Ozark Biomedical Initiative Research Symposium to be held Aug. 19

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On August 10, 2017

Researchers from Missouri S&T and Phelps County Regional Medical Center who received funding from the Ozark Biomedical Initiative (OBI) will present their research as part of the OBI Research Symposium Saturday, Aug. 19.

OBI Research Symposium keynote speaker Dr. Lenka Fedorkova

The event will be held 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in the St. Pat’s Ballroom in the Havener Center on the Missouri S&T campus. The event is open to the public, but registration is required. To register, visit obi.mst.edu.

OBI is a partnership between PCRMC and Missouri S&T that provides seed money to support biomedical research. The OBI is an outcome of a partnership between the university and medical center that was formalized in July 2015. This year’s symposium, the second since the OBI was established, is presented jointly with the Image Processing Symposium.

Dr. Lenka Fedorkova, the founder and chief executive officer of bioPrime, will be the keynote speaker for the event. She is a former manager and coordinator of the National Institutes of Health’s Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs across the agency’s 24 funding institutes and centers. Her presentation is titled “Accessing NIH’s Research Dollars: An Insider’s Perspective on Funding Options and Strategies.”

Following Fedorkova’s presentation, OBI grant recipients will present their research, followed by a poster session showcasing research and collaborative opportunities at Missouri S&T and PCRMC. The symposium will conclude after a series of image processing presentations.

Through the OBI, Missouri S&T and PCRMC each contribute $25,000 annually to fund one or more joint research proposals that involve researchers from both entities, says Dr. Warren K. Wray, vice chancellor for Global and Strategic Partnerships at Missouri S&T. Wray and PCRMC president and chief executive officer Edward Clayton co-chair OBI’s executive committee.

Funding for research projects is awarded by OBI’s research and education council. Dr. Nuran Ercal, the Richard K. Vitek/Foundation for Chemical Research Endowed Chair in Biochemistry at Missouri S&T, chaired the council this past year, and Dr. William V. Stoecker, consulting dermatologist at PCRMC, now serves as council chair.

The following projects received OBI funding last year:

  • “Characterization of Brown Recluse Spider Sex Pheromones Using Innovative Sampling Techniques,” by Dr. Honglan Shi, research professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, and Dr. William V. Stoecker, consulting dermatologist at PCRMC. The researchers plan to characterize the sex pheromones of brown recluse spiders to make a better trap for these poisonous spiders. Working with Shi and Stoecker are Dr. Casey Burton, director of medical research at PCRMC, and Jennifer Parks, a technician in biological sciences at Missouri S&T; Haiting Zhang, a Ph.D. student in chemistry at Missouri S&T; and Jesse Liu, a student at Rolla High School, and Rhianna Bliss, a student at Borgia High School in Washington, Missouri.
  • “Direction-Modulated Immobilized Biodegradable Brachytherapy,” by Dr. Jonghyun Park, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T; Dr. Chang-Soo Kim, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri S&T; and Dr. Chris Spencer, medical director of the Delbert Day Cancer Institute at PCRMC. This project involves the fabrication of a biodegradable brachytherapy implant that could deliver concentrated radiation therapy to target cancerous tumors.
  • “Power Combos: Antibody Conjugated Drug Nanorods and T Cell Therapy for Breast Cancer Treatment,” by Dr. Sutapa Barua, assistant professor of chemical and biochemical engineering at Missouri S&T, and Dr. Stephen R. Toothaker, medical director of medical oncology at PCRMC’s Delbert Day Cancer Institute. This group proposes developing “nanorods” as vessels to deliver treatments to breast cancer patients. Measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter, nanorods are thousands of times smaller than a human hair.
  • “Development of a High-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry Method for the Simultaneous Determination of 10 Putative Biomarkers for Traumatic Brain Injury in Urine,” by Dr. Yinfa Ma, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T; Dr. Donald James, senior vice president and chief medical officer at PCRMC; and Casey Burton, a Ph.D. student in chemistry at Missouri S&T. The research involves developing new techniques to detect biomarkers in urine that could indicate whether a person has sustained a traumatic brain injury.
  • “Computational Methods for Predicting Fetal Outcomes from Heart Rate Patterns,” by Dr. Steven Corns, associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering at Missouri S&T; Dr. James Davison, attending physician in obstetrics and gynecology at PCRMC; and Pamela Feeler, director of clinical informatics at PCRMC. This team plans to study fetal heart rate patterns to develop a computational model to predict the risk of fetal hypoxia and acidosis after a mother has entered labor.

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