Physiology student wins spot in thesis competition to represent Wayne State


Nicholas Adzibolosu, M.B.B.S., is a doctoral student in the Department of Physiology.

A doctoral student in the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Physiology won the Three-Minute Thesis Competition, held March 8 at the 2023 WSU Graduate Research Symposium.

Nicholas Adzibolosu’s presentation, “Developing Personalized Medicine for Ovarian Cancer,” won him a spot to represent Wayne State in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Three-Minute Thesis Competition, to be held March 31 in Chicago.

Participants in Three-Minute Thesis, or 3MT, present their research in a compelling oration of three minutes or less using a single slide. The winner is decided by the audience. The competition was created by the University of Queensland in 2008.

Adzibolosu is a third-year doctoral student advised by Gil Mor, M.D., Ph.D., the John M. Malone Jr. M.D., endowed chair and scientific director of the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development, and vice chair for Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Sorin Draghici, professor of Computer Science in the WSU College of Engineering.

Adzibolosu holds a M.B.B.S. degree from Kwame Nkrumah University in Zambia. He trained and practiced as a physician in Ghana, where he developed a keen interest in reproductive sciences, including the physiology of pregnancy and its complications.

“My clinical duties involved taking care of patients with complications of pregnancy as well as some gynecological malignancies, including ovarian cancer,” Adzibolosu said. “During that time, I quickly learned that there was a need for more research in these fields to help improve patient survival from these conditions. Therefore, I searched for Ph.D. programs in Physiology that offered concentration in the reproductive sciences, and I found that Wayne State University is one of the few schools that offered such a combination.”

He applied, was admitted, and began the doctorate program in winter 2021.

“I am privileged to learn from and work under the supervision of Dr. Gil Mor, who is an international expert in the fields of Reproductive Sciences and Immunology, as well as Dr. Sorin Draghici, a remarkable computer scientist and bioinformatician, also having expertise in the reproductive sciences. I receive outstanding support from both my advisors, and so I am elated to have won the 3MT competition to reward all the hard work I put in and the excellent advice I receive from my advisors,” Adzibolosu said.

Adzibolosu watches a labmate perform an experiment.

His doctoral thesis seeks to help improve patient survival from ovarian cancer, the deadliest of all cancers that can affect the female reproductive tract, he said. Most ovarian cancer patients initially respond to the current standard treatment, but the cancer recurs after a few months to a couple of years after initial treatment.

“It is this recurrent ovarian cancer that patients eventually succumb to. Thus, my thesis aims to understand why some ovarian cancer patients recur earlier than others, with the hope of using this knowledge to significantly delay – and eventually prevent – ovarian cancer recurrence,” he added. “We would also like to establish a novel set of markers that would enable us to predict very early after diagnosis – or immediately following initial chemotherapy – whether a patient will later experience early recurrence or late recurrence. We are hopeful that this will enable us to advise their physicians to give appropriate additional treatment to improve their survival.”

Adzibolosu also holds a master’s degree in Medical Sciences from Newcastle University in England, where he developed an additional interest in Bioinformatics and Artificial Intelligence for Medicine.

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