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S pri ng /Summ er 2011

Graduate The

 RESEARCH DAY ........ 2


Newsletter of the Wake Forest University

 Insurance Matters…….10


Up, Up and Away! By Bryan Wilson

When vexed with numerous responsibilities such as class work, presentations, proposals and grant submissions, it’s easy for graduate students to forget their superhero strength. The heavy load of graduate education can eat away at us, causing feelings of emptiness and sometimes overwhelmed emotions. However within each of us lies an innate superhero with the power and ability to persevere through times of difficulty. These endogenous skills are indeed birth rights granted to all students who seek to advance upon their knowledge through post-baccalaureate studies. Equally important, these superhero skill sets are of the same type that enabled us to get into the graduate student roles we now fill. In this issue of ―The Graduate‖, we rekindle the notion that graduate students are superheros with talents that span several discipline areas. We see that students at Wake Forest are busy planning and participating in various symposia and chairing biotechnology events. In addition we take a look into the personal lives of student soldiers who are not only fighting their way through the textbooks, but combatting for a better country in which we live. Interestingly, graduate students are breaking down barriers everyday and making their mark on society, which should constantly prompt us to remember that the talents that have brought us to this point will ultimately lead to our future success.

Suggestions? Have ideas or suggestions for the newsletter? Want to submit an article or an event? We want your feedback! Please contact Bryan Wilson at

Graduate Students and Postdocs Display Talents at the 11th Annual Graduate Student/Postdoc Research Day

The Eleventh Annual Wake Forest University Graduate Student & Postdoc Research Day was held on Tuesday, March 22, in Bridger Field House at BB&T Field. The event was hosted by the WFU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and was jointly sponsored by Targacept and the WFU Office for Technology and Asset Management.

More than 120 posters were presented, in research fields ranging from Psychology to Regenerative Medicine. A Hot Topics Community Forum presented by the graduate program in Bioethics followed the poster session.







Tanya Pinder



Jeremy Ward



Michael Crouse

Computer Science


Lawrence Blume



Bhavani Krishnan

Molecular Genetics


David Burmeister



Crystal Vechlekar



Lauren Pace



Sandeep Mannava



Kara Clissold



Jon Bougher

Documentary Films


Tiffany Waddell

Liberal Studies


Jennifer Jordan

Biomedical Engineering


Kerry Danelson

Biomedical Engineering


Austin Stone

Molecular Medicine


John Johnson



Sarman Hindo



Johannes Plate

Orthopedic Surgery





Post Doc

MCB: The Scoop on Track 4 By Daniel Stovall

The face of graduate education is changing here at Wake Forest University. All graduate programs have been reorganized into seven different ―tracks‖ on both the Reynolda and Bowman Gray campuses. On Reynolda, there is now Track 1 (Physics), Track 2 (Chemistry) and Track 3 (Biology). On Bowman Gray, four other tracks were formed: Track 4 (Molecular & Cellular Biosciences, or MCB); Track 5 (Integrated Physiology & Pharmacology); Track 6 (Neuroscience); and Track 7 (Biomedical Engineering). The most rigorous reorganization took place in Track 4, which now combines six biomedical graduate programs, including Molecular Medicine & Translational Science, Biochemistry, Molecular Pathology, Cancer Biology, Molecular Genetics, and Microbiology and Immunology. MCB will be directed by Dr. Roy Hantgan of Biochemistry. Dr Purnima Dubey will head up recruiting for the program, while Dr. Jason Grayson will oversee the curriculum. In an interview with Dr. Hantgan, I learned that the motivation for the restructuring of the graduate school stems from two primary sources: (1) students and (2) consults at other academic institutions. Recently, Wake Forest has experienced graduate students applying to multiple programs simultaneously, indicating a desire from applicants for options. When consulted, professors and administrators at other institutions indicated that an interdisciplinary design had benefited the overall quality of their graduate education. In the new MCB track, incoming students will all take one large master course, broken into two semesters and worth a total of twelve credits. This series covers topics in bio-

chemistry, molecular biology, cellular biology, and the pathology/physiology of organ systems. Further, the ten-day course originally offered as Biochemical Techniques is being revamped into Analytical Skills to cover a broader range of laboratory training. In addition to these courses, students will take three electives in their first year, worth two credits each. At the end of the first year, students will join one of the six graduate programs in the MCB and fulfill any additional coursework requirements from their department in the second year. Feelings about MCB from graduate students are mixed. When asked for comments about MCB, one graduate student responded that ―the common coursework will not be that much more beneficial than what is in place now.‖ Certainly, some students feel that the ability to go ahead and begin work on their area of interest was an advantage of the previous structure—and a somewhat unique finding in the realm of academic institutions today. Overall, however, students seem to be warming up to the idea of an interdisciplinary track of study. One student remarked that the restructuring of the curriculum would ―maximize educational benefit,‖ while another said it would ―prevent students from being stuck with a limited choice of mentors with funding."

1st Annual African Americans in Science Symposium (AAISS) By Ricquita Pollard In celebration of Black History Month, the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA), hosted its first African Americans in Science Symposium (AAISS). The event included posters highlighting key African American scientists who have made contributions to the science field. The BGSA plans to adopt this concept as an annual

event. In the future, they hope to include a guest speaker as well incorporating other disciplines and interactive components in the celebration of Black History Month. Below are some of the investigators/topics chosen for this year’s symposium.

“Key Scientists/Topics Highlighted” Ernest Just

Percy Julian

A pioneering African American biologist and science writer, Just's primary legacy is his recognition of the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms. He advocated the study of whole cells under normal conditions, rather than simply breaking them apart in a laboratory setting.

The first African-American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, Percy Julian was a pioneer in the synthesis of plant-based drugs. His work would lay the foundation for the steroid drug industry's production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and birth control pills.

HeLa Cells This commonly used cell line was derived from cervical cancer cells taken from Henrietta Lacks, a patient who eventually died of her cancer on October 4, 1951. This cell line was found to be remarkably durable and prolific in research and was the first human cell line to prove successful in-vitro.

From Soldier to Law Student By Jenny Hutcherson

Miranda’s résumé reads like a how-to guide on succeeding in the military. After graduating from college in 2004, Miranda enlisted as a Military Police Officer in the United States Army. During his five years in the Army, he was promoted from Platoon Leader to Battalion Training Officer to Assistant Operations Officer. He has been awarded two Bronze Stars, an Army Commendation Award, four Army Achievement Medals, a Combat Action Badge and an Air Assault Badge. Of all his achievements, Miranda says it is the Senior Parachutist Badge that he is most proud of: ―In general, when officers receive service awards, like a Bronze Star or Army Commendation, it is in recognition of some sort of overall accomplishment…I feel like those service awards of mine are really recognizing that I had the privilege of leading an exceptional team that made me look good. On the other hand, to earn my

Senior Parachutist Badge, I had to complete the Army’s Advanced Airborne School and perform a number of ―Jumpmaster‖ duties where I had to assume responsibility for the safety and effectiveness of Army Paratroopers during Airborne Operations (parachuting). This was one of the few truly individual awards that I earned and one that less than 1 percent of the Army will ever have the opportunity to wear.‖ Miranda is not just an exemplary soldier. His achievements stretch beyond the urban battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon being accepted to Wake Forest law school, Miranda was named as the recipient of one of the school’s most prestigious scholarships, based on his academic achievements and personal attributes.

Preparing our Troops By Jenny Hutcherson

Serving this country and saving lives doesn’t require dent a lot of lawyers would benefit from thinking of seeing active combat. Soldiers must be conditioned and judges as I think of Sergeant Majors.‖ disciplined before they leave for overseas missions, and Hillsley also makes clear that he had always planned to the responsibility of training them is a heavy one. go to law school, and had in fact already been accepted Dustin Hillsley is a first-year law student, Wake Forest to Wake Forest law school when he decided to enlist. University graduate and the recipient of one of the Uni- His motivation was multi-fold: versity’s most esteemed awards. He is also a Second Lieutenant and Infantry Platoon Leader in the Army. ―I believe in citizenship through service. The United Before being injured and honorably discharged, Hillsley States is free and affluent; the grace of living in such a was responsible for more than 200 soldiers, training society should come with the burden to protect it. …I them in infantry tactics, regulations, and garrison disci- wanted to challenge myself in a different way. The Inpline. His influence and guidance helped prepare the fantry requires physical strength and stamina, enduryoung men and women for the tasks and trials ahead of ance, will power, determination, commitment and discithem. Hillsley says that experience has served him well pline… Also, I think it’s hard to know what you’re really made of unless you push yourself until you find in law school. your limit. For most people, it vastly exceeds their ex―Military training emphasizes (among other attrib- pectation.‖ utes) respect and integrity,‖ Hillsley said. ―…I’m confi-

Clark Kent’s Fitness Corner The first part of your journey into your new body is to look at your past. Make a list of the eating patterns you have had over the past month. After writing your entire intake down, you will be surprised when you see that simple changes in your diet can dramatically influence your shape. Take notice of not only what you eat, but when you eat it. When you wake up in the morning, your blood glucose is very low and you crave the simple sugars that will spike your blood sugar in a short time. This is the time to realize that your first meal should prepare you for the rest of the day. Almost all nutritionists and trainers recommend foods that will be broken down slowly throughout the day such as eggs and foods with high bioavailability in protein. In addition, foods such as complex carbs like oatmeal or whole wheat cereals are also great options. Don’t be fooled by the front of the box though, look at the first few ingredients, they should be whole grain oats/wheat, and make sure they are unbleached. Also, the morning is the time to take a simple multivitamin, and also Omega-3 Fish Oils. Your fats should come from some sort of healthy oil like Krill, Flaxseed, Almonds, Borage, or any supplements that contain only Omega 3 fatty acids, which are beneficial at improving the cardiovascular system. Throughout the day you should split your lunch up into two or three separate meals. This will ensure your blood sugar stays constant and you get a steady supply of nutrients. During my day, I try to get in complex carbohydrates, like whole grains (brown rice), vegetables or vegetable supplements (like Low-Sodium V8 Juice), and fruits. Don’t be fooled though, fruits are beneficial to your health but they do contain simple sugars that are broken down very quickly in the GI system, so spread them out, and I try to center them around my workouts for a quick source of energy. Night time is the best time for slow-releasing proteins (like egg or casein) and ―good‖ fats, like almonds, fish oils, olive oil, etc….. If you do feel the need to eat carbohydrates please feel free to eat slow releasing carbs like black beans, whole wheats, spinach, or various other carbohydrates that will be released steadily throughout the night. I would like to emphasize that your diet (i.e. what you intake throughout the day) is more than half the battle

in getting your body into the shape you desire. As far as workouts go, you are the one that needs to decide what is suitable for yourself. There are many personal trainers out in the area, but not all certifications are the same. NSCA, ACE, ISSA, and ACSM are the nationally recognized certifications. The minimum requirements to even take the exam are a BS in Exercise Science (or related field) and a CPR/AED certification. I would question any other certifications, since anyone can get certified over the internet for around $30. Before starting a workout regimen you should be evaluated by a qualified instructor or M.D. for your current health. Also, in order to stick to your workout regimen it is most likely better to slowly integrate your workout into you daily regimen instead of going all out the first day. If you are intense the very first day you will most likely be sore the next day and have less motivation to continue. After a fitness evaluation, you should first learn how to correctly perform lifts that will be incorporated into your program. One correct lift is worth ten incorrect movements. Most programs start at the definition phase for gathering endurance and work down to the strength phase over a few months. To add as much definition in a limited amount of time I recommend performing 3 full-body workouts a week. Start with exercises that work many muscles (like deadlifts, squats, and bench press) and working down to the exercises that seem to focus on certain muscles, like curls for biceps. Also, it is better to go slow and controlled with a lesser weight than to cheat on exercises with a higher weight. By integrating healthier eating habits (like cutting out unnecessary sugars and fats) and starting a well-planned out workout regimen you should be on your way to a better self-image. Lastly, don’t put all your hopes on the scale, I only weigh myself once a month, I judge my improvements by increases in strength and better images in the mirror instead!

An example of a full body circuit to be preformed 3 times Leg Extension – 3x15 Leg Curls – 3x15 Tricep Pressdown – 3x15 Barbell Curl – 3x10 Core Work – V-Ups 3x10; Arm Bridges 3x30 seconds Leg Lifts - 3x15 seconds

Deadlift/Squat – 3 sets of 12 reps Pull-ups/Lat Pulldowns – 3x15 Bench Press (Dumbells or Barbell) – 3x10 Compound Row (Machine for Back) – 3x12 Dumbell Military Press – 3x10

Biotechnology Case Competition “A Chat With Erik Welker” - Conference Co-Chair By Bryan Wilson

This spring marked the 2nd year of the Wake Forest University Biotechnology Conference. The event featured seminars, a panel discussion on biotechnology and case competition presentations that were streamed live. Some of the universities participating included University of Texas at Austin, who won first place Massachusetts Insti-

tute of Technology (MIT), who came in second place and the University of California Berkley who won third place. While at the event, I ran into conference co-chair Erik Welker, a MBA student at the School of Business. We discussed his thoughts and excitement for the conference:

Bryan: How are you enjoying yourself at the conference thus far? Erik: Its been excellent , the speakers were informative and interesting, I felt like they brought a lot of ideas that made you stop and think in a lot of different view points so I was pretty happy with the turn out and speaker material. Bryan: Do you come from a science background? Erik: No I do not, im an MBA student, but I have been involved with it because I am the Healthcare Club President and I am one of the co-chairs for the conference. Bryan: So even though you do not possess a science background, you still have interests in healthcare, so do you see youself wanting a career in healthcare? Erik: Yes, my current job search is going in that direction. Bryan: What have you learned at the conference that you feel you can take away? Erik: Targacept is one of the companies we reached out to with this opportunity to be the case sponsor for our business competition, so in that regard we presented to them what we can do for them and they thought it was a geat idea to not only give back to the community and Wake Forest, but to find a solution for a future issue of theirs, so its kind of killing two birds with one stone. I think that’s one crucial thing, is to communicate to the case sponsor all of the benefits they are getting. Not only are they getting possible solutions to problems they may be having, but they are getting to network not only with business executives in the community or in the industry but also with these students who are up and comers with new ideas and great amounts of knowledge that potentially can be your future workforce. If they get to know your company, they may be more proactive in trying to get hired by you and that’s just an asset, so companies kind of get a behind the screen look at all of the future employees. Bryan: Right! The whole time I am viewing these presentations I have in the back of my mind, ―Oh wow‖ this is an interview. Erik: Definitely, this is of no cost to them, they don’t have to fly them here and their creating solutions specifically for their company. Here in the competition you have to be ready for everything, you may get a business question or science question. Bryan: Thank you so much for giving your thoughts about everything and the conference as a whole Erik: You’re welcome! Hopefully we can see you here next year!

“Spring Fling” - A Masquerade Affair! By Bryan Wilson

This year’s spring fling entailed a ―masquerade‖ theme. The event held on Saturday, April 16, 2011, took place at the Millenium Center in downtown Winston-Salem. As a semi-formal event, students participated in the masquerade tradition by wearing various masks to compliment their attire. Participating sponsors included the SGA, GSA and BGSA organizations. Proceeds from the events were used to support the Susan G. Komen’s ―Race For The Cure Campaign‖

Proceeds will be use to support the Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure

“Mentoring” - Key to a Hero’s Success! By Joe Wilkerson

Growing up I always loved Greek mythology. One of my favorite stories was Homer’s Odyssey, the epic tale of Odysseus’s journey home from the Trojan War. For years the hero outwits monsters, encounters spirits, is driven off course by malevolent powers, and even descends to the underworld. Since coming to Wake Forest I have seen graduate school as a kind of personal Odyssey: rowing with and against steady currents of work, being blown off course by academic and personal challenges, and attempting to find allies in my own depths.

things. What I feel is admiration, and what I think is, ―I want to be just like them!‖ This may sound child-like, but it helps me as an adult student, too. The myth (and experience) tells us why.

Admiring a mentor is more than being impressed by an experienced person: it is desire. We ―look up to‖ our mentors because they seem to convey, like Mentor himself, the brilliance, skill, insight, or wisdom of an Olympian, which we desire for ourselves. Our mentors are themselves mortal, but they do show us Athena. Today’s In the Odyssey the gods are always picking sides in hu- Athena is not a high and distant goddess, but the wisman affairs—some help the heroes, others cause trouble. dom and potential waiting to be claimed by each of us. One who helps is Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Mentors mirror deep capacities into which we may Sometimes she appears in the guise of Mentor, the wise grow, simply by being themselves. old man from whom we draw our word for an experienced guide. By manifesting as Mentor, Athena shares Whether or not you have a traditional mentor, I hope her wisdom with mortals and helps them find courage that during your graduate school odyssey you find an for new adventures. experienced person to admire. And in a quiet moment between engagements, ask yourself, ―Why do I look up In graduate school I have been fortunate to connect with to this person?‖ When the time is right, you may find wonderful mentors of my own. I can tell them apart that in looking up, you also have been looking in. from other teachers and experienced people because when I’m around them I often feel and think certain

Salute to all Spring 2011 Graduates!!

The Price of Saving Our Health By Ricquita Pollard - GSA Insurance Chair

Daily intakes of salads, foods rich in proteins, and a daily dose of Vitamin C may not be enough to combat nasopharyngitis or the overwhelming influx of pollen seen this spring. Further reliance is put into the hands of local health providers to diagnose the cause of constant sneezing, runny noses, or simply to treat a mouse bite from the lab. As students, it is difficult and often inopportune to take extra time away from our studies and lab responsibilities especially for an inflamed pinky toe or swollen lymph node, therefore, we put our trust in a policy that will examine health conditions, diagnose, and treat accordingly. Well, these are the expectations consistent with the amount of money that is invested either from personal paychecks or a close family member’s paycheck.

age, while 28% felt that it was too high along with a 68% approval rating for the health insurance providers. There were several open ended responses that illustrated the need to lessen or eliminate the amount of co-pay and to make amends to the Health Care provider list. All of the comments and concerns included in the survey are helpful in determining the best policy to use for Graduate Students during their matriculation at Wake Forest University.

Although the two campuses differ in their options for Health Care Providers, they are in sync with the requirement that all students must be insured upon enrollment. Since having health insurance is a requirement, it is in the best interest of students that the policy is in optimal condition. While it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritional foods, getting proper rest, drinking waAs a Graduate School requirement, students ter, and exercising about 30 minutes daily, some health conditions are unavoidable. Therefore, a at the Bowman Gray and Reynolda campus are to provide proof of insurance upon enrollment. Regood health policy will further eliminate the stress cently, a survey was conducted that allowed stuand burden of being ―under the weather.‖The dents to voice their opinions concerning the health Health Insurance Committee would like to thank insurance policy either offered by Blue Cross Blue those individuals who participated in the Insurance Shield, UnitedHealthcare, or other sources. The parMatters! survey which allows the Graduate School ticipation resulted in over 120 responses that conand other administrators to have insight on the poliveyed the need for several changes in the health cies available and make amendments accordingly. care policy. Responses included management strategies in order to afford the unexpected health To make your Graduate School experience the best costs as well as concerns for the future of health possible, feel free to solicit your opinions at anycare as it relates to student care within the within time, as the survey resulted in less than 20% particithe Graduate School. Other results included 53% of pation. the students felt that the cost of insurance was aver-

―Read a lot‖. Read everything you find interesting, inside and outside your field, and then read everything else. For creativity emerges from a combinatorial process in which information is rearranged and extrapolated at a s subconscious level‖ ~Dr. Douglas Green~


Bryan Wilson

Contributing Author

Ricquita Pollard

Contributing Author

Joe Wilkerson

Contributing Author

Daniel Stovall

Contributing Author

Jennifer Hutcherson

The Graduate Spring/Summer 2011 Newsletter  
The Graduate Spring/Summer 2011 Newsletter  

Graduate Student Newsletter for Spring and Summer 2011 - "The Superhero Edition"