SIU Med Students Work with Researchers During Summer Program


July 8, 2013

SIU Med Students Work with Researchers During Summer Program

Twelve medical students are getting a look at life inside a research laboratory during a summer research program at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

The Mentored Professional Enrichment Experiences (MPEE) is an eight-week SIU elective between the first and second years of medical school. It is designed as an opportunity for students to work with physicians or researchers at SIU or other medical campuses.

“As medical students learn medicine, it’s important that they also understand the value of research as part of the health-care field,” said Eric C. Niederhoffer, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in Carbondale and MPEE program coordinator.  “We’ve found that this program inspires medical students to continue their research into their latter years of medical school and into their careers.”

Students are studying a variety of research topics in basic and clinical medicine, including cataract surgery, ovarian cancer, pediatric knee arthroplasty and metastatic melanoma cell lines. They will give formal presentations about their experiences to the medical school community this autumn.

The students, their project titles and their mentors are:

+ Kathryn Blanquart, The effect of pre-operative characteristics and intra-operative findings on untoward events and outcomes in cataract surgery, Dr. David Vollman, VA St. Louis Health Care System in St. Louis. Blanquart is the daughter of Deb Blanquart of Belleville.

+ Adam Cross, Use of thymidine-induced bone marrow-derived multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC) in cell-based cytotoxic therapies for epithelial ovarian cancer, Mary McAsey, Ph.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at SIU in Springfield. Cross is the son of Gary and Kim Cross of Heyworth.

+ Scott Geiger, A molecular analysis of the fibrotic response in ovarian cancer, Karen Hales, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology at SIU, Carbondale. Geiger is the son of Jon and Laurie Geiger of Carbondale.

+ Tyler Griebel, Incidence of thrombosis in children following cardio-thoracic surgery with chylothorax: Analysis of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample Database (NIS), Dr. Michael Tarantino, Illinois Bleeding and Clotting Disorders Institute in Peoria.  Griebel is the son of Craig and Cheryl Griebel of Dunlap.

+ Anna Grindy, Patient and hospital demographics in pediatric slipped capital femoral epiphysis: data from the National Inpatient Sample, Dr. Khaled J. Saleh, professor and division chief of orthopaedics at SIU in Springfield. Grindy is the daughter of Robert and Rosemarie Grindy of Decatur.

+ Samantha Nguyen, An epidemiological study of pediatric knee arthroplasty, Saleh, Springfield. Nguyen is the daughter of Don and Lynn Nguyen of Champaign.

+ Ashley Norton, The effects of ultrasound directed delivery of encapsulated chemotoxins and siRNA on metastatic melanoma cell lines, Kenneth Watkin, Ph.D., Beckman Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Norton is the daughter of Richard and Cindy Norton of Brimfield.

+ Justine Nuguid, The effects of Tcf3/Tcf4 on tumor growth in squamous cell carcinoma, Hoang Nguyen, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Nuguid is the daughter of Ted and Mary Francis Nuguid of Moline.

+ Kate Swaggerty, An epidemiological study of pediatric total hip arthroplasty, Saleh, Springfield. Swaggerty is the daughter of Lee and Terri Swaggerty of Springfield.

+ Brian Tillis, Extreme users of the ED and the circumstances behind the year after year overuse, Dr. Jonathan dela Cruz, assistant professor of emergency medicine at SIU in Springfield. Tillis is the son of William and Kelly Tillis of Peoria.

+ Lacey Wood, Beeting diabetes: A deeper look into nitrate supplementation for decreasing symptoms of prediabetes, Christopher Bell, Ph.D., Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Wood is the daughter of J.B. and Dr. Agnes Wood of Springfield.

+ Tian Zhang, Effects of hypoxia and the activation of the NFkB pathway on fms-like tyrosine kinase 1, transcription factor GCM1, and placental growth factor in human trophoblast, Donald Torry, Ph.D., professor and chairman of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology at SIU in Springfield. Zhang is the daughter of Lin Jason and Miao Jennifer Zhang of Springfield.

Established in 1970, SIU School of Medicine’s mission is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and community service. Its website is and its main number is 217-545-8000.

Media Contacts

Karen Carlson,
SIU, 217-545-3854

Cindy Davidsmeyer,
SCI, 217-545-3837


Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of SIU School of Medicine is to assist the citizens of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.


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