MURC News

Research Computing Workshop: The Internet of Things

The Research Computing Advisory Council is pleased to invite you to a workshop titled The Internet of Things, taxonomy, research opportunities and challenges on Thursday December 3th 2015 from 10:00 am-12:00 pm. The presentation is facilitated by Ed Aractingi and hosted at Drinko Library Auditorium 402.  All students, faculty and staff are welcomed to attend.

The workshop will be streamed using Skype for business video conferencing at: Join Skype Meeting

Research Computing Advisory Council Workshop

The Research Computing Advisory Council is pleased to host a workshop titled Volumetric visualization/segmentation of MRI/CAT scans with Avizo (Part1) on November 5th 2015 from 10:00 am-12:00 pm. The presentation is facilitated by Dr. Jack Smith and hosted at the Visualization Lab on 3rd Avenue.  The workshop is offered to all students, faculty and staff.

The workshop will be streamed using Skype for business video conferencing at: Join Skype Meeting

For additional information about the Research Computing Advisory Council please visit http://www.marshall.edu/it/services/researchcomputing/

Marshall University receives $500,000 to support high-performance networking for research

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University has been awarded nearly $500,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve campus-wide computer networking in support of research.

The collaborative grant was received by a team that includes Dr. Jan I. Fox, senior vice president for information technology/chief information officer; Edward Aractingi, assistant vice president for information technology/deputy CIO; and faculty members Dr. Philippe Georgel of the Department of Biological Sciences and Dr. James Denvir of the Department of Microbiology at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Several of the university’s other schools and departments also are collaborating on the project.

The project will improve and expand Marshall’s research by offering high-performance, end-to-end network connectivity between research facilities. This is the third NSF grant for cyberinfrastructure awarded to the university and builds on other federal awards, including a telehealth grant from the Federal Communications Commission.

This grant will fund a dedicated research network, a dedicated data transfer node to offer a high-speed storage server with adequate data storage, and an improved high-performance network supporting 10-40 Gb/s connectivity between research facilities.

According to Fox, the advances will help the university better respond to its community-based research projects and its expanding engineering research applications.

“Advanced cyberinfrastructure allows Marshall University to compete for the best faculty and the grants to help us answer research, environmental and health issues that plague our communities,” she said.

Aractingi added, “Scientific research is increasingly in need of more computational resources like higher network speeds and larger data storage. This project is a clear example of how researchers and technology teams at Marshall collaborate to create an optimized network infrastructure supporting scientific initiatives. The optimized high-speed, end-to-end network is an important enabler for collaborative research across disciplines and institutions.”

Denvir said, “At our Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility, we regularly need to transfer hundreds of gigabytes, or even terabytes, of data generated by experiments in our facility. Many of these experiments are performed in collaboration with colleagues at West Virginia University and with other institutions across the state and beyond. The increased ability to move data efficiently on this scale will greatly enhance the opportunities for these kinds of collaborations. Ongoing projects such as the West Virginia Cancer Genomics Network—which is a collaboration among Marshall, WVU and Charleston Area Medical Center, as well as future research projects aimed at improving the health of West Virginians, will greatly benefit from the improved networking infrastructure this project offers.”

Georgel said the advanced computer networking capabilities also will benefit Appalachian freshwater research in Marshall’s College of Science and help improve water quality by facilitating the early detection of sources of water pollution.

“This award complements our work to improve the quality of the region’s water supply by providing the significant computing power needed to retrieve the large amounts of data we receive from probes we use to monitor contaminates in the local watershed,” he added.

College of Science dean appointed to Environmental Advisory Board

Dr. Charles C. “Chuck” Somerville, a professor of biological sciences and dean of the Marshall University College of Science, has been appointed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board (EAB), Rollin Hotchkiss, chair of the board, has announced.

The advisory board was created by the Chief of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Frederick J. Clarke, in 1970, as a means for the chief to gain outside, expert and independent advice on environmental issues facing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Board membership consists of 5-10 people. Selected members are eminent authorities in the field of natural, social and related sciences. They also are multidisciplinary, with an equitable distribution of fields of interest as well as geographical location.

“I am delighted to be selected as a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board,” Somerville said. “I have had a chance to meet with the other board members, and they are all highly qualified and accomplished people.� I am honored to have the opportunity to serve with them, and I am excited to dig into the work of the board, and to do what I can to contribute to the missions of the EAB and the Corps.”

Somerville said he was nominated by a person he works with in the Louisville Corps of Engineers, even though he did not seek the nomination.

“When the Louisville District office became aware that there were openings on the board, they asked me if I would be interested in serving, and I said that it would be an honor to serve if I was nominated and selected,” he said. “I did submit a vitae and biography, and I assume that they reviewed those and found me to be qualified.”

Somerville joined the Marshall faculty in 1997 as an assistant professor of biological sciences, where he studied the biodegradation of chlorinated solvents in mixed wastes, and microbial community dynamics in large river systems.

He served as head of the Division of Biological Sciences from 2005 to 2009, and has been dean of the College of Science since 2009.� In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.

Somerville has served as the Marshall University Trustee to the Ohio River Basin Consortium for Research & Education (ORBCRE) since 1998, and is currently a member of the ORBCRE Executive Committee. He also serves as a member of the West Virginia Science & Research Council, the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board, the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium Board of Directors, and the Marshall University Research Corporation Board of Directors.

Somerville also has been a member of the Steering Committee for the Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA) since 2010, and is currently serving as the Chair of the ORBA Steering Committee, and as the ORBA representative to the Steering Committee of America’s Watershed Initiative (AWI).

Professor receives $350,000 National Science Foundation research grant

Dr. Elmer Price, a professor of biological sciences at Marshall University, has been awarded a three-year, $350,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant will fund his research, which Price said “aims to provide new information regarding the mechanisms responsible for the important and complex process of adult neurogenesis the process by which the brain constantly generates new cells that migrate into regions of the brain involved in memory, learning and the sense of smell.”

“My goal is to develop bioengineered matrices which, when implanted into the brain, will redirect these new cells into areas that are damaged by injury or disease, potentially leading to new therapies for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or traumatic brain injury,” he said.

The grant also will support the undergraduate student researchers working on the project.

West Virginia ranks low nationally in terms of education, income and health, and Price said it is clear that part of the solution is to increase the number of the state’s citizens trained for a high-tech workforce.

“This program is designed to introduce and immerse undergraduates in this cutting-edge biological research, with the goal of increasing the number of Marshall students who go on to nationally recognized graduate programs,” he said.

The program (named FIRE, or Full-Immersion Research Experience) will recruit students early in their undergraduate education and incorporate them into Price’s laboratory.

Students will be paid a salary to allow them to devote a significant amount of time to working in the lab. They will participate in all aspects of the lab’s work, including conducting individual research projects, presenting at weekly lab meetings, co-authoring scientific papers and abstracts, preparing grant proposals, and attending regional and national meetings.

Price said this deep and professional involvement in a research lab will help prepare the students for success in graduate school and a career in science, thereby increasing the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workforce in West Virginia.

HSTA Summer Institute welcomes 117 rising 9th-graders

Marshall University, in collaboration with West Virginia University, is hosting its annual Health Science & Technology Academy (HSTA) Summer Institute Sunday, July 5, through Friday, July 10, on the Huntington campus.
HSTA is a highly innovative and extraordinarily successful initiative designed to encourage high school students to pursue college degrees in the health sciences. This statewide initiative was created to inspire and teach first-generation, rural and African American youth to attend college and offset the disparity of this population in science and health care professions.
The activities get underway at 5 p.m. Sunday with the kick-off welcome ceremony and dinner in Room BE 5 of the Memorial Student Center. David Cartwright, director of the summer institute, said 117 rising ninth-graders from southern counties of West Virginia, many HSTA club teachers, HSTA field site coordinators and MU department chairs, faculty and staff are expected to attend the ceremony and dinner.
“Fun with Science Summer Institute at Marshall University will provide opportunities for our students to experience the joys of science through hands-on scientific discovery, wonderful science demonstrations, and meaningful, thoughtful work,” Cartwright said. “These rising 9th-grade students will experience college-like activities on Marshall’s Huntington campus. We hope to make a lasting impression so they will choose Marshall as their college in the future.”
The theme of the week is Fun with Science and the focus will be on Diabetes prevention.

New light-curable bone stabilization system used on first U.S. patients

The first two United States patients have been successfully treated with an innovative medical device through a clinical trial underway at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, in collaboration with the Marshall Clinical Research Center and Cabell Huntington Hospital.

The institutions are working in conjunction with IlluminOss Medical, a commercial-stage medical device company focused on minimally invasive orthopedic fracture repair, as part of its U.S. Lightfix clinical trial for the treatment of impending and pathologic fractures in the humerus due to metastatic carcinoma.

The surgeries were performed by Felix Cheung, M.D., associate professor and chief of the division of orthopaedic oncology at the School of Medicine. Cheung is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in tumors of the musculoskeletal system and joint replacement surgery.

Gene DiPoto, senior vice president of research and development at IlluminOss Medical, worked closely with Cheung and his team to facilitate the successful surgeries. Assisting Cheung was Franklin D. Shuler, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and vice chair of research in the department of orthopaedic surgery.

“We are excited for the opportunity to be the first clinical site in the U.S. to apply IlluminOss’ technology to the treatment of a patient with a complex fracture and the results have been remarkable,” said Cheung. “The patients were completely stable following the procedure and reported little to no discomfort. Having seen firsthand how effective the IlluminOss System is, I believe the benefits it provides to both the surgeon and the patient have the potential to make it a true game-changer in the way fracture repair can be approached.”

Both patients were diagnosed with metastatic cancer and had a pathologic fracture of the humerus.

The IlluminOss System has proven successful in the treatment of over a thousand patients in Europe, where it is commercially available and has been in clinical use since 2010. Benefits observed from the use of the IlluminOss product in patients include smaller incisions, shorter procedure times, and more rapid post-procedure patient mobility with reduced hospital stays and lower complication rates. Once cured, the implant provides longitudinal strength and rotational stability over the length of the implant and the small diameter of the flexible catheter gives the surgeon greater freedom of surgical approach. In many cases it allows the patient to get back to daily activities more quickly without the hindrance of a hard cast.

“We have had tremendously successful results treating complex fractures with the IlluminOss System internationally and are excited to now begin applying it to the treatment of patients with impending and pathologic fractures in our first U.S. trial,” said Robert Rabiner, president of IlluminOss Medical. “The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is renowned for its commitment to providing excellence in both medical education and patient care and we are appreciative for the opportunity to work with such a well-respected team – led by Dr. Cheung – to help validate the effectiveness of our technology in the U.S.”

This clinical trial is underway at surgical centers across the country and is currently enrolling patients. For additional information, please refer to www.ClinicalTrials.gov. NCT 02338492

Forensic Science Center director addresses W.Va. prosecutors with information on advances in DNA technology

Marshall University Forensic Science Center Director Dr. Terry W. Fenger delivered a presentation to West Virginia prosecutors Thursday about the latest advances in DNA technologies to gain more data from evidence.

The West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute sponsored the annual 2015 Summer Meeting at the Stonewall Jackson Resort in Roanoke, W.Va., June 24-26. Prosecuting attorneys from around the state attended.

Fenger’s presentation was titled, “Process Improvement in a Changing Landscape.” It addressed the latest technologies and developments in the area of DNA analysis and its value as an investigative tool for criminal justice purposes.

“In support of the continuing education process, it is important to provide prosecutors with updates on new technological advances as well as how these advances relate to privacy issues,” Fenger said.

“New technologies are still in the developmental stages and may allow DNA found at crime scenes to yield information on traits, revealing how the perpetrator looked in appearance, such as ethnicity and overall facial features.”

Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall collaborates with Coalfield Development Corp. on 'Reclaim Appalachia' Initiative

Marshall University’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS) and the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall, a state-mandated program of CEGAS, have partnered with the Coalfield Development Corporation to provide an environmental workforce training program in southern West Virginia.

The US Department of Environmental Protection Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization is providing a total of $192,300 in federal funding for graduates to develop wider skill sets that improve their ability to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environmental field, which includes chemical safety, water quality improvement, and various aspects of hazardous and solid waste management. This program will target unemployed and underemployed young adults, veterans and coal miners of Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln and Mingo Counties.

The Reclaim Appalachia: Quality Environmental Jobs Initiative will include 218 hours of instruction in lead and asbestos abatement; 40-hour HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training); lead renovation, repair and painting; mold awareness, methamphetamine lab cleanup; chemical inventory, storage and handling; site surveying and blueprint reading; and several job readiness and life skills training courses. Participants will earn state or federal certifications and licenses, and advanced-level participants will obtain an Associate Degree from Mountwest Community and Technical College upon completion of the program.

Brandon Dennison, Coalfield Development Corporation’s Executive Director, stated that “Environmentally impacted employment sectors are becoming crucial to a more diversified job readiness strategy for our state. This program will help to ensure that the communities within southern West Virginia’s coalfields reap the economic benefits derived from these remediation activities.”

“Our Brownfields Center here at Marshall was able to play a key role in putting this successful application together, and we believe these efforts will have a positive impact here in southern West Virginia,” said George Carico, Director of the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University.

Key partners include the West Virginia Region 2 Workforce Investment Board, Wayne County Economic Development Authority, Southern West Virginia Community Action Council, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Veterans Employment Council, and several environmental and community-based organizations.

Questions about the initiative can be directed to: Teresa Buckland, Marshall University-CEGAS, 304-696-3568, buckland@marshall.edu; or, Brandon Dennison, Coalfield Development Corporation, 304-501-4755, bdennison@coalfield-development.org.

Marshall faculty member's retention research published in international nursing journal

Dr. Nancy Elkins of the Marshall University College of Health Professions recently had her nursing student retention research published in the latest issue of Open Journal of Nursing, a peer-reviewed, international journal dedicated to the latest advancements in nursing.

Elkins, an associate professor in the college’s School of Nursing, said her quantitative research on retention is vital to the understanding of our current higher education environment.

“Attrition is a serious issue nationwide, with some nursing programs’ attrition rates reported to have been around 50 percent,” Elkins said. “The Government Affairs Committee of the American Nurses Association (2014) predicts that by 2022, the United States will need to produce more than one million additional nurses to fill both new nursing jobs and replace the wave of retiring nurses.

“Because this nursing shortage continues to grow, nurse educators cannot afford to lose qualified students hoping to become RNs and must increase the retention rate of nursing students who take one of the limited, sought-after positions in a nursing program.”

Elkins plans to continue her retention research by investigating the experiences of students who did not succeed in completing four-year baccalaureate nursing schools. She said the criteria for participation in this study include those who have been a student in a BSN nursing program and did not finish the program within the past 10 years. Participants in the study must have attended schools in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky or Virginia.

“The nature of this study is significant because the results could help educators have a better understanding from the students’ perspective about what factors played a major role in not successfully completing their BSN nursing program,” Elkins said. “The results of this study could assist educators in retention of BSN nursing students, which would help meet the Institute of Medicine’s goal of 80 percent of nurses holding a BSN degree or higher by 2020.”

Dr. Denise Landry, chair of the college’s School of Nursing, said research shows a link between higher levels of nursing education and better patient outcomes, and studies indicate increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses will lead to fewer medication errors and a lower patient mortality rate.

“Educators may use the results of this study to help identify these at-risk students early on, which would allow for early interventions to assist in retaining these at-risk students,” Landry said.

Elkins’ research article is titled “Predictors of Retention and Passing the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses” and has been published in the latest issue (Vol. 5 No. 3 2015) of the Open Journal of Nursing. For more information on Elkins’ publication and her ongoing retention research, contact her via email at elkinsn@marshall.edu or by calling 304-696-2617. To learn more about the Marshall School of Nursing, visit www.marshall.edu/cohp online.