Marshall University hosts biomedical research interns for hands-on summer experience

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine recently welcomed 16 summer interns for a nine-week biomedical research program. The participants, primarily from West Virginia colleges and universities, will conduct research that is relevant to health concerns in the Appalachian region, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, addiction disorders and cancer.

“The type of hands-on research these talented students will experience this summer helps them learn what it’s like to pursue a career in research,” said Elsa I. Mangiarua, Ph.D., professor of biomedical sciences and director of the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) Summer Program. “It also enhances their academic competitiveness for graduate school and opens the door to a number of networking opportunities.”

The Office of Research and Graduate Education at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine sponsors students from around the U.S. through the Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS) program. Our participant this year is:

  • Astrid Gonzalez Castro, University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras Campus, Carolina, PR (Brandon Henderson, 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:

  • Christopher Bender, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Webster Springs, WV (Monica Valentovic, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Haylee Cox, University of Charleston, Ghent, WV (Larry Grover, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Hayden Hess, West Virginia Wesleyan College, (Tim Long, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Sean Hill, University of Charleston, Danville, WV (Brandon Henderson, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Madison Michels, Davis and Elkins University, Liberty, WV (Daniel Morgan, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Dylan Prasad, University of Charleston, Surrey, BC (Louise Risher, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Badraldeen Rashrash, University of Charleston, Charleston, WV (Ruhul Amin, Ph.D., mentor)
  • RaeAnne Reed, University of Charleston, Logan, WV (Mindy Varney, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Abdulwahab Siddig, University of Charleston, Charleston, WV (Travis Salisbury, Ph.D., mentor)

West Virginia High School Science Teacher Seth Perry of Hurricane High School has also been selected for a mentored fellowship through WV-INBRE with Monica Valentovic, Ph.D., professor of biomedical sciences.

Five students are supported by the American Heart Association Undergraduate Summer Internship Research Program led by Principal Investigator Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., M.P.H, F.A.H.A.:

  • Layne Assif, Marshall University, Huntington, WV (Sandrine Pierre, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Claire Combs, Marshall University, Pickerington, OH (Nalini Santanam, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Victoria Davis, Shepherd University, Martinsburg, WV (Boyd Rorabaugh, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Smara Sigdel, Marshall University, Huntington, WV (Ji Bihl, Ph.D., mentor)
  • Nick Williams, Marshall University, Hurricane, WV (Jung Han Kim, Ph.D., mentor)

“We are providing in-depth, mentored research opportunities for undergraduates,” said Santanam, a professor of biomedical sciences. “The programs also promote awareness of Marshall University’s graduate degree programs and available careers in biomedical research.”

In addition to lab work, interns attend educational and professional seminars along with networking activities. They will present their research findings at a symposium at the conclusion of the program.

For more information about WV-INBRE, visit or contact Mangiarua by e-mail at or by phone at 304-696-6211. For more information about SRIMS, visit or contact Hannah Raines by e-mail at or by phone at 304-696-3365. For information about the American Heart Association program, visit or contact Santanam by e-mail at or by phone at 304-696-7321.


 Photo: Students participating in biomedical research internships this summer at Marshall University include: (back row, left to right) Christopher Bender, Hayden Hess, Seth Hill, Abdulwahab Siddig, Badraldeen Rashrash, Dylan Prasad; (front row, left to right) Victoria Davis, Hailey Cox, Layne Assif, Smara Sigdel, Nick Williams, Madison Michels, Claire Combs, RaeAnee Reed, Astrid Gonzalez Castro.

Date Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2022