Teresita Bellido, Ph.D., started as the new chair of our department on July 1. Things may look a little different right now, but we are excited that she is here! Welcome Dr. Bellido! We are excited about the future of our department.
Congratulations to Dr. Larry Cornett, Director of the INBRE program at UAMS as well as Dr. Jerry Ware, INBRE Program Coordinator and Professor, Department of Physiology for receiving funding for the next 5 years. See the UAMS News article for more information.
Roy Morello, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the departments of Physiology & Biophysics, Orthopaedic Surgery and Division of Genetics, and John L. Carroll, M.D., a Professor of Pediatrics and Physiology & Biophysics (James H. Hamlen II Endowed Chair in Pediatric Pulmonology), have just published a new manuscript entitled: “Respiratory Defects in the CrtapKO mouse model of osteogenesis imperfecta” in the American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.
This work demonstrates intrinsic respiratory system defects in a mouse model of osteogenesis imperfecta and provides a physiological explanation for the respiratory distress in the neonatal period and the progressive impairment in adult pulmonary function tests that is often observed in individuals with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI or brittle bone disease). The research is supported by NIH funds (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health) and by the UAMS College of Medicine Research Scholar Pilot Grant Award in Child Health.
Other co-authors of this research were Drs. Milena Dimori, Melissa E. Heard-Lipsmeyer, Richard C. Kurten, Stephanie D. Byrum, and Samuel D. Mackintosh.
Dr. Morello was invited to present the data at the Annual Meeting of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation (OIF) to be held in Chicago on April 1-3, 2020, however, the meeting was postponed to the fall due to the COVID-19 emergency. Dr. Morello has a long-term relationship with the OIF, who supported him in the past during his post-doctoral research and regularly invites him to attend its annual research meetings. Dr. Morello also accepted the invitation to join this year’s OIF Medics on the March Fundraiser during which members of the OI medical community will walk for 50 miles in two days to raise awareness for OI. To learn more and make a donation, please visit:
Three graduate students affiliated with our Cell Biology & Physiology (CBP) Track faculty presented their research at the Annual UAMS Student Research Day this past Tuesday (March 10, 2020).
Iad Alhallak (breast cancer), Caitlin Caperton (thyroid cancer) and Seunghyun Jung (nanoparticles/neural differentiation) talked about their recent findings from work carried out with mentors Drs. Rosie Simmen, Aime Franco/Jerry Ware and Rob Griffin, respectively.
The UAMS Research Day is a campus-wide venue for graduate and professional students, postdocs, and medical staff/fellows to present their research to peers and faculty and to learn about potential areas of collaboration.
It looks like something conjured by the imagination, or perhaps an other-worldly landscape. But an award-winning artistic image actually has roots in the laboratory and creative minds of researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
Brian Storrie, Ph.D., a professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and research associate Irina Pokrovskaya, M.S., used 3D renderings from sophisticated microscopic imaging techniques to create a winning entry in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) 2019 BioArt competition.
Though it evokes a surreal world, the image actually shows a thrombus, or blood clot, that has formed inside the jugular vein of a mouse to close a puncture and stop bleeding. An aggregation of blood platelets appears as a wispy, pale purple cap over the reddish, globular mass of erythrocytes (red blood cells) within. Beneath the clot, the punctured jugular vein appears as a wavy pink and brown field. In the background, the lumen, or interior space inside the vein, appears black.
The UAMS researchers collaborated with Kenny Ling, B.S., Yajnesh Vedanaparti, B.S., Maria A. Aronova, Ph.D., and Richard D. Leapman, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) in Bethesda, Maryland, on the artistic project, and with additional collaborators at the NIBIB and the University of Kentucky in Lexington on studies that led to it.
“The actual image comes from playing with 3D renderings from 4,000 sequential cross section (images) of a five-minute post-wounding thrombus,” Storrie explained. “The cross-sections are spaced just 200 nanometers, or 0.2 microns, apart. Different layers of the structure can be made more or less transparent or translucent, and layers can be colored as wished.”
The genesis of the artwork was research into human platelet activation using ex vivo (outside of an organism) experiments. Storrie and colleagues at UAMS, the NIBIB and the University of Kentucky published two papers in the journal Blood Advances in 2018. The collaborators went on to consider what platelets do in vivo, or in the body, to form a thrombus to stop bleeding. The standard thinking had been that platelets form a plug that fills the hole of a wound, and the researchers began to explore this concept, working initially with mouse puncture wound samples produced by Tim Stalker, Ph.D., of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and later with samples produced at UAMS.
At the NIBIB, the team produced 20 image sets, each consisting of thousands of micrographs across individual thrombi, using a serial block face imaging electron microscope and then rendered into 3D images. At UAMS, the team produced an additional 15 image sets using wide area transmission electron microscopy, stitching together hundreds of individual electron micrographs at selected depths within a thrombus to yield highly detailed subcellular imaging at a resolution of 3 nanometers.
Storrie and his colleagues are working to document their findings. An initial short article on platelet activation state was published in Blood in November 2019, and subsequent detailed manuscripts are being prepared to highlight bleeding cessation mechanisms, the activation state of individual platelets in a forming thrombus, and the structural organization of thrombi. Ultimately, their work could yield valuable information for potential therapeutic targets for preventing life-threatening blood clots.
In the process of pursuing scientific knowledge, the researchers found the opportunity for a creative diversion, and the result was the entry in the FASEB BioArt contest. Storrie emphasized that the NIBIB’s Kenny Ling and UAMS’ Irina Pokrovskaya also had lead roles in the endeavor.
“There is much satisfaction in realizing that what is true of us can be captured in a beautiful and striking image,” Storrie said. “This is a team effort, and my congratulations to the team.”
Dr. Teresita Bellido, incoming Chair of Physiology and Biophysics, has been named Arkansas Research Alliance Scholar. https://news.uams.edu/2019/12/05/uams-researcher-teresita-bellido-named-ara-scholar/
Dr. Bellido will begin her role as Chairman of Physiology and Biophysics on July 1, 2020
Great Holiday Party hosted by Leoamie Jefferson and the students of Physiology and Biophysics. Food, Fellowship, and loads of Fun and Games set a Joyous atmosphere for all!
The Annual Physiology and Biophysics Halloween Potluck was Spooktacular! Thank you to Leoamie Jefferson for a boo-tiful job planning fun and games and fellowship–she even brought Trick or Treaters.
Adam Corken, Postdoctoral Fellow, transformed the hallway and break room in to a bone-chilling dark and creepy spider’s den to set the atmosphere. Adam was also amongst a 3-way tie for best dish with his vegetarian chili along with Dr. Jerry Ware’s wife’s guacamole and Nisreen Akel’s delicious hummus.
Our best costume winner this year was Elisabeth Davis who dressed as a mystical chef. Department faculty, staff, and guests had a creepy time and look forward to more ghoulishly delightful food and fun in 2020. Enjoy the pictures!
The 2019 Phillip L. Rayford Memorial Scholarship winner is Maya Merriweather. Maya received a Bachelors in Biology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2017. She is a member of Student Advocacy Council and is Vice President of the Edith Irby Jones Chapter of Student National Medical Association. She is also the recipient of the 2018 AMDPA Joe Hargrove Scholarship Award.
Maya is a second year medical student at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences and has worked on a research project under the guidance of Dr. Mauricio Moreno, M.D., of the UAMS Department of Otolaryngology. Maya’s research project includes gathering data to analyze surgical success rates and evaluating the quality of life for patients.
Congratulations are in order to Pankaj Patyal who was awarded first place for his poster presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Arkansas Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience held on Sept. 30, 2019 at UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. The title of the presentation is “The wmN1 Enhancer Region of the Mouse Myelin Proteolipid Protein Gene (mPlp1) is Indispensable for Expression of an mPlp1-lacZ Transgene in both the CNS and PNS.” Pankaj is a fifth-year doctoral student with Dr. Patty Wight, Professor in our Department.