May 23, 2014
Conference Report: American Physician Scientist Association 10th Annual Meeting
By Stephanie Syc, APSA Institutional Representative
The 10th annual American Physician Scientist Association (APSA) Annual Meeting was held April 25-27, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois. APSA is a trainee-led organization for physician-scientist trainee advocacy. The Association focuses on mentoring, networking, outreach, and resources for physician-scientist trainees. Three students from the Rochester Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) attended, along with the MSTP Director and APSA Board of Directors member, Dr. Kerry O’Banion. Andy Cox, G3, received a travel award from the American Academy of Immunologists to present his work,
A Mouse Model for Analysis of Modifications to Increase the Safety of the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine.Aisha Siebert, G3, also presented a poster,
Transcriptional Control of Human Cellular Metabolism by Wasp Venom: Nasonia vitripennis Venom-Derived Bioactive Peptides as Candidate Therapeutics for Human Metabolic Disorders.Stephanie Syc, G1, attended as the University of Rochester Institutional Representative.
Highlights from the meeting included presentations by esteemed scientists such as:
- Dr. Peter Agre, Awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on proteins that mediate water flow across cellular membranes
- Dr. Brian Kobilka, Awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on signal transduction
- Dr. Paul Offit, Co-inventor of a vaccine against a common cause of childhood diarrhea
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Mentoring opportunities included a lunch with residency directors and a breakfast with student groups promoting interest in research-oriented clinical specialties. The meeting also provided students with the opportunity to interact with members of the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, two of the pre-eminent societies for physician scientists.
April 9, 2014
Salvador Peña Awarded Fellowship to Study Mitochondrial Stress Response
By Salvador Peña
MSTP and Pathology graduate student Salvador Peña was granted an F31 National Research Service Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for his work on hypoxia and the mitochondrial unfolded protein response. This proposal is designed to test whether activation of this unfolded protein response can protect against ischemia-reperfusion injury in the genetic model organism C. elegans, and to identify conserved signaling molecules that sense mitochondrial stress and trigger adaptation in mammals. Salvador is currently a third-year graduate student in Dr. Keith Nehrke's Laboratory in the Nephrology Division of the Department of Medicine.
March 16, 2014
Biomedical Engineering Graduate Students Take Second Place in Orthopaedic Video Competition
By Kyle Koster, Public Relations Chair
On Sunday, March 16, Biomedical Engineering graduate students Youssef Farhat and Bryan Bobo heard the news: second place! The news comes months after they began promoting their video across the University of Rochester Medical Center. Farhat and Bobo stated that they submitted the video to emphasize the importance of collaboration between scientists and physicians in improving care in the field of orthopaedics. Their video, titled
Working Together for a Better Futurefeatures stories from physicians, scientists, and engineers in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research. The stories emphasize the high quality and collaborative nature of orthopaedic research at the University of Rochester. Farhat and Bobo
want to thank all of our colleagues who helped make filming the video possible, as well as the entire University of Rochester community for their tremendous support during the voting process....For their excellent work, Farhat and Bobo will share a second place trophy and $1,000 honorarium.
Last year, Farhat's video,
Who Cares About Orthopaedic Research?, took first place. Farhat, an MD-PhD trainee in the Medical Scientist Training Program, also points out that 2014 is the second year in a row that the University of Rochester took first place in the competition. Farhat comments,
I think that's a reflection of the excellence of this institution and its prominence, particularly in the field of orthopaedic research.
March 10, 2014
Andrew Cox Awarded Technology Development Grant for Influenza Vaccine
By Kyle Koster, Public Relations Chair
Andrew 'Andy' Cox, third-year graduate student in the Immunology-Microbiology-Virology graduate program and Medical Scientist Training Program, was awarded a technology development grant from the University of Rochester Office of Technology Transfer in January, with funds starting in April. Andy, as the PI, will investigate strategies to increase the usage of the live attenuated influenza vaccine in the lab of Steve Dewhurst, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.
Andy hypothesizes one reason that this vaccine is currently underutilized is that it is not FDA approved in all children due to safety concerns in those under two and asthmatics. However, Andy has identified additional mutations in the influenza genome that increases its temperature sensitivity in tissue culture at physiologic temperatures. The impact of these mutations on the attenuation of these viruses will be examined in an animal model of influenza infection.