A few of the students participating in Marshall’s summer biomedical sciences research programs relax at Huntington’s Harris Riverfront Park. Pictured are: Top Row (l. to r.): Nicholas Akins, Francisco Fernandez, and Dana Sharma. Middle Row (l. to r.): Fattal Langane, Kaden Hudson, Jamika Page, Abha Maskey, and Mason Dial. Bottom Row: Daniel Rodriguez de Anda.

Seventeen undergraduate students from 10 institutions are spending part of their summer conducting biomedical research in Marshall University laboratories.

While in Huntington, the interns will focus on research projects related to cancer; cardiovascular disease; obesity and diabetes; neuroscience; toxicology; immunological diseases and bioinformatics. The nine-week programs are offered through Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and include the Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS), the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) and the American Heart Association Undergraduate Summer Internship Research (AHA-USIR) program.

Elsa I. Mangiarua, Ph.D., professor in the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, directs the WV-INBRE summer program.

“We are providing in-depth, mentored research opportunities for very talented undergraduates,” Mangiarua said. “The programs also promote awareness of Marshall’s graduate degree programs and available careers in biomedical research.”

Kelly Carothers, who coordinates the SRIMS program, said the hands-on research is vitally important for young investigators. “This is a chance for these students to do meaningful laboratory research, network with others in their field and enhance their academic competitiveness for graduate school.”

In addition to the programs outlined above, Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H., FAHA, professor in the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, is directing the second year of the AHA-USIR program. This program provides an opportunity specifically for Marshall undergraduate students to participate in research related to cardiovascular diseases.

The students will present their research results at a symposium at the end of the summer.

Students in this year’s SRIMS program are:

  • Jamika Page, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H., FAHA, mentor)
  • Fattal Langane, Central State University (Sandrine Pierre, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Daniel Rodriguez de Anda, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (Monica Valentovic, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Francisco Fernandez, Palomar College (Jung Han Kim, Ph.D., mentor)

Support for the SRIMS program comes from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research.

Students participating in the WV-INBRE summer program include:

  • Abha Maskey, West Virginia State University (Beverly Delidow, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Nicholas Akins, Davis & Elkins College (Valentovic, mentor)
  • Claire Shanholtzer, West Virginia State University (Gary Rankin, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Evan McClanahan, West Virginia Wesleyan College (Hongwei Yu, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Marshall Barbe, Alderson Broaddus University  (Santanam, mentor)
  • Samantha Smith, West Virginia Wesleyan College (Lawrence Grover, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Kaden Hudson, University of Charleston (Richard Egleton, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Madison Jennings, University of Charleston (Travis Salisbury, Ph.D., mentor)

The WV-INBRE program also sponsors summer fellowships for instructors and high school teachers. This year’s fellowship recipient is Dawn Turner, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at the University of Charleston, who is working with Jiang Liu, M.D., Ph.D.  High school teacher Seth Perry, from Hurricane High School, is in Dr. Valentovic’s lab this summer and Winfield High School teacher Linda Wollaber is joining the lab of Emine Koc, Ph.D.

WV-INBRE is funded through a $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Marshall—in partnership with researchers at West Virginia University—received the award to help build expertise in biomedical research.Students selected from Marshall University for the AHA-USIR program include:

  • Shaun Chaffins (Subha Arthur, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Mason Dial (Valentovic, mentor)
  • Emily Guthoerl (Santanam, mentor)
  • Austin Richardson (Koc, mentor)
  • Dana Sharma (Egleton, mentor)

The AHA-USIR program is funded by the American Heart Association’s Great Rivers Affiliate Undergraduate Student Research Program and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Each intern receives a stipend. Depending on the program in which they are participating, they may also receive room and board, and reimbursement for travel to and from Marshall.