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The 33rd Annual Graduate Student Research Forum Showcases Insightful Scientific Examinations

The forum returned to an in-person setting, facilitating in-depth discussions on student presentations.

March 16, 2022
Stephen R. Hammes, M.D., Ph.D being awarded a commemorative plaque at the 33rd Annual Graduate Student Research Forum

The event highlighted a keynote by Stephen R. Hammes, M.D., Ph.D., the Louis S. Wolk Distinguished Professor of Medicine, chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and executive vice chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, who presented “Androgens in the Ovary: How a Frog Oocyte can Generate a Career in Reproductive Medicine.”

“Education and mentoring have always been the most enjoyable things I do and the most important things I do. The opportunity to be invited by students to interact with you, see all these amazing posters and listen to all these amazing talks, has made it a great day,” Dr. Hammes said.

The forum featured four oral presentations, four flash talks—shorter oral presentations introduced for students still in the beginning stages of their research—and 11 poster presentations. 

“This is my first time presenting a poster on my research, but it has been a very collaborative environment and the feedback has been really beneficial to me,” said Nicole DeSouza, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. 

The value of in-person feedback was emphasized at the GSRF this year, as  last year’s took place virtually. Presenters were able to have substantial discussions with judges, faculty and their peers about their research.

“It’s easier to have discussions about the presentations now that we are back from being virtual,” said Jodie Renaud, Master of Science (M.S.) candidate and secretary of the GSA. “Seeing everyone’s hard work in-person really brings life to the presentations.” 

As is customary at the GSRF, the Honored Faculty Award is presented to a faculty members for their outstanding dedication and inspiring mentorship to students. This year’s award was presented to Jan Geliebter, Ph.D., professor in the department of pathology, microbiology and immunology, and department of otolaryngology.

“Everyone really came together to make the first major in person event for the graduate school since the onset of COVID-19, an exceptional experience,” said Jessica Adams, M.B.A., M.S. candidate and Chair of the GSRF. “It was really special to see the excitement from faculty, students and presenters alike because we were finally all able to come together in a shared place with a shared passion of disseminating and absorbing knowledge.”

Poster Awards:

Senior Category:

First Place (tie)

Arax Tanelian - Ph.D. program in Microbiology and Immunology: Alterations in Micribiota-Gut-Brain Axis and Susceptibility or Resilience to Traumatic Stress
Advisor: Esther L. Sabban, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular biology

Christina Faltas - Ph.D. program in Cell Biology and Anatomy: Ribosomal S6 Kinase (RSK) as a Therapeutic Target for ER+ Breast Cancer
Advisor: Marina K. Holz, Ph.D., Marina K. Holz, Ph.D., dean of the GSBMS and professor of cell biology and anatomy

Second Place

Adiya Katseff - Ph.D. program in Microbiology and Immunology: Mucosal Vaccination Using a Tobacco Mosaic Virus Platform for Protection Against P. Aeruginosa
Advisor: Paul Michael Arnaboldi, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology

Third Place

Ozlem Sahin, M.D. - Ph.D. program in Microbiology and Immunology: Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibodies Against Influenza A and Influenza B Viruses
Advisor: Doris J. Bucher, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology 

Novice Category:

First Place

Ellen Nikki Huhulea - M.S. program in Basic Medical Sciences: Modulation of Medial Prefrontal Cortex Circuits in Narcolepsy
Advisor: Christopher S. Leonard, Ph.D., chair and professor of physiology 

Second Place

Jacob R, Hehir - M.D./Ph.D. program in Physiology: Personalized Editing of Sensory Representation Using Scanning Low Intensity Focused Ultrasound: A Translational Model
Advisor: Jonathan A. N. Fisher, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology 

Third Place

Nicole DeSouza - Integrated Ph.D. Program: Functional Analysis of lncRNA DUXAP10 in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
Advisors: Jan Geliebter, Ph.D., professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology and of otolaryngology, and Raj K. Tiwari, Ph.D., professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology and  associate professor of otolaryngology  

Oral Presentations:

First Place

Catherine D’Addario - Ph.D. program in Pharmacology: Deletion of G-Protein-Coupled Receptor 75 Prevents Hypoxia-Induced Pulmonary Vascoconstriction and Hypertension
Advisor: Sachine A. Gupte, M.D., Ph.D., professor  of pharmocology

Second Place

Elizabeth Berry - Ph.D. program in Cell Biology: Hypocretin/Orexin (H/O) Neurons in the Hypothalamus Exhibit Subtype Specific Changes in Their Intrinsic Excitability Following Morphine Addiction
Advisor: Christopher S. Leonard, Ph.D., interim chair and professor of physiology

Third Place

Michelle Carnazza - Ph.D. program in Microbiology and Immunology: The Role of Col26A1 in Papillary Thyroid Cancer Invasion
Advisor: Jan Geliebter, Ph.D., professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology and  of otolaryngology

Flash Talks:

First Place

Christina Signoretti-Robbins - Integrated Ph.D. Program: Insight into the Role of African G6PD Variant on Pulmonary Hypertension 

Second Place

Amy Zinski - Integrated Ph.D. Program Dysregulation of PKC Pathway Genes within SCZ Risk Loci Impacts Synapse Formation in Developmental Cortical Interneurons

Third Place

Alek Torres - Ph.D. program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Going Nuclear: Exploring the Nuclear Activities of the mTOR in the Context of Estrogen Signaling

33rd Annual Graduate Student Research Forum