Dr. Gary Rankin receives alumni award from Ole Miss

Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D.Dr. Gary O. Rankin, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, was recently honored by the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy with its Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumni Award.

Rankin, who graduated with his doctorate from “Ole Miss” in 1976, joined the Marshall University faculty in 1978 after completing postdoctoral work at the Medical College of Ohio, now the University of Toledo. Rankin serves as principal investigator for the National Institutes of Health-funded West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) program. He has authored or coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, eight review articles, 13 book chapters and nearly 200 research presentations at local, regional, national and international meetings.

Rankin was honored in March during a ceremony in Oxford, Miss.

This article was published in this week’s edition of the We Are…Marshall newsletter. (http://www.marshall.edu/wamnewsletter/2013/04/16/dr-gary-rankin-receives-alumni-award-from-ole-miss/

Marshall WV-INBRE summer research program intern receives ABRCMS travel award

Mardochee Isme, MU WV-INBRE InternMardochee Isme, a senior student at Bluefield State College in Bluefield, West Virginia, and a 2012 participant in West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence’s (WV-INBRE) Summer Research Program at Marshall University, is the winner of a Student Travel Award from the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). Isme will attend the 2012 ABRCMS conference located in San Jose, CA, November 7 – 10, 2012 to present her research. The travel award is worth $1,500 and can go toward any travel-related expenses to the conference and/or conference registration fees.

Isme, among other students, performed research at Marshall University with Dr. Nalini Santanam, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at Marshall University’s School of Medicine and Coordinator of the Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, and Diabetes Research Cluster. The abstract for her research is titled, “Epigenetics of endometriosis-associated pain.” Dr. Santanam’s laboratory is interested in the etiology of endometriosis and Mardochee’s research looked at the epigenetics of the disease, which as Dr. Santanam stated, “is a new area of research.”  

Kristeena Ray, a Marshall University Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Santanam’s laboratory, helped Mardochee with her research and will continue this work as the focus of her own Ph.D. research. Dr. Santanam’s laboratory also has submitted a request for an NIH grant for further research in this field. Dr. Santanam would like to thank Dr. Brenda Dawley from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine for providing samples for this research project.

Summer undergraduate researchers present their work

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – More than 40 undergraduate students from 17 institutions have been hard at work in Marshall University laboratories this summer and will have an opportunity to share their research at presentations in the coming weeks.

Each of the students is participating in one of the five intensive undergraduate summer research programs on Marshall’s campus. The nine- and 10-week programs allow undergraduate students to gain valuable, hands-on experience doing graduate-level research in the labs of some of Marshall’s top scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

This summer’s research programs at Marshall include:

  • Biomedical Sciences Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS) Program sponsored by Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology/ Minority Access to Research Careers program;
  • Interdisciplinary Training for Undergraduates in Biological and Mathematical Sciences (UBM) Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation;
  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation;
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Program sponsored by the West Virginia Research Challenge Fund; and
  • West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) Summer Research Program sponsored by WV-INBRE and the National Institutes of Health.

While at Marshall, the students have been working on research projects related to a variety of topics, including biomedicine (cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, toxicology and environmental health, and infectious diseases), mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science. In addition to the formal, hands-on research training they each receive from Marshall faculty members, the students are taking part in group classroom activities, workshops and seminars, and social activities.

The WV-INBRE and SRIMS student researchers will present their work in poster format and oral presentations on Thursday, July 28, in the Don Morris Room of the Memorial Student Center (oral presentations beginning at 9:15 a.m. and poster session from 1-2:30 p.m.). On Friday, July 29, the SURE and UBM students will present on the fourth floor of the Science Building (poster session from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and oral presentations beginning at 1 p.m.). And on Thursday, Aug. 11, the REU and UBM students will present on the second floor of the Science Building (poster session from 1-3:30 p.m.).

“We are proud to offer these research experiences for undergraduate students. Our summer programs provide important training and education that help make students highly competitive in math, science and engineering research,” said Dr. Charles Somerville, dean of Marshall’s College of Science. “As the culmination of weeks of work they have done this summer, the poster sessions provide an opportunity for students to practice presenting their findings—a necessary skill if they plan to pursue a career in research.”

Dr. Elsa Mangiarua, a professor in Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and director of the WV-INBRE Summer Research Program, added, “We are providing in-depth, mentored research opportunities for very talented undergraduates,” she said. “The programs also promote awareness of graduate degree programs and careers in research.”

Somerville and Mangiarua said that many of the students will continue their research projects during the coming academic year, and some will go on to present their results at professional conferences.

Each student receives a stipend. Depending on the program in which they are participating, they may also receive room and board, lab fees, and reimbursement for travel.

For more information, contact one of the following summer research program coordinators: Diana Maue at maue1@marshall.edu or 304-696-3365, or visit http://bms.marshall.edu/srims (SRIMS); Dr. Marcia Harrison at harrison@marshall.edu or 304-696-4867, or visit www.marshall.edu/cellcentral/biom2/index.asp (UBM); Dr. Howard Richards at MarshallREU@gmail.com or 304-696-6466, or visit www.marshall.edu/reu/description.html (REU); Dr. Michael Norton at norton@marshall.edu or 304-696-6627, or visit www.marshall.edu/sure/2011participants.html (SURE); or Dr. Elsa Mangiarua at mangiaru@marshall.edu or 304-696-6211, or visit www.wv-inbre.net/summerprogram (WV-INBRE).


Media Note: The July 28 session is the statewide WV-INBRE Summer Research Symposium. In addition to WV-INBRE and SRIMS students who have been doing research this summer at Marshall, that session will include undergraduate students and faculty fellows who have been conducting research at other colleges and universities around the state, as well as high school science teachers participating in the Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) program. More than 150 people are expected to attend, including research faculty from institutions across the state.

Marshall receives 17.8-million-dollar NIH grant for research

Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D.Congratulations to Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D. and his WV-INBRE team for receiving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) competitive renewal grant of 17.8 million dollars! The grant will be for five years and will help continue a multidisciplinary research network with a scientific focus that will build and strengthen the lead and partner institutions (primarily undergraduate institutions) across West Virginia. “(This money) establishes research in colleges and universities around this state where research was never happening,” Dr. Rankin said. “It will lead to more dollars going to these universities, which will create new jobs.”

The WV-INBRE phase I was of great assistance to these WV institutions and the biomedical research infrastructure and network as a whole. Institutions have been able to purchase much needed research equipment, to be more competitive for funding, and to initiate more research projects. Additionally, when asked if he thought phase one of WV-INBRE was successful, Dr. Rankin noted “I think we have made quite a bit of progress. We have seen a cultural change; the value of research has been recognized. There is a greater appreciation for research as part of faculty career development and it is included when evaluating faculty for promotion and tenure.” With the newly awarded NIH funds for WV-INBRE phase II, these experiences will continue and enhance the science and technology knowledge of the state’s workforce.

Another benefit of WV-INBRE is the highly successful summer research experience that takes place at the lead institution, Marshall University, and the partner lead institution, West Virginia University. This nine-week summer research experience is designed to provide research opportunities for undergraduate students and help serve as a pipeline for undergraduate students to continue health-related research careers.

Ten interns are currently conducting research with their mentors at Marshall University and nineteen are participating in the WV-INBRE program at West Virginia University. At Marshall University,
Dr. Elsa Mangiarua coordinates a schedule for the students to augment their research experience. The students attend workshops concerning: biosafety, chemical safety, animal care, radiation safety, biomedical career opportunities, scientific communication, and graduate school. At the end of the experience the interns will present their research findings at a research symposium, to be held at Marshall and WVU on alternate years.

Below is a list of Marshall’s WV-INBRE participants and their laboratories. To learn more about the ongoing research in these labs, please click the links provided on Marshall’s Biomedical Sciences website faculty directory.

Don Bertolotti from WV State University – Dr. Larry Grover
Amanda Cochran from Bluefield State University – Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio
Elisa Evans from University of Charleston – Dr. Richard M. Niles
Kayla Fazio from Bluefield State University – Dr. Elaine Hardman
Brittany Greene from University of Charleston – Dr. Gary Rankin
Amelia Lloyd from University of Charleston – Dr. Hongwei Yu
Sumanth Manohar from WV State University – Dr. Maiyon Park
Kayanna Sayre from University of Charleston – Dr. Eric Blough
Donald Weller from University of Charleston – Dr. Piyali Dasgupta
Andrew White from University of Charleston – Dr. Philippe Georgel