More than 240 research projects were displayed during the 2021 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 hybrid in-person and virtual event featured a range of health research, including immunology, nutrition and exercise physiology, diabetes, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and health psychology. Students displayed and discussed their work during the day-long event and the projects were evaluated by 59 judges. This year’s keynote speaker was E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD. Abel is a professor of internal medicine and biomedical engineering as well as biochemistry and molecular biology. He also serves as chair of internal medicine at the University of Iowa.
“The projects shared during 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 current and 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 winner was Guangfu Li, PhD, DVM. Li is an associate professor of Surgery, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and the Tom Miltenberger Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research.
Li has been with the University of Missouri School of Medicine since 2016 and his laboratory primarily focuses on cancer and inflammatory disease in the liver, pancreas, and lung. Using human biopsies and different animal models that faithfully reflect typical features of human diseases, Li aims to elucidate biological and immunologic mechanisms underlying cancer and inflammatory disease in the liver, pancreas and lung. The findings are leveraged to develop effective cellular and molecularly targeted therapy and immunotherapy as well as diagnosis toward translation into clinical application.
Dean’s Awards were presented to health sciences students for their research abstracts.
- Sinclair School of Nursing Dean’s Award — Colleen Becker, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, won for “Comparing Psychometric Properties of Three Pressure Injury Prediction Scales in Perioperative Patients.” Becker’s mentors were Deidre Wipke-Tevis, PhD, RN, Sinclair School of Nursing and the late Chelsea Deroche, PhD, Health Management & Informatics.
- School of Medicine Dean’s Award — Cynthia Tang, a graduate student in the Tom and Anne Smith MD-PhD Program, received this award for her project “Cell-adapted Mutations of SARS-COV-2 During Virus Isolation and Propagation: Does SARS-COV-2 Experience Culture Shock?” Their mentor was Xiu-Feng Wan, PhD, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.
- School of Health Professions Dean’s Award — Jacob Thomas received this recognition for “Validation of Azure Kinect Temporospatial Parameters During a Sit to Stand Task.” Also honored are Thomas’s mentors Trent Guess, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy and Orthopaedic Surgery and Becky Bliss, PT, DPT, DHSc, Department of Physical Therapy.
The Excellence in Research Mentoring Award was presented to Katie Murray, DO, assistant professor of surgery, for her exemplary mentoring. Murray also serves as medical director of urologic oncology at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and is a clinical urologist at 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 postdoctoral researchers.
Category I Clinical
- Third Place — Jadee Wagner, second-year medical student, mentored by Jacqueline Limberg, PhD, for the project “Differences in Myogenic Regulation of Blood Flow in Peripheral and Cerebrovascular Circulations of Healthy Young Adults and Effect of Hyperinsulinemia.”
- Second Place — Clara Oh, third-year student, mentored by Nicholas Golda, MD for the project “Bupivacaine to Reduce Postoperative Narcotic Use After Micrographic Surgery.”
- First Place — Aaron Voshage, second-year medical student, mentored by Jacqueline Limberg for the project “Effect of Menstrual Cycle and Oral Contraceptive Pill Phase on the Hemodynamic Response to Sympathetic Activation.”
Category I Basic
- Third Place — Zachary Reuter, third-year student, mentored by Brett Crist, MD, and Jimi Cook, DVM, PhD, for the project “Effects of a Clinically Relevant Femoroacetabular Impingement Cam Deformity on Ex Vivo Hip Kinematics.”
- Second Place — Alexandria Hofmann, first-year medical student, mentored by Rajiv Mohan, PhD, for the project “Diabetic Ossabaw Pigs Demonstrate Abnormal Expression of Collagen in the Corneal Stroma.”
- First Place — Connor Diaz, second-year medical student, mentored by Scott Rector, PhD, Departments of Surgery and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, for the project “A Mechanistic Role for Reck in the Regulation of Hepatocellular Inflammation.”
Category II Clinical
- Third Place — Kanve Nagaraj Suvilesh, postdoctoral fellow, mentored Jussuf Kaifi, MD, PhD, for the project “Circulating Tumor Cell-Derived Xenograft Models of Non-Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Reveals Micrometastasis-Associated Single Cell Composition and Chemotherapy Resistance.”
- Second Place — Alan Maloney, graduate student, mentored by Jill Kanaley, PhD, for the project “Altered Adipose Tissue Inflammatory Markers in Mothers with Gestational Diabetes.”
- First Place — Paula Arinze, graduate student, mentored by Mirna Becevic, PhD, for the project “Expanding the Reach of the Show-Me Echo: Impact of MU Extension Partnership.”
Category II Basic
- Third Place — Aaron Morton, postdoctoral fellow, mentored by Steve Segal, PhD, and D. Cornelison, PhD, for the project “Which Comes First: Angiogenesis or Myogenesis Following Skeletal Muscle Biopsy?”
- Second Place — Jing Zhou, mentored by Guangfu Li, PhD, DVM for the project “LMO7 as an Unrecognized Factor Promoting Pancreatic Cancer Progression and Metastasis.”
- First Place — Hekmat Khoukaz, MD, mentored by William Fay, MD, and Luis Martinez-Lemus, DVM, PhD, for the project “Pharmacological Targeting of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 Decreases Vascular Stiffness, Smooth Muscle Cell Stiffness and Cytoskeletal F-Actin Stress Fiber Density.”