Marshall School of Medicine welcomes undergraduate researchers for summer internships

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Sheanna M. Spence, Assistant Director, Alumni Affairs and Community Relations, School of Medicine, 304-691-1639

Marshall School of Medicine welcomes undergraduate researchers for summer internships

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Nearly 20 undergraduate students from 10 different institutions are spending the summer conducting biomedical research in laboratories at Marshall University. 

While at Marshall, the students are working in the university’s facilities on research projects important to the health of Appalachia, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, addiction-associated diseases, toxicology and immunological diseases. The students will present their research results at a symposium at the end of their nine-week program. 

“We are providing in-depth, mentored research opportunities for very talented undergraduates,” said Elsa I. Mangiarua, Ph.D., professor of biomedical sciences and director of the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, or WV-INBRE, program. “The programs also promote awareness of Marshall’s graduate degree programs and available careers in biomedical research.”

Participating in the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS), sponsored by the Office of Biomedical Research at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, are:

  • Amanda Chavarria Colon, Universidad del Este, Carolina, Puerto Rico (Subha Arthur, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Tiffany Dean, Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Travis Salisbury, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Michelle Germeil, Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Florida (Yanling Yan, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Amarachi Ude, University of Maryland-College Park, College Park, Maryland (Jennifer Haynes, Ph.D., mentor)

WV-INBRE is funded through a $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Marshall University, in partnership with researchers at West Virginia University, received the award to help build expertise in biomedical research. Students participating in the WV-INBRE summer program include:

  • Oddai Gharib, West Virginia State University, Institute, West Virginia (Wei Li, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Kaden Hudson, University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia (Lawrence Grover, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Kristiana Skilotovskaya-Lopez, University of Charleston (Jung Han Kim, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Mackinzie Smith, Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, West Virginia (Vincent Sollars, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Kelsey Matusic, University of Charleston (Richard Egleton, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Norman Cole, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, West Virginia (Philippe Georgel, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Abigail Turner, Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia (Monica Valentovic, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Alexa Smarra, Davis & Elkins College (Gary Rankin, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Matthew Rosolen, University of Charleston (Vincent Sollars, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Daria Seccurro, West Virginia Wesleyan College (Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., MPH, FAHA, mentor)

The WV-INBRE program also sponsors summer fellowships for instructors. This year’s fellowship recipient is Gregory Polsinelli, Ph.D., a visiting assistant professor of biology at Bethany College who is working with Hongwei Yu, Ph.D., associate professor in biomedical sciences.

Lastly, five additional students from Marshall University are participating in the American Heart Association Undergraduate Summer Intern Research program led by principal investigator Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., MPH, FAHA:

  • Haley Blake, Marshall University (Wei Li, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Katherine Wang, Marshall University (Jung Han Kim, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Cierra King, Marshall University (Zijian Xie, Ph.D., and Sandrine Pierre, Ph.D., mentors)
  • Gretel Toloza Alvarez, Marshall University (Joseph Shapiro, M.D., and Jiang Liu, M.D., mentors)
  • Cara Taylor, Marshall University (Nalini Santanam, PhD, MPH, FAHA, mentor)

“This is a chance for students to do meaningful laboratory research, network with others in their field and enhance their academic competitiveness for graduate school,” said Kelly Carothers, coordinator of the SRIMS program.

For more information about WV-INBRE, visit or contact Mangiarua at or 304-696-6211. For more information about SRIMS, visit or contact Carothers at or 304-696-7279. For information about the American Heart Association program, contact Santanam at or 304-696-7321.


Photo caption: Students participating in biomedical research internships this summer at Marshall University include (back row, left to right) Kelsey Matusic, Michelle Germeil, Mackinzie Smith, Abigail Turner, Amanda Chavarria, Gretel Toloza Alvarez, Amarachi Ude, Daria Seccurro, Kaden Hudson; (front row, left to right) Elsa Mangiarua, Tiffany Dean, Kristiana Skilotovskaya-Lopez, Cara Taylor, Alexa Smarra, Haley Blake, Cierra King, Matthew Rosolen, Norm Cole, Oddai Gharib.

Date Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2018