School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
School celebrates medical students' excellence at annual recognition program
In Headlines on April 23, 2014

Wayne State University School of Medicine medical students gathered with faculty, family and friends in the Scott Hall cafeteria April 17 to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the Classes of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The annual Medical Student Recognition Program honors students with awards based on academic success, community service and leadership.

Dean Valerie Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.; Vice Dean of Medical Education Maryjean Schenk, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.; and WSU Medical Alumni Association President Charles Lucas, M.D., spoke at the event, which was emceed by Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Career Development Lisa MacLean, M.D.

“The students we honor today are not just ordinary students, they are truly extraordinary. They have dedicated thousands of hours to the mastery of medicine with one goal in mind: to have the knowledge to save the lives of others,” Dr. MacLean said. “There can be no greater honor or privilege than to serve the lives of others and to know that you do so with excellence.”

Dr. MacLean took a moment at the start of the program to thank the families and friends in attendance for supporting the students.

“Medical school is a tough journey. Without your support, our students could not have provided the service they have or done so with such academic excellence. Thank you for understanding all the times they were late, they were hungry or they were grumpy,” she said.

The following honors were announced:

Medical Alumni Senior Scholarship Award: Rhead Uddin

Robert Sokol, M.D., Medical Alumni Association Endowed Prize: Natalja Stanski

The Class of 2014 Academic Achievement Awards: Freshman year, Rhead Uddin; sophomore year, Elias Taxakis; junior year, Karam Asmaro, Kevin Ginsburg, Elizabeth Grier, Michael Helmreich, Nicholas Helmstetter, Bradley Krasnick, Satyesh Rana, Natalja Stanski and Rhead Uddin; senior year, Danielle Saab, Matthew Wilson, Lauren Davis.

Elvis Smith Alford, M.D., and Nellie Corbin Alford Memorial Award: Elias Taxakis

Marjorie Edwards Prize for Scholarship and Community Service: Jasmine Gaines

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award: Neil Cox

Herbert Mendelson Enthusiasm for Medicine Endowed Scholarship: Courtney Moore

Penfil-Tischler Award: Sajiv Sethi 

Dorothy and Charles Pokriefka Scholarship: Janelle Sobecki-Rausch

Michigan Association of Physicians from India Annual Award: Caitlyn Klaska

Dean’s distinguished leadership awards:

Class of 2014: Brandon Busuito, Alicia Eby, Robert Guglielmo, Andrew Guzman, Jenna Kado, Pridvi Kandagatla, Marc Korn, Courtney Moore, Mio Nakamura, Cyrus Rabbani, Satyesh Rana, Mona Shah, David Tiesma, Joseph Tsao

Class of 2015: Sarah Cavenaugh, Cynthia Chen, Young Key Chung, Mousab Eteer, Matthew Falkiewicz, Sameen Farooq, Osamudemen Iyoha, Alexander Lee, Andrew Schwartz, Matthew Steffes, Christopher Sy

Class of 2016: Mohammed Abdel-Al, Rami Al-Aref, Sarah Atkinson, Taryn Huizenga, Jessica Johns, Tahsin Khundkar, Jeremy Llaniguez, Eoghan McGreevy, Patrick Nolan, Regina O’Brien, Julie Weber, Allison Zarbo

Class of 2017: Leann Arcori, David Cao, Amol Kamat, William Kane, Mary Meinke, Dominique Sanchez, Lauren Wrona

Distinguished service awards:

Zachary Berg, Neil Cox, Thomas Engel, Jessica Everett, Kevin Ginsburg, Elena Hadjicharalambous, Nicholas Helmstetter, Jenna Kado, Courtney Moore, Sean Mutchnick, Natalja Stanski, Elias Taxakis, David Tiesma, Christopher Wee

Janet M. Glasgow Memorial Achievement Citation:

Elizabeth Alore, Farwa Batool, Carrie Dubin, Katherine Fontichiaro, Kimberley Grady, Elizabeth Grier, Bridget Gross, Megan Hooper, Elena Hadjicharalambous, Caitlyn Klaska, Cynthia Koslosky, Lauren Lawrence, Stephanie Ma, Mio Nakamura, Mina Pirzadeh, Danielle Saab, Janelle Sobecki-Rausch, Sophia Turkmani-Bazzi, Pauline Zhang, Grace Zhu

Departmental awards:

Anesthesiology

Dr. Morris S. Brent Senior Medical Student Award: Laura Kirk

Dermatology

Senior Award in Dermatology: Elena Hadjicharalambous and Jenna Kado

Emergency Medicine

Society for Academic Emergency Medicine 2014 Excellence in Emergency Medicine Award: Mirjana Dimovska

John Skjaerlund, M.D., Endowed Fellowship: Thomas Engel

Family Medicine

Excellence in Family Medicine Award: Jasmine Gaines

North American Primary Care Research Group Student Research Award: Jasmine Gaines

Rural Medicine Student Achievement Award: Conor Mullin

The George Mogill, M.D., Endowed Award for Family Medicine: Christopher Palmer, Erwin Patalinghug, Jonathan Serman, Pauline Zhang

Southeast Michigan Family Medicine Leadership Award: Erwin Patalinghug

Frederick Maynard, M.D., and Mrs. Ruth Maynard Endowed Scholarship: Jasmine Gaines

Dale L. Williams, M.D., Endowed Award in Family Medicine: Pauline Zhang

Bruce Carl Endowed Scholarship in Family Medicine: Neil Cox

Family Medicine Community Service Award: Deema Yousef

2014 Excellence in Public Health Award (presented by Lt. Cmdr. Jevon McFadden): Timothy Jelsema

Internal Medicine

Gordon B. Myers Memorial Award: Kimberley Grady

Dr. A. Ashley Rousuck Award in Internal Medicine: Ashraf Saleh

Emanuel Graff Endowed Memorial Award:  Mary Pressler

Oliver J. Marcotte, M.D., Endowed Humanitarian Award: David Tiesma

Internal Medicine/Pediatrics:

Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Student Scholar of the Year Award: David Tiesma, Gipsa Joseph

Neurology

American Academy of Neurology Medical Prize for Excellence in Neurology: David Bissig

Neurosurgery

Karl G. Pinckard Scholarship: Blake Walker, Karam Asmaro

Obstetrics/Gynecology:

David S. Diamond Memorial Award: Janelle Sobecki-Rausch

Ophthalmology

Dong H. Shin Outstanding Ophthalmology Research Award: Sepehr Bahadorani, Brandon Decaluwe, Nathan Farley, Stephanie Ma, Satyesh Rana

Robert C. Fraser, M.D., Endowed Scholarship: Arwa Alsamarae, Brandon Decaluwe, Nathan Farley, Stephanie Ma, Satyesh Rana; in years one-three: Shruti Agrawal, Swati Bajpayee, Bianca Jiddou, Josh Kalisky, Rosie Li, Daniel Malach, Brett Malbin, Aleksey Mishulin, Mia Miller, David Oberlin, Abdala Sirajeldin, Craig White

Orthopaedic Surgery

Palmer Award in Orthopaedic Surgery: Adam Fahs, Peter Lasater

Otolaryngology

Roger V. Walker Jr. Memorial Scholarship: Cyrus Rabbani

Pathology

The Robert Rutzky Award: Elias Taxakis

The Saul Brown Award: Amnah Aglan, Mirjon Bishja

The Frank B. Walker, M.D., Endowed Memorial Prize in Pathology: Michael Kaufman

Pediatrics

The Anna Rutzky Memorial Award: Megan Hooper

The Jeffrey Farkas Memorial Award: David Tiesma

The Cheryl Hack, M.D. Pediatric Award: Natalja Stanski

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Student Achievement Award: Jeffrey Kandt

Psychiatry

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences Achievement Award: Gina Papke

Jerrold S. Maxmen, M.D., Endowed Scholarship: Gina Papke, Autumn Schultz, Pauline Smith, Jennifer Sprague

Surgery

Junior Scholarship Award in Surgery: Bradley Krasnick

Charles L. Huang, M.D., Award: Colin Fath

John E. Hauser, M.D., Endowed Scholarship: Kaitlin McLoughlin

Urology

Roger V. Walker Sr. Memorial Scholarship: Kevin Ginsburg

Student Senate Leadership Awards:

Executive Board of the Student Senate: President, Brandon Busuito; Vice President, Regina O’Brien; Treasurer, Andrew Schwartz; Secretary, Jenna Kado; Main Campus Representative, John Dawdy; Board of Student Organizations, Rami Al-Aref

Class of 2014: President, Pridvi Kandagatla; Vice President, Andrew Guzman; Treasurer, Alicia Eby; OSR Senior Delegate, Robert Guglielmo; Class Representatives, Mona Shah, Joseph Tsao, Marc Korn

Class of 2015: President, Matthew Falkiewicz; Vice President, Alexander Lee; Treasurer, Sarah Cavenaugh; OSR Junior Delegate, Osamuedemen Iyoha; Class Representatives, Mousab Eteer, Sameen Farooq, Christopher Sy

Class of 2016: President, Julie Weber; Vice President, Allison Zarbo; Treasurer, Taryn Huizenga; OSR Sophomore Delegate, Tahsin Khundkar; Class Representatives, Eoghan McGreevy, Mohammed Abdel-Al, Patrick Nolan

Class of 2017: President, David Cao; Vice President, Amol Kamat; Treasurer, Dominique Sanchez; OSR Freshman Delegate Lauren Wrona; Class Representatives, Mary Meinke, Leann Arcori, William Kane

Year III Honors 2012-2013 Academic Year:

Amnah Aglan, Elizabeth Alore, Albert Antonyan, Cassra Arbabi, Karam Asmaro, Douglas Atchison, Farwa Batool, Zachary Berg, Mirjon Bishja, Jaimie Bolda, Jennifer Brescoll, Neil Cox, Esmaeel Dadashzadeh, Andrew Daugherty, William Davis, Sascha Deangelo, Olga Dewald, Christopher Dobson, Carrie Dubin, Kara Dupuy, Jessica Ede, Fatima Esmail, Jessica Everett, Adam Fahs, Nathan Farley, Colin Fath, Amanda Fildes, Katherine Fontichiaro, Jessica Frankowski, Kevin Ginsburg, Kimberley Grady, Elizabeth Grier, Kendall Griffith, Bridget Gross, Robert Guglielmo, Elena Hadjicharalambous, Michael Helmreich, Nicholas Helmstetter, Kevin Ho, Steven Hool, Megan Hooper, James Hubbard, Matthew Hughes, Hillary Inger, Natalie Johnson, Michael Kaufman, Caitlyn Klaska, Cynthia Koslosky, Bradley Krasnick, Carrie Kubiak, Lauren Lawrence, David Lin, Stephanie Ma, James Mahn, Kaitlin McLoughlin, Kyle Miletic, Sean Mutchnick, Emily Nacy, Mio Nakamura, Sarah Peterson, Douglas Piernick, Mina Pirzadeh, Rimma Polevoy, Margaret Prior, Haider Rahbar, Satyesh Rana, Danielle Saab, Ashraf Saleh, David Sallen, Nicholas Satterfield, Bryan Schultz, Janelle Sobecki-Rausch, Jennifer Sprague, Natalja Stanski, Sean Shahrestani, Shih-Fan Sun, Benjamin Swanson, Elias Taxakis, David Tiesma, Sophia Turkmani-Bazzi, Rhead Uddin, Matthew Wilson, Peter Wilton, Jinmeng Zhang, David Zhou, Grace Zhu

Year II Honors 2012-2013 Academic Year:

Newaj Abdullah, Jonathan Arcobello, David Bergman, Felix Boucher, Marie Burke, Brett Cann, Willis Chang, David Coleman, Lauren Cook, Sarah Curtis, Sarah Ellerbrock, Jeremy Farida, Jillian Frieder, Payel Gangopadhyay, Cameron Heilbronn, Houmehr Hojjat, Fariha Hussain, Jayme Jackson, Bianca Jiddou, Maria Kashat, Andrew Kure, Timothy Kwiecien, Kelsey Lawrence, Stephanie Lazar, Stephanie Lucas, Devin Mangold, Kyle Markel, Christopher McHugh, Tassia Mekani, Lindsay Miller, Melinda Mitchell, Eric Nowicki, David Oberlin, Melissa Oosterhouse, David Raban, Hannan Saad, Devan Schlund, Mikhail Shteynvil, Elizabeth Smith, Alexander Tapper, Domenico Terenzi, Joel Vanderschuur, Andrew Vasyluk, Kathryn Vorwald, Kara Wackerle, Kristen Webber, Steven Weindorf, Cory Wernimont, Kelly Wilt, Derek Wood, Jian Zhang

Year I Honors 2012-2013 Academic Year:

Ashley Anderson, Charlie Beaupied, Jeffrey Brakora, Alexis Burch, Yaser Carcora, Lauren Corona, Scott Dawsey, Timothy Dekker, Catherine Edgell, Jamie Everett, Aws Hasan, Clara Hildebrandt, Tom Hu, Taryn Huizenga, Christopher Jackson, Philip Jackson, John Joseph, Marcella Kaddoura, John Korona, Adnan Kurtovic, Eoghan McGreevy, Sachin Mehta, Shannon Neville, Regina O’Brien, Danny Orabi, Maria Palazeti, Molly Roseland, Douglas Rottman, Erin Shea, Abdala Sirajeldin, Tyler Spiering, Shawn Stewart, Monika Toton, Jacob Vander-Starre, Marlisa Wolf, Ryan Woolley, Hanhan Zhang

M.D./Ph.D. Awards:

American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Fellowship: Stephen Dzul

Centennial Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Physiology: Nicholas Mischel

M.D./Ph.D. Research Day Award: Eric Kim, Cale Streeter

Henry Ford and M.D./Ph.D. Research Day Award: Jesse Veenstra

Distinction in Biomedical Research: Cassra Arbabi, Olga Astapova, Caitlin Biedron, Amy Buth, John David, Paul Fu, Farrah Hussain, Michael Kaufman, Gulrez Mahmood, James Mahn, Courtney Moore, Najibah Rehman, Janelle Sobecki-Rausch, Mark Suguitan, Sajiv Sethi, Blake Walker, Kathryn Welch, Stephen Yu

Ferguson, M.D., Endowed Research Award Fund: Michael Kaufman

School of Medicine Research Symposium winners:

Dr. Hershel and Lois Sandberg Travel Award: Andrej Nedic

Basic Science Oral Presentations: First place, David Hoogstra; second place, Grace Choong; third place, Martin Tinkerhess

Clinical Science Oral Presentations: First place, Francis Tinney; second place, Lauren Corona; third place, Pranav Jagtap

Basic Science Poster Presentations: First place, Andrej Nedic; second place, Josh Kalisky; third place, Kennen Less

Clinical Science Poster Presentations: First place, John Joseph; second place, Alexander Myong; third place, David Springstead

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society members:

Class of 2014: Elizabeth Alore, Albert Antonyan, Karam Asmaro, Zachary Berg, Mirjon Bishja, Esmaeel Dadashzadeh, William Davis, Brandon Decaluwe, Christopher Dobson, Carrie Dubin, Thomas Engel, Nathan Farley, Colin Fath, Kevin Ginsburg, Kimberley Grady, Elizabeth Grier, Bridget Gross, Elena Hadjicharalambous, Michael Helmreich, Nicholas Helmstetter, James Hubbard, Matthew Hughes, Michael Kaufman, Caitlyn Klaska, Cynthia Koslosky, Bradley Krasnick, Carrie Kubiak, Lauren Lawrence, David Lin, Stephanie Ma, James Mahn, Kaitlin McLoughlin, Sean Mutchnick, Mio Nakamura, Douglas Piernick, Satyesh Rana, Danielle Saab, Ashraf Saleh, Sean Shahrestani, Janelle Sobecki-Rausch, Natalja Stanski, Shih-Fan Sun, Elias Taxakis, Sophia Turkmani-Bazzi, Rhead Uddin, Peter Wilton, Jinmeng Zhang, Grace Zhu

Class of 2015: Newaj Abdullah, Jonathan Arcobello, Felix Boucher, Marie Burke, Willis Chang, David Coleman, Sarah Ellerbrock, Jeremy Farida, Fariha Hussain, Maria Kashat, Kelsey Lawrence, Stephanie Lazar, Devin Mangold, Christopher McHugh, David Oberlin, Mikhail Shteynvil, Kristen Webber, Cory Wernimont, Derek Wood, Jian Zhang

Gold Humanism Honor Society members:

Class of 2014: Brittany Alston, Danica Aquino, Zachary Berg, Caitlin Biedron, Brandon Busuito, Carrie Dubin, Amy Eapen, Alicia Eby, Thomas Engel, Alex Essenmacher, Robert Guglielmo, Andrew Guzman, Nicholas Helmstetter, Jenna Kado, Pridvi Kandagatla, Marc Korn, Carrie Kubiak, David Lin, Melanie Mihlstin, Mina Pirzadeh, John Purakal, Mona Shah, Jakub Sikora-Klak, Beth Stallman, Natalja Stanski, David Tiesma.j Abdullah, Lindsey Aurora, Sal Calo, Cynthia Chen, Rasika Chepuri, Young Key Chung, Tanuka Datta, Michelle El-Hosni, Matthew Falkiewicz, Sameen Farooq, Rachael Fuller, Alexander Greenstein, Eric Goldstein, Osamudemen Iyoha, Bianca Jiddou, Allen Kadado, Phillip Kucab, Mohamed Macki, Brandon Mansoor, Joshua McKamie, Mia Miller, Joi Moore, Kevin Onofrey, Tina Ozbecki, Anupama Rambhatla, Monica Saxena, Andrew Schwartz, David Smeenge, Christopher Sy, Jonathan Wong, Victoria Yee, Thomas Zervos

Aesculapians Honor Society members:

Class of 2014: Farwa Batool, Zachary Berg, Bhavana Bhaya, Brandon Busuito, Neil Cox, Alicia Eby, Thomas Engel, Nathan Farley, Kesha Fields, Alexander Garbarino, Robert Guglielmo, Andrew Guzman, Elena Hadjicharalambous, Nicholas Helmstetter, Gipsa Joseph, Pridvi Kandagatla, Jeffrey Kandt, Marc Korn, Dennis Kuo, John Purakal, Mona Shah, Benjamin Swanson, David Tiesma, Joseph Tsao, Stephen Yu, Deema Yousef

Class of 2015: Steven Amatangelo, Lindsey Aurora, Ashika Bains, David Bavers, Samantha Bruni, David Buether, Carolyn Chan, Cynthia Chen, Rasika Chepuri, Young Key Chung, Matthew Falkiewicz, Sameen Farooq, Eric Goldstein, Bianca Jiddou, Allen Kadado, Phillip Kucab, Randall McPherson, Adhnan Mohamed, Hieu Nguyen, Jacob Price, Reginald Ramirez, Lauren Robinson, Matthew Shaheen, Philip Shaheen, Mansoor Siddiqui, Cletus Stanton, Aaron Stubbs, Alec Wilson, Jonathan Wong, Victoria Yee

Class of 2016: Terrie Ahn, Abraham Arhin, Sarah Atkinson, Lakisha Burton-Willis, Kevin Chang, Cecily Dubusker, Scott Evans, Andrew Fritz, Yuqing Gao, Chuan-Xing Ho, John Joseph, Amy Li, Eoghan McGreevy, Sachin Mehta, Sonia Mehta, Patrick Nolan, Michael Oom, Aniruddha Paranjpe, Allison Pianosi, Lekiesha Porter, Gabriella Rubino, Laura Ruble, Monica Saxena, Erin Shea, Birgete Webb, Julie Weber, Allison Zarbo

Class of 2017: Shruti Agrawal, Jordan Brand, Bhavika Chepuri, Abigail Entz, Nnayereugo Ezekwemba, Hayley Getzen, Brooke Henderson, Amol Kamat, Samuel Randall, Elyse Schultz
Class of 2016 needs support for annual charity hair-shaving event
In Headlines on April 17, 2014
The Class of 2015's Hieu Nyugen got his hair cut at last year's event.

The Class of 2015's Hieu Nyugen got his hair cut at last year's event.

Katie Thompson showed off her donated hair in 2013.

Katie Thompson showed off her donated hair in 2013.

Angela Wagner from the Douglas J. Aveda Institute buzzed Nick Robell's hair.

Angela Wagner from the Douglas J. Aveda Institute buzzed Nick Robell's hair.

The Class of 2016 wants you to buzz (it) off.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Class of 2016 will uphold the tradition of shaving their heads for good cause at the annual Buzz it for Boards, set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 1 in the alcove of the Scott Hall cafeteria.

Organizers are encouraging faculty, staff and students to show support before May 1 by either signing up as a fundraiser (yes, you have to cut your hair or shave your head) or donating directly to the campaign (no cutting required) here: http://www.razoo.com/team/Wayne-State-University-Som

The annual fundraiser is a second-year tradition established in 2009 by the School of Medicine’s Class of 2011. Students can use the event to let loose and cheer on friends who buzz, cut or donate their hair to charity before taking the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step I in June.

“I believe this event has sustained for so long because of the strong presence and positive influence from the M3 and M4 class,” said Class of 2016 Student Senate Representative Patrick Nolan. “They are constantly setting the bar higher for us, driving us to do more, work harder and make the biggest impact we can. The strong mentoring spirit at Wayne medical is one of our school’s best assets.”

This year’s event will benefit Camp Casey, a Royal Oak-based nonprofit that provides horseback riding camps, outings and even horse house calls to children with cancer and their families. The charity is popular with the School of Medicine’s medical students – it was the charity of choice for Buzz it for Boards in 2010 and 2012. Molly Reeser, co-founder of Camp Casey, will give a brief presentation about her organization and talk about how students can support Camp Casey events throughout the year.

“Camp Casey was picked this year because of the positive impact it has on the pediatric cancer patients, most of whom are treated right here at the Detroit Medical Center,” Nolan said.

Most of the students will spend their summer studying for the USMLE, a comprehensive national medical exam that tests medical students on everything they’ve learned during years one and two of medical school.

UltraSounds to perform April 18 in Scott Hallís Green Auditorium
In Headlines on April 16, 2014

The UltraSounds will ring in spring at a concert from noon to 1 p.m. April 18 in Scott Hall’s Green Auditorium.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine students will perform a capella renditions of songs by pop artists Maroon 5, Swedish House Mafia and Sara Bareilles.

The concert is part of the school’s Arts in the Atrium, an ongoing series sponsored by Shiffman Medical Library and the School of Medicine to highlight the artistic talents of students, staff and faculty at seasonal lunch time performances.

Lunch will be provided.

School of Medicine students honored in campus-wide research exhibition
In Headlines on April 11, 2014
Brianne Mohl is a fourth-year doctoral student.

Brianne Mohl is a fourth-year doctoral student.

Six Wayne State University School of Medicine graduate students received awards at the 2014 Graduate Exhibition held March 18 at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center on WSU’s main campus.

The annual event celebrated the diversity of research among doctoral students from the university’s schools and colleges. Eighty-nine posters were presented, including 21 from the School of Medicine.

Doctoral candidate Brianne Mohl won the School of Medicine’s only first place award, for her poster presentation on a study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a simple rhyming task to prove a reading disability is a legitimate second diagnosis for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“Children with ADHD and reading disabilities would, therefore, likely benefit from educational interventions or remediations, which address both attentional and phonological deficits,” she said.

Mohl was surprised and encouraged by the Graduate Exhibition honor.

“I spoke with many talented students from other departments, so it was incredible to receive the award,” she said. “We actually get many chances to showcase our work in the Translational Neuroscience Program, but the exhibition was nice because it made you step back and explain your work to people who were very talented, but less familiar with your specific area or project. It was nice to hear their feedback and field their thought-provoking questions.”

Mohl is in her fourth year of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience’s Translational Neuroscience Program, and was mentored by Associate Professor Jeffrey Stanley, Ph.D., for the winning project, “Interactions of Attention and Reading Areas in ADHD using a Novel Task.”

Other School of Medicine winners in the poster presentation category included:

Second place:

Dhruman Goradia, “Evidence of Pronounced Surface Deformation of the Caudate Nucleus in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Boys with Comorbid Reading Disability.” Advisor: Jeffrey Stanley, Ph.D.

Brittany Haynes, “Involvement of Rad6 Pathway in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Response to Platinum DNA Damage.” Advisor: Malathy Shekhar, Ph.D.

Third place:

Neha Aggarwal, “Effects of Photodynamic Therapy on Inflammatory Breast Cancer Cells.” Advisor: Bonnie Sloane, Ph.D.

Andria Rodrigues, “Role of the c-terminus of Iron Sulfur Cluster Scaffold Protein Isu in Iron Binding and Interaction with Iron Chaperone Frataxin.” Advisor: Timothy Stemmler, Ph.D.

Jennifer Thomas, “Shh Signaling Differentially Effects Retinal Neuron Regeneration in the Adult Zebrafish.” Advisor: Ryan Thummel, Ph.D.
Resident wins grant to explore antibody to provide greater protection against pertussis
In Headlines on April 10, 2014
Jacqueline Guterman, M.D., Ph.D.

Jacqueline Guterman, M.D., Ph.D.

A first-year resident with the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has received a grant to explore whether a different antibody in the bodies of pregnant mothers holds the possibility of greater protection against pertussis for newborns.

Jacqueline Guterman, M.D., Ph.D., has secured a one-year, $20,000 grant from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Research Fellowship Program for her study, “Immunoglobulin D response to antepartum pertussis vaccination and its role in neonatal protection.”

Despite routine vaccinations against pertussis since the 1940s, whooping cough, as it is commonly known, has made a comeback in the United States. Cases have been steadily increasing, causing significant illness and death in infants younger than 1 year.

The disease is more common in infants and young children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of U.S. infants infected before the age of 1, about half are hospitalized. One in four of those will develop pneumonia, and between one and two in every 100 infected will die.

Health officials report that worldwide an estimated 300,000 annual deaths can be traced to whooping cough. The CDC received 48,000 reports of cases nationwide in 2013, the largest single-year number since vaccinations became available.

The Michigan Department of Community Health has previously reported a “worrisome steady increase” in pertussis cases in the state. In 2010, the department recorded 1,500 reported cases. In just the first six months of 2012, the department received 847 reports of pertussis cases,  including one death – a 21 percent increase over the 691 cases in 2011. A provisional report by the CDC showed Michigan with 858 reported cases in 2013.

“I am very excited to start on the project,” said Dr. Guterman, an ACOG junior fellow who received her medical degree from State University of New York, Upstate Medical University. “This study will provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying the immune protection against pertussis induced by antepartum vaccination and direct the design of more efficient maternal vaccines for pertussis and other respiratory pathogens.”

In an effort to reduce infant pertussis infection, Dr. Guterman said, the ACOG recommends tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccinations during every pregnancy. The rationale behind that recommendation is the belief that the maternal antibody isotope Immunoglobulin G, or IgG, developed by the vaccinations provides passive immunity in infants until they can receive routine childhood vaccinations.

However, the mechanism of pre-birth vaccine-induced protection again pertussis is not completely understood, Dr. Guterman said. Experiments with animal models have shown that pertussis-specific IgG is only detectable in the serum when the infection is cleared from the respiratory tract, a finding that argues against the role of IgG in preventing a primary infection.

Dr. Guterman and her colleagues recently found that another antibody known as Immunoglobulin D, or IgD, present in large amounts in the human upper respiratory system, displays “potent functions” in respiratory immune defense. The IgD activates antimicrobial, pro-inflammatory and antibody-inducing functions of basophils, a type of white blood cell. The antibody also binds to respiratory pathogens, and could transfer across the placenta, providing an early form of protection against pertussis in newborns.

The study will set out to determine maternal IgD response to pre-birth pertussis vaccination and its role in newborn protection. Dr. Guterman hypothesizes that pre-birth pertussis vaccination in mothers induces maternal IgD, which can be transferred to their infants, contributing to protection against neonatal infection.

In the study, Dr. Guterman will work with her mentors, Kang Chen, Ph.D, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, whose lab developed the preliminary research on IgD; and Bernard Gonik, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the Frann S. Srere chair of Perinatal Medicine, who will oversee the clinical/patient aspect of the project.

Pertussis made national headlines in 2010 when a spike in cases was reported in California. That outbreak – which affected more than 9,000 people and killed 10 infants – rated as the Golden State’s worst outbreak in 60 years. Closer to home, in 2013 Washtenaw County recorded almost 200 cases of pertussis. Washtenaw County Public Health reports that this year as many as two new cases are being reported each week.

Among the reasons for the outbreaks and the resurgence of the disease, researchers say, is the fact that pertussis strikes cyclically every five years or so, and a newer vaccine decreases in potency faster than previous versions. New findings also point to a philosophical factor as well: the movement among some parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated.

National Academy of Sciences selects Dr. Noa Ofen as Kavli Frontiers Fellow
In Headlines on April 9, 2014
Noa Ofen, Ph.D., presented her research as a Kavli Frontiers Fellow at a recent symposium in California.

Noa Ofen, Ph.D., presented her research as a Kavli Frontiers Fellow at a recent symposium in California.

Dr. Ofen discusses her work with an attendee.

Dr. Ofen discusses her work with an attendee.

A Wayne State University faculty member presented her research on capturing episodic memory development at the 19th German-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, a prestigious biannual meeting held April 4-6 in Irvine, Calif.

Noa Ofen, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and WSU’s Institute of Gerontology, was among the 70 researchers competitively selected and invited to present as Kavli Frontiers Fellows, a scholarship co-sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences.

Attendees are selected by academy members from a pool of young researchers who have already made recognized contributions to science and have been identified as future leaders in science.

“The Frontiers of Science experience was incredible,” Dr. Ofen said. “It is a great honor to be recognized as one of the top young scientists in my field. The opportunity to discuss major scientific issues across a broad range of disciplines with bright scientists who work in the frontiers of each discipline was extremely energizing. The symposium reminded me how exciting science exploration is, not only within my field, and motivated me to look more broadly at conducting impactful research.”

The meeting allowed participants like Dr. Ofen to explore innovative research ideas across a wide variety of fields and develop new networks that will serve them as they progress in their careers.

“This meeting took me back to my high school days, when I was selected to represent Israel -- where I then lived -- at the International Youth Science Meeting in the United Kingdom. It was wonderful experience then and a good reminder now of how fascinating science is,” she added. “It was a great opportunity to represent Wayne State University and our strength as a research university.”

She presented “Development of Memory Systems in the Human Brain” in a poster as part of the meeting’s formal session on neuroplasticity and development.

“Episodic memory – the ability to encode, maintain and retrieve information – is critical for everyday functioning at all ages, yet little is known about the development of episodic memory systems and their brain substrates,” Dr. Ofen said. “The use of neuroimaging methodologies, including MRI, in the study of episodic memory development is providing new insights into the neural underpinnings that support improvements in episodic memory.”

She presented data on these neural mechanisms, highlighting evidence that demonstrates how functional and structural brain development underlies changes in memory functioning throughout childhood and adolescence. She leads the Ofen Lab for Cognitive and Brain Development, which investigates structural and functional brain development across a wide age range of typically developing children and adults. Using tests of cognitive abilities combined with neuroimaging techniques, she probes how brain structure and function shape human cognitive functioning across development. She has worked to explore the structure and function with a neurodevelopmental basis of the hippocampus, a crucial brain structure for learning and memory that is altered in a number of psychiatric disorders.

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