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June 3, 2010

SIU Med School Announces Research Symposium Awards  

Seventeen medical and graduate students and resident physicians have received top awards in the 20th annual Trainee Research Symposium at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  The symposium offers various trainees in Springfield an opportunity to gain experience in making formal presentations of their research findings.  Faculty advisors provided assistance for each project.  [Note:  Advisors are listed after each project name.]     
The top projects in each category, as judged by a panel of faculty, received monetary prizes.  The judging criteria included -- preliminary data and research approach, research design, project creativity, originality, and the potential scientific or medical significance.

The first-place medical student winner was Alex Claussen, a sophomore from Edwardsville, for his project “Rescue from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss with D-Methionine:  Additional Post-Noise Exposure Administration Epochs” (Kathleen Campbell, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology).  [Note:  Family information for medical students is listed at the end of release.]

Second-place was awarded to two medical students – Anton Grasch, a first-year medical student from Springfield, for his project, “Daily Singing Practice as a Means of Improving Pulmonary Function and Quality of Life in Emphysema Patients” (Theresa Boley, assistant professor of surgery), and Kevin Swong, a sophomore medical student from Ottawa, for his project, “Clinical Visual Deficits in Alzheimer Disease are Associated with a Higher Density of Lesions in Visual Coretex than in Demented Patients without Visual Deficits” (Dr. Tom Ala, associate professor of neurology, and Robert Struble, Ph.D., associate professor of neurosurgery, psychiatry and pathology).

Third-place was awarded to two medical students – Deanna Deschler, a graduating senior from Champaign, for her project, “Factors Associated with Inflammatory Markers in Endometrial Cancer Survivors:  A Pilot Study” (Dr. Laura Rogers, associate professor of internal medicine), and Lacey Stelle, a junior from Bloomington, for her project “Hope, Self-Blame, and Distress Following Surgical Resection for Lung Cancer” (Dr. Stephen Hazelrigg, professor and chair of the cardiothoracic surgery division and Boley).

The first-place graduate student winner was Tejbeer Kaur, a medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology student from India, for his project, “Targeting Cochlear Inflammation in the Treatment of Cisplatin Ototoxicity” (Dr. Leonard Rybak, professor of otolyngology, head and neck surgery and SIUC distinguished scholar, and Vickram Ramkumar, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology).

Second place was awarded to two graduate students, both in the medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology department – Michael J. Flister, a graduate student from Antioch, for his project, “Regulation of VEGFR-3 Expression and Lymphatic Endothelial Cell Activation by Inflammatory Mediators” (Sophia Ran, Ph.D., associate professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology), and  Mohit Sachdeva, a graduate student from India, for his project “MicroRNA-101 Promotes Estrogen Independent Growth and Confers Tamoxifen Resistance in ER Positive Breast Cancer Cells” (Yin-Yuan Mo, Ph.D, associate professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology).

Four graduate students, all from the medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology department, were awarded third-place for their projects – Donald Reed, a graduate student from Hoopeston, for his project “Development of a Syngeneic Mouse Model of Renal Cell Cancer with Expression of Cycloxygenase-2 and Prostaglandin E2:  Roles of Immunosuppression and Stromal Cell Recruitment in Tumor Growth and Metastasis” (Dr. Thomas Tarter, associate professor of urology and Wilber); Scott Malm, a graduate student from Frankfort, for his project “Novel Regulation of Trophoblast Placenta Growth Factor (PIGF) Expression by NFkB” (Donald Torry, Ph.D., associate professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology and obstetrics and gynecology); Ashley E. Satorius, a graduate student from Petersburg, for her project “Generation and Studies of BKRF4-Deficient Mutants of Epstein-Barr Virus” (Edward Gershburg, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology); and Yong Tang, a graduate student from China, for his project “Short-Chain Fatty Acids Induced Autophagy Serves as an Adaptive Strategy for Retarding Mitochondria-Mediated Apoptotic Cell Death” (Mo and Daotai Nie, Ph.D., associate professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology).

The first-place resident winner was Dr. Anushree Agarwal, an internal medicine resident from India, who was recognized for her project, “5-Year Evaluation of Processes of Care Contributing to Door-In/Door-Out Delays in Rural Community Hospitals Participating in a
Regional Inter-Hospital Transfer Program for Treatment of ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction” (Dr. Frank Aguirre, professor of cardiology). 
Second-place was awarded to two residents – Dr. Vijian Dhevan, surgery resident from Texas, for his project, “Wedge Resection Plus I-125 Brachytherapy for Reduction of Lung Cancer Recurrence” (Hazelrigg), and Adam J. Reid, a surgery resident from Carlinville, for his project “Sternotomy or Thoracoscopy:  Pain and Postoperative Complications After Lung Volume Reduction Surgery” (Boley

Third-place was awarded to two residents – Dr. Gaurav Jain, a medicine/psychiatry resident from India, for his project “Assessing the Effect of a Targeted Intervention for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm” (Dr. Edgard Cumpa, assistant professor of general internal medicine), and Dr. E. Dawn Wietfeldt, a surgery resident from Louisiana, for her project “Total Lung Volume Reduction Surgery--Improving Emphysema” (Hazelrigg).

Judges for this year’s symposium were Dr. Joseph Henkle, associate professor and chief of pulmonary medicine and director of the SIU/Memorial Medical Center Sleep Disorders Center; Wiley Jenkins, Ph.D., assistant professor family and community medicine; Dr. Mark McAndrew, professor of orthopaedic surgery; Dr. Michael Brenner, assistant professor of surgery; Dr. Janak Koirala, associate professor of infectious diseases; Louis Premkumar, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology; and Kounsuke Watabe, Ph.D., professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology.

Note to editor:  Alex Claussen is the son of Dale and Becky Claussen of Edwardsville.  Anton Grasch is the son of Anthony and Holly Grasch of Springfield.  Kevin Swong is the son of Chin and Sue Swong of Ottawa.  Lacey Steele is the daughter of Jeffery Steele and Carol Hinshaw of Bloomington.   

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