Molecular Medicine Graduate Program Track

Molecular Medicine News

Congratulations to Dr. Chrysan Mohammed (Kennedy Lab)! On July 30, 2021 - she successfully defended her dissertation titled: 'Renoprotective Effects of Paraoxonase-3 in Hypertensive Renal Disease'.
Congratulations to Syed Abdul Moiz Hasan, MS (Koch Lab)! He successfully defended his Master's thesis titled: 'Computerized Analysis of Cognitive Behavior Across Ages in Rats Divergent for Exercise Capacity'.

Congratulations to Emily Waigi (Wenceslau Lab)! Today, she successfully defended her Master's thesis titled: 'Soluble Protein Oligomers Induce ER Stress in Mesenteric Resistance Arteries of Male and Female Mice'.

Congratulations To Dr. Jonnelle Edwards (Wenceslau Lab)! On Monday, 7/12/21, she successfully defended her dissertation titled: 'The Role of the Innate Immune System and Resolution of Inflammation in Microvessels from Hypertensive Animals'.

chakrabortymandalmeiCongrats to PhD students - Saroj Chakraborty, Juthika Mandal and Xue Mei (Joe Lab) on their recent publication titled, "Microbiota and Metabolites as Factors Influencing Blood Pressure Regulation".

Click here for abstract.


Congratulations to PhD student, Sudipta Baroi (Lecka-Czernik Lab), on being selected as a top 6 finalist of the Travel Award Competition for the MSK Health Symposium on May 19!


PhD student, Rachel Golonka (Vijay-Kumar Lab) is first author on a recently published article titled, "Impact of Nutritional Epigenetics in Essential Hypertension: Targeting microRNAs in the Gut-Liver Axis". Great work!

baroiCongrats to PhD student - Sudipta Baroi! He's a trainee of Dr. Beata Lecka-Czernik and is first author on a recent 'Bone' publication titled, "PPARG in osteocytes controls sclerostin expression, bone mass, marrow adiposity and mediates TZD-induced bone loss".

Click here for full article.


Congratulations to PhD student - Chrysan Mohammed (Dr. David Kennedy Lab) - who received the Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences Outstanding Student Award to be presented at The University of Toledo, Class of 2021 Graduation Awards Ceremony.

PhD student - Rawan Alnafisah (Dr. Robert Smith Lab) - has authorship on a recent article titled, "Role of Astrocytes in Major Neuropsychiatric Disorders".

Read the abstract here.


Emily Waigi & Jonnelle Edwards, both of Dr. Camilla Wenceslau's lab, each received the Martin Frank Diversity Travel Award to attend the APS annual meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) 2021. Jonnelle also received the 2021 Cardiovascular Section Research Recognition Award. Congratulations!

Congratulations to Mitchell Harberson (Hill Lab), Rachel Golonka (Vijay-Kumar Lab) and Jonnelle Edwards (Wenceslau Lab)! All three are finalists of the UTMC, Council of Biomedical Graduate Students and College of Pharmacy Graduate Research Forum!


PhD student, Jonnelle Edwards (Wenceslau Lab), received a 2021 Cardiovascular Section Research Recognition Award from the American Physiological Society for Experimental Biology 2021.

GSA Awards 20-21

Congrats to three of our MOME Track graduate students who were selected to receive Graduate Student Association Research Awards for the academic year 2020-2021. Rachel Golonka (Kumar Lab), Moiz Hasan (Koch Lab) & Sudipta Baroi (Lecka-Czernik Lab)!


edwards blade

MOME PhD student and first-author, Jonnelle Edwards (Wenceslau Lab), had her manuscript titled, "Formyl Peptide Receptor-1 Activation Promotes Spontaneous, Premature Hypertension in Dahl Salt-Sensitive Rats", was accepted for publication on January 22, 2021. 

chakraborty joe defense


Congratulations to Dr. Saroj Chakraborty (Joe Lab) on his successful dissertation defense that was held on December 1st - "Genetic, microbial, and metabolic regulators of blood pressure".





Congratulations to PhD student - Rachel Golonka (Vijay-Kumar Lab) - who is first author on a new book chapter in ScienceDirect.     Click here for book chapter details.



jonnelle blade 

Jonnelle Edwards, a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Science Program, wrote a column in The Blade about researching high blood pressure. She is completing her doctoral studies in the Molecular Medicine track in the lab of Dr. Camilla Ferreira Wenceslau.  Click here for full article



Congrats to MOME Track PhD student and first author, Rachel Golonka, from Dr. Matam Vijay Kumar's lab for her article with a special video feature published in AJP – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology (AJP-GIL)!  Author Ahmed A Abokor is also a PhD student in our MOME Track.

Authors: Rachel M Golonka, Beng San Yeoh, Yaqi Li, Piu Saha, Ahmed A Abokor, Xi Cheng, Xia Xiao, Darshan Shimoga Chandrashekar, Sooryanarayana Varambally, David J Gonzalez, A Catharine Ross, Matam Vijay-Kumar

Video including article title


MOME Track Phd students, Rachel M. Golonka & Ahmed A. Abokor of Dr. Matam Vijay-Kumar's Lab, wrote a chapter in a new book, "Lipid Signaling and Metabolism," which was made available online in August.
Click here to view book chapter

golonka blade

Congratulations to MOME Track PhD student - Rachel Golonka (Dr. Vijay Kumar’s Lab)! Her research was highlighted in The Blade. See the article below.  Click here for full article




Congratulations to MOME Track Phd student, Ahmed Abokor, also a trainee of Dr. Matam Vijay-Kumar, whose grant application was recommended for funding! He applied for a Diversity Supplement, which is part of the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) program.





We are pleased to announce that Dr. Ritu Chakravarti has replaced Dr. Andrew Beavis as the new MOME Track Director; her term began August 1, 2020.  Welcome!




golonka abokor

MOME Track PhD students Rachel Golonka and Ahmed Abokor (Kumar Lab) had a book chapter published recently.

Textbook: Lipid Signaling and Metabolism (1st Eds), Chapter
Title: Gut Microbiota in Host Lipid Metabolism  
Citation: Golonka RM, Abokor A, Vijay-Kumar M. 2020. Gut Microbiota  Interaction in Host Lipid Metabolism. Ntambi JM (1st Eds), Lipid Signaling and Metabolism. Elsevier Publications. ISBN: 9780128194041

Congrats to Saroj Chakravarti, trainee of Dr. Bina Joe, his manuscript has been selected for publication in Hypertension!  

Title: A  single  nucleotide  polymorphism  of Secreted  phosphoprotein  2  confers  sex-specific effects on blood pressure and bone health

Authors: Saroj Chakraborty, Blair Mell, Ying Nie, Xi Cheng, Sarah Galla, Piotr Czernik2, Beata Lecka-Czernik and Bina Joe

PhD MOME Track students Rachel Golonka (Kumar Lab) and Saroj Chakraborty (Joe Lab) are authors on a new work preprint published on bioRxiv, "Reconstitution of the host holobiont acutely increases bone growth of the gnotobiotic rat". 

Authors: PJ Czernik, RM Golonka, S Chakraborty, BS Yeoh, P Saha, B Mell, Y Tian, AD Patterson, B Joe, M Vijay-Kumar, B Lecka-Czernik

Sudipta Baroi, a Ph.D. student in the Molecular Medicine track, wrote a column in the Toledo Blade about researching bone regulation and remodeling. He is doing his research in the laboratory of Dr. Beata Lecka-Czernik in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. 



Congratulations to MOME Track PhD student, Xue Mei (Joe Lab), for receiving the HTN New Investigator Travel Award for the 2020 AHA Council on Hypertension Conference. Since the meeting is virtual this year, she will receive complimentary registration, be listed on the conference website and receive an award certificate.


ashraf defense



Congratulations to Dr. Usman Ashraf (Kumarasamy Lab) on his successful dissertation defense on May 29, 2020! Title: "Novel Regulators of Kidney Homeostasis and Blood Pressure Regulation". 


Dr. Darren Gordon (Hinds Lab) is a recent graduate of our MOME Track program and first author on this recent publication. Abdul-Rizaq Ali Hamoud (McCullumsmith Lab) is a current PhD MOME Track student.  (click below to view full article)

Bilirubin remodels murine white adipose tissue by reshaping mitochondrial activity and the coregulator profile of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α




Ph.D. MOME Track student, Shermel Sherman (Hill Lab), was highlighted in the Toledo Blade for her article entitled, "UT researchers explore the possibilities of spexin". 


Su professional



Congratulations to Dr. Robin Su (Major Advisors - Steven Haller, Ph.D. and David Kennedy, Ph.D.) who successfully defended his dissertation defense titled "Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) Toxicity in the GutLiver Signaling Axis" on March 27th.




gordon professional



Congratulations to Dr. Darren Gordon (Major Advisor - Terry Hinds, Ph.D.) who successfully presented his dissertation defense titled "Bilirubin is a Metabolic Hormone that Improves Lipid Metabolism" on March 26th.


rebuildetroit gordon abokor

MOME Track M.D./Ph.D. student Darren Gordon (Hinds Lab) and MOME Track Ph.D. student Ahmed Abokor (Kumar Lab) recently visited students at the University of Detroit Mercy.

The students were part of the ReBUILDetroit (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity) program which is an NIH-funded undergraduate program that aims to increase the number of underrepresented students in the field of science.

Darren and Ahmed, natives of the city, were invited to give a talk about their varied paths into becoming a medical scientist and physiologist respectively.

kumar lab

Congratulations to MOME Track Ph.D. students Ahmed & Rachel (Kumar Lab) for their role in the manuscript entitled, "Vancomycin prevents fermentable fiber-induced liver cancer in mice with dysbiotic gut microbiota", which was accepted for publication in Gut Microbes.  Authors: Vishal Singh#, Beng San Yeoh#, Ahmed A. Abokor, Rachel M. Golonka, Yuan Tian, Andrew D. Patterson, Bina Joe, Mathias Heikenwalder & Matam Vijay-Kumar #authors contributed equally

ashraf blade


Congratulations to MOME Track Ph.D. student Usman Ashraf (Kumarasamy Lab)!  His article was published in the Toledo Blade on February 3, 2020.  The article is about salt sensitivity and blood pressure.  Click here for full article.


Last Updated: 6/27/22