Osteopathic students spend summer conducting research

July 1, 2014

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine recently announced the students selected to participate in this year’s summer research fellowship program.

Osteopathic medical students Jasmine Gray, Emily Broomell, Jason Ballenge, Chris Jarzabek, Andrew French and Dawn Neal are researching topics ranging from neurologic, mental health and cancer conditions to novel wound healing agents and pain management approaches.

The program encourages and gives students who are interested in research an opportunity to work with a mentor(s) to gain additional experience along with valuable insight into research and its potential contribution to patient care as they pursue their doctorate degree in osteopathic medicine and become well-rounded and trained future osteopathic physicians. Upon the successful completion of the program, students will receive a stipend for their work.

“Last year’s Student Summer Research Fellowship Program was a great achievement and we are pleased to offer it again in 2014,” said Peter Zajac, D.O., FACOFP, associate professor of family medicine and chair of the research committee. “The response to the program has been a positive one with an increase in the number of student applicants who expressed an interest in participating in this year’s summer program.”

Gray’s research focuses on “A Comparison of Depression Among Osteopathic Medical Students and Non-Medical Age Cohorts at Kentucky State University in Higher Education.” A native of Lexington, Gray’s mentor is Renay Scales, Ph.D., director of faculty development and assistant professor in family medicine at KYCOM.

Broomell, of East Petersburg, Pa., is studying “Efficacy Testing of a Novel Antifungal Hydrogel” with the guidance of Daniel H. Atchley, Ph.D., M.S., MT-ASCP, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at KYCOM.

Ballenge, of West Portsmouth, Ohio, is researching “Ultrasound Guidance in Peripheral Nerve Blocks.” His mentor is Thomas E. Carter, D.O. FACEP, program director for emergency medicine residency at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

Jarzabek, of Tempe, Ariz., is researching “Cannabinoids as a Therapy for Neurodegenerative Disorders.” His mentor is Benjamin T. Clayton, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Pikeville.

French’s research includes “Defining the Role of cIAP1 and cIAP2 in the Regulation of NF-kB Activation.” A native of Farmville, Va., French is working with J. Michael Younger, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry at KYCOM.

Neal, of North Canton, Ohio, is studying “Investigating Posttranslational modifications of Chmp1 A and their Roles in Human Pancreatic Tumor Cell Growth.” Her mentor is Maiyon Park, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology at KYCOM. Neal also serves as the first-year KYCOM student research committee liaison representative.

Students will present their research later this year during the KYCOM Alumni and Continuing Medical Education weekend.