Research Day 2008- Record Breaking Year

Tampa, FL (Feb. 22,2008) – Are marine microorganisms a potential source of drugs to fight malaria? Can caffeine offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease? How might Bluetooth technology improve patient care? What is the link between adolescent binge drinking and adult alcohol abuse? These were just a few of the fascinating questions explored in the more than 200 research projects presented by students and faculty at the 18th Annual USF Health Research Day.

The event in the USF Health Rotunda featured cutting-edge interdisciplinary research poster presentations from colleges across the university, 8:30 a.m. to Noon, followed by oral presentations in the afternoon and awards.

L to R: Jennifer Logan, MD, Karina D’Souza, MPH, Gloria Santayana, MS, Lynette Menezes, PhD, Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine, College of Medicine; and Hyungtae Kim, PhD student, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health.

The goal
The goal of Research Day is to promote research among students at all levels and demonstrate the important connection between research and education and clinical/community care.

“In the past few years, Research Day at USF Health has truly transformed into a University-wide event that showcases interdisciplinary innovation and discovery by students at our institution,” said Abdul S. Rao, MD, MA, DPhil, senior associate vice president for USF Health and vice dean for research and graduate affairs at the College of Medicine. “This year, investigators from seven different colleges at USF will be sharing the outcome of their research endeavors with their colleagues, creating the most fertile environment for productive collaboration and synergy.”

With so many entries, presenters were split into two groups. The second round of researchers unfurling their posters shortly before 10:30am session with judges walk-thru.

Record breaking 215 research posters
This year’s 215 posters surpassed the record 150 displayed last year, including more presentations than ever before by undergraduate students. In fact, there were so many quality submissions for this year’s Research Day that a second morning session had to be added to accommodate the display of all posters, said Jo Ann Moore, unit research administrator for the USF College of Medicine Research Office.

Jo Ann Moore, standing at right, helps keep things running smoothly during the all day event.

Proud moment for mother and daughter at Research Day.

Making their way through the crowd of presenters and judges was Vera Shaheed. The proud mother drove in from Ocala to see her daughter, an undergraduate, present her first ever research project. “I’m very proud of her! I took the day off from work. I just had to be here”, said the mother of Aisha Shaheed

Two of this year’s Research Day judges. From L to R: Dr. Sam Saporta, President, College of Medicine Faculty Council and Dr. Phil Marty, Associate Vice President, USF Health.

The research projects covered the following areas — Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases; Biomedical Engineering and Drug Discovery; Cancer Biology; Cardiovascular Sciences; Computational Biology and Technology; Environmental and Global Health; Family & General Health; Neuroscience; Occupational and Workforce Issues; and Other Clinical Studies and Case Reports.

At center: Dr. Abdul Rao with keynote speaker, Dr. James Baker, Jr. standing to the left of Rao. Joining them in the photo: several recipients of the inaugural Distinguished University Health Professor Award and Research Day judge.

Inaugural oral presentations at Research Day
Other firsts this year included invited oral research presentations by five PhD students – three selected from medicine and two from public health — and special recognition of the six USF Health faculty members who last year received the inaugural Distinguished University Health Professor Award for their outstanding achievements in research, teaching and clinical care.

Dr. James R. Baker

From Michigan to Florida…
The 2008 keynote speaker was James R. Baker, Jr., MD, professor of medicine and Ruth Dow Doan Endowed Professor in Biologic Nanotechnology at the University of Michigan. He directs the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences, which combines expertise and resources across the university to develop and market applications for nanotechnology in medicine, the biological sciences and the environment. Dr. Baker presented the Roy H. Behnke Distinguished Lectureship “Medical Applications of Nanotechnology”.

The day culminated with an awards ceremony and reception recognizing the top student research posters.

Research Day 2008 is sponsored by the USF Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, Signature Interdisciplinary Program in Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Disease, and the Department of Internal Medicine. For a more complete listing of scientific projects showcased this year, go to Research Day 2008 Abstract Book at

- USF Health -

USF Health is dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. It includes the University of South Florida’s colleges of medicine, nursing, and public health; the schools of biomedical sciences as well as physical therapy & rehabilitation sciences; and the USF Physicians Group. With $308 million in research funding last year, USF is one of the nation’s top 63 public research universities and one of Florida’s top three research universities.


News Release by Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications
Photography by Eric Younghans, USF Health Media Center

More Coverage to come…
– Research Day Podcasts