University of South Florida

Expanded USF Health Research Day showcases scholarly excellence [VIDEO]

The Marshall Center Ballroom wasn’t big enough to hold the record number of poster presentations, which also lined adjacent rooms.

USF Health Research Day 2012 began even earlier than expected, as organizers let presenters set up their posters in the Marshall Center the night before the Feb. 24 event. The reason: to accommodate the record-number of researchers participating this year.

A record 340 presenters participated in the 22nd Annual USF Health Research Day, an event that showcases the work of graduate and postgraduate students and residents, and even faculty and staff, from throughout USF Health, as well as across campus.

Students prepare their poster presentation for the 22nd Annual USF Health Research Day.

In addition to the 340 from USF, 16 students from a high school and middle school charter school in The Villages attended, showcasing their own award-winning posters. The young students posters were judged by USF post doc students. Villages teacher Shelbie Wiley said she was thrilled her students were able to participate and that the trip was formed out of the recent partnership between USF Health and the Villages. USF professor Duane Eichler, PhD, who lives in the Villages, judged the young students’ work at their science fair and helped coordinate them coming to USF Health Research Day.

Middle and high school students from charter schools at The Villages, including Kunal Upadya (below), were invited to display their award-winning science fair posters.


Every aspect of the event has grown, including the number of oral presenters. This year, 10 researchers presented their work as part of the Third Annual Joseph Krzanowski, PhD, USF Health Invited Oral Presentations Session, a showcase of the outstanding work of a select few. The 10 invited to present their work orally this year were:

From the College of Medicine: Antoinette Bailey (graduate student), Justin Trotter (graduate student), Jaya Mallela, PhD (post doc student), Jessika Contreras (Med II student), Gina Nichols (Med II student), Salman Alijubran, MD (resident), and Xiaohui Zhang, MD (resident).

From the College of Public Health: Chighaf Bakour, MD (graduate student), Ryan Michael (graduate student).

From the College of Pharmacy: Athar Naif (PharmD student).

College of Pharmacy student Athar Naif was among the graduate students invited to give oral presentations. Naif said she appreciated Research Day as a way to fine-tune her research, as well as hone her presentation skills.

Immediately following the oral presentations, the full poster presentation session began.

This year, due the growth, the posters were hung on bulletin boards not just in the Ballroom, but also in adjoining rooms. The expansion came largely from USF Health’s newest member, the College of Pharmacy, which exhibited 30 presentations at this year’s event. The rows and rows of bulletin boards spread out everywhere, displaying the work of young researchers from throughout USF Health. Judges made their rounds to each presentation, asking the lead researchers to further explain their methods, results and conclusions before deciding on the award-worthy entrants.

Many of the budding researchers use the day-long event as a prime opportunity for collaboration and as a “practice run” for future national research meetings.

Undergraduate student Ryan Kaufman presented the results of research he conducted through USF Psychiatry & Neurosciences, which focused on children gaining an improved self-concept after participating in a summer art program at St. Petersburg’s Dali Museum.

Presenters Wesly Menard (pictured) and Sharon Chacko are second-year medical students who spent last summer in Allentown, PA, as part of the Lehigh Valley Summer Enrichment Program. Menard investigated effectively reducing costs associated with robotic surgery.

Judges Ellen Daley, PhD, (far left) and Linda Detman, PhD, listen as College of Public Health doctoral student Nicole Johnson (right) explains her research on distress among parents of children with type 1 diabetes.

College of Nursing student Crystal Chapman Lambert presented research on predicting factors that influence cervical cancer screening in HIV-infected women.

Culminating the day was the Roy H. Behnke Distinguished Lectureship, featuring Stephen B. Liggett, MD, professor of medicine and physiology and associate dean for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His talk was titled “Personalized Medicine for Asthma; Role of Viral Genomic Variation.”

“I loved that there were so many posters, so much enthusiam. The place was packed,” said keynote speaker Dr. Stephen Liggett. “You can tell research is a priority here.”
SEE RELATED STORY: Research Day speaker: Cracking the code of the common cold

The latest faculty to join the ranks of Distinguished USF Health Professors were announced before Dr. Liggett’s keynote address. They were:

  • Dennis Kyle, PhD, professor of global health in the USF College of Public Health, who conducts research on antiparasitic drug design.
  • Shyham Mohapatra, PhD, director of the Division of Translational Medicine-Nanomedicine Research Center and vice chair of Medicine, whose work focuses on immunology and inflammation.

Shyam Mohapatra, PhD (left), professor and vice chair of Internal Medicine, recognized as one of two new Distinguished USF Health Professors, is congratulated by Robert Deschenes, PhD, professor and chair of Molecular Medicine.

As the day wound down, winners were announced at the Awards Ceremony:

Best MCOM Graduate Student Poster Presentations:

– Allergy and Immunology: Lou-Ellamm Alexander
– Cancer Biology: Yvonne Davis
– Chart Review and Case Studies: Isabella Chan
– Clinical Science and Outcomes Research: Alicia Billington
– Molecular and Cell Biology: Kendra Williams
– Neurosciences: Irina Filonova
– Neurosciences: Tina Fiorelli

Best MCOM Medical Student Presentations:

– Med I Student Poster Presentation, Interdisciplinary: Yolanda Pina
– Med II Student Poster Presentation, Cancer Biology: Robyn Schickler
– Med II Student Poster Presentation, Chart Reviews and Case Studies: Michael Perrone
– Med II Student Poster Presentation, Clinical Sciences: Daniel Restrepo
– Med II Student Poster Presentation, Clinical Sciences: Michael Schnaus
– Med II Student Poster Presentation, Evidence Based Research: Jessica Deslauriers
– Med III Student Poster Presentation, Interdisciplinary: Daniel Matta
– Med IV Student Poster Presentation, Chart Reviews and Case Studies: Andrew Pepper

Best MCOM Postdoctoral Poster Presentations:

– Interdisciplinary: Ravi Pathak
– Molecular Medicine and Cell Biology: Michael Mienaltowski
– Neurosciences: Antoneta Granic
– Neurosciences: Justin Rogers

Antoinette Bailey receives award for the Best Graduate Student Oral Presentation
from Dr. Deschenes.

Best MCOM Resident Poster Presentations:

Interdisciplinary Clinical Science: David Fitzhugh
Clinical Sciences: Nadim Bou Zgheib
Evidence Based Medicine: Patrick Teefey
Evidence Based Research: Rohit Vasan
Chart Reviews and Case Studies: Arnaldo Villafranca
Chart Reviews and Case Studies: Robert Kent and Hoka Nyanda
Chart Reviews and Case Studies: Noman Ashraf

Best Undergraduate Poster Presentations:

Evidence Based Clinical Science: Jennifer Garcia
Molecular and Cell Biology: Jayme Coyle and Jerry Hunt
Interdisciplinary: Erik Richardson
Interdisciplinary: Samuel Jalali

Best College of Pharmacy Poster Presentations:

– Graduate Student: Ming-Hau Li
– Postdoctoral: Juan-Juan Yin
– Undergraduate: Anastasia Groshev
– Undergraduate: Neeti Pradeep

Best College of Public Health Poster Presentations:

– Graduate Student: Kristin Harsh
– Graduate Student: Nicole Johnson
– Graduate Student: Courtney Judd
– Graduate Student: Jill Sears
– Graduate Student: Emanny Sanchez
– Graduate Student: Steven Maher
– Graduate Student: Patrick Vander Kelen

Best Graduate Student Oral Presentation Award: Antoinette Bailey

Watson Clinic Award to a Fourth-Year Medical Student: Harry Lomas, IV

Dr. Christopher P. Phelps Memorial Fund Annual Morsani COM Graduate Student Travel Award: Diana Hernandez-Ontiveros

Best Resident/Fellow Poster Presentations:
David Fitzhugh
Rohit Vasan

Best Pediatric Children’s Health Poster Presentation: Shana Hughes

Social Media by Elizabeth Peacock, USF Health Communications
Video by Amy Mariani, USF Health Communications
Story by Sarah A. Worth, USF Health Communications
Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications


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