Innovations Take Center Stage at Health Sciences Research Day

Dean Zweig reviewing a student's poster at Health Sciences Research Day

More than 200 research projects were on display during the 2019 Health Sciences Research Day. The annual event showcased research from MU undergraduate, medical and nursing students, as well as pre- and post-doctoral trainees.

The event featured a range of health research, including gene editing, autism, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and end-of-life care. Students displayed their work in the School of Medicine’s Acuff Gallery and Patient-Centered Care Learning Center at the day-long event.

“The projects on display at Health Sciences Research Day truly show the depth and breadth of the research that is taking place at the University of Missouri on a daily basis,” said William Fay, MD, senior associate dean for research at the MU School of Medicine. “It’s inspiring to glimpse the kind of research that our future scientists will one day use to improve lives. The day provides a forum to celebrate the excellent work in research and mentoring that takes place on our campus.”

During the event, the Dorsett L. Spurgeon, MD, Distinguished Medical Research Award is presented to an MU School of Medicine researcher for outstanding accomplishments early in his or her career. This year’s award recipient was Jonathan Bath, MD, assistant professor of surgery at the MU School of Medicine. He is a vascular surgeon with a focus on health care outcomes and database projects involving vascular health. His recent clinical projects include the use of infrared thermography for peripheral arterial disease and computational fluid dynamics for complex aortic disorders.

Two Dean’s Awards were presented to health sciences students for their research abstracts.

  • Sinclair School of Nursing Dean’s Award — Chelsea Howard, MSN, RN, won for her study of primary care clinic nurse activities with a telehealth monitoring system. She is mentored by Laurel Despins, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, and Bonnie Wakefield, PhD, RN, FAAN.
  • School of Medicine Dean’s Award — Mary Moore won for her study of the effects of dietary ketone ester to reduce markers of hepatic stellate cell activation. She is mentored by Scott Rector, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, and Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital.

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

Research Day Award Recipients

Category I Clinical

  • First place — Alisha Perry, undergraduate student, mentored by Elizabeth Parks, PhD, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, for the research project, “Hepatic Short Chain Fatty Acid Oxidation (SCFA) in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease”
  • Second place — Megan Lee, fourth-year medical student, mentored by Carl Stacy, MD, associate professor of clinical pathology, for the research project, “Use of Biofire® FilmArray® in a Medical Examiner’s Office, a Case Series”
  • Third place — Matthew Hirabayashi, fourth-year medical student, mentored by Jella An, MD, assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology, for the research project, “Effect of Excisional Goniotomy with the Kahook Dual Blade (KDB) on Surgically Induced Astigmatism”

Category I Basic

  • First place — Hannah Gavin, mentored by Habib Zaghouani, PhD, the J. Lavenia Edwards Chair in Pediatrics, for the research project, “Type II Cytokines Direct Choices of Early Thymic Precursor Lineage and Influence Negative Selection of Myelin-reactive T Cells”
  • Second place — Paige Hargis, mentored by Jonathan Mitchem, MD, assistant professor of surgical oncology, for the research project, “Effect of Chemotherapy on Colorectal Cancer Cell TLR Expression”
  • Third place — Joseph Arnold, second-year medical student, mentored by Teresa Lever, PhD, associate professor of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery, for the research project, “Developing Swallow-evoked Potentials (SWEPS) to Identify Pathological Neural Generator Sources for Targeted Dysphagia Treatment”

Category II Clinical

  • First place — Paul Buttars, resident, mentored by Katsiaryna Laziuk, MD, assistant professor of clinical pathology, for the research project, “Identification of BCR-JAK2 Fusion In Mantle Cell Lymphoma: A First Report”
  • Second place — Sessaly Reich, graduate student, mentored by Jeffrey Bryan, DVM, PhD, professor of veterinary medicine and surgery, for the research project, “HER2 Protein Expression In Canine Tissues and Relevance as an Immunotherapeutic Target in Canine Osteosarcoma”
  • Third place — Elizabeth Ott, graduate student, mentored by Jacqueline Limberg, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, for the research project, “Role of the Carotid Body Chemoreceptors in Blood Flow and Blood Pressure Regulation in Type II Diabetes”

Category II Basic

  • First place — Nikita Gudekar, graduate student, mentored by Michael Petris, PhD, professor of ophthalmology and biochemistry, for the project, “VHL Mediated Upregulation of ATP7B Provides a Missing Link Between Oxygen, Iron and Copper Metabolism”
  • Second place — Justina Yevu Johnson, graduate student, mentored by Greg Alexander, PhD, RN, associate dean for research and professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing, for the research project, “Impact of Culture and/or Religion on End of Life Decisions Among Advanced Cancer Patients in Developing Countries”
  • Third place — Tammer Ghaly, resident, mentored by George Kracke, PhD, associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, for the research project, “Novel Carborane Neuromuscular Blocking Agents are Reversed by Sugammadex”