a fabulous journey.

Sean PiwarskiDr. Piyali Dasgupta loves different international cuisines and is happy to support the Student Organization, so she was excited to attend the Food Festival. GSO Historian, Rachel Murphy, agreed, saying, “the food is bangin’.”

Taha AhmadAlthough scheduled to run until 2pm, the lunch line had to close early since the tasty food disappeared so quickly. Taha Ahmad, GSO President, was pleased with the outcome. “The donations that we receive for this festival go to the scholarships that we provide. The more money that we can bring in with events like this, the more that we can support the people in our program with additional funding to attend scientific workshops, conferences, and other educational needs.”

Great cause, great conversation, great food. Yum!