Carper selected for ASBMB Graduate Student Travel Award

by: M. Allison Wolf

Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidate Miranda Carper was selected for a graduate student travel award to attend the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. ASBMB is one of six participating societies represented at the 2013 Experimental Biology Conference. The conference will run from April 20-24, and will bring together researchers from all over the world. 

Miranda

The conference is a multidisciplinary scientific meeting and researchers will meet to discuss the new strides made in the fields of: anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, nutrition, and pharmacology.

The research project Miranda plans to present focuses on a target thought to be a player in the cross talk between p53 and pRB. The objective of her current study is to investigate if this target, regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS16), plays a role in pancreatic cancer cell invasion and migration.

Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, Miranda’s Ph.D. advisor, is proud of his student’s achievement. “Miranda is driven and works hard. I am thrilled that she has the opportunity to share her research and attend an international conference.” Congrats, Miranda!

BMS Graduate Student Organization participates in the Jared Box Project

by Saeed Keshavarzian, keshava1@live.marshall.edu

BMS students from left: Brad, Bill, Holly, Miranda, Allison, Johannes, and Saeed

As the holiday season approaches, we are reminded to think about others outside of our busy lives. This year, the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Student Organization (GSO) would like to share with you Jared’s story. He was a special five-year-old boy who, in 1999, was diagnosed with an incurable brainstem tumor; he unfortunately lost his battle with cancer in November 2000. In his short time on Earth, Jared went from doctor appointment to doctor appointment and always carried a backpack filled with his favorite toys and games. Those toys and games brought Jared such joy that, for a brief moment, he was not thinking about his illness, but was just being a child captivated in play.

This is the second year the BMS GSO has participated in the Jared Box Project, an endeavor to share the same joy and relief that toys brought to Jared with other children suffering similar childhood illnesses. Allison Wolf, GSO President and a BMS Ph.D. candidate, along with other BMS students organized the toy drive and a bake sale to contribute to filling Jared boxes.

Miranda and Allison, all smiles, with the toys for the children at Cabell Huntington Hospital

The GSO members delivered the toys to children at Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center on Friday, December 7th.  Allison said, “We have a wonderful group of students and faculty in our program who make events, such as the Jared Box Project, a success.” Miranda Carper, BMS Ph.D. candidate agreed, and also said that, “this is the second year I have participated and the experience left me feeling happy, humbled, and heart-broken all at the same time. Seeing the children’s faces light up when I handed them a gift warmed my heart, but also left me feeling amazed by their strength and determination.” 

Johannes organizing presents for the children

GSO Vice President, Johannes Fahrmann, who helped organize the Jared Box Project for the second time said that “being a part of this project is a great feeling and instills a sense of unity amongst the organization and the community. It also highlights the warmth that people have in their hearts and highlights one of the main goals, in my opinion, of the GSO which is to give back to those less fortunate.”

For more information on the Jared Box Project, please visit this website: http://www.thejaredbox.com/.

First Annual Appalachian Regional Cell Conference to be held in October

Appalachian Regional Cell Conference Posterby Allison Wolf

A collaborative effort between students at Marshall University, WVU, UK and OU has led to the organization of the first annual Appalachian Regional Cell Conference (ARCC). The goal of this scientific symposium is to foster interaction and future collaboration among students. Miranda Carper, former President of the GSO, calls the event a “a dynamic and interactive opportunity for research students to present their work to their peers.” The conference will host poster and oral presentations.

The event will be held on October 12, 2012 at the Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, WV. A grant received from the American Society for Cell Biology will provide the funding.

Dr. Vinay Pathak, who has worked with the National Cancer Institute since 1999 as a Senior Investigator, will deliver the keynote speech. Dr. Pathak’s lab focuses mostly on research projects relating to HIV drug resistance.

According to Graduate Student Organization (GSO) Vice President, Johannes Fahrmann, “one of the biggest advantages to a student run conference is the fact that it takes out some of the intimidation factor that may be involved with a larger scale meeting that is run by mostly established individuals.” GSO secretary Ben Owen adds that, “because this meeting is a smaller conference, as compared to national conferences sponsored by societies, students will have a better chance of networking with others in a more relaxed atmosphere.”

If you would like to receive an application, or have any questions about the ARCC conference, please contact Allison Wolf (teter6@marshall.edu).

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: http://musom.marshall.edu/research/. You can also download the following pdf documents directly:

Research Day 2012 Syllabus

Research Day 2012 Winners

BMS Graduate Program announces launch of new publication

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Publication CoverThe Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program is proud to announce the launch of the inaugural issue of its new publication: We Are…Bridging Medicine and Science. The publication is the brainchild of Richard M. Niles, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research for the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. The goal of the new magazine is to provide news and information for and about faculty members, students, staff, alumni, and friends of the program. The magazine will be published annually and will provide both highlights and in-depth feature articles about the BMS  program.

Miranda Carper, a current Ph.D. candidate in the BMS program, conceived of the title for the new magazine as part of a contest among the graduate students. According to Dr. Niles, “The play on the initials for our ‘BMS’ program conveys the essence of our mission—research and graduate training that will lead to improved treatment of disease.” He also credits Diana Maue and her graduate assistant with taking the lead on turning this concept into reality. Dr. Niles thanks Diana for her role with the following tribute in the publication: “I would like to thank Diana. This assignment was loaded onto [her] already demanding workload of recruiting students for our BMS program and managing the Summer Research Internship for Minority Students program.”

Although the students and faculty of the BMS program are intimately involved with its research and accomplishments, Dr. Niles felt that members of the community and even some clinical and non-medical school faculty were often not aware of our program and its achievements. The magazine seeks to inform alumni, members of the Marshall University community, greater Huntington community leaders, and state and federal policymakers about our program and its accomplishments. It will also recognize the achievements of BMS faculty and students and serve as a recruitment tool. Dr. Niles encourages anyone with questions, comments or suggestions related to the magazine or our program to contact him at niles@marshall.edu.

The magazine can be read and downloaded at the following link: http://www.marshall.edu/bms/files/2012/08/wearebms.pdf. We hope you read and enjoy! 

BMS Program celebrates Seventh Annual Biomedical Sciences Research Retreat

Students attending the research retreatOn August 19, the faculty, staff, and students of the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program gathered together for the Seventh Annual Biomedical Sciences Research Retreat. Held at the Ramada Limited in Huntington, the retreat served as an excellent opportunity to socialize in an informal setting over a tasty lunch, share research projects and advancements, welcome a guest alumni speaker, and present awards for outstanding service and research. Dr. Elsa Mangiarua organized the event, as she does every year. Thanks to her guidance the event, as always, went smoothly and was a great success.

The event began with a buffet lunch, followed by time to mingle and view research posters. After lunch, a lively discussion commenced as research students and faculty members discussed their research projects with each other. Although this is a small group that interacts frequently, events such as this still evoke quite a bit of exchange and interest.

George Kamphaus, Ph.D.The poster presentations were followed by a seminar delivered by Dr. George Kamphaus, a graduate of the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program who completed a Post-Doc at Harvard. He delivered a seminar entitled “Fc-Fusion of Clotting Factor IX: Development of a Long-acting Clotting Factor.” Dr. Kamphaus is currently a Senior Scientist working for Syntonix Pharmaceuticals. There is currently only one drug on the market targeted to treated Hemophilia B, and his company is working diligently to change this fact. Currently, Hemophilia B patients must receive injections of this drug twice weekly to treat their disease. The drug that Syntonix is developing is a clotting factor that has a longer duration of action, enabling patients to instead receive weekly injections. According to Dr. Kamphaus, there are patients in India suffering from this condition who must currently travel more than 12 hours to receive their injections; a drug that can be injected once weekly will make a significant difference in the lives of such patients.

During his seminar, Dr. Kamphaus spoke highly of the BMS Ph.D. Program, expressing that it prepared him well for a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Unlike more established academic programs that may employ a silo structure, pharmaceutical companies are often smaller start-ups that require researchers to frequently interact. According to Dr. Kamphaus, the interdisciplinary nature of the BMS Program prepared him well for this. He also spoke fondly of the level of concern from BMS Program instructors: “They care about their students, and this really comes across. The individual attention to students is extraordinary, and much different than what you would find in other programs. I think this sets up BMS graduates well for success.”

After the seminar, a representative from each research cluster delivered a short presentation covering current cluster research. Ben Owen, a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience and Developmental Biology Cluster, discussed his research on action potentials; Aileen Marcelo, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, and Diabetes Cluster, spoke of her work focusing on VEGF; Johannes Fahrmann, a Ph.D. Student in the Cancer Biology Cluster, discussed the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on downregulating NFkB within early-stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Dr. Gary Rankin of the Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences Cluster updated the group on his work on genetic polymorphisms and unexpected methodone mortality; and Dr. Wei-ping Zeng of the Infectious and Immunological Diseases Cluster elaborated on his work with CD4 T cell differentiation.

Paula KounsThe cluster updates were followed by the presentation of awards for the 2010-2011 school year. Miranda Carper, President of the BMS GSO, presented the faculty awards. Awards were given to Dr. Travis Salisbury for Faculty Appreciation and Paula Kouns for Staff Appreciation. Dr. Salisbury was lauded for his accessibility to students. A student who nominated Dr. Salisbury remarked, “I appreciate the fact that he talks to me like an equal or a colleague.” In praise of Paula Kouns, another student stated: “Outside of being a genuinely nice and caring person, Paula goes above and beyond as our department secretary.”

 

Dr. Richard Niles presented the graduate student awards. The following students received awards: 

Sunil Kakarla, Ph.D. candidateBest Research Performance (Plaque and a paid trip to a national meeting up to $2,000): Sunil Kakarla

 

 

 

 

Anne Silvis, Ph.D. candidateBest Overall Performance as a Graduate Student (Plaque and a paid trip to an international meeting, up to $3,500): Anne Silvis

 

 

 

 

Highest GPA for a First Year Medical Sciences student (Plaque): Ross DeChant, Brittany Wall

Highest GPA for a First Year Research student (Plaque): Steven Rogers

Lotspeich Award ($1,000): Jesse Thornton

Best Creative Title for the Inaugural Issue of the BMS Magazine ($100): Miranda Carper

Thank you to our participants, speakers and award-winners. Also, a big thank you goes out to Dr. Mangiarua for doing such a great job in organizing the event! We look forward to seeing everyone at the gathering again next year.

BMS Graduate Student Organization elects 2011-2012 officers

The GSO, or Graduate Student Organization, of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program has elected new officers for the 2011-2012 academic year. The new officers are Miranda Carper, Allison Wolf, and Johannes Fahrmann.

Miranda Carper, Ph.D. candidateMiranda Carper will serve as the newly-elected President of the GSO. Miranda is a Ph.D. candidate as of November 2010 and is currently researching for the third year in Dr. Claudio’s lab. She is studying in the Cancer Biology Research Cluster within the Biochemistry/Microbiology Department. Miranda says that part of what attracted her to the Biomedical Sciences Program at Marshall University was the warm and welcoming nature of its students. After her second year in the program, she served as Secretary/Treasurer in order to become more involved with the GSO, as she feels it provides a great opportunity for students to collaborate in support of one another. Of her time in this position, she says that it “was a wonderful experience and allowed me to get my feet wet in the various things the GSO is involved in.” She decided to run for president this year with the goal of growing as an invidividual and as a leader. During her time as President, she hopes to live up to the example set by Aileen Marcelo and other predecessors by encouraging students to become more involved in improving the GSO and the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. In keeping with the GSO’s tradition of service, she also wants to hold a fundraiser to support those in need in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami.


Allison Wolf, Ph.D. candidateAllison Wolf, the GSO’s new Vice President, is a second year student and a Ph.D. student. She also researches in the Cancer Biology Cluster in Dr. Claudio’s lab. She applauds the GSO for helping to achieve many positive changes to the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program within the past few years. She wanted to serve in this position, because its duties include serving as a liaison between the faculty and students. She feels that this bridge provides one of the best opportunities available for students to help the program be the best it can be. Of her election to the post, Allison says, “I am really proud to be a member of this organization. Apart from keeping the interests of the students addressed, we really do have a strong volunteer aspect to our organization.” During her year of service, she hopes to help improve the website as a resource for students searching for funding opportunities, to aid in guiding new and incoming students, and to encourage students to give voice to their concerns and ideas for the program.

Johannes Fahrmann, Ph.D. candidateRounding out the list of new officers is Johannes Fahrmann, the new Secretary/Treasurer for the GSO. Johannes is a Ph.D. student in Biochemistry and researches in the Cancer Biology Cluster with an emphasis on Nutrition and Cancer. He researches in Dr. W. Elaine Hardman’s lab. Johannes sought the position to become more involved with the organization and to help give back to the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and its future students. He feels that the GSO is doing an excellent job in its service to the program and hopes to fulfill the functions of the position to his utmost ability. Of his goals for his new position, he says, “I would like to target fundraising by improving or introducing new novel fundraising events so that the organization may be able to expand its capabilities and related events.”

Congratulations to the new officers, and a big thank you to last year’s officers for their service to the GSO!