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Nov. 13, 2015

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MU Health Students, Faculty Receive Awards at Annual Health Sciences Research Day

Event features projects from student and physician researchers

Leaders from University of Missouri Health and the MU Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (iCATS) announced the winners of 15 student research awards, two faculty mentor awards and the faculty Dorsett L. Spurgeon, MD, Distinguished Medical Research Award during the annual Health Sciences Research Day held Thursday, Nov. 12.

“Our goal for Health Sciences Research Day is to showcase the outstanding research that students are conducting at the University of Missouri and to encourage collaboration by sharing our research with colleagues,” said Jerry Parker, PhD, associate dean for research at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. “We take great pride in our students’ novel studies in health sciences research, which might ultimately lead to new treatments and better lives for patients.”

In addition to student research awards, the Spurgeon award is presented annually to a researcher from the MU School of Medicine for outstanding accomplishments early in his or her career. This year’s award winner was Emma Teixeiro, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. The winner receives a plaque and $5,000.

“The Spurgeon Award allows the School of Medicine to highlight world-class research from our newest scientists as it follows a pathway from scientific labs to medical treatments for patients,” said James Cook, DVM, PhD, the School of Medicine’s interim senior associate dean for research. “Dr. Teixeiro’s research focuses on the regulation of T-cell immune responses against infections and tumors. This line of research is crucial to controlling infections and tumors and improving tumor and vaccine immunotherapies.”

Dr. Teixeiro recently received a five-year, $1.79 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health to study how pathogen-derived antigenic signals control the function of T cells in the context of infection.

Two MU School of Medicine faculty members also were recognized at the award ceremony for their outstanding mentorship. Steven S. Segal, PhD, professor of medical pharmacology and physiology at the MU School of Medicine, received the 2015 Award for Excellence in Trainee Research Mentoring, and Elizabeth J. Parks, PhD, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology and professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, received the 2015 Award for Excellence in Junior Faculty Research Mentoring.

In addition, the deans of the MU School of Medicine, the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and the MU School of Health Professions presented awards to students for their research abstracts. The winners receive plaques and $500.

Christopher Tracy, a PhD candidate studying ophthalmology, sponsored by Martin L. Katz, PhD, of the Genetics Area Program and Department of Ophthalmology, won the MU School of Medicine Dean’s Award for Outstanding Student Research for the project, “Ex vivo gene therapy for retinal degeneration in a canine model of cln2 neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis.”

Portia Flowers, a postdoctoral fellow, and Swithin Razu, a graduate student, both sponsored by Trent M. Guess, PhD, of the Department of Physical Therapy, won the MU School of Health Professions Dean’s Award for Outstanding Student Research for the project, “Kinematic comparison of marker-based and marker-less motion capture systems.”

Jennifer O’Connor, MS, RN, a nursing doctoral student sponsored by Deidre Wipke-Tevis, PhD, RN, of the School of Nursing, won the MU Sinclair School of Nursing Dean’s Award for Outstanding Student Research for her research project, “Leisure time physical inactivity (LTPIA), obesity and type 2 diabetes (t2dm) rates in the Southern United States.”

Awards also were presented to students for basic science and clinical research in two categories — Category I, undergraduate students, medical students and summer research fellowship participants; and Category II, graduate students, resident physicians, medical fellowship physicians and post-doctoral researchers.

Research Day Award Recipients

Category I Clinical

  • 1st place – Stephanie Nill, M2, sponsored by Terri G. Monk, MD, MS, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (Photo)
  • 2nd place – Kelly K. Lacey, M2, sponsored by Michael P. Sherman, MD, Department of Child Health (Photo)
  • 3rd place – Kristen M. Scheitler-Ring, M2, sponsored by N. Scott Litofsky, MD, Division of Neurological Surgery (Photo)

Category I Basic

  • 1st place - Jakob Allen, M2, sponsored by Teresa Lever, PhD, Department of Otolaryngology (Photo)
  • 2nd place - Danielle Meyer, undergraduate student, sponsored by George E. Davis, MD, PhD, Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology (Photo)
  • 3rd place - Colin M. Schuster, M2, sponsored by R. Scott Rector, PhD, Departments of Medicine — Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Nutrition and Exercise Physiology; Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital (Photo)

Category II Clinical

  • 1st place – Portia Flowers, postdoctoral fellow, sponsored by Trent M. Guess, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy (Photo)
  • 2nd place – Jessica A. Gwin, doctoral student, sponsored by Heather J. Leidy, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology (Photo)
  • 3rd place – Sonal Patil, MD, academic fellow, sponsored by Richelle Koopman, MD, Department of Family and Community Medicine (Photo)

Category II Basic

  • 1st place – Vikas Saxena, postdoctoral fellow, sponsored by Emma Teixeiro, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (Photo)
  • 2nd place – Li E. Lee, second-year doctoral student, sponsored by Ping Yu, PhD, Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Lixin Ma, PhD, Department of Radiology (Photo)
  • 3rd place – John L. Jones, graduate student, sponsored by Timothy L. Domeier, PhD, Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology (Photo)

Photos: (Top gallery - 20MB, .zip)


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