Previous Medical Sciences student’s current research

loudinSeanSean Loudin, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine (JCESOM), began as a Medical Sciences student in the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) program. That successful foundation has led to a well-respected career in Pediatrics with a subspecialty in Neonatology. In addition to his research and clinical interests in prevention of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, ventilator support of extremely low birth weight infants, and pain management, he has focused on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). His current research centers on the investigation of genetic markers for NAS.

For further information, please see the article from The Exponent Telegram below:

WVU Medicine is working on protocols for babies exposed to opioids
by Lisa Troshinsky, STAFF WRITER
Aug 21, 2016

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia leads the nation in neonatal abstinence syndrome, and personnel at Ruby Memorial Hospital, WVU Medicine and Chestnut Ridge Center are actively working to counter the problem.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, is defined as a group of problems that affect newborns of mothers who use addictive drugs, including opioids, during pregnancy.

laura lander“In a report by the Centers for Disease Control put out last week, there were 33.4 cases of NAS per 1,000 hospital births in West Virginia in 2013,” said Laura Lander, a licensed social worker at Chestnut Ridge, which is part of WVU Medicine. “That’s up from .5 per 1,000 births in the state in 2000.”

“The media uses the term ‘addicted’ when describing these babies, which is misleading,” Lander said. “Babies don’t have the developmental capacity for compulsive behavior and obsessive thinking about drugs. They are born exposed to substances, develop a physical dependence and have withdrawal symptoms.”

WVU Medicine is in the process of developing a treatment protocol to identify babies at risk, which includes screening mothers during pregnancy and developing guidelines to treat babies without having to keep them in the hospital unnecessarily long, Lander said.

Courtney Sweet, a neonatal clinical pharmacy specialist at WVU Medicine, provided details on the treatment of NAS.

“We do a universal screening of moms who deliver at Ruby and a screening of babies born at Ruby,” Sweet said. “When the babies are at risk, we monitor them for five days, watch for symptoms and so we can send them home safely.

“If they are going through withdrawals, we do a non-pharmacologic treatment that involves putting them in an environment low in stimulus and teach their mothers coping mechanisms like swaddling. If that isn’t effective, we give them low doses of morphine and taper them off the drug before sending them home.”

Exposed babies experience withdrawal symptoms for as little as a few weeks to as long as eight to nine months in the most extreme cases, Sweet said.

“All hospitals do it differently, so we’re developing a standard protocol to diagnose, assess and treat babies with NAS,” Lander said. “To make the protocol standardized across the state.”

WVU Medicine also is involved in a research study with Marshall University to examine genetic markers for neonatal abstinence syndrome, Lander said.

“We’re looking at why certain babies go through withdrawal and some do not,” said Sean Loudin, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics in Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Loudin is also medical director of the neonatal therapeutic unit at the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital, which is part of Cabell Huntington Hospital. And he’s medical director of Lily’s Place, a residential infant recovery center for babies born drug-exposed.

“Two women can be on the same dose of Subutex; their babies can be delivered at the same weight; and one baby will go through withdrawal; and the other won’t,” Loudin said. “Many factors can come into play, like how the mom metabolizes the drug, how the baby metabolizes the drug, and genetics may play a role.”

Loudin explained that if the research finds a genetic marker which pregnant women can be screened for, doctors will be able to know if a baby is more at risk and potentially come up with interventions before birth, or soon afterward, to try to prevent serious withdrawal.

BMS Medical Sciences Program – success stories

MayD_white-coat_2016The Biomedical Sciences, MS Medical Sciences program has again had several students accepted into the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Class of 2020. Their entrance to medical school is celebrated with a white coat ceremony.






Preeya Shah and Dakota May received their MS degrees in the spring of 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Jamila Ranavaya, Monty Chowdhury, and Asad Khawaja matriculated into the medical sciences program in 2015.


Previous students who conducted research in the Biomedical Sciences labs were also admitted to the class of 2020. Jordan Tate and Seth Deskins were summer interns in the West Virginia-Idea Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) program. The American Heart Association Undergraduate Summer Internship Research (AHA-USIR) grant sponsored Reagan Stafford.


School of Medicine welcomes Class of 2020 with White Coat Ceremony

Welcome new med. sci. students!

Twelve Biomedical Sciences (BMS) MS, Medical Sciences emphasis (med. sci.) students recently attended orientation. Uma Sundaram, MD, Vice Dean Biomedical Sciences Research and Education, Todd Green, PhD, Co-Director Biomedical Sciences, and Richard Egleton, PhD, Co-Director Biomedical Sciences offered a welcome and program overview. After course introductions and a Q&A with Cynthia Warren, Assistant Dean of Admissions, MU School of Medicine, there was a picnic at Ritter Park sponsored by the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) for all new and returning students.


These awesome students received their undergraduate degrees from as close as Marshall University and as far away as University of California–Riverside. Among the group, there is a classically trained pianist, a competitive swimmer and competitive baseball player, and fans of soccer, volleyball, and martial arts. Don’t forget the published poet, and the one who may be related to the original Colonel Sanders!

Be sure to welcome our new med. sci. and research students, and see if you can learn their “secret identities” as writers, athletes, and more.

Five recent biomedical students received white coats

Amos, Michael_whitecoat2015The Biomedical Sciences M.S., Medical Sciences program had another successful year with several students admitted to the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

White-Coat-Ceremony2015_Krauss,-AAmanda Krauss, Michael Amos, and Trevor Roston began the Med. Sci. program in 2014. Ms. Krauss noted that, “[she is] super excited to start medical school and thankful for the support and confidence the [biomedical sciences] BMS program gave me.”

John Hurley and Cathryn Stevenson matriculated into the Med. Sci. program in 2013 and received their M.S. degrees this spring.

As an inspiring start to their medical school careers, all of the first year students receive white coats.

School of Medicine marks annual White Coat Ceremony


BMS Medical Sciences students hold 2011 Spring Minisymposium

On April 12th and 15th, students enrolled in the Medical Sciences Program participated in the Spring 2011 Medical Sciences Minisymposium. Held each year, this event provides Medical Sciences students the experience of researching, organizing, and presenting a 20-minute talk on a topic of their choice. The theme of this year’s minisymposium was cancer, and this year’s participants presented on breast, testicular, lung, skin, and brain cancer.

The Medical Sciences area of emphasis is a two-year, non-thesis Master’s of Sciences degree offered by the Marshall University Biomedical Sciences Program. Most students enrolled in this program are pursuing admission to doctoral programs in medicine or other allied health sciences or health professions. In addition to attending courses side-by-side with medical students, each semester, Medical Sciences students participate in a Seminar course that focuses on improving the presentation skills of graduate students. Dr. Egleton, the course director, views this speaking opportunity as an advantage to students applying to medical school and other doctoral programs, as it gives them experience that will aid them in their application interviews.

To learn more about the Medical Sciences Program at Marshall University, please refer to the Medical Sciences page.