Italian Ambassador, Consul Visit UAMS Campus
Feb. 4, 2015 | Claudio Bisogniero, Italy’s ambassador to the United States, and Italian Consul General to Houston Elena Sgarbi visited the main campus of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to meet with administrators, researchers and clinicians as part of a four-state tour to promote business, cultural and scientific ties with Italy. The ambassador and the consul were also introduced to Italian faculty and staff members. The tour was guided by Roy Morello, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Others attending were Maurizio Zangari, M.D., of the Myeloma Institute; Giulia Baldini, Ph.D., from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the College of Medicine; Marilina Piemontese, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow; Milena Dimori, D.V.M., a research technician; and Michela Palmieri, a research assistant.
Three Grants Presented to UAMS Cancer Researchers
Feb. 5, 2015 | Three newly awarded grants will assist scientists at UAMS in their search for novel cancer treatments. The three grants of $10,000 each were presented to young investigators at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute by the Envoys, a volunteer advocacy group of the Cancer Institute Foundation, during their “Doctor is In” reception and research poster showcase Jan. 29.
Recipients of the grants were:
- Aime Franco, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the UAMS College of Medicine
- Gunnar Boysen, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health
- Zhifu Xiang, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology in the UAMS College of Medicine
Maria Theresa Montales, M.D., postdoctoral fellow and Lee Ann King, Ph.D. student have been awarded travel grants by The Endocrine Society of America to participate in the EndoCareers Early Career Forum in connection with the joint 19th International Congress of Endocrinology/96th Annual Meeting of The Endocrine Society in Chicago (June 20-24, 2014). Dr. Montales is a postdoctoral fellow with Drs. Frank and Rosie Simmen. Lee Ann King is a senior Ph.D. student in Aime T. Franco’s, Ph.D., research group.
Parimal “Perry” Chowdhury, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Cellular Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, has been invited by The American Physiological Society at their Annual meeting in San Diego, April 26 – April 30, 2014 to join the Senior Physiologists’ Lounge, Room 28C at the San Diego Convention Center and to be interviewed for the APS Living History Program on April 28, 2014. It is an honor to be part of the Living History. This invitation is reserved for Senior Physiologists who are actively engaged and contributing in the discipline of Physiology for over 30 years. Dr. Chowdhury will present his current research in the meeting on April 29, 2014. His title of presentation is “Radiation combined with hind-limb suspension affects physiological parameters in rats.”
Shraddha Thakkar, Ph.D. Student-UALR/UAMS Bioinformatics Graduate Program in the lab of Professor K.I. Varughese, was awarded several honors at the 2014 MidSouth Computational Biology & Bioinformatics Society (MCBIOS). The honors include:
Student Poster Presentation Awards: First Place
Student Oral Presentation Awards: Second Place
Leadership Award: Certificate of Recognition
Elected to the MCBIOS Board (2014-2017)
The recently published textbook entitled “Platelets” (Elsevier/Academic Press) was awarded the Highly Commended Prize in the category of Internal Medicine at the British Medical Association Medical Book Awards. The book contains a chapter (Tumor Growth and Metastasis) authored by 2010 PhD Graduate, Shashank Jain and Professor Jerry Ware, Ph.D.
Parimal “Perry” Chowdhury, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Cellular Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, has been invited to speak as a Plenary Speaker at the 11th meeting of the International Society for the Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases(ISPTID), to be held in Athens, Greece, from December 9-11, 2013. Dr. Chowdhury was also invited to serve as Session chairs in this conference. Dr. Chowdhury serves as a Regional Director of the Americas for this society. www.isptid2013.org
Dr. Parag Chowdhury – Ph.D. Graduate
Aime T. Franco, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics is the principal investigator of an Arkansas Breast Cancer Research Program pilot grant entitled, “The Role of Thyroid Hormones in Breast Tumorigenesis.”
Rosalia (Rosie) C.M. Simmen, Ph.D., Professor in the Departments of Physiology & Biophysics and Pediatrics, was recently awarded funding by the Arkansas Breast Cancer Research Program to support her project entitled ‘Biomarkers of Metabolic History in Breast Cancer”. Her collaborators on this project are Drs. Stepan Melnyk (Pediatrics), Frank A Simmen (Physiology & Biophysics) and Maria Theresa Montales (postdoctoral fellow, Pediatrics).
Rosalia (Rosie) C.M. Simmen, Ph.D., Professor in the Departments of Physiology & Biophysics and Pediatrics presented an invited talk at the recent Berry Health Benefits Symposia in Charlotte, North Carolina. The title of her presentation to an international audience of scientists and consumer advocates was “Berries and Early Nutritional Experiences in the Prevention of Chronic Diseases”.
Melissa E. Heard, a senior Ph.D. student in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics, was selected to receive a highly competitive Travel Award to attend the 2013 Early Career Forum at the Annual Meeting of The Endocrine Society held in San Francisco, California. At this international meeting, Melissa was also selected to present a talk on her PhD research project entitled “Activation of Stem Cell-Associated Regulatory Pathways and Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Expression with Absence of Endometrial Krüppel-Like Factor 9 (KLF9) in a Mouse Model of Endometriosis”. Melissa’s PhD mentor is Dr. Rosie Simmen.
Dana Gaddy, Ph.D. and Frank Simmen, Ph.D., are departmental recipients of this year’s Educational Incentive Awards from the College of Medicine. The awards were based on points allocated for specific achievements in educational leadership, educational scholarship and innovation, and educational outcomes.
Dr. John Mark P. Pabona was recently appointed to serve on the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) from June 1, 2013 to May 31, 2015 (2 years term). The committee function is to enhance the participation of scientists from minority groups in the activities of ASN. ASN is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together the world’s top researchers, clinical nutritionists and industry to advance our knowledge and application of nutrition for the sake of humans and animals. ASN is a constituent society of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB).
Minority Affairs Committee website: http://www.nutrition.org/about-asn/committees/minority-affairs-committee/
Parimal “Perry” Chowdhury, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, is the principal author of a publication in the Journal of Biomed Central Tobacco Induced Diseases which is listed in Faculty of 1000 in April 2013. Dr. Chowdhury has also accepted membership on the Editorial Board of this journal since July 2013. Dr. Chowdhury and his research team have published their research in a new journal (Physiological Reports, a new journal sponsored by the American Physiological society) as one of the first 100 papers accepted for publication in their first volume which is launched at the Experimental Biology 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Dr. Maria Theresa Montales, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Rosie Simmen’s group, was named second place winner in the Poster Competition-Postdoctoral Category (Diet and Cancer Focus) at the American Society of Nutrition’s Annual Meeting as part of The Experimental Biology Meetings held in in Boston, MA. Her research presentation entitled ‘Maternal metabolic changes with dietary intake of blueberry during pregnancy and lactation predispose adult progeny to lower mammary tumor growth rate’ described studies conducted in collaboration with Drs. Stepan Melnyk, Ronald Prior and Rosie Simmen.
Sterling Williams, M.D., Ph.D., a 1973 UAMS College of Medicine graduate and national leader in obstetric and gynecologic education and training, was honored as the college’s 2012 Dean’s Distinguished Alumnus at this year’s Alumni Weekend reception.
Fellow alumni, faculty and a crowd of supporters also applauded Williams as the UAMS Graduate School presented the Little Rock native with a Ph.D. in physiology, a degree for which he had completed work in the late 1960s but which wasn’t awarded before he left UAMS for his medical residency.
Dr. Williams was awarded a National Institutes of Health fellowship to work toward a Ph.D. in physiology in the UAMS Graduate School. He entered the College of Medicine in 1969. He had completed all of the requirements for a Ph.D. except for defending his dissertation. His advisor had left UAMS for an out-of-state faculty position, and due to an administrative error, Williams was unable to defend his dissertation before leaving for his residency at the University of Kansas.
After presenting Williams with the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the Alumni Weekend reception, College of Medicine’s Dean Debra H. Fiser, M.D. turned the podium over to Graduate School Dean Robert McGehee, Ph.D.
“I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through 40 years in academic medicine having earned an M.D./Ph.D., and not having been awarded the Ph.D.,” McGehee said. “But Dr. Williams has, and he has done so in exemplary fashion.” McGehee and Department of Physiology Chairman Michael Jennings, Ph.D., bestowed the traditional doctoral hood on Williams and presented him with his Ph.D. diploma.
Michael L. Jennings, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physiology and Biophysicssince 1995, was invested in the Chair in Sciences Basic to Medicine on August 21.
Dr. Jennings’ NIH-funded research has focused on mechanisms of ion transport across biological membranes, with bearing on diverse diseases including sickle cell anemia and congenital hereditary corneal dystrophy. He has held elected office in several national scientific societies and has served on national journal editorial boards and review panels for the National Science Foundation, the NIH and other organizations. Previous honors at UAMS include the Chancellor’s Faculty Teaching Award and numerous College of Medicine Red Sash awards.
The Chair in Sciences Basic to Medicine was established in 2007 in recognition of the importance of basic science discoveries to advances in health care. The endowment, made possible by an anonymous donor, provides resources for the College of Medicine’s basic research programs and the faculty, staff and students who work and learn through them.
Dana Gaddy, Ph.D., Michael Jennings, Ph.D., Richard Kurten, Ph.D., and Frank Simmen, Ph.D., are recipients of this year’s Educational Incentive Awards. The awards were based on points allocated for specific achievements in educational leadership at all levels, educational scholarship and innovation, and educational outcomes.
Parimal “Perry” Chowdhury, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, was a Visiting Professor and a seminar speaker at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota on August 31, 2012. His presentation topic was “Linking Smoking to Pancreatic Cancer: in-vivo and in-vitro studies of the Role of Nicotine”
Dr. Chowdhury will also present a Plenary talk at the 10th meeting of the International Society for the Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases (ISPTID) in Daegu, South Korea, to be held from September 20th to September 22, 2012. The title of his presentation in South Korea is “Evidence linking Cigarette smoke components to Pancreatic cancer: a cellular approach”
Michael Velarde, Ph.D. , a 2007 PhD graduate of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics and currently Postdoctoral Fellow at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging (Drs. Judith Campisi and Simon Melov as co-mentors) has recently been awarded the prestigious K99 award from the National Institutes of Aging/National Institutes of Health. The highly competitive 5-year award, also known as Pathway to Independence Award, is designed to increase and maintain a strong cohort of new and talented, NIH-supported independent investigators. Michael completed his PhD work with Dr. Rosalia (Rosie) Simmen, a Professor of the Department, on uterine physiology and pathobiology with emphasis on steroid hormone signaling. His NIH-funded project on estrogen signaling and aging associated with mitochondrial damage-senescence, has the long-term goal of developing targets for clinical diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment of aging and age-related diseases.
Department of Physiology and Biophysics trainees received three awards at the 2012 Endocrine Society Meeting in Houston.
Melissa Heard (PhD student in the laboratory of Rosalia Simmen) received an Outstanding Abstract Travel Award and gave a platform presentation.
Dr. John Mark Pabona (postdoc fellow also working in Rosie Simmen‘s lab), received an Outstanding Abstract Travel award and competed in the Presidential Poster Competition.
Ahmed Al-Dwairi (PhD student in the laboratory of Frank Simmen) received an award to attend the Endocrine Trainee Fellows Day, an Outstanding Abstract Travel Award and also competed in the Presidential Poster Competition.
Postdoctoral fellow John Mark Pabona and PhD graduate student Melissa Heard, members of Dr. Rosalia C.M. Simmen’s research team, were both selected as recipients of Outstanding Abstract Awards by the Endocrine Society for the Society’s upcoming meeting this June in Houston, Texas. Each received $500 to help defray costs for attendance to the meeting. Dr. John Mark Pabona’s abstract was also selected for the Presidential Poster Competition at the meeting.
Aime T. Franco, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics was selected as a recipient of an Outstanding Abstract Award by the Endocrine Society for the Society’s upcoming meeting this June in San Francisco, California. Dr. Franco was also selected to receive a travel award to the Promotion and Tenure Workshop at the Endocrine Society meeting.
Hailed as an excellent role model, educator, researcher and mentor, Dana Gaddy, Ph.D., has received the 2012 Outstanding Woman Faculty Award from the UAMS College of Medicine Women’s Faculty Development Caucus.
News release: http://www.uamshealth.com/news/?id=5351&sid=1&nid=9414&cid=6
Dr. John Mark Pabona, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Rosalia C.M. Simmen’s laboratory is the first author in a published study that was designated as Hot Topics in Translational Endocrinology-Endocrine Research in the March issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The manuscript entitled “Kruppel-like Factor 9 and Progesterone Receptor Coregulation of Decidualizing Endometrial Stromal Cells: Implications for the Pathogenesis of Endometriosis” was also highlighted by the journals Molecular Endocrinology and Hormones and Cancer for its translational significance.
Adam Brown, an IBS Ph.D. Student in Dr. Frank A. Simmen’s laboratory, has received a 3 yr F31 Predoctoral Fellowship from the NIH (NCI) for his project entitled “Colorectal Cancer Prevention Through Thyroid Hormone Targets”.
Ahmed Al-Dwairi, a Ph.D. Student in Dr. Frank A. Simmen’s laboratory, has received from The Endocrine Society a travel award and admittance to Endocrine Trainee Day at the ENDO 2012 meeting in Houston.
Parimal “Perry” Chowdhury, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, has been named as a Distinguished Member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society. Dr. Chowdhury was one of only 59 senior members in the 52,000-member professional organization listed as an honoree in the November-December issue of American Scientist for notable achievement in their fields of discipline as part of the society’s 125th anniversary year.
Aime T. Franco, Ph.D., has joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department
of Physiology and Biophysics. Dr. Franco received her doctorate in cancer biology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in human oncology and pathogenesis at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The goal of Dr. Franco’s research is to understand the role of specific signaling pathways in the pathogenesis of thyroid cancer and to develop new treatment approaches for advanced thyroid cancer.
Parimal Chowdhury, Ph.D., Howard Conaway, Ph.D., Dana Gaddy, Ph.D., Michael Jennings, Ph.D., Frank Simmen, Ph.D., Michael Soulsby, Ph.D., and Jerry Ware, Ph.D. are this year Dean’s Educational Incentive Award Winners from the Department of Physiology and Biophysics.
Adam R Brown, a second year IBS student in the laboratory of Frank Simmen, Ph.D., has been selected to receive an AACR Scholar-in-Training Award supported by Susan G. Komen for the Cure® to support his attendance at the Tenth Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, being held October 22-25, 2011 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston, MA. He was chosen for this honor because his abstract was highly rated by the Scientific Review Committee.
Tristan Fowler, a Ph.D. student in Dana Gaddy Ph.D. lab has been selected to receive an ASBMR Young Investigator Award to attend the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) PhD Training Course being held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, September 1-4, 2011.
John Jayroe, a Master’s degree student in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics was recently awarded a NASA Fellowship from Arkansas Space Grant Consortium ( ASGC) on the project entitled ” Diabetogenic Effects of Simulated Microgravity”. The Fellowship carries a stipend of $5,000 and will be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Parimal Chowdhury, Principal Investigator of the project and Dr. Michael Soulsby, a Co-investigator of the project.
Michael Jennings, Ph.D., Mike Soulsby, Ph.D., faculty members in the Dept. of Physiology & Biophysicswere presented with the Red Sash Award for excellence in teaching at this year College of Medicine Honors Convocation
Dr. Rosalia C.M. Simmen, a Professor in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics and Senior Investigator in Developmental Biology, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center/Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute recently accepted an appointment to serve as Senior Editor of the Journal of Endocrinology for four years beginning October 2011. Journal of Endocrinology, the official journal of the European Society of Endocrinology publishes reviews and original molecular, biochemical and physiological studies of the structure and function of endocrine and endocrine-related systems. Dr. Simmen was an Editorial Board member of the journal for the past 4 years.
Hamdan Hamdan, a PhD graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Patricia Wight, received the American Society for Neurochemistry’s prestigious “Young Investigator’s Educational Enhancement” (YIEE) travel award. The purpose of the award is to support the development of young investigators by facilitating their attendance and active participation at the 42st annual ASN meeting, which was held March 19-23, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to the $500 YIEE travel award, Hamdan also received free registration to attend the pre-meeting workshop on “MicroRNA: From Theory to Practice.”
Parimal Chowdhury, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, has been named a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA).The rank recognizes superior achievement in practice or research In the field of gastroenterology. For researchers who are candidates for the distinction, particular attention is paid to the quality and impact of their research contributions in sustained basic, translational or clinical research programs related to digestive diseases.
Dana Gaddy, Ph.D., a Professor in the departments of Physiology and Biophysics and Orthopaedic Surgery at UAMS, recently was elected to a three-year term on the Council of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR). The ASBMR is the preeminent professional, scientific and medical society that brings together over 4,000 U.S. and international clinical and experimental scientists involved in the study of bone and mineral metabolism. Dr. Gaddy’s Council duties will begin at the end of the ASBMR 2011 Annual Meeting in San Diego September 16-20, at which she also has been invited to present on the topic of “Activins and Inhibins in Musculoskeletal Health.”
Frank Simmen, Ph.D., a Professor in the departments of Physiology & Biophysics has been reappointed to the Editorial Board of the The Journal of Nutrition
Thomas M. Badger, Ph.D., a Professor in the departments of Physiology & Biophysicsand Pediatrics and Director of the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, was honored as the College of Medicine’s Distinguished Faculty Scholar January 25. Dr. Badger delivered the annual Faculty Scholar Lecture, titled “Improving Child Health and Preventing Childhood Disease Takes More than an Apple a Day.”
Melissa Heard, 2nd year PhD student, was awarded a 2010 Student and Clinical Staff Intramural Grant by the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute for a research proposalentitled “Obesity and Transcriptional Control of KLF Family Members in Early Development of Endometrial Carcinoma”. The award of $2,000 will be used for the conduct of the proposed studies to be carried out in the laboratory of her graduate mentor, Rosalia C.M. Simmen, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department.
Howard Conaway, Ph.D., Michael Jennings, Ph.D., James Pasley, Ph.D., Mike Soulsby, Ph.D., faculty members in the Dept. of Physiology & Biophysicswere presented with the Red Sash Award for excellence in teaching at this year College of Medicine Honors Convocation
Omar Rahal, a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program, was awarded a three-year Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. His research entitled “Dietary Regulation of the Tumor Suppressor PTEN network and Tumor Initiating Population in the Mammary Gland: Implications for Breast Cancer Prevention” is being conducted under the supervision of Rosalia C.M. Simmen, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics.
John Mark Pabona, M.D., a Postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics, has been selected to receive one of The Endocrine Society Outstanding Abstract Award in conjunction with ENDO 2010 in San Diego, California this June. Dr. Pabona will receive a travel award sponsored by The Endocrine Society in the amount of $500. His presentation is entitled “Wnt Antagonist DKK1 is a Target of Kruppel-like Factor 9 (KLF9) in Endometrial Stromal Cells: Implications for Uterine Receptivity”. Dr. Pabona conducts his research in the laboratory of Rosalia C.M. Simmen, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics.
Cindy Soulsby an Administrative Analyst in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, has received her Grants Management Certification.
Felecia Hancock the Business Manger in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics son Edward Taylor has been selected to be a Hero by KTHV TV. Hero Central was created to tell the stories of the everyday heroes among us. See his story on the video link below
Gautam Gandhi, M.D., Ph.D., a first yearneurosurgeryresident and graduateof the College of Medicine’s M.D./Ph.D. program, has received the Journal of Neurochemistry Editor’s Award. The award was established to recognize the contributions of a young scientist to an outstanding research paper. Dr. Gandhi’s article, “Astrocytes are poised for lactate trafficking and release from activated brain and for supply of glucose to neurons,” was published in the October 2009 issue of the journal. The work was part of his Ph.D. thesis research in the Department of Physiology and Biophysicsand theUAMS Graduate School, conductedin the lab of Gerald A. Dienel, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Neurology.
The cover of the December 24 issue of Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology, will feature a 3-dimensional representation of a blood platelet by College of Medicine researchers. The image is part of a publication from the labs of Jerry Ware, Ph.D., and Brian Storrie, Ph.D., in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics. It features a green platelet filled with red granules of von Willebrand factor in keeping with colors of the holiday season.
Christian Simmons a Physiology and Biophysics graduate student received a $15,000, 1-year Doctoral Scholars Dissertation Award from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) State Doctoral Scholars Program.
Larry J. Suva, Ph.D., a Professor in the departments of Orthopaedic Surgeryand Physiology and Biophysics,was invested as the inaugural holder of the Carl L. Nelson Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery on September 8. Dr. Suva has served on the College of Medicine faculty since 2000, when the late Dr. Nelson, then Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, recruited him to help establish the Center for Orthopaedic Research, which Dr. Suva still directs. For more than 20 years, Dr. Suva’s internationally recognized research has focused on the skeletal consequences of disease, with a particular interest in the mechanisms of tumor metastasis to bone. His laboratory has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and several private foundations. The endowment will help support the ongoing work of the Center for Orthopaedic Research, which was built on Dr. Nelson’s vision and Dr. Suva’s commitment to multi-disciplinary, creative research into orthopaedic disorders.
Roy Morello,Ph.D., has joined the Department of Physiology and Biophysics as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Morello received his doctorate from the University of Brescia in Italy and completed his post-doctoral studies and transitioned to a faculty position at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. His research will involve mouse models to study the function of genes involved in bone mass accrual, osteoporosis, collagen modification and osteogenesis imperfecta.
Shashank Jain, a Physiology and Biophysics graduate student, received a Young Investigator Award for his submission entitled “Platelet glycoprotein VI facilitates experimental lung metastasis in syngenic mouse models” from the International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis (ISTH). Mr. Jain will present his findings at the upcoming July 2009 ISTH meeting in Boston, MA.