The Council of Biomedical Graduate Students

Graduate Research Annual Forum

2024 Graduate Research Annual Forum (GRAF)

Text: Graduate Research Forum, on a blue background with a yellow conversation bubbles icon.

The University of Toledo’s Council of Biomedical Graduate Students held its annual Graduate Research Annual Forum on the Health Science Campus Thursday and Friday, March 21 & 22.

Dr. Joshua Starmer, Founder and CEO of the YouTube channel "StatQuest with Josh Starmer," served as the keynote speaker. 

He was also be one of the final judges for student oral and poster presentations, which was the central focus of the annual event.

2024 Abstract Book

GRF 2024 Abstract Booklet (PDF)



March 21, 2024

  • Poster Presentations
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm Collier 2409
  • Oral Presentations 
    1:00 pm- 5:30 pm Collier 1200

March 22, 2024

  • Final Poster & Oral Presentations
    9:00 am- 1:00 pm Collier 1200
  • Reception
    3:00 pm- 3:30 pm HEB Lobby
  • Awards & Keynote Address with Dr. Joshua Starmer; Founder and CEO of StatQuest
    3:30 pm - 5:00 pm HEB 105

2024 Winners

Participants pictured with the keynote speaker, Dr. Joshua Starmer; Founder and CEO of StatQuest

Oral Presentations:

  • 1st Place:
    • Mrunmayee Kandalgaonker, MOME; Kumar Lab “Hypertensive mice are more susceptible to experimental malaria”
  • 2nd Place:
    • Hemaa Sree Kumar, NND, Zubcevic Lab “Discovery of a new gut bacterial biomarker of developing hypertension with anti-hypertensive properties”
    • Deepti Gurung, CAB, Liu Lab “Probing protein dynamics and conformational transitions of 14-3-3 sigma for the treatment of pancreatic cancer”

Poster Presentations:

  • 1st Place:
    • Brooke Ring, MMI; Mike Lab “Amino acid-mediated control of mucoid phenotype in Klebsiella peneumoniae” 
    • Nilanjana Saferin, NND, Burkett Lab “Effect of developmental pyrethroid exposure in prairie voles as a model of Neurodevelopmental disorders.”
  • 2nd Place:
    • Emily Crossley, BIPG; Fedorova Lab “Profound non-randomness in dinucleotide arrangements within ultra-conserved non-coding elements and the human genome”

Previous Years


Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, Professor at Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT) and founding member of the Whitehead Institute for biomedical research 

2023 Winners

Participants pictured with the keynote speaker, Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, Professor of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

Oral Presentations:

  • 1st Place (tie): Ryan Harris
    (Ph.D. Candidate, Medical Microbiology & Immunology,  PI: Dr. Taylor) “High antioxidant environment in Peromyscus leads to tick-borne flavivirus attenuation”
  • 1st Place (tie): Sukanya Chakravarty
    (Ph.D. Candidate, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, PI: Dr. Chattopadhyay)
    “IRF3 inhibits viral inflammation to protect against respiratory virus infection A new anti-inflammatory function of IRF3 in antiviral host defense”
  • 2nd Place: Iluja Gautam
    (Ph.D. Candidate, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, PI: Dr. Worth) “Activated platelets mediate monocyte killing of Klebsiella pneumoniae”

Poster Presentations:

  • 1st Place: Kesha Dalal
    (Ph.D. Candidate, Molecular Medicine, PI: Dr. Thodeti)
    “Regulation of Mitochondrial Phenotype by Mechanosensitive Ion Channel TRPV4 in Endothelial Cells”
  • 2nd Place: Hemaa Sree Kumar
    (Ph.D. Candidate, Neuroscience, PI: Dr. Zubcevic)
    “Effect of bacterial short chain fatty acid butyrate on cardiovascular parameters in the zebrafish larvae”
  • 3rd Place: Matthew Hathaway
    (Ph.D. Candidate, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, PI: Dr. Taylor)
    “Exploring the role of TRAF6 ubiquitination of NS3 viral protease during tick-borne flavivirus infection”

Poster finalists:

  • Upasana Shrestha (Ph.D. Candidate, MMI)
  • Giselle Amanda Borges E. Soares (Ph.D. Candidate, Pharmacy)



GRF 2022 Poster Session Finalists and Winners

  • Kelly Morgan (First Place)
  • Farzaneh Naghavi
  • Nicole Bell
  • Ryan Harris (Third Place)
  • Joshua Breidenbach (Second Place)

GRF 2022 Oral Session Finalists and Winners

  • Shumin Fan (Third Place)
  • Veani Roshale Fernando (First Place)
  • Sayani Bhattacharjee (Second Place)

2022 Abstract Book

GRF 2022 Abstract Booklet (PDF)


2021 Poster

GRF 2021 Poster Session Finalists and Winners

  • Fathima Dhilhani Mohammed Faleel
  • Sukanya Chakravarty
  • Smrithi Sugumaran Menon (Second Place)
  • Sara Moore (Third Place)
  • Mitchell Harberson
  • Rachel Golonka (First Place)

GRF 2021 Oral Session Finalists and Winners

  • Joshua Breidenbach (First Place Tie)
  • Jonnelle Edwards (Second Place)
  • Kathryn Becker (First Place Tie)

2021 Abstract Book

GRF 2021 Abstract Booklet (PDF)




  • 1st place: Kathryn Becker 
  • 2nd place: Jin Chen
  • 3rd place: Rachel Golonka


  • 1st place: Gayatri Subramanian 
  • 2nd place: Sarah Galla
  • 3rd place: Neha Nandedkar 


Students will be allowed to register for both poster and oral presentations at the link provided below. 


  • Lunch will only be provided to students that registered beforehand.
  • First-year students should REGISTER but select "No presentation" in the options.
  • Abstracts do not have to be submitted at the time of registration


***Please review this document for general guidelines regarding oral and poster presentations.

Please contact or your track representative with any questions.

Last Updated: 3/29/24