Photo caption: Students participating in biomedical research internships this summer at Marshall University include (back row, left to right) Brittani Greene, Caleb Duncan, Kate Preece. Kia Smith, Rebecca Lee, Matt Chapman, Zach White; (front row, left to right) Kassey Wagner, Madison Wall, Jessi Adams, Heather Connery, Sydney Jamison, Gretel Toloza Alvarez, Adrian Maldonado, Sam Sanchez. Not pictured: Anisha Valluri, Emily Hendricks.

In-depth, mentored research experiences at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will help develop the skills of the nearly 20 undergraduate students from 10 different institutions who are spending the summer conducting biomedical research in laboratories on campus.

While at Marshall, the students are working in the university’s facilities on research projects important to the health of Appalachia, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and addiction-associated diseases. The students will present their research results at a symposium at the end of their nine-week program. 

Participating in the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS), sponsored by the Office of Research and Graduate Education at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award, are:

  • Sydney Jamison, Hampton University, Fairfax Station, Virginia (Yanling Yan, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Adrian Maldonado, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville, Texas (Isabel Larre, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Samuel Sanchez, Ramapo University, Daytona Beach, Florida (Jennifer Haynes, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Kia Smith, Dillard University, Lithonia, Georgia (Holly Cyphert, Ph.D., mentor)

In addition to SRIMS, Marshall University, in partnership with researchers at West Virginia University, received a $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help build expertise in biomedical research out of which the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, or WV-INBRE, was born. Students participating in the WV-INBRE summer program at Marshall include:

  • Chere Davis, Glenville State College, Woodbridge, Virginia (Monica Valentovic, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Heather Connery, University of Charleston, Hurricane, West Virginia (Lawrence Grover, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Matthew Chapman, Davis and Elkins College, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia (Jiang Liu, M.D., Ph.D., mentor)
  • Brittani Greene, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Hurricane (M. Louise Risher, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Rebecca Lee, Bethany College, Huntington, (Richard Egleton, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Caleb Duncan, University of Charleston, Seth, West Virginia (Vincent Sollars, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Katie Preece, University of Charleston, Danville, West Virginia (Travis Salisbury, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Kassey Wagner, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Lewisburg, West Virginia (Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., MPH, FAHA, mentor)
  • Jessica Adams-Duffield, University of Charleston, St. Albans, West Virginia (Jung Han Kim, Ph.D., mentor)

WV-INBRE also sponsors summer fellowships for instructors at primarily undergraduate institutions and high school science teachers. This year’s undergraduate faculty fellowship recipient is Ping Lu, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics at Bluefield State College, who is working with Michael Norton, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at Marshall University. Three local high school science teachers are also participating this summer with mentors from Marshall University, they are:

  • Brian McNeel, Cabell Midland High School (Richard Egleton, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Julie Blaylock, South Charleston High Scholl (Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., MPH, FAHA, mentor)
  • Peter Starnes, Cabell Midland High School (M. Louise Risher, Ph.D., mentor)

Lastly, five additional students from Marshall University are participating in the American Heart Association Undergraduate Summer Internship Research program led by principal investigator Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H., FAHA:

  • Emily Hendricks, Marshall University (Jung Han Kim, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Gretel Toloza Alvarez, Marshall University (Wei Li, M.D./ Ph.D., mentor)
  • Anisha Valluri, Marshall University (Zijian Xie, Ph.D., and Sandrine Pierre, Ph.D., mentors)
  • Madison Wall, Marshall University (Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., MPH, FAHA, mentor)
  • Zach White, Marshall University (Joseph Shapiro, M.D., mentor)

“Each of these programs provide students the unique opportunity to network within their field and perform meaningful research, while also granting them an academic competitive edge for graduate school,” said Kelly Carothers, coordinator of the SRIMS program.

For more information about WV-INBRE, visit or contact Elsa I. Mangiarua, Ph.D., professor of biomedical sciences at Marshall, by e-mail at or by phone at 304-696-6211. For more information about SRIMS, visit or contact Carothers by e-mail at or by phone at 304-696-7279. For information about the American Heart Association program, contact Santanam by e-mail at or by phone at 304-696-7321.

Originally from Sheanna Spence for Marshall University Communications