Congrats to Undergraduate Scientists!

Undergraduates shine bright at Wayne State’s 9th annual Summer Research Symposium

Dr. Timothy Stemmler
Timothy Stemmler, Ph.D., interim vice president of Research.

After a three-year hiatus, the Wayne State University Department of Physiology and the Office of the Vice President of Research hosted their ninth annual Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium.

Fourteen student scientists aspiring in various disciplines across physiology presented their research. Among the presenters were McNairMARC and BUILD scholars as well as APS and SURF fellows, all members of rigorous and prestigious programs that give young and often underrepresented scholars a competitive edge.

Held Wednesday, Aug. 2, at the Margherio Family Conference Center, all participants — students, faculty, volunteers and attendees — were pleased and excited to resume this collaborative and impactful event.                   

Dr. Joseph Dunbar
Dr. Joseph Dunbar

Joseph Dunbar, Ph.D., professor and William T. Traitel Endowed Chair of Physiology, and director of medical student research and innovation in the School of Medicine.

 “To be able to return to this in-person event after three years was very rewarding,” said Joseph Dunbar, Ph.D., professor and William T. Traitel Endowed Chair of Physiology, and director of medical student research and innovation in the School of Medicine. “It’s great and rewarding to see our Warrior researchers present the projects they’ve worked so hard on. I’m proud of each and every one of them.”

Students presented both oral and poster presentations.



The oral presentations included:

  • Hannah Davis, SURF-PSL scholar mentored by Patrick Mueller
    • Relationship between left ventricular weight and blood pressure: Effects of exercise in rat model hypertension
  • Zawadi Mwangale, McNair scholar mentored by Andrew Speer
    • Exploring constructs affecting employee turnover intentions
  • Daniela Peredo, McNair scholar mentored by Christina Passos DeNicolo
    • I learned to love being Mexican
  • Braeden Milbrandt, BUILD scholar mentored by Angilique Outlaw
    • Incorporation of PrEP into BSB
    Elyas Khan

    Elyas Khan presenting, student volunteer mentored by Qingping Dou

  • Anna Murphy, APF fellow mentored by Patrick Mueller
    • Role of ovarian hormones on proBDNF levels in the rostral ventrolateral medulla: Influences related to neuronal plasticity and sympathetic control of blood pressure
  • Matthew Kijowski, SURF-PSL scholar mentored by Charles Chung
    • Expression of the epithelial sodium channel in high fat model

The first, second and third place winners for the oral presentations were Anna Murphy, Hannah Davis and Matthew Kijowski.

The poster presentations included:

  • Anita Abbo, SURF-PSL scholar mentored by Charles Chung
    • Myosin position in twitching intact cardiac trabeculae
  • Kulsoom Ali, SURF-SPL scholar mentored by Charles Chung
    • Physiological insights: Investigating sarcomere proteins in cardiac muscle of HCR and LCR rats
  • Martina Jwaida, SURF-PSL scholar mentored by Charles Chung
    • Exploring the effects of genepin and formalin on ultrasonic backscatter in rat hearts
    Matthew Kijowski

    Matthew Kijowski presenting, SURF-PSL scholar mentored by Charles Chung.

  • Elyas Khan, student volunteer mentored by Qingping Dou
    • Repurposing FDA-approved drugs as MLN64 inhibitors: Blacking the MLN64-cholesterol interaction for cancer therapies
  • Madelyn Maurer, SURF-BS scholar mentored by Michael Wilson
    • FBXW7 and its interacting partners
  • Freya Nath, student volunteer mentored by Patrick Mueller
    • Male and female sedentary rates display similar sized brainstems and rostral ventrolateral medullae (RVLM)
  • Jodi Protasiewicz, MARC scholar mentored by Robert Wessels
    • Characterizing and treating chronic muscle disuse in drosophila
  • Madelyn Yarema, BUILD scholar mentored by Maksymilian Chruszcz
    • Production of recombinant group 2 mite allergens biochemical and structural analysis

The seven winners of the Wayne State Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium.

First, second and third-place winners for the poster presentations were Anita Abbo, Madelyn Maurer and Freya Nath (tie), and Elyas Khan.

By Katheryn Kutil



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