Ph.D. student to present diabetes research at conference next week

Aileen Marcello, Ph.D. candidateA Marshall University doctoral student will present her diabetes research next week at a conference focusing on the central nervous system.

Aileen Marcelo, a Ph.D. candidate in the university’s biomedical sciences program, will present a poster at the Barriers of the Central Nervous System Gordon Research Conference and will give a talk at the conference’s student seminar. The conference and seminar will be held June 16-22 at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H.

The conference will bring together clinical and basic scientists who are at the forefront of research into the system of regulatory interfaces between the blood and brain. This system is essential to brain function and has a major impact on the course and treatment of many neurological conditions, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.

Although there is considerable scientific evidence implicating diabetes as a major risk factor for many central nervous system diseases, there have been few studies investigating the effects of diabetes on this blood-brain barrier. Marcelo’s research project, “The Role and Regulation of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) at the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) in a Rat Model of Diabetes,” explores this connection.

She works in the lab of Dr. Richard Egleton, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at the university’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Marcelo recently received one of eight Summer Thesis Research Grant Awards presented to outstanding graduate student researchers at Marshall. Each award provides $500 to cover the cost of expenses associated with thesis research. Award recipients were chosen on the basis of the quality and significance of their thesis research, the likelihood that the research will eventuate in a completed thesis and justification of the need for support. Funding for the awards was provided by the Marshall University Research Corporation.

Aileen Marcello to present at international symposium in Barcelona

Aileen Marcello, Ph.D. candidateAileen Marcello, a Ph.D. graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences Program at Marshall University, has been invited to present a poster at the International Symposium in Cerebral Blood Flow, Metabolism, and Function in Barcelona, Spain. She will present her research project entitled “Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Signaling and Its Potential Role at the Blood Brain Barrier in Diabetes.” This is Aileen’s first time attending an international conference, which she learned of from Dr. Egleton, who has previously attended. You can download Aileen’s research abstract at this link.

I recently interviewed Aileen to get her thoughts on attending, and the following is a transcript of that exchange.


Question: How did you learn about the conference, and what is its significance in your field?
Answer: I heard about the conference from Dr. Egleton, as he has been to this conference before. It is my first international conference so obviously I’m very excited. I will probably meet some familiar faces in Barcelona, as some of the experts in the blood brain barrier field will be there. Hence, this conference is significant in my field because of the blood brain barrier connection, but also it will give me an opportunity to see what other scientists are doing in the area of cerebrovascular research. This is especially important since I am a senior graduate student, and I’m sort of “testing the waters” as to where I may go when I “retire” from being a graduate student.

Question: What was the application process like?
Answer: The application process is fairly similar to other conferences. I had to submit an abstract, signifying that I was interested in attending the conference. The abstracts are pooled together and the committee will select abstracts to be included in the conference. So, acceptance of your abstract is an invitation to register for the conference, as not all abstracts are accepted. Upon registration, you have to submit a letter from the head of the department (Dr. Rankin) to show evidence that you are indeed a graduate student. After that, you can book your hotel through the conference website.

Question: How do you feel about being accepted and being able to travel to this conference?
Answer: It’s an honor to be accepted to such a prestigous conference. I think this is one of the important conferences to attend in my area of research, and to go as a graduate student is exciting because it will surely give me avenues to think about when I pursue my career outside of graduate school.

Question: Will you be able to stay the full four days?
Answer: I will be gone all week!!! I leave on May 23 and arrive in Barcelona on the 24th. So that gives me a couple of hours to relax and enjoy the scenery. I believe I present on the 26th (have to double check on that) so I hope to experience more of Barcelona and enjoy some tapas.

Question: Will you be able to do any travel activities outside of the conference?
Answer: As in sight seeing? I hope so. I’ve been to Barcelona before so my plan is to go to the places I didn’t have a chance to see. Picasso Museum!!!

Question: What are you hoping to bring back to Marshall from this experience?
Answer: I hope to get some fresh ideas on which direction to take my research.

Question: Is there anything else you’d like to say about this opportunity?
Answer: I AM TOTALLY EXCITED TO BE LEAVING THE AREA FOR A WEEK!!!