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 CVMD News


October 25/26, 2010:  Terry Hinds attends National Graduate Student Research Festival

Congratulations to Terry Hinds who was one of 200 graduate students selected to present a poster at the Fifth Annual NIH National Graduate Student Research Festival held on October 25-26, 2010 on the main campus of the NIH in Bethesda, MD. The NIH covered the costs of his round-trip travel to the Festival and his hotel lodging. One focus of the Festival is to introduce students to NIH investigators with whom they might want to pursue postdoctoral training. To facilitate the process the students are given access to the Festival Web site where they can review Postdoctoral project descriptions posted by NIH investigators specifically for Festival participants, Postdoctoral ads currently posted on the public NIH training Web site, and a searchable data base of all projects currently underway at the NIH.  Terry was one of 10 students attending the Festival who was also invited by the Cancer, Genetics, and Signaling (CGS) Group at the National Cancer Institute-Frederick campus to apply for a newly created Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Terry visited the NCI campus to give a presentation and interview on October 27-28.  The CGS Group is composed of five Laboratories and 23 Principal Investigators whose research focuses on cancer biology, genetics, signaling, gene regulation, and development. The CGS Fellows Program seeks to attract talented postdoctoral fellows who are interested in independent research career tracks. Entry into the program is highly competitive and is limited to the most qualified candidates.


October 21, 2010:  Terry Hinds successfully defends his dissertation


Congratulations to Terry Hinds who successfully defended his dissertation October 21.  The title of his dissertation is Protein Phosphatase 5 and Glucocorticoid Receptor beta in Glucocorticoid Resistance and Obesity and his major advisor was Dr. Eddie Sanchez, Professor of Physiology and Pharamcology.  Terry is currently continuing his project in Dr. Sanchez lab.


August 24, 2010:  CVMD Track welcomes the new class of Biomedical Science Program graduate students

The CVMD track hosted a lunch forthe new class of PhD and MS students in the Biomedical Sciences program.  Several CVMD faculty and the current CVMD students were there to welcome the new students.  Dr. Nader Abraham, Chairman of the Physiology and Pharmacology Dept. had the new students introduce themselves and offered some inspirational and motivational words.  Other faculty also offered some words of advice.  Special thanks go to Dr. Bina Joe for organizing great food and Dr. Danny Kim for taking photos.


Student lunch 

Current CVMD track students and new BMS Program students with Dr. Nader Abraham, Chairman of the Physiology and Pharmacology Department and Dr. Andrew Beavis, CVMD Track Director on the left and Dr. Bina Joe on the right in red.


July 9, 2010:  Payal Patel successfully defends her dissertation

Congratulations to Payal Patel who successfully defended her dissertation July 9.  The title of her dissertation is A Role for CEACAM2 in Insulin Homeostasis and Action and her major advisor was Dr. Sonia Najjar, Professor and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research (CeDER).  The picture below shows Payal with her advisory committee members and graduate faculty representative Dr. Jennifer Hill).  Payal has accepted a postdoctoral position in Dr. Jason Kim's lab at University of Massachusetts Medical School.



Front row: Drs. Sonia Najjar, Payal Patel, Eddie Sanchez, and Beata Lecka-Czernik
Back row: Drs. Jennifer Hill, Edith Mensah-Osman and Sandrine Pierre


June 30, 2010:  Anita Saxena successfully defends her dissertation

Congratulations to Anita Saxena who successfully defended her dissertation June 30.  The title of her dissertation was Role of Hsp105 in CFTR Biogenesis and her major adviser was Dr. Robert Wang.  CFTR is the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, a chloride channel that when defective causes cystic fibrosis.  The most common cause of the disease is a mutation which leads to the insertion of an insufficient number of CFTR channels in the cell membrane.  In her project, Anita has been studying the mechanism by which Hsp105 assists in the folding of this protein to permit it to be transported to the plasma membrane.  Since the mutated protein itself is functional, solving the trafficking problem is an important step in finding a treatment for this common disease.  The picture below shows Anita with members of her advisory committee following her defense.



Drs. Andrew Beavis, David Giovannucci, Bina Joe, Robert Wang, Anita Saxena, and William Maltese



June 25, 2010: The 37th Annual Pharmacology Colloquium at MSU

Thirty students and post-doctoral fellows and 6 faculty members of the Physiology and Pharmacology Department and CVMD graduate track attended the 37th Annual Pharmacology Research Colloquium held this year in the Radiology Radiology Auditorium and Atrium at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.  This colloquium brings together graduate students and faculty from the “pharmacology” departments of the Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and the University of Toledo, College of Medicine for a day long scientific program.  Each of the schools takes turns in hosting this annual event. The colloquium primarily provides a forum for doctoral students to present their research in both oral and poster presentations and an opportunity for all participants to exchange ideas.  These colloquia were initiated 37 years ago by Dr. Theodore M. Brody of Michigan State University and Dr. Benedict Lucchesi of the University of Michigan.  

The welcome address was delivered by Dr. J. R. Haywood, Chair of the MSU Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology

The program included 12 oral presentations, including those by UT students Yeshavanth Banasavadi-Siddegowda, and Sima Rahman, 56 poster presentations including 18 presented by UT students.  The keynote lecture was presented by Curt Sigmund, Ph.D. Roy Carver Chair in Hypertension Research, Professor Depts. Internal Medicine and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Director Transgenic Animal Facility, University of Iowa.  

Next year, the 37th Annual Colloquium will be hosted by our department at the University of Toledo.
For full report and many more pictures from the 37th Colloquium go to CVMD
Activities and Events



June 17, 2010: The Inaugural CVMD Student Research Forum

The Inaugural Student Research Forum of the CVMD Track in Biomedical Sciences was held on Thursday, June 17, 2010 in the Health Education Building on the Health Science Campus.  Physiology and Pharmacology Dept. Chairman Dr. Nader Abraham welcomed participants and acknowledged those that helped in the organization of the research forum.  Dr. Thea Sawicki, Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies gave a welcoming address and Dr. Debra Gmerek, Associate Dean for the UT Center of Clinical Research discussed the importance of translational research. 



CVMD track and Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology students and post-docs with guest speakers and judges (click picture to see larger version)

The keynote lecture was presented by Dr. John C. McGiff, Professor and Chairman of the Dept. of Pharmacology at New York Medical College, NY.  The title of his lecture was "More than a Gas Bag, the RBC, ATP, EETs and Circulatory Homeostasis".

Dr. McGiff's stimulating lecture was following by presentations by eight students: Terry Hinds, Yanling Yan, Sima Rahman, Jehnan Liu, Jean-Yves Tano, Leah Palladino, Luca Vanella and Anita Saxena.  After the student presentations, Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, Provost and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine gave a talk describing the factors that he has found are important in developing a successful career in medicine and research.

In the afternoon, twenty students and 6 post-doctoral fellows presented posters.  We thank the following who generously volunteered their time to judge the student posters, Surya Nauli, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology, UT College of Pharmacy), Isabel Novella, Ph.D. (Professor, Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology), Joshua Park, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurosciences), Randall Ruch, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Dept. Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, Assistant Dean for Admissions in the BMS Program and Director of the Cancer Biology Graduate Track), and Dorothea Sawicki, Ph.D. (Professor Dept. Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies).

After the poster session, Howard Rosenberg, M.D. Ph.D. introduced the Vladimir Nigrovic Lectureship in Pharmacology and Anesthesia which is named for the late Vladimir Nigrovic, M.D who had a long association with our department beginning in 1968.  In addition to being an anesthesiologist, he had a long research career that continued until his death.  His enthusiasm never diminished and he always had a new idea to talk about when one passed him in the hallway.

Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology Chairman Nader Abraham. Ph.D. introduced the recipient of this year's lectureship: Philipp E. Scherer, Ph.D., Gifford O. Touchstone Jr. and Randolf G. Touchstone Distinguished Chair in Diabetes Research, and Director of the Touchstone Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas. The title of Dr. Scherer's presentation was: Adipose Tissue: A Dysregulated Endocrine Organ and its Impact on Diabetes and Cancer.  After the lecture, Patricia Metting, Vice Provost and Associate Dean for Student Affairs,  Professor in the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology gave the final presentation providing a historical perspective of the event.  Dr. Andrew Beavis offered a vote of thanks to all those who helped in the organization of the event and distinguished guests and visitors for helping to make the event a great success.  Although many students, staff and faculty worked hard in putting together the day's events, special thanks must go to Dr. Nader G. Abraham, who in his first year as Chairman of the Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology conceived of this event and was responsible for its organization and making it a valuable educational experience for all.

After the afternoon session an Awards Dinner for the CVMD Track and Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology was held at the Toledo Club.  Awards were presented to the Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology office staff, Lisa Akeman, Martha Heck, Anita Easterly, Debra LeBarr, Rita Jameson, Roseann Granger and Heshan Youssef.  We thank you and appreciate what you do for the department.  Dr. Nader Abraham annouced the winners and Dr. Attallah Kappas, Fairchild Professor and Past Vice-President of Rockefeller University, NY presented the awards.

Awards were also presented for the day's best posters.  First place went to Katye Smedlund from Dr. Guillermo Vazquez lab, second place went to Sadeesh Ramakrishnan from Dr. Sonia Najjar's lab and third place went to Moumita Banerjee from Dr. Zijian Xie's lab.  Congratulations to them and all the students who participated.  Awards were also presented for the 3 best oral presentations.  First place went to Luca Vanella from Dr. Nader Abraham's lab, second place to Anita Saxena from Dr. Robert Wang's lab and third place to Leah Palladino from Dr. Edith Mensah-Osman's lab.  Awards were announced by Dr. Andrew Beavis, CVMD Track Director and presented by Dr. Jeffrey Gold. 

The key speakers of the day Drs. Philipp E. Scherer and John C. McGiff were also presented awards. 

Three teaching awards were presented to Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology faculty, Drs. Howard Rosenberg, Andrew Beavis and Joana Chakraborty. 

The awards presentations were followed by dessert and the dinner lecture presented by Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, Professor Emeritus and member of the University Toledo Board of Trustees.  In his presentation, he described the impact his many mentors, both historical figures and personal teachers, have had on the development of his career.

For many pictures of the day's activities go to the morning student presentations and guest lectures ,  the afternoon poster presentations and the Vladimir Nigrovic Lectureship in Pharmacology and Anesthesia and the evening Awards Dinner .


June, 2010: Welcome Five New Students to the CVMD Track

Please welcome 5 Biomedical Science Program students who have just joined the CVMD track.  They are Qiming Duan who has joined Dr. Sandrine Pierre's lab, Namrata Madan, who has joined Dr. Zijian Xie's lab, Maryam Nabiyouni, who has joined Dr. Alexei Fedorov's lab, Xiaoliang Qiu, who has joined Dr. Jennifer Hill's lab and Lance Stechschulte, who has joined Dr. Najjar's lab and is working with Dr. Eddie Sanchez.



Qiming Duan, Namrata Madan and Xiaoliang Qiu at the Research Forum (June 17)


June 4, 2010: College of Medicine Graduation Held at the Peristyle

Twelve students in the CVMD track graduated June 4 with PhD or MS degrees.   The graduation ceremony was held in the beautiful Peristyle theater in the Toledo Museum of Art. 



Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, UT President, confers the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences to 18 students, 11 from the CVMD track


Graduating students and their major advisors in the CVMD track included:

Gargi Roy Bhrigu, PhD; (Robert Wang, PhD)
Thomas A. Bowman, PhD; (Sonia Najjar, PhD)
Garrett Heinrich, PhD; (Sonia Najjar, PhD)
Kelly J. Ledford, PhD; (Sonia Najjar, PhD)
Jehnan Liu, PhD; (Sonia Najjar, PhD)
Shadi E. Oweis, PhD; (Joseph Shapiro, MD)
Payal Patel, PhD; (Sonia Najjar, PhD)
Rudel Saunders, PhD; (Khew-Voon Chin, PhD)
Anita Saxena, PhD; (Robert Wang, PhD)
Samuel Shephard, PhD; (Alexei Fedorov, PhD)
Maria Szkudlarek-Mikho, PhD; (Khew-Voon Chin, PhD)
Shadi Zahedi, MS; (David Giovannucci, PhD)
(link to more graduation pictures)


May, 2010: Kristine Angevine awarded AHA Predoctoral Fellowship 

Congratulations to Kristine Angevine who has been awarded a two year predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association (AHA).  The proposal she submitted was entitled "L-4F abrogates the effects of oxidative stress on endothelial function via an increase in HO-1 and Adiponectin".  The award will cover her stipend for two years beginning July 1, 2010.  Kristine was sponsored by NIH funding to Dr. Nader Abraham.  Collaboration between Dr. Abraham and Dr. Mensah-Osman led to success in getting this funding.  Congratulations also go to Dr. Edith Mensah-Osman for providing Kristine excellent guidance.




May 28, 2010:  Shadi Zahedi successfully defends her thesis 

Congratulations to Shadi Zahedi who successfully defended her thesis on May 28.  The title of her thesis is Are Mitochondria a Potential Target for Anti-Cancer Therapy in Carcinoid Tumors? and her major advisor was Dr. David Giovannucci, PhD from the Department of Neurosciences.  Shadi investigated the affects of reactive oxygen species on the ability of mitochondria in carcinoid and breast cancer tumor cells to buffer cell calcium entering through store-operated Ca channels.  Shadi’s advisory committee included Andrew Beavis, PhD, and Guillermo Vazquez, PhD from the Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology.



May 6, 2010:  Sam Shepard wins Outstanding Student award in the Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences Program

Congratulations to Sam Shepard!  Today it was announced that he has been selected to receive the Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences Program Outstanding Student award, one month after successfully defending dissertation (see below).  His major advisor, Dr. Alexei Fedorov says that in the past three years Sam has worked extensively on multiple bioinformatics projects ranging from studying intron splicing to examining DNA composition patterns to developing new methods in gene prediction.  He has co-authored three publications—two of which he is the first author or equivalent—with two additional manuscripts under consideration and one more in preparation.  Sam also helped the Bioinformatics & Proteomics/Genomics Program with its coursework and equipment.  With his technical expertise, Sam has co-taught the “Biomedical Databases” summer course for two years, has given a number of lab sessions and lectures for the Perl programming course, and has assisted in the maintenance of the BPG cluster where student data is housed.  Sam’s knowledge of database technology also led him to collaborate with Dr. Scott Leisner’s lab, in the Dept. of Biological Sciences on UT’s Main Campus, co-authoring a paper with them on Arabidopsis small RNAs and AGO4 (currently under review).

Last fall, Sam spent two months in Atlanta, Georgia doing an internship with gene prediction expert Dr. Mark Borodovsky.  While there, he carried out research and presented a poster at the International Conference in Bioinformatics at Georgia Tech.

Sam joined the biomedical sciences PhD program, before he had finished his dual-masters’ thesis in computer science and applied mathematics.  In spite of the extra workload, Sam completed his M.S. degree requirements and subsequently published three first author articles including one Springer book chapter based on that work.



There will be plaque and cash award presented at the graduation awards ceremony on June 3rd.  Unfortunately, however, Sam will not be there to receive it personally as he has been given a Marshall Plan Scholarship to work in Austria, and will be departing on May 31st.

Well done Sam!


Dr. Alexei Fedorov and Sam Shepard

April 6, 2010:  Sam Shepard successfully defends his dissertation 

Congratulations to Sam Shepard who successfully defended his dissertation April 6.  The title of his dissertation is The Characterization and Utilization of Middle-range Sequence Patterns within the Human Genome and his major advisor was Alexei Fedorov, Ph.D. from the Department of Medicine.   Sam has been very productive and Dr Fedorov says his work in bioinformatics will produce 6 publications.  Some of Sam’s work was only feasible by using the Ohio Supercomputer Center located in Columbus.  Sam’s advisory committee shown below after the exam included Robert Trumbly, PhD, Robert Blumenthal, PhD Director of the Bioinformatics Proteomics and Genomics Program, Sadik Khuder, PhD and John Gray, PhD from the department of Biological Sciences on the UT Main Campus.  Sam will be going to Fachhochschule Salzburg in Austria to do a 5 month research project in proteomics as a Marshall Plan Scholarship holder.  We wish Sam the best in his future scientific endeavors.


Bob Trumbly, Bob Blumenthal, Sam Shepard, Alexei Fedorov, John Gray


March 31, 2010:  Jehnan Liu successfully defends his dissertation


Congratulations to Jehnan Liu who successfully defended his dissertation March 31.  The title of his dissertation is Mechanisms Underlying the Link Between Obesity and Neoplastic Progression and his major advisor was Dr. Sonia Najjar, Professor and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research (CeDER).  Jehnan's advisory  committee included Drs. Manohar Ratnam, Edwin Sanchez, Iman Mohamed, Kam Yeung, Steven Seman, Philip Conran and Cara Gatt0-Weiss.  Jehnan who is an MD/PhD student will be beginning his clinical clerkships in June.  We wish Jehnan the best in his future scientific and clinical endeavors.


Manohar Ratnam, Jehnan Liu, Sonia Najjar, Ed Sanchez and Cara Gatto-Weiss



March 30, 2010:  Thomas Bowman successfully defends his dissertation 

Congratulations to Thomas Bowman who successfully defended his dissertation March 31.  The title of his dissertation is Hepatic CEACAM-1 Protects Against Metabolic Abnormalities Associated with Metabolic Syndrome and his major advisor was Dr. Sonia Najjar, Professor and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research (CeDER).  Tom showed that an early event associated with high-fat feeding is repression of CEACAM1 by a PPARα-mediated mechanism, and this leads to impaired insulin clearance prior to the development of a pro-inflammatory state.  Moreover, he found that transgenic overexpression of CEACAM1 in liver prevents hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, and limits visceral obesity and the metabolic response to high-fat intake.  Also, caloric restriction but not endurance training reverses hepatic insulin resistance and steatosis in rats with low aerobic capacity via CEACAM1 dependent pathways.  Tom’s advisory committee included  Raymond E. Bourey from the Dept. of Medicine; Sandrine Pierre and Beata Lecka-Czernik, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology; Maurice Manning, Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology.  Tom will be carrying out his post-doctoral work in Dr. Najjar’s laboratory.


Ray Bourey, Tom Bowman and Sonia Najjar



March 29, 2010:  Maria Szkudlarek-Mikho successfully defends her dissertation

Congratulations to Maria Szkudlarek who successfully defended her dissertation March 29.  The title of her dissertation is Effects of Zfp68 and Pharmacological Inhibitors in Adipogenesis and her major advisor was Dr. Khew-Voon Chin, PhD from the Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology.  Maria showed that ECPKA from conditioned media of cultured cancer cells inhibits angiogenesis, using the in utero chicken embryo chorioallantoic membrane assay.  Maria also showed that zinc finger protein 68 is a repressor in the transcriptional regulation of adipogenesis. In addition, she found that polyether antibiotics inhibit adipogenesis, suggesting that these drugs and their analogs may be potential treatments of obesity.  Maria’s advisory committee shown below after the exam included Dr. Sonia Najjar, Professor and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research (CeDER),  Dr. Sandrine Pierre, Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology, Dr. Ivana de la Serna, Dept. of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology , and Dr. Randall Worth, Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. (Dr. Randall Ruch, Dept. of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology served as the Graduate School Representative).


Drs. Randall Worth, Sonia Najjar,  Ivana de la Serna,  Randall Ruch, Maria Szkudlarek, Sandrine Pierre and Khew-Voon Chin


March 26, 2010:  Kelly Ledford successfully defends her dissertation 

Congratulations to Kelly Ledford who successfully defended her dissertation March 26.  The title of her dissertation is Loss of CEACAM-1 in the Pathogenesis of Vascular Abnormalities Associated with Metabolic Syndrome and her major advisor was Dr. Sonia Najjar, Professor and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research (CeDER). Her committee included Dr. Samer Khouri, Dr. Sandrine Pierre, Dr. Guillermo Vazquez, and Dr. Cara Gatto-Weis. kl



March 30/31, 2010 Annual Biomedical Science Graduate Research Forum 

Congratulations to CVMD student Sima Rahman!  She was awarded the first place prize for her poster entitled B-Catenin Sequesters PPARg2 Pro-Adipocytic Activity at the Annual Research Forum and received a prize of $500.  Her major advisor is Dr. Beata Lecka-Czernik of the Dept. of Orthopedic Surgery.  Second place went to Mithun Khattar in the Immunity Infection and Transplantation (IIT) track and third place to Sanjeevani Arora in the Cancer Biology (CB) track of the Biomedical Science program.  The Research Forum was held on March 30 and 31, 2010.  This event is organized by the Council of Biomedical Graduate Students of the UT Health Science Campus and provides an opportunity for health science students to present their work to fellow students and faculty.  Seventeen students in the CVMD track presented posters.  Runners-up were Andy Yutein Chung (IIT), Venkata Dangeti (CB) and Srinivas Saladi (CB).  The judges of the final six were Anna Mapp, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan.  Dr. Mapp also presented the keynote address entitled “Catching Activators in the Act”.

For many more pictures see link to 2010 Research Forum under Activities and Events.





 Dr. ZiJian Xie, Venkata Dangeti, ??, Dr. Edith Mensah-Osman, Dr. Mark Wooten, and Stephen Kyser



Katye Smedlund (CVMD track) presents her poster to Dr. Bob Blumenthal  rf3


rf4 Anita Saxena (CVMD) explains her work on protein trafficking to Dr. Danny Kim.


Angela Burgess (CVMD) discusses her poster with Dr. Cynthia Smas. rf5

News 2009

News 2008






Last Updated: 8/29/18