Biomedical Sciences graduate students present at the Annual Research Day

Anne Silves, Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidateThe Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine recently held its 23rd Annual Research Day. This event highlights the basic and clinic research work of basic scientists, medical students, graduate students, physicians, residents, and other interested health professionals. The goal of the Annual Research Day is to involve the community in the ongoing research being performed at the School of Medicine by allowing participants to formally present their research in oral or poster presentations.

Aileen Marcelo, Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. CandidateGraduate Students in the Biomedical Sciences Program at Marshall University had a strong showing at the event. Juliana Akinsete (Ph.D. Candidate), Aaron Dom (M.S. Medical Sciences Student), Meagan Valentine (Ph.D. Student), Anne Silvis (Ph.D. Candidate), and Gabriela Ion, Ph.D. (Post-doctoral Fellow) gave oral presentations. Ben Owen (M.S. Research Student), Siva Nalabotu (Ph.D. Candidate), and Aileen Marcelo (Ph.D. Candidate) presented posters.

One oral presenter and one poster presenter awarded in each of the three categories: clinical vignettes, clinical science, and basic science. In the basic science category, Anne Silvis and Aileen Marcello were the award winners.

24th Annual Research Day hosted at Marshall University School of Medicine

M. Allison Wolf, Ph.D. candidateOn March 20th, the Marshall University School of Medicine hosted its 24th Annual Medical School Research Day. This medical-school wide event, which also encompasses the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, is one of the few times in the academic year that everyone in the school community gathers to learn about the research taking place at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine (JCESOM).

The event included nearly 80 research presentations and a keynote speech by Dr. William Thies, the Chief Medical and Science Officer for the National Alzheimer’s Organization. The goals of Research Day include giving participants an opportunity to formally present their research, involving the community in the ongoing research being performed at JCESOM, and encouraging Continuing Medical Education in clinical research.

The presenters included professors, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, medical students, and residents. On the ground floor of the Marshall Medical Center, dozens of research projects were presented. According to Dr. Richard Niles, Senior Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education, the research presented ranged from Vitamin D3 supplementation to chili peppers and small cell lung cancer.

The following members of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program participated:

  • Dr. Piyali Dasgupta
  • Dr. Jung Han Kim
  • Flavia De Carlo, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab
  • Johannes Francois Fahrmann, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Elaine Hardman’s lab
  • Rounak Nande, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab
  • Aaron Dom, a medical student and former Medical Sciences Master’s student researching in Dr. Piyali Dasgupta’s lab
  • M. Allison Wolf, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab
  • Meagan Valentine, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Simon Collier’s lab
  • Miranda Carper, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab
  • Sarah Mathis, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio’s lab

The event followed an Alzheimer’s Disease Symposium, which took place on March 19th. Dr. Richard Egleton of the BMS Graduate Program was a guest speaker.

A few members of the BMS Graduate Program also received honors for their presentations at Research Day. M. Allison Wolf’s poster, entitled “Benzyl isothiocyanate targets chemoresistant and metastatic head and neck cell carcinoma cells,” won in the Poster Basic Science category. A researcher in Dr. Piyali Dasgupta’s lab, Clayton Crabtree, won in the Oral Basic Science category for his presentation, “Capsaicin induces apoptosis in human small cell lung cancer via the TRPV pathway.”

To learn more about the 24th Annual Research Day, look to the event website: You can also download the following pdf documents directly:

Research Day 2012 Syllabus

Research Day 2012 Winners

Dr. Simon Collier publishes in PLoS Genetics

Simon Collier, Ph.H.An article by Dr. Simon Collier entitled “Two Frizzled Planar Cell Polarity Signals in the Drosophila Wing Are Differentially Organized by the Fat/Dachsous Pathway” has been accepted for publication in PLoS Genetics. This journal, published by the Public Library of Science, is highly regarded as one of the top journals in the field of genetics. The publishers make it available online to be accessible to the widest possible audience. PLoS Genetics focuses on publishing original articles that have a broad scope and provide significant new insights into the mechanisms underlying biological processes. Dr. Collier’s study highlights the signaling pathways involved in the alignment of cells during development in the wings of the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Mainly, his work focuses on the Fat/Dachsous signaling pathway, discussed in further detail below. This is the first time that Dr. Collier has published in this journal, and he feels honored that they have accepted his study, as this was the first journal on his “wish list” for publication.

Dr. Collier is a joint appointee serving as an Associate Professor to both Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and its College of Science. His work has the potential to be applied to research into the treatment of medical conditions, as the genes resposible for causing the cells within fruit fly wings to align have counterparts in vertebrates, including humans. Meagan Valentine, a Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. student within Dr. Collier’s lab, is also credited as a co-author of the article. Although Dr. Collier says that Meagan is highly involved in a number of tasks in his lab, her main contribution to the paper is summarized in Figure 8 of the study (you can jump to the figure using this link), which Dr. Collier proudly and entirely credits to Meagan. The Fat/Dachsous pathway has two roles, growth (serving as a tumor supressor) and planar cell polarity. These roles were previously thought to be inseparable, but Meagan has for the first time suggested that they can be controlled individually. This is a big step forward, and it is the one thing Dr. Collier has been asked most about at conferences when he discusses his lab’s work.

In fruit flies, the Fat/Dachsous pathway is a signaling pathway that influences gene expression, cell growth, and cell polarity. It is what causes the cells and hairs that line a fruit fly’s wings to align in the same direction, or polarize. What is new in Dr. Collier’s study is the hypothesis that, within Drosophila wings, the epithelial cells polarize twice. You can read the entire published article on the PLoS Genetics website at the following link:

It is Dr. Collier’s hope that the publication of his article in PLoS Genetics will help bring exposure to his lab. If anyone should find themselves interested in assisting Dr. Collier’s research, he says enthusiastically, “We’re always looking for good people to come into the lab.” Interested parties may contact Dr. Collier through the information on his faculty page: