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This has been an eventful year for the MD/PhD Program. We had our first graduates since 2010, and we should now be graduating students every year. Our most recent MD/PhD graduates are John Reneau, Gavin Roddy and Lesley Gardner. They finished their degree requirements and walked the stage in May of 2013. John Reneau is doing his residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Gavin Roddy is also doing his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, doing a preliminary year in medicine before he starts his residency in Ophthalmology, also at Mayo. Leslie Gardiner is doing her residency in Pediatrics at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas. Gavin finished the program in record time, 6 years, and John was also speedy, he finished in 7. Lesley managed to have three adorable children while going through the program. I’m proud of them all. We had our annual MD/PhD Program Retreat on August 17. Our own Dr. David Huston gave an excellent keynote talk and our current students gave 15-20 minute talks on their research projects, followed by dinner.

We had a record number of students (6!) successfully defend their dissertations this spring, and return to their clinical studies. They are listed below along with their advisors and the title of their dissertations. •

Tiana Endicott-Yazdani PI: Helene Andrews-Polymenis


Dissertation: Identification of Novel Salmonella typhimurium Genes Required for Survival During Intestinal Inflammation •

Prashanth Francis PI: Magnus Hook Dissertation: Ethanol’s Effect on Stem Cell Subpopulations and the Implications for critical Patterning and Development in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Shruti Gandhy PI: Stephen Safe Dissertation: Role of SP Proteins in Cancer Cell Growth

Shan Gao PI: Brad Amendt Dissertation: A Molecular Basis for 22q11DS: A Tbx1-microRNA-Sox2 Pathway Regulates Odontogenesis and Craniofacial Development

Kendal Jensen PI: Shannon Glaser Dissertation: Nicotine Stimulates Biliary Proliferation and Fibrogenesis and Promote Cholangicarcinoma Growth

Luke Potts PI: Lih Kuo Dissertation: Vasomotor Signaling of Endothelin -1 in Isolated Porcine Retinal Arterioles

We had a solid recruiting year again. We had 72 completed applications and we interviewed 24 students, finally matriculating 3 new students. We welcomed the following students to the program this summer. •

Bradley Eckelmann, M1 Undergraduate Institution: Carleton University

Aditya Panta, M1


Undergraduate Institution: Texas A&M University •

Yen-Nan Lin, M1 Undergraduate Institution: Texas A&M University

The merger between the Health Science Center and Texas A&M University became official on July 15, 2013. The only substantive change we have seen thus far is in the logo we use. The Office of Graduate Studies and the M.D./Ph.D. program are operating as usual although we will now have to adhere to many the TAMU deadlines and adopt their forms. We believe that the merger will open more opportunities for our students and ultimately will simplify things for everyone. If you would like to read more about the merger Texas A&M University created a website, http://hsc.tamu.edu/transition/realignment-information.html

A BLAST FROM THE PAST: One of our graduates, Jason Etheredge, came by to visit. It was great to see him. He has been working in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the Clinical Specialization and Residency Program Advisor for the Ministry of Public Health, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He has been working on building a program for physician licensure and to establish residency training programs in Afghanistan. Except for the beard Jason looks unscathed.

WHAT OUR STUDENTS HAVE BEEN UP TO: Robyn Balden, M4 Sohrabji F, Selvamani A, Balden R. 2013. Revisiting the timing hypothesis: biomarkers that define the therapeutic window of estrogen for stroke. Horm Behav 63(2):222-30. Balden R, Selvamani A, Sohrabji F. 2012. Vitamin D Deficiency Exacerbates Experimental Stroke Injury and Dysregulates Ischemia-Induced Inflammation in Adult Rats. Endocrinology 153(5):2420-35. Karen Doersch, G2 – Chatterjee P, Weaver LE, Doersch KM, Kopriva SE, Chiasson VL, Allen SJ, Narayanan AM, Young KJ, Jones KA, Kuehl TJ, Mitchell BM. 2012. Placental Toll-like receptor 3 and Toll-like receptor 7/8 activation contributes to preeclampsia in humans and mice. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41884. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041884 Don Thushara Galbadage, G4 Thushara Galbadage, Suat L. G. Cirillo, Tina L. Gumienny, and Jeffrey D. Cirillo presented at the 2013 Molecular Basis of Infectious Diseases (MBID) Retreat in Houston, TX: "Caenorhabditis elegans as a model for study of Mycobacterium marinum infections"


Mr. Galbadage also gave an oral presentation at the 18th Annual College of Medicine Graduate Student Organization Research Symposium 2013: "Caenorhabditis elegans as a Novel Virulence Model for Mycobacterium marinum" T. Galbadage, S. L. G. Cirillo, T. L. Gumienny, and J. D. Cirillo Addtitionally, Thushara received the following accolades this year: 1st Place Award for Graduate Student Poster Category at the 2013 Molecular Basis of Infectious Diseases (MBID) Retreat. 2nd Place Award for an Oral Presentation Competition at the 18th Annual College of Medicine Graduate Student Organization Research Symposium 2013. Shruti Gandhy, M3 Attended the American Physician Scientist Association meeting in Chicago this April. Gandhy SU, Kim K, Larsen L, Rosengren RJ, Safe S. 2012. Curcumin and synthetic analogs induce reactive oxygen species and decreases specificity protein (Sp) transcription factors by targeting microRNAs. BMC Cancer. Nov 30;12:564. Shan, Gao, M3 Attended the American Physician Scientist Association meeting in Chicago this April. Wang J, Sun Z, Zhang Z, Saadi I, Wang J, Li X, Gao S, Engle JJ, Kuburas A, Fu X, Yu W, Klein WH, Russo AF, Amendt BA. 2013. Protein inhibitors of activated STAT (Pias1 and Piasy) differentially regulate pituitary homeobox 2 (PITX2) transcriptional activity. J Biol Chem 288(18):12580-95. Gao S, Li X, Amendt BA. 2013. Understanding the Role of Tbx1 as a Candidate Gene for 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. Sept 1. [Epub ahead of print] Paul Hillman, G4 Attended the MD/Ph.D. conference in Keystone, CO in July. Mr. Hillman was awarded a $500 travel grant by the Office of Graduate Programs to attend the conference. Paul presented his research at our local GSO symposium. Paul also presented at the TAMU Research week where he was recognized by receiving the Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation in Biochemistry and Molecular/Cellular Biology and at the Texas Genetics Society Annual Meeting where he won an award for the Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation. Kendal Jensen, M3


Jensen KJ, Alpini G, Glaser S. 2013. Hepatic nervous system and neurobiology of the liver. Compr Physiol. (2):655-65. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c120018 Jensen K, Afroze S, Ueno Y, Rahal K, Frenzel A, Sterling M, Guerrier M, Nizamutdinov D, Dostal DE, Meng F, Glaser SS. 2013. Chronic nicotine exposure stimulates biliary growth and fibrosis in normal rats. Dig Liver Dis. pii: S1590-8658(13)00098-4. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2013.02.023 Renzi A, DeMorrow S, Onori P, Carpino G, Mancinelli R, Meng F, Venter J, White M, Franchitto A, Francis H, Han Y, Ueno Y, Dusio G, Jensen KJ, Greene JJ Jr, Glaser S, Gaudio E, Alpini G. 2013. Modulation of the biliary expression of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase alters the autocrine proliferative responses of cholangiocytes in rats. Hepatology; 57(3):1130-41. doi: 10.1002/hep.26105 Jensen K, Nizamutdinov D, Guerrier M, Afroze S, Dostal D, Glaser S. 2012.. General mechanisms of nicotine-induced fibrogenesis. FASEB J.;26(12):4778-87. doi: 10.1096/fj.12206458 Alicia Leahy, G3 Alicia is currently in Geneva, Switzerland doing a six month internship at the WHO Division of Food Safety, Zoonotic Diseases, and Environmental Health. Luke Potts, M4 Hein TW, Potts LB, Xu W, Yuen JZ, Kuo L. 2012. Temporal development of retinal arteriolar endothelial dysfunction in procine type 1 diabetes. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 3;53(13):7943-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-11005. John Reneau, May 2013 Graduate Lee RH, Yoon N, Reneau JC, Prockop DJ. 2012. Preactivation of human MSCs with TNF-a enhances tumor-suppressive activity. Cell Stem Cell. 7;11(6):825-35. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.10.001. Gavin Roddy, May 2013 Graduate Oh JY, Lee RH, Yu JM, Ko JH, Lee HJ, Ko AY, Roddy GW, Prockop DJ. 2012. Intravenous mesenchymal stem cells prevented rejection of allogeneic corneal transplants by aborting the early inflammatory response. Mol Ther.;20(11):2143-52. doi: 10.1038/mt.2012.165. Shelby Steinmeyer, G2 Gave an oral Presentation at the annual American Association of Immunologists: “Microbiata metabolite regulations of pattern recognition receptor activation in dendriti cells.� Mr. Steinmeyer was awarded a $750 travel grant by AAI to attend the conference in Honolulu, HI.


Shelby also submitted an F30 NRSA Individual Fellowship Application that received a very good score. We are hoping that now that NIH is open for business again that he receives an award notice soon. Joseph Tingling, M4 Tingling JD, Bake S, Holgate R, Rawlings J, Nagsuk PP, Chandrasekharan J, Schneider SL, Miranda RC. 2013. CD24 Expression Identifies Teratogen-Sensitive Fetal Neural Stem Cell Subpopulations: Evidence from Developmental Ethanol Exposure and Orthotopic Cell Transfer Models. Horm Behav. 63(2):222-30. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.06.002 Carnahan MN, Veazey KJ, Muller D, Tingling JD, Miranda RC, Golding MC. Identification of cell-specific patterns of reference gene stability in quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction studies of embryonic, placental and neural stem models of prenatal ethanol exposure. Alcohol. 47(2):109-20. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2012.12.003 Joel Turtle, G1 Joel was awarded a prestigious 3 year HEEP Foundation Fellowship in support of his Ph.D. work as a neuroscience graduate student in the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience Tiana Endicott-Yazdani, M3 Attended the American Physician Scientist Association meeting in Chicago this April. Tiana has also published the following paper. Elfenbein JR, Endicott-Yazdani T, Porwollik S, Bogomolnaya LM, Cheng P, Guo J, Zheng Y, Yang HJ, Talamantes M, Shields C, Maple A, Ragoza Y, Deatley K, Tatsch T, Cui P, Andrews KD, McClelland M, Lawhon SD, Andrews-Polymenis H. 2013. Novel Determinants of Intestinal Colonization of Salmonella enterica Serotype Typhimurium Identified in Bovine Enteric Infection. Infect Immun. 81(11):4311-20. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00874-13.

M.D./Ph.D. Summer Newsletter 2013  
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