Discoveries on Display
PPS Research Symposium Brings Together Student, Postdoc and Faculty Researchers for
August 29 — Undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral associates from UHCOP and across UH shared their latest research findings and engaged with peers and faculty members at the 2022 PPS Research Symposium hosted by the UHCOP Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences Aug. 10-11.
Among the highlighted segments of the program were podium and poster presentations by Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers representing the college's subdisciplines of medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics and pharmacology, as well as Pharm.D. students and undergraduate students working in UHCOP laboratories. The presented projects ranged spanned the areas of infectious diseases, cancer, inflammation, acute spinal cord injury, and a myriad of diseases and disorders within the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and renal systems.
At the closing of the symposium, awards were bestowed on the highest scoring students and postdoctoral researchers as determined by a panel of judges:
Graduate Student Poster Presentation — First Place to Kavya Mathukumalli for "Targeting TAK1 signaling in Rhabdomyosarcoma," and Second Place to Jacob McPherson for "Functional and Metagenomic Evaluation of Ibezapolstat for Early Evaluation of Anti-Recurrence Effects in Clostridioides difficile Infection."
Graduate Student Oral Presentation — First Place to Mehrdad Rajaei for "β2AR-Gαs and β2AR-βarr2 Fusion Proteins for Studying β2AR Biased Signaling in Heart Failure," and Second Place to Brianna Eales for "Impact of an iron chelator on in vitro and in vivo growth of A. baumannii."
Postdoctoral Oral Presentation — First Place to Lianjie Miao, Ph.D., for "Tunneling Nanotube-Like structures regulate distant cellular interactions during heart formation," and Second Place to Arfaxad Reyes-Alcarez, Ph.D., for "A Small Molecule that in vitro Neutralizes Infection of SARS-CoV-2 and its most Infectious Variants, Delta, and Omicron."
The program featured a scientific lecture ("Molecular Regulation of Cardiac Function, Regeneration and Disease") and career talke ("Enjoying the Journey Along Your Career Path") by its 2022 Scholar-in-Residence, Da-Zhi Wang, Ph.D., FAHA, University of South Florida professor of medicine, director of the USF Health Heart Institute's Center for Regenerative Medicine, and Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research.
Over the past two decades, Wang’s research has increasingly focused on non-coding RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), to understand how they regulate gene expression in the normal and diseased heart. He was among the first to recognize the importance of miRNAs in the regulation of muscle gene expression. Research from his lab has generated over 100 publications in well-respected journals, including Nature, Cell, and Nature Genetics, and he is a recognized world leader in the study of heart development, cardiac function and cardiovascular disease.
Held at the UH MD Anderson Library's Rockwell Pavilion, this year's event was the first fully in-person department symposium since 2019.