Research Innovation Honored at Health Sciences Research Day

Dr. Bath at the 2019 Health Sciences Research Day

More than 200 research projects were virtually displayed during the 2020 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 immunology, nutrition and exercise physiology, diabetes, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and health psychology. Students displayed their work through prerecorded research presentations via CrowdCompass during the day-long event. This year’s keynote speaker was George P. Smith, PhD, Curators' Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences and Nobel laureate.

William Fay, MD
William Fay, MD

“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.”

Jonathan Mitchem, MD
Jonathan Mitchem, MD

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 Jonathan Mitchem, MD, assistant professor of surgery. He is a surgeon with a focus on colorectal cancer, tumor immunology, immunotherapy, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Mitchem's lab, Tumor Rejection through Immune Activation Laboratory (TRIAL), is focused on understanding and enhancing the immune response to cancer.

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

  • Sinclair School of Nursing Dean’s Award — Chuka Nestor Emezue, MPH, MPA, won for “Digital Interventions Responsive to the Mental Health Needs of Victims of Partner Violence: a Meta-analysis.” Emezue’s mentors were Linda F. C. Bullock, PhD, RN, FAAN and Tina L. Bloom, PhD, MPH, RN.
  • School of Medicine Dean’s Award — Alex Lee, a senior majoring in health sciences with a pre-professional emphasis, received the highest score of all School of Medicine submissions for his project “Defining Osteoarthritic Patient Phenotype Clusters Based on Infrapatellar Fat Pad Metabolic Profiles.” Their mentor was Aaron Stoker, PhD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.              
  • School of Health Professions Dean’s Award — Andrew Tait received this recognition for “Assessing and Promoting Independence in Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”  Also honored is Tait’s mentor, Nancy Cheak-Zamora, PhD.
James Cook, DVM, PhD
James Cook, DVM, PhD

The Excellence in Research Mentoring Award was presented to James Cook, DVM, PhD, the William & Kathryn Allen Distinguished Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery, for his extensive work mentoring graduate, professional and post-doctorate students as well as faculty, post-doctorate fellows and veterinary and orthopaedic surgery residents.

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.

Category I Clinical

  • Third Place — Justus Boever, second-year medical student, mentored by Fassil Mesfin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, for the project “The Effects of Regional Practice on the Outcome of Anterior Cervical Spinal Surgery”
  • Second Place — Ashwin R. Garlapaty, undergraduate student, mentored by Aaron Stoker, PhD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, for the project “Relationships Among Pro-Inflammatory and Degradation-Related Biomarkers Release by Articular Cartilage from Osteoarthritic Knees”
  • First Place — McKenzie Wallace, second-year medical student, mentored by David Beversdorf, MD, Departments of Radiology, Neurology and Psychological Sciences, as well as mentor Bradley Ferguson, PhD, Departments of Health Psychology and Radiology, for the project “Sex-specific Effects of Paced Breathing on Measures of Convergent and Divergent Thinking”

Category I Basic

  • Third Place — Luke Baxter, undergraduate student, mentored by Stoker for the project “Effects of Cytokine Stimulation on Human Hamstring Tendon Autografts Intended for ACL Reconstruction”
  • Second Place — Callie Hamai, second-year medical student, mentored by Guangful Li, PhD, Department of Surgery, for the project “Gut Microbiota Impacts Hepatic Fibrogenesis by Modulating Inflammation and Immune Responses”
  • First Place — Hanh Ngo, second-year medical student, mentored by Bumsuk Hahm, PhD, Departments of Surgery and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, for the project “S1P Lyase Displays Antiviral Activity Against Influenza But is Degraded by Viral and Host Factors”

Category II Clinical       

  • Third Place — Josephine Luk, PhD candidate, mentored by Cook for the project “Immunohistochemistry on Recovered Osteochondral Allografts Suggest Immunological Impact in Graft Healing”
  • Second Place — Dain W. Jacob, graduate student, mentored by Jacqueline Limberg, PhD, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, for the project “The Vascular Response to Sympathetic Activation is Attenuated in Young Women Following Acute Intermittent Hypoxia”
  • First Place — Breanne S. Baker, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, mentored by Stephen Ball, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, for the project “Efficacy of Ten vs Eight Weeks of Resistance Training in Older Adults”

Category II Basic      

  • Third Place — Vinit C. Shanbhag, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, mentored by Michael Petris, Department of Ophthalmology and Biochemistry, for the project “Small Molecule Inhibitors of ATP7A as Novel Therapies for Cancer”
  • Second Place — Sarah M. Young, third-year Comparative Medicine Program resident, mentored by Lane Clarke, DVM, PhD, Department of Biomedical Sciences, for the project “Evaluating Goblet Cell Associated Antigen Passages (Gaps) and the Presence of DC103+ and CD103- Dendritic Cells in the Cystic Fibrosis Mouse Intestine”  
  • First Place — Nishant Sinha, PhD candidate, mentored by Shyam Chaurasia, PhD, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, for the project “Corneal Remodeling in Mini Ossabaw Pigs with Type II Diabetes”