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Volume 4, Issue 1, Sept 2012

Welcome Back from the GSO President Welcome to our newest students and welcome to an exciting new year to the rest of us. As we start our final year as Georgia Health Sciences University and become Georgia Regents University, we have a tremendous opportunity in front of us to form this new university and help to start its tradition of excellence. New beginnings are a great time to let past problems go and to embrace a new future. I am personally looking forward to a wonderful year and to helping all of

us to become the best we can be. We have a great set of officers and SGA representatives this year and will have many exciting events this year as well as branching out our philanthropic efforts to include Habitat for Humanity and the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as our continuing support of the American Heart Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. We will continue the career seminar series and look to start new traditions such as a 5K

road race and a chili cook-off. Please let us know if there is something you are interested in or would like our help with, we are here to be our graduate student organization and help you all to be your best. Welcome again and here’s to a great year! Kate Buckley GSO President

Inside this Issue GSO President Note.............................1

Biomed White Coat Ceremony............3

Alumni: Lakeia J Bailey, Ph.D............5

2012-2013 GSO Officers.....................2

GRU Branding.....................................4

Faculty: Adviye Ergul, M.D., Ph.D.....5

New Students Welcome.......................2

Community: Partners for Augusta.......4

Alumni: W. Kittikulsuth, Ph.D............6

The GSO News


2012/2013 GSO Officers

Welcome New Students! Biomed Class of 2018

Kate Buckley, President 3rd year Biomed PhD student in Dave Hill’s laboratory, research interest is centered on studying the process of autophagy and its role in aging and ischemic stroke. Goal(s) for this year: Help all my officers to accomplish their goals, to lead successful fundraising efforts for the American Heart Association, and to continue the career seminar series for graduate students. Hobbies: Read, watch football and movies, and spend time with friends.

Devaki Kumarhia, Vice President 3rd year Biomed PhD Student in Dr. Lynnette McCluskey’s laboratory, research interest is to study the immune system’s role in nerve regeneration and the taste system. Goal: Make the year fun for all graduate students! Hobbies: Foster dogs, play video games, and dancing.

Provided by Namita Hattangady


Nicole Howie, Secretary 2nd year Biomed PhD Student in Dr. Mohammed Elsalanty’s laboratory, research project focuses on bone/ implant interface and the use of osteogenic factors to recruit new bone growth to areas of necrosis. Goal(s): Increase the number of participants within GSO and escalate the awareness of GSO among Biostatistics and Medical Illustration students. Hobbies: Reading, going to the lake, watching crime shows, and hanging out with friends.

Provided by Dr. Jennifer Waller

Medical Illustration Class of 2014

Cam McCarthy, Treasurer 2nd year Biomed PhD Student in Dr. Clinton Webb’s laboratory, research interest is to elucidate the potential role of toll-like receptor (TLR) 9 in vascular diseases such as hypertension. Goal(s): Give back some of the time and effort that was given to me during my first year at GHSU. Hobbies: Workout and soccer.

The GSO News

Provided by Mr. William Andrews


Biomedical Sciences White Coat Ceremony

Photos provided by Dr. Patricia Cameron & Anil Bhatta

Namita Hattangady Nicole Yiew

This year, for the very first time in the history our University, a white coat ceremony was arranged for the new class of the Biomedical Sciences PhD Program. The ceremony is similar to the tradition of several other colleges of our University such as Medicine and Dental Medicine. All 26 new Biomed PhD trainees with varied educational background, experience, and culture put on their new white coat for the first time. The white coat ceremony marks the transition of the students onto a professional track. It also serves to remind the new trainees of their responsibility to strictly adhere to ethical conduct and exercise integrity in science. Congratulations to all the new Ph.D. Biomed students and good luck on your journeys ahead! Special thanks to those who participated in the Scientific Integrity ceremony and helped made it a success! Dr. Ricardo Azziz- GHSU President Dr. Sylvia Smith, Interim Dean of the College of Graduate Studies Dr. Patricia Cameron, Acting Vice Dean Dr. Sally Atherton - Regents’ Professor and Chair, Department of Cellular Biology & Anatomy Dr. Michael Brands - Professor of Physiology, Director of First Year Core Curriculum Dr. Alvin Terry - Professor of Pharmacology/Toxicology & Neurology Staff of the College of Graduate Studies Dean’s Office Ms. Kathleen Buckley, President of the Graduate Student Organization Mr. Anil Bhatta and Mr. Ashish Gurav, Student Ushers Ms. Lydia Youmans, Piano Player

The GSO News


Branding of Georgia Regents University: Student Voice Harrison Grace The last couple of months have been nothing short of making headlines for our University. The six candidate names for the GHSU-ASU merger left many students upset and disappointed - I was personally outraged. There was a strong need to express our discontent. I made a decision to organize a petition to voice our displeasures and ideas. The president of the MCG Class of 2015, Lael Reinstatler, and SGA Vice President Brett Page immediately put together an emergency meeting between student

leaders from all of the colleges on campus, as well as a representative from ASU. At the meeting, it was definite that a civil, constructive petition was the best approach. Late into the night, after much discussion and voting, we decided that the student body advocated retaining “Georgia” in the name and put forward three names, Georgia Arts and Medicine University, Georgia University of Arts and Sciences,“GRU Branding”, pg. 9

Rebekah Ladd, Social Chair 2nd year Biomed PhD Student in Dr. Jeff Mumm’s laboratory, research interest centers on both developmental and regenerative retina projects using the zebrafish model. Goal(s): Throw some killer parties! Also, reach out to the other graduate programs and encourage more involvement outside of the Biomed majors. Personal Interests: Play video games, paint, cook, and watch terrible reality TV.

Joanna Erion, Humanitarian 3rd year Biomed PhD Student in Dr. Alexis Stranahan’s lab, research focuses on the neurocognitive effects of exercise and corticosterone in a Type 2 diabetic mouse model. Goal(s): Firstly, lead the GSO in giving back to the community and in spreading awareness of our mission as a local student organization. Secondly, participate in the leadership/ organization of various community events and fund-raising. Hobbies: Running, hiking, making wine, and spending time with my dog, Rocky!

Nicole Yiew, Editor

Partners for Augusta Brett Heimlich Founded in 2011, Partners for Augusta is a campus organization that strives to connect GHSU students to the Augusta community through meaningful service opportunities. A small group of GHSU students began serving in one of the surrounding communities by volunteering in the youth development program offered through a local church. Since then, it has become a reliable and consistent source for

The GSO News

GHSU students to serve in the city where they live. Partners primarily serves the historic Harrisburg neighborhood, one of GHSU’s closest neighbors. In addition to being a close neighbor, Harrisburg is one of Augusta’s most blighted communities. Given the vast supply of talent within the GHSU community, the Partners’ founders feel compelled to be active within this neighborhood. The ability of service to be transformative and life-giving for both

2nd year Biomed PhD Student in Dr. David Pollock’s laboratory, research interest is to study the role of IDO pathway in inflammation and its effect on Angiotensin II- induced hypertension model. Goal(s): Keep readers updated and connected to the happenings of faculties, alumni, and fellow graduate students. Hobbies: Hiking, listening to music, and reading.“Partners for Augusta”, pg. 9


Alumni Spotlight Lakiea J Bailey Nicole Yiew Lakiea J Bailey is a native of Indiana and received a Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine at GRU. During her student years, Lakiea trained under two respected GHSU researchers: Dr. Tohru Ikuta and Dr. Wendy Bollag. Lakiea’s thesis project sought to determine the nature of the link between phosphatidylglycerol generation by the functional interaction of aquaporin 3 and phospholipase D2 as well as the initiation of keratinocyte differentiation.

Faculty Spotlight Dr. Adviye Ergul Namita Hattangady Dr. Adviye Ergul is a core faculty member in the Department of Physiology and the Director of the Physiology Graduate Program. Dr. Ergul is originally from Istanbul, Turkey where she attended medical school and trained as a resident in Clinical Biochemistry. Dr. Ergul’s interest in research brought her to the University of Miami where she earned her Ph.D. in 1995. In 2000, Dr Ergul joined the Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics (CET) Program at the University of Georgia at Athens. She then joined GHSU in 2007 while continuing to be keenly involved in the CET Program. Quoting guest lecturer and Nobel laureate, Dr. Oliver Smithies - “Ask for help. Real scientists will help you….”, Dr Ergul says that it is this friendly and supportive nature in the people at GHSU that drew her to join our University. Dr. Ergul’s research interests lie in understanding the impact of diabetes on vascular

The GSO News

Lakiea has been a successful student co-authoring four scientific publications in journals like British Journal of Haematology and Haematologica. She has also earned numerous awards including the Fisher Scientific Overall Excellence in Biomedical Research, the Southeastern Regional Lipid Conference Oral Presentation Travel Award, and the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Fellowship. Apart from her scientific achievements, Lakiea exceled in extra-curricular activities and exemplifies a well-rounded personality. She volunteered as a Biostatistics tutor for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program,

Provided by Lakiea Bailey

served as a student ambassador for the Graduate Student Organization, and was also part of a student focus group for Robert B. Greenblatt “Lakiea J Bailey”, pg. 8

function and structure, particularly on cerebrovascular disease and stroke. Dr. Ergul has had a very successful career, publishing close to eight articles a year in reputed Diabetes and Stroke Journals. Despite the current slump in research funding, Dr. Ergul has always been funded and recognized for her research contributions. She has won numerous awards including the Distinguished Basic Science Research Award in 2012. Dr. Ergul has mentored eight students, with one student having already earned a faculty position. Despite all her accomplishments, she humbly says that her most cherished moments are related to her students and their personal growths - getting excited about a band on a western blot and even agonizing over failures! Dr. Ergul is one of the GHSU faculty who loves life, and students ought to learn from her! Besides research, she enjoys activities like yoga and cooking. She enthusiastically supports student activities such as the fundraising events for the American Heart Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Ergul Lab - Provided by Dr Adviye Ergul

Dr. Ergul’s love for teaching and encouraging students is evident from the fact that she is also a student advocate. The social bee on campus, she is also the Chair of the Social Committee of the Physiology Department, arranging second Friday socials for the department. Dr. Ergul also generously hosts pool parties for the GSO and her Department. Dr. Ergul’s advice to students is to be curious, ask questions and be brave enough to take on challenges. On behalf of all graduate students, the GSO News would like thank Dr. Ergul for the constant inspiration, encouragement and support. Dr. Ergul is cherished amongst the student community and we wish her the best for all her future endeavors. O


SGA Representatives Bhavna Desai 3rd year Biomed PhD Student in Dr. Ruth Harris’ lab, research interest is to understand the interaction between the forebrain and hindbrain in regulating leptin responses to maintain energy balance. Goal(s) this year: Promote and extend different GSO events to other programs in order to establish better interaction between students across programs. Personal Interests: Painting, playing an instrument, swimming, and writing.

Namita Hattangady 5th year Biomed PhD Student, research interest is in understanding the gene regulation of aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) in adrenal pathophysiology. Goal(s) this year: As co-chief editor, help Nicole to achieve her goals and help the GSO to grow as an organization. Hobbies: Singing, socializing, swimming, and finding new challenges.

Ashish Gurav

Alumni Spotlight Wararat Kittikulsuth Nicole Yiew Wararat Kittikulsuth, best known as Joy, is a recent 2012 graduate of the Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences Program. Joy grew up in Bangkok, Thailand and has a Bachelor of Pharmacy. Joy was under the mentorship of Dr. David Pollock in the Section of Experimental Medicine. Joy decided on Dr. Pollock’s laboratory due to her keen interest in the research focus of the Pollock Lab, which includes studying the pathophysiological functions of the endothelin system in the kidney and its effect on blood pressure and kidney disease. Importantly, Joy appreciated Dr. Pollock’s mentoring style and the warm supportive lab environment. Joy has an impressive number of publications whilst at GHSU, being first author of two publications, a coauthor of a third publication and an author of a review an article. She has also earned several awards including the GHSU/UGA 2012 student exchange award, Graduate Research Day awards, and an AHA pre-doctoral fellowship.

Provided by Dr. Wararat Kittikulsuth

“Graduate school is a great opportunity for students to receive training from their mentor, colleagues, and committee members. It is important that students are not afraid to ask for help, as most people are willing to assist. Work hard and try your best to learn as much as possible. This will foster more scientific experiences and growth that will be beneficial once a student is appointed to a job and is expected to be independent.” Joy will be a postdoctoral fellow under Dr. Donald Kohan at the University of Utah. Her future plans involve working for a pharmaceutical company in Southeast Asia.

4th year Biomed PhD Student in Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy’s laboratory, research interest involve elucidation of molecular mechanisms behind immune system modulation in the intestinal environment and investigating the contribution of short-chain fatty acids in this process. Personal interest(s): Have fun by the lake, camping, reading, and getting involved with activities on campus.

Teaching Opportunity and Class Credit!

Christina Torres

Kate Buckley

Biomed 3rd year PhD Student in Dr. Betty Pace’s laboratory, research interest focuses on the study of gammaglobin gene regulation. Goal: Coordinate a 5K race on behalf of the America Hearth Association. Hobbies: Jogging, gardening, and cooking.

The GSO News

Joy’s advice for current students is

This Fall of 2012, there is an opportunity to get small-group teaching experience by participating in the patient simulator lab exercise conduct for the 1st year Medical Physiology students. Your basic role is to lead and facilitate discussion while you run the patient simulator exercise. You do not have to be a physiologist, cardiovascular student, or expert with simulators. You DO need to, however,

GSO congratulates Joy on both, her recent appointment and her outstanding achievements at GRU, and GSO also wishes her well as she moves onto the next chapter of life. O

be interested in teaching and working with small groups of medical students. The lab runs over 5 afternoons during the 2 weeks following Thanksgiving. Students can get one credit hour by enrolling in the Physiology Teaching Practicum course. Please contact Michael W. Brands, Ph.D. ( if you are interested. Positions are limited. O


Intramural Sports Cam McCarthy Although the Olympics have come and gone, the new academic year also brings with it a new season of intramural events. Intramurals offer the unique opportunity for everyone to dust off their sport-specific shoes that haven’t been used since last season, relive past glories of high school and/or college and finally get the better of that pesky classmate who asks completely irrelevant questions to the professor! Whether you desire to emulate Usain Bolt, Lebron James, Hope Solo, and/or Li Xiaoxia , there is a sport that can fuel your passion. In conjunction with, this fall the Intramural Sports program offers:


Registration Deadline

4-on-4 Volleyball

Aug 29th


Sept 5th

Flag Football

Sept 12th

Disc Golf

Sept 26th

Futsal Dodgeball

Oct 3rd Oct 24th

Table Tennis

Oct 31st

3-on-3 Basketball

Nov 7th

If you would like to participate, speak to your colleges’ student leaders for more information about setting up teams and finding out who else is interested. If no one in your program shares the same passion for a sport as you do, you can email the IM Sports office (zawright@ and they may be able to place you with the appropriate people. Moreover, the IM Sports office is always looking for people to officiate. Therefore, if getting smacked in the face with a dodgeball isn’t your style, and you would like to earn a few extra dollars on the side, see for more information. Don’t let your recently invigorated Olympic spirit and motivation fade as the grind of school and work consumes your life. Citius, Altius, Fortius and be the best and fairest intramural competitor you can be! O

The GSO News


...from “Lakiea J Bailey”, pg. 5 Library Website Redesign. Outside of GRU, Lakiea was heavily involved in a variety of advocacy projects with the sickle cell disease community. Lakeia’s drive to increase community awareness to Sickle Cell Disease sparked from the fact that she suffers from this disease herself. Through her Ph.D, Lakeia has had a long, perilous journey of combatting the illness and has come out to be one of the most inspiring students on GRU campus. Despite health concerns,

Lakeia served as a co-administrator and was a contributing author of the Sickle Cell Warriors non-profit community. She also had the privilege of being a science advisor for the WDC trait awareness campaign and represented Georgia’s sickle-cell community to address ongoing health disparities. When asked about her strategy to ‘survive’ at GRU and in Augusta, Lakiea responded “God, family, and church have served as my pressure release valves. Between the stress of graduate school and constant concerns for my health, I have found that these three provide a source of

comfort, encouragement and laughter.” Lakiea’s goal is to serve as a link between the bench side and bedside community. Lakiea seeks to combine her scientific experiences with her strong understanding of patient advocate and healthcare policies to reach her aim. Lakiea has been a source of inspiration for students over the years. She is an epitome of perservence, dedication and passion for science. The Graduate Student Organization thanks Lakiea for sharing her story and wishes her the best in her professional journey. O

GSO Pool Party 2012

Provided by Namita Hattangady

The GSO News


...from “GRU Branding”, pg. 4 and Georgia Southeastern University. Brett and I then stayed up that night and wrote the petition itself and set up the software to release it in the morning. The petition spread quickly, gaining the support of over 500 students, within the next day. The number of student supporters exploded to more than 1500 in just two days when it gained the attention of the local media. Despite the ...from “Partners for Augusta”, pg. 4 volunteers and recipients provides the cornerstone for Partners’ existence and activity planning. Members participate in a wide variety of service initiatives including diabetes education classes, youth development and youth mentoring programs, fitness classes, and the recently-started mobile produce market.

students’ unison in voice, none of the three names put forth by the student body was selected. Reflecting on the branding process, I learned two things: First, I gained respect for how difficult it was to choose a name to represent the diverse interests of the administration, faculties, students, and staffs of the combined institutions. Second, any new name will be unpopular with a large group of people. I am thankful that the Consolidation Working Group took into account

student opinions in their final name submissions to the Regents. The controversies continue as our University is now being sued by the private Regent University, located at Virginia Beach, over an alleged infringement of copyrights. I believe that the next few years will be challenging as we reestablish our reputation for excellent education, research and medicine, but ultimately the opportunities for growth that Georgia Regents University inherits will be worthwhile! O

Through these activities, people from the community could see and feel the enthusiasm that students brought to their area and it was contagious. But equally important, the students involved with these activities began to feel a sense of ownership and belonging in a city that was once foreign to them. What was once an attitude of uncertainty and disappointment towards Augusta

became one of love and pride. While Partners currently focuses its efforts in Harrisburg, it hopes to expand such efforts to other areas of need around Augusta and continue to offer GHSU’s students opportunities to serve where they live. To learn more about Partners and the upcoming activities for this fall, please contact Brett Heimlich: O

Contact Information

Newsletter Staff


Co-Editor in Chief

Nicole Yiew

Facebook Group


Students of GHSU GSO

Graduate Student Organization College of Graduate Studies Georgia Health Sciences University 1120 15th St. CJ 2201 Augusta, GA 30912-1500


The GSO News

Namita Hattangady

Editors Kate Buckley Harrison Grace

Brett Heimlich Cam McCarthy

Layout Design Jamie Rippke


October 2012 - GSO News  

Volume 4, Issue 1

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