USF Health Research Day enjoys continued growth in numbers, caliber of science

The best of USF Health’s rising research stars presented their work in record numbers at this year’s USF Health Research Day, with 351 scientists displaying their work and filling the Marshall Center Ballroom.

This year marked the 24th time USF Health’s emerging scientists came together to present their projects, with judges scrutinizing the data and deciding the winners.

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“USF is one of the most rapidly growing research universities in the country, ranking currently in the top 50,” said Phillip Marty, PhD, vice president for USF Health Research.

“At USF Health, we’ve seen tremendous growth in our research programs and Research Day reflects that growth, in both the number of and the caliber of projects. I’m proud of our graduate students, residents and fellows, and faculty, who are so eager to share their research highlights and truly shine at this event. The effort is so central to our mission as a research university.”

Vice President for USF Health Research Phillip Marty, PhD, takes a minute for an interview by CTTV.

Vice President for USF Health Research Dr. Phillip Marty takes a minute for an interview by CTTV.

The day long event brings together researchers from across all USF Health colleges, programs and disciplines, as well as guest researchers from USF programs studying the science of health. In addition to those from USF, four of the poster presenters were middle school students from Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, showcasing their own award-winning posters.

The day began when 10 select students presented their work at the 5th Annual Joseph Krzanowski, PhD, USF Health Invited Oral Presentations Session. The few, whose work earned them an invitation to present their work orally, this year were: Sandra Acosta, Ruan Cox, Elisabeth Franzen, Stephanie Hudey, Adnan Muhammad, Misty Ochotny, Shams Rahman, Erika Thomspon, Jillian Whelan, Jonathan Wischhusen, and Zhiwei Zhou.

Pharmacy student Misty Ochotny provided the first Oral presentation of the day.

Pharmacy student Misty Ochotny provided the first Oral presentation of the day.

Following the oral presentations, the full poster presentation session began in the ballroom. Abstracts are tacked onto bulletin boards and fill the Marshall Center Ballroom, evidence of the breadth of groundbreaking and collaborative work taking place. For two hours, classmates, colleagues, mentors, faculty and the curious make their way from abstract to abstract. Judges are also there, evaluating each presentation and conferring with lead researchers to further explain their methods, results and conclusions. Many of the budding researchers use the event as an opportunity for collaboration and as a “practice run” for future national research meetings.

Public Health student Susan Tyler was one of several researchers providing abstracts on studies of The Villages.

Public Health student Susan Tyler was one of several researchers providing abstracts on studies of The Villages.

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Medical student Samson Lu sets up his poster on the culture change in trauma surgery.

In addition to showcasing new research, the annual USF Health Research Day features the Roy H. Behnke Distinguished Lectureship, which takes place in the Marshall Center’s Oval Theatre. This year’s guest lecturer was James W. Simpkins, PhD, director of the Center for Basic and Translational Stroke Research at West Virginia University. His talk was titled “Wandering in Neurodegeneration Research:  A Career of Running Against the Wind.”

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Keynote speaker Dr. James W. Simpkins, of West Virginia University, presented work on age-related brain disorders.

At the conclusion of the talk, the much-anticipated awards are presented. This year’s winners are:

Best MCOM Graduate Student Poster Presentations:

Allergy and Immunology: Orville Pemberton

Cancer Biology: Nadine Nelson

Cardiovascular and Clinical Science Research: Wei Deng

Molecular and Cell Biology: Antoine Flowers

Molecular and Cell Biology: Shannon Kesi

Best MCOM Medical Student Presentations:

Med I Student Poster Presentation, Chart Reviews, Other Case Studies, Education Research: Anastasia Groshev

Med II Student Poster Presenation, Chart Reviews, Other Case Studies, Education Research: Matthew Thau

Med II Student Poster Presenation, Chart Reviews, Other Case Studies, Education Research: Shreya Narayanan

Med II Student Poster Presentation, Evidence Based Study Design and Outcomes Research: Thomas Sutton

Med II Student Poster Presentation: Interdisciplinary Research: Eric Shamas

Med II and III Student Poster Presentation, Interdisciplinary Research: James Lee

Med III Student Poster Presentation: Interdisciplinary Research: Erin Greenberg

Med III Student Poster Presentation: Interdisciplinary Research: Kevin Huang

Best Undergraduate Student Poster Presentations:

Interdisciplinary Research: Radim Jacob

Molecular and Cell Biology: Joseph Leung

Molecular and Cell Biology: Nicholas Johnson

Neuroscience I: Jerry Hunt

Neuroscience II: Awa Sanneh

Pharmaceutical Science – Neuroscience: Diego Peralta

Best College of Pharmacy Poster Presentation:

Graduate Student: Matthew MacPherson

Postdoctoral: Malathi Marayan

Best College of Public Health Poster Presentations:

Graduate Student: Jayme Coyle

Graduate Student: Steven Maher

Graduate Student: Karlette Peck

Graduate Student: Shitaldas Pamnani

Graduate Student: Zachary Pruitt

Graduate Student: Tommi Rivers

Graduate Student: Yuri Sebastiao

Top Awards

USF Health Vice President’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation: Ruan Cox

MCOM Outstanding Postdoctoral Poster Presentation: Chen Hu

MCOM Outstanding Postdoctoral Poster Presentation: Yuefeng Sun

MCOM Best Resident Poster Presentation: Samir Dalia

MCOM Best Resident Poster Presentation: Andrea Abbott

MCOM Best Resident Poster Presentation: Jiangchuan Tao

Watson Clinic Award to a Fourth-Year Medical Student: Lela Posey

Dr. Christopher P. Phelps Memorial Fund Annual Morsani COM Graduate Student Travel Award: Jung A. Woo

Pediatric Administrators Awards for Best Presentation on Children’s Health: Tahseen Ismail

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Judges looked at each abstract to determine the winners.

Judges looked at each abstract to determine the winners.

The event drew science fair winners from Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, who showcased their own award-winning posters

The event drew science fair winners from Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, who showcased their own award-winning posters

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Ruan Cox, a doctoral candidate in the School of Biomedical Sciences, is the winner of the USF Health Vice President’s Award for Outstanding Oral Presentation.

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Social Media by Elizabeth Peacock, USF Health Communications

Story by Sarah A. Worth, USF Health Communications

Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications