Cell Biology Graduate ProgramNews & Updates

The Annual Mason Guest Lecture was held 5/25/2017, in conjunction with the Fourth Annual Symposium for the Cell Biology Graduate Program. It was an honor to host Invited speaker, Dr. Fred (Rusty) H. Gage, Adler Professor, Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute, LaJolla, CA, and an expert in neurogenesis in the adult brain and spinal cord. Dr. Gage presented a seminar entitled “Modeling Psychiatric Diseases and Aging from Human Stem Cells”.

Dr. Anjana Rao, Professor and Division Head


Dr. Anjana Rao, Professor and Division Head
Dr. Anjana Rao, Professor and Division Head, Signaling and Gene Expression Research, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, La Jolla Institute for Alergy and Immunology, presented a seminar at the Mason Guest Annual Symposium on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The title of Dr. Rao's seminar was "TET Methylcytosine Oxidases in Immune Responses and Cancer".


Dr. Judith Campisi, Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and a renowned expert in the fields of aging and cancer, presented a seminar at the Mason Guest Annual Symposium on Thursday, March 19, 2015. The insights from her distinguished career were very enlightening.

Front Row (L-R): Yuxin Wang, Dwayne Carter, Uylissa Rodriguez, Dr. Judith Campisi, Dr. Pomila Singh (Program Director), Dr. Jin Mo Chung (Interim Chairmian, Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology). Second Row (L-R): Javier Allende Labastida, Alak Dutta, Daniel Jackson, Carl Grim, Mike Wetzel, Malaney O'Connell, Martha Garcia, Anesh Prasai, Olga Zolochevska. Third Row (L-R): Charles Umbaugh, Eric Wright, Arham Ali, Maithri Krishnamurthy, Susan Alharbi
Front Row (L-R): Yuxin Wang, Dwayne Carter, Uylissa Rodriguez, Dr. Judith Campisi, Dr. Pomila Singh (Program Director), Dr. Jin Mo Chung (Interim Chairmian, Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology). Second Row (L-R): Javier Allende Labastida, Alak Dutta, Daniel Jackson, Carl Grim, Mike Wetzel, Malaney O'Connell, Martha Garcia, Anesh Prasai, Olga Zolochevska. Third Row (L-R): Charles Umbaugh, Eric Wright, Arham Ali, Maithri Krishnamurthy, Susan Alharbi


Student Awards

Congratulations to the following students who received awards from the Third Annual Symposium for Cell Biology Graduate Program, March 19, 2015

  • Olga Zolochevska - First Place, Oral Session I - Neuronal Development and Pathophysiology
  • Anita Randolph - Second Place, Oral Session I - Neuronal Development and Pathophysiology
  • Carl Grim - First Place, Oral Session II - Stem Cell Biology and Molecular Pathophysiology of the Cell
  • Anesh Prasai - Second Place, Oral Session II - Stem Cell Biology and Molecular Pathophysiology of the Cell
  • Eric Wright - First Place, Poster Session - Frontiers in Cell Biology
  • Shinji Strain - Second Place, Poster Session - Frontiers in Cell Biology
  • Javier Allende Labastida and Olga Zolochevska - First Place, Outstanding Service Award
  • Ashley Smith and Carl Grim - Second Place, Outstanding Service Award
  • Eric Wright and Michael Wetzel - Third Place, Outstanding Service Award
  • Olga Zolochevska - Xigma Xi Winner

April 4, 2016 - Congratulations to Malaney O'Connell, who has been nominated by the University of Texas, to be included in the 2016 edition of Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.


SURP2015
Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) college student, Connor Pogue, won the award for the best Cell Biology poster presentation at the annual SURP competition on August 7, 2015. The title of his presentation was "The efffects of short pulse laser therapy and ultrasound on an in vitro model of neural stretch injury". Malaney O'Connell, a senior graduate student in the Cell Biology Graduate Program, presented the award.


Dwayne Carter received a Student Travel Award from the American College of Toxicology on July 22, 2015. He will present his abstract entitled "Loss of hepatic aryl hydrocarbon receptor alters the thermogenic properties of white fat and protects against diet-induced obesity" at the 36th Annual meeting in November, 2015.


Congratulations to the following students who received awards from the Second Annual Symposium for Cell Biology Graduate Program, March 19, 2015

  • Malaney O'Connell - First Place, Oral Session I - Pathophysiology of The Cell
  • Maratha Garcia - Second Place, Oral Session I - Pathophysiology of The Cell
  • Dwayne Carter - First Place, Oral Session II - Toxicology, Pharmacology & Wound Healing
  • Dan Jackson - Second Place, Oral Session II - Toxicology, Pharmacology & Wound Healing
  • Arham Ali - First Place, Poster Session - Frontiers in Cell Biology
  • Maithri Krishnamurthy and Olga Zolochevska - Second Place, Poster Session - Frontiers in Cell Biology
  • Michael Wetzel - First Place, Outstanding Service Award
  • Sam Umbaugh - Second Place, Outstanding Service Award
  • Anesh Prasai and Dwayne Carter - Third Place, Outstanding Service Award
  • Dwayne Carter - Xigma Xi Winner

Dwayne Carter received a 2015 SOT Graduate Student Travel Support award December 10, 2014, from the Society of Toxicology.


Congratulations to the following cell biology students who received scholarships from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Presentations were made at an Awards Luncheon November 21, 2014.

  • Michael Wetzel - Janet & David Niesel, Ph.D. Scholarship
  • Olga Zolochevska - The Dennis Bowman Memorial Scholarship
  • Anita Reno - Elias Hochman Research Award
  • Malaney O'Connell - Katherina Siebert Award for Excellence in Oncologic Research
  • Charles Umbaugh - Shirley Patricia Parker Scholarship
  • Malaney O'Connell - Shirley Patricia Parker Scholarship
  • Martha Garcia - Shirley Patricia Parker Scholarship
  • Anesh Prasai - UTMB Retirees Scholarship Award
  • Charles Umbaugh - William C. Levin Award for Academic Excellence

Michael Wetzel received a $500 travel award from the Wound Healing Society for his oral presentation entitled "Novel Effects of Biguanide Drugs on Reducing Hyperglycemia in Burn Patients Through Alteration of Oxidative Respiratory Pathway" April 23, 2014.


Congratulations to the following students who received awards from the Inaugural Symposium for Cell Biology Graduate Program, March 4, 2014.

  • Malaney O'Connell - First Place, Oral Session I - Cell Biology of Cancer and Wound Healing
  • Dr. Mostafa Borahay - Second Place, Oral Session I - Cell Biology of Cancer and Wound Healing
  • Dan Jackson - First Place, Oral Session II - Cell Biology of Environmental Toxicology, Steroids and Neurodeteneration
  • Rebekah Viner - Second Place, Oral Session II - Cell Biology of Environmental Toxicology, Steroids and Neurodeteneration
  • Charles Umbaugh - First Place, Poster Session - Advances in Translational Cell Biology
  • Arham Ali - Second Place, Poster Session - Advances in Translational Cell Biology
  • Uylissa Rodriguez - Third Place, Poster Session - Advances in Translational Cell Biology
  • Javier Allende Labastida - Service Award, best 1st year student
  • Charles Umbaugh - Service Award, best 2nd year student
  • Malaney O'Connell - Service Award, best 3rd year student
  • Dan Jackson - Service Award, best 4th year student

Student Dissertation Defense

Dr. Anesh Prasai successfully completed his Dissertation Defense November 9, 2016 "Characterization and Application of Adipose Derived Stem Cells Following Burn Injury".


Dr. Martha Garcia successfully completed her Dissertation Defense October 31, 2016 "Control of Cardiac Hypertrophic Signaling by Inositol 1,4,5-Triphosphate Receptors".


Dr. Malaney O'Connell successfully completed her Dissertation Defense April 23, 2016 "Delineating Regulatory Pathways of Novel Cancer Stem Cell Marker, DCLK1-S, for Targeting Colon Cancer Stem Cells".


Dr. Dwayne Carter successfully completed his Dissertation Defense January 20, 2016. "Glucose and Lipid Dysregulation Following Loss of Hepatic Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor in Mice".


Dr. Daniel Jackson successfully completed his Dissertation Defense October 30, 2015. "A Rhapsody on the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor: Molecular and Environmental Health Insights via Novel and Canonical Signaling Pathways".


Dr. Katherine Ruppert successfully completed her Dissertation Defense August 14, 2015. "The effects of blast-induced neurotrauma on blood-brain barrier permeability, cell-cell junction protein levels and the role of peroxynitrite".


Arham Ali received his Master of Sciences degree Summer 2015: "Therapeutic management of burn induced hyperglycemia with insulin and metformin".


Dr. Maithri Krishnamurthy successfully completed her Dissertation Defense June 24, 2015. "Amyloid Precursor Protein-Induced Neurodegenerative Disease in Drosophila".


Alak Dutta received his Master of Sciences degree Spring 2015: "Postnatal cardiovascular consequences of prenatal and neonatal exposure to smoking cessation agents".


Dr. Lynn Felts successfully completed her Dissertation Defense March 11, 2015. "Procollagen Biosynthesis and Osteoblast Malfunction in the G610C Mouse Model of Osteogenesis Imperfecta".


Dr. Serena Clark Hedgepeth successfully completed her Dissertation Defense March 9, 2015. "The Tumor Suppressor BRCA1 in IP3R Calcium Signaling and Apoptosis".


Dr. Mostafa Borahay successfully completed his Dissertation Defense November 4, 2014: "Novel Effects of Simvastatin on Uterine Fibroids".


Borahay
Committee members from left to right: Dr. Lisa Elferink, Dr. Jose Barral, Dr. Darren Boehning, Dr. Mostafa Borahay (Ph.D. candidate), Dr. Pomila Singh (Cell Biology Program Director) and Dr. Xiadong Cheng.

Rebekah Viner received her Master of Sciences degree August 16, 2014: "IRE1 Regulates CYP11A1 Transcription to Mediate Steroidogenesis in the Ovary"


Dr. Luke Koong successfully completed his Dissertation Defense July 16, 2014: "The Direct Effects of Estradiol and Several Xenoestrogens on Cell Numbers of Early- vs. Late-Stage Prostate Cancer Cells"


Dr. Anito Reno successfully completed her Dissertation Defense March 7, 2014: "IL-10 Deficiency as a Factor in Airway Cellular Responses to Inhaled Sulfur Dioxide"


Dr. Mary Ann Manavalan successfully completed her Dissertation Defense January 27, 2014: "Mummy Regulates Slit-Robo Signaling to Mediate Axon Guidance in Drosophila Embryonic Nerve Cord"