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September 2011 GSO News

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Volume 3, Issue 1
  • The GSO News

    Volume 3, Issue 1, September-October 2011

    Inside this Issue

    Welcome Back from the GSOPresident

    2011/12 GSO Officers

    Student: Frank Spradley

    Student: Courtney McCraken

    Alumna: Yewei Xing

    Graduate Student Fundraiser:Sell Out to help theChildrens Medical Center

    Welcoming New Students

    GSO Fall Camping Trip 2011

    Games: Word Search










    Welcome Back from the GSO PresidentIts the beginning of a new academic year and the Graduate Student Organization is off to a great start! Thus far we have gotten to know many of the new students at a Luau that was graciously hosted by Dr. Ergul, a camping trip, and an infor-mal happy hour or two. GSO has also jumped right into community service in-volvement with helping to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Founda-tions Walk to Cure Diabetes as well as for the local charity, Bundles of Books.

    In following with the traditions of the Graduate Student Organization our goals for this upcoming year are to continue to enhance the overall com-munication among the graduate student body in various programs, as well as to further increase the awareness of our organization on campus. With the pres-ence of two graduate students now on

    the Student Government Association board, in addition to many SGA rep-resentatives throughout the programs within the College of Graduate Studies, now more than ever we hope to get to know, and become more involved with students across this campus. The op-portunities that present themselves for involvement at the campus-wide level will provide for students to get a feel for the larger university that we are all a part of and everything that there is to be offered from such an enterprise.

    On behalf of the GSO and my fellow of-ficers and SGA representatives, I would

    like to encourage you to get involved in those things that interest you and truly experience the resources that are around you in your time here. Good luck for a successful academic year and I look for-ward to seeing each of you at many of the upcoming events that we have planned.

    Colleen CareyGSO President

    2011/12 GSOOfficersAshish Gurav and NamitaHattangady

    In addition to the GSO presidents wel-come note, the GSO officers would also

    like to take the opportunity to briefly

    introduce themselves. Here the officers

    provide you with some basic informa-tion about themselves, their research at GHSU and the goals they are eager to achieve within this academic year.

    ...to Officers, pg. 2



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  • The GSO News 2

    ...from Officers, pg. 1

    President Colleen Carey:

    I am a 4th year student in the Department of Genomic Medicine. As part of Dr. Jin-Xiong Shes Lab I am currently attempt-ing to identify novel anti-cancer therapeu-tics with little to no effect on the immune system as well as to identify the targets for these compounds and to understand their underlying mechanism of action with regards to cancer. My goals for GSO for this year are to continue the growth of the organization both within the College of Graduate Studies and the University as a whole. This will be accomplished by continuing our representation of the Graduate Student body with regards to various issues on campus, as well as community service and social activities.

    Vice President Anil Bhatta:

    I am a 3rd year Pharmacology student in Dr. R. William Caldwells lab. My research interest is to define the role of

    diabetes induced arginase activity in vascular smooth muscle cell prolifera-tion and fibrosis. My goals as an officer

    this year are to 1) increase the involve-ment of GSO in on-campus and com-munity events, 2) serve as a GHSU Representative to raise your voice/con-cerns involving various housekeeping...to Officers, pg. 3

    Frank SpradleyMargaret Zimmerman

    Frank Spradley is a 6th year student in the Vascular Biology program. He is originally from Aiken, SC, where he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina Ai-ken. The decision to come to GHSU was based on the recommendation of an alumni undergraduate professor. This year Frank will be spending his time writing his dissertation, and has already accepted a post-doctoral posi-tion with Dr. Joey Granger at the Uni-versity of Mississippi Medical Center.Franks decision to work in the Vascular Biology Center under Dr. Jennifer Pol-lock started when he got to know her during her Biochemistry lectures. He wanted to join Dr. Pollocks lab because she was a high caliber researcher who blended biochemistry techniques with whole-animal studies to assess mecha-nisms of disease. Franks project has been to assess the mechanisms that re-sult in blood vessel dysfunction in hy-pertension, specifically by examining

    the mechanisms of how high-fat diets in-duce hypertension in rats. Additional fo-cus has been placed on how endothelial cells and perivascular adipose tissue reg-ulate vascular function in rats on high-fat diets. His research has also extended to the kidney, to assess mechanisms of high-fat diet-induced renal injury.

    During his time at GHSU, Frank has maintained an excellent research record. He has received two awards from the Col-lege of Graduate Studies, including the Fisher Scientific Award, and is currently

    funded by a pre-doctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. He has given three oral presentations and eight poster presentations at nation-al meetings, winning three travel awards to attend those meetings. He currently has one publication and one in revision.

    When reflecting on his time in the grad-uate program, Frank has found that the most rewarding part of it was participat-ing in Physiology Understanding Week. This program allows scientists to go into elementary schools and speak with the kids about life as a scientist and the im-portance of studying human disease. For new scientists in the program, Franks advice would be to not only enjoy the...to Frank, pg. 6


  • The GSO News 3

    ...from Officers, pg. 2

    issues to the larger graduate student body within the University System of Georgia, 3) take advantage of the cultural diversity of GHSUs students, faculty and staff and organize an International/Inter-cultural Event as an opportunity for all of us to learn about the culture, food, religion, etc. of our friends and/or colleagues.

    SecretaryJuan Mo:

    I am a 3rd year Cell Biology PhD stu-dent in Dr. Sally Athertons lab. My re-search interests lie in understanding the relationship of apoptosis and autophagy during murine cytomegalovirus retini-tis. My goals as GSO Secretary for this year are to establish better communica-tion between students in different years and programs, and to contribute to plan-ning and organizing GSO activities.

    TreasurerDavies Agyekum:

    I am a 4th year Molecular Medicine student in Dr. Steffen Meilers lab. My research concerns the development of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of Beta-hemoglobinopathies including sickle cell disease. My goal as the trea-surer for GSO this year is to continue delivering good oversight of the finances

    of GSO to ensure our ability to provide excellent amenities to our student body.

    Social ChairAshley Wilson:

    I am a 2nd year student in Dr. David Kozlowskis Lab. My research studies the molecular mechanisms underlying zebrafish ear hair cell regeneration and

    re-enervation. ...to Officers, pg. 5

    CURRENT STUDENT SPOTLIGHTCourtney McCrakenDavies Agyekum

    4th year GHSU graduate student, Court-ney MacCraken, is pursuing a PhD in Biostatistics under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Looney in the Department of Biostatistics. Having already completed a masters degree here at GHSU, the Kentucky native is now entering her final stages of completing a doctorate

    degree in Biostatistics. Courtneys am-bition to go to graduate school led her to GHSU, where she found the unique program offering post-graduate degrees in biostatistics. The program not found at the many universities located in the state of Georgia offered her a unique blend of affordability, a competitive fi-nancial package with fewer distractions.

    In her four years in the PhD program, Courtney has already amassed 7 co-

    author publications. Her thesis topic concerns the methodology utilized in left-censored data. Left-censored data is data that is unobserved but known to fall below a certain censoring point. Courtney says, one of the major goals...to Courtney, pg. 6


    Yewei XingNamita Hattangady

    Yewei Xing graduated as one of the many successful and accomplished stu-dents of GHSU. She was a student of

    Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D. in Dr Wil-liam Raineys laboratory in the Depart-ment of Physiology for six years and defended her thesis in August 2010. Her graduate research focused on exploring the regulatory mechanisms of adrenal steroid production in adrenal zonation and lipoprotein regulation of aldosterone synthesis in humans. Some of the factors that led Yewei to choose Dr. Raineys lab were her interest in the area of research, the lab environment and good funding.

    Yewei is originally from China and joined GHSU for its areas of research, the friendly people and the warm weath-er of Augusta. While at GHSU, she has had several achievements to her credit. She is the first author on five publica-tions and shares authorship on several more. Yewei has also been the recipient ...to Yewei, pg. 6

  • The GSO News

    Kate Buckley

    The MCGHealth Childrens Medical Center (CMC) is this areas only hospital dedicated completely to the care

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