The eighth annual DMU Research Symposium, held December 7, successfully brought together a record-breaking 70 poster presentations, four student oral presentations, a globally focused keynote speaker on environmental conditions and cardiovascular disease, and nearly 550 attendees from DMU and the surrounding medical and scientific community.
The symposium provided students and researchers the opportunity to discuss their current research projects in the areas of movement science, education, public health and biomedical science. Even students from Des Moines Public Schools presented research.
Jeffrey Gray, Ph.D., DMU vice president of research and global initiatives, stated, “DMU is a leader in its research culture and environment. This symposium demonstrates the strong research that is occurring on the DMU campus and in our community.”
The keynote speaker, Melissa Burroughs Pen᷉a, M.D., M.S., presented “Environmental Exposures and Cardiovascular Disease – A Challenge for Health Equity Worldwide,” in which she spoke about the impact of air pollution on heart health. An assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at University of California-San Francisco, Dr. Burroughs Pen᷉a has a focus on improving heart health in Latin America through research and health policy. Her distinguished background includes assessing cardiovascular risk factors and barriers to health in multiple settings throughout Peru.
Several alumni attended the event, including John Fell, D.O.’88, and Steven Herwig, D.O.’78. “We didn't have anything like this when we were students,” Dr. Herwig said.
Research awards also were presented to DMU faculty and clinicians for research and scholarly accomplishments in the past year. Dr. Gray recognized individuals for submitting their first research proposal submitted, most collaborations with other departments within one grant proposal, various levels of funding, and more light-hearted awards such as the longest and shortest proposal titles and most mentions in external news stories.
Students received awards for the oral and poster presentation competition. DMU faculty and staff judged the posters on technical, visual and presentation aspects and the oral presentations on their submitted abstracts.
Student Presentation Award Winners
Graduate Oral Presentation
- Pallavi Mukherji, D.O.’20 – “Methylation Levels at Growth Differentiation Factor-15 Related CpG Sites Are Not Related to Death Risk from Cardiovascular Disease: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Twin Study.” Mentor: Jun Dai, Ph.D., M.D., M.Sc., associate professor of public health, DMU
Graduate Poster Presentations
- Biomedical Science: Sean McNitt, D.O.’20 – “Generation of Mice with a Loss of Function of the Cytosolic Branched Chain Aminotransferase 1 (BCAT1) in T cells: Breeding Strategy.” Mentor: Elitsa Ananieva-Stoyanova, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and nutrition, DMU
- Education: Michelle Mages – “Effect of Participation on a Short-term Medical Service Trip on Cultural Competence in Health Care Professional Students.” Mentor: John Rovers, Pharm.D., professor of pharmacy practice, Drake University
- Movement Science: Daniel Larson, D.P.T.’18 – “Cervical Pain Threshold and Quality of Life Impairments in Subjects with Sinus Headaches.” Mentor: Shannon Petersen, P.T., D.Sc.P.T., OCS, FAAOMPT, COMT, associate professor of physical therapy, DMU
- Public Health: Sophia Hackman, D.O.’19, M.P.H.’21 – “Evaluation of the Emergency Department Fast Track to Reduce Patient Length of Stay.” Mentor: Clint Hawthorne, M.D., UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
Undergraduate Poster Presentations
- Biomedical Science: Neil Febel, Drake University – “Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Inhibition by Co-Administration of Acyclovir and the Telomerase Inhibitor MST-312.” Mentor: Marie Nguyen, Ph.D., associate professor, microbiology and immunology, DMU
- Education: Kieran Severa, Drake University – “Analysis of Publications and Funding for a Small Health Sciences University Over a Three-Year Period.” Mentor: Jeffrey Gray, Ph.D., vice president of research and global initiatives, DMU
- Movement Science: Kristina Sturdevant, Mercy College – “Effect of Tai Chi on Stiff Knee Gait Post Total Knee Arthroplasty.” Mentor: Kathy Mercuris, P.T., D.H.S., associate professor of physical therapy, DMU
Part of DMU's 2017 Year in Review
A look back at some of the DMU's accomplishments and highlights from the year.