Featured Story: Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Grant

CBU prides itself on effective and enjoyable teaching. An integral part of such teaching is having the students perform research internships. In recognition of this, all science majors at CBU are required to do either a senior research project or an internship. There are different ways for students to perform their research: with a CBU professor, with a researcher at another local institution such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), or with a researcher participating in grant funded research anywhere in the U.S.

In addition to the above opportunities, CBU is pleased to provide an excellent opportunity to do this research via internships at sites in Brazil, Uganda, or Kenya with all expenses paid and a stipend through a Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This is a major collaborative project involving CBU, and other regional academic institutions that started in 2000. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, CBU Professor of Biology, is the program director, Mrs. Julia Hanebrink, CBU Adjunct Lecturer of Behavioral Sciences, is the program coordinator aided by Mr. Dustin James as assistant coordinator. There is also an advisory board that consists of faculty from the University of Memphis, Rhodes College, University of Tennessee Health Science Center Memphis and LeMoyne Owen College. These faculty assist in the recruitment of students locally at their institutions. The summer research projects allow students to assist underserved individuals in Brazil, Uganda, and Kenya. Students and faculty travel to these countries to conduct research on health related projects that benefit the native populations. US students also work closely with faculty in foreign university sites. Approximately 15 students participate in this MHIRT program each year in the summer after having participated in preparation workshops the prior spring.

The most wonderful things happen as a result of these summer research experiences. Students go on to graduate programs in dentistry, medicine, public health, and biological sciences. Some dedicate their lives to helping others by setting up non-profit organizations, or working with the foreign sites. All continue to be globally involved. It is wonderful for our students to have this life altering experience. Deadline for applications this year is December 31, 2012. For more information, visit the MHIRT website.

Featured Alum: Hannah Shackelford, MHIRT 2007 and Biology 2008: Graduate Student Goes to China

Hannah Shackelford in China

This is from an original article written by Dr. Judith Cole and Hannah Shackelford for the Biology Newsletter at the University of Memphis. It is printed here with their permission.

Hannah Shackelford is currently working on her Master of Science degree at the University of Memphis with Dr. Kent Gartner, a long time collaborator of Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald and Dr. Mary Ogilvie. Hannah went to Shanghai during the summer of 2010 and the following is a description of her trip.

During my summer in Shanghai, China in 2010, I studied at Shanghai Jao Tong University, School of Medicine in Dr Junling Liu’s laboratory. Dr. Liu was a former post-doctoral fellow of Dr. Gartner. Dr Liu’s lab is in the Department of Hematology, and he specializes in platelets. During my time in the lab, I was able to participate in many experiments including bone marrow transplantation in mice following irradiation, immunohistochemical analysis of blood vessels, and the effects of anti-thrombotic drugs on tumor metastasis. Studying in Dr Liu’s lab was a great experience. Not only was it interesting to see scientific research performed at an advanced institution, it was a unique experience to see it performed by individuals of another culture.

In addition to learning useful laboratory techniques, I was able to spend some time exploring several Chinese cities. My mother and two sisters came to visit, and we toured areas of Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. We climbed The Great Wall of China, observed the Terracotta Warriors and walked through sacred areas like the Summer Palace and Forbidden City. We even had the chance to visit a typical Chinese home to see how the people live. It was surreal to stand in historical places you have seen many times in photographs or on television, and thanks to the connections at the University of Memphis I was given the opportunity to do so. It was a summer that I will never forget.

Featured Alums: Some of the recent MHIRT participants

MHIRT Alumni Update

Dr. Antonio Padua Carobrez came to Memphis on November 10th for a few days prior to the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego California. He gave two lectures while in town, one at the University of TN Health Science Center (UTHSC) to first year medical students and one at CBU. The purpose of these lectures was to help recruit students to the MHIRT program. Also while he was in Memphis, a dinner was held at Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald’s house and several MHIRT alumni attended. It was an opportunity for the students that had been to Florianopolis , Brasil to catch up and visit with Dr. Carobrez.

Pictures from left to right are:

  1. Jennifer Paxson Saputra, Biology CBU 2006, MHIRT 2005. Jennifer is currently working on her PhD at the UTHSC in Neuroscience with Dr. John Boughter.
  2. Annette Diggs, Biology U of M, 2006, MHIRT 2005. For the past three years, Annette has worked at Cargill as a qualitative management chemist. She is currently applying to pharmacy school.
  3. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Dr. Padua Carobrez
  4. Ashley Miller, Biology CBU, 2006, MHIRT 2004. After graduating from CBU, Ashley worked as a LaSallian volunteer in Providence RI. When she returned to Memphis she worked in the admissions department at CBU as an admissions counselor for three years. She is currently in the masters program in epidemiology at UTHSC, Memphis.
  5. Phong Nugyen, Biology UT Martin 2009, MHIRT 2008. Phouongdinh Nguyen graduated from UTM and worked full time as a research assistant at UTHSC. She is currently in nursing school at UTHSC and working part time as a research assistant in Dr. Anton Reiner’s laboratory.
  6. Vanessa Walker, Biology CBU 2011, MHIRT 2010. Vanessa is currently finishing her BS degree at CBU. She presented her research at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in November 2010.
  7. Ting Wong, Biology CBU, 2010, MHIRT 2009. Ting is currently working at UTHSC full time as a research assistant in Dr. Anton Reiner’s laboratory, while she considers her graduate school options.
  8. Vicky Ruleman, Biology Vanderbilt 2010, MHIRT 2010. Vicky is currently a first year medical student at UTHSC, Memphis.