LSU Veterinary School announces Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day Award Recipients

Phi Zeta Award recipients

NOTE: Award recipients are from Baton Rouge, Covington, Independence, Lafayette, Mandeville, New Orleans, Shreveport, and Slidell; Picayune, Miss.; Las Vegas, N.V.; Mission, Texas; Midlothian, Va.; Aguada, Puerto Rico; Bangladesh, India, Ethiopia, and Nepal.

 

BATON ROUGE—On February 27, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (LSU SVM) hosted its annual Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day—a day established to promote research in schools of veterinary medicine, to recognize research conducted by veterinary students, House Officers (residents and interns), graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty, and to encourage veterinary students to pursue careers in research.

Phi Zeta is the national veterinary honor society, which recognizes and furthers scholarship and research in matters pertaining to the welfare and diseases of animals. The importance of this day to the LSU SVM is underlined by the fact that the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is closed except for emergencies to allow all students and House Officers to participate.

Phi Zeta Day provides an opportunity for national experts to speak to students on current research in various fields and to present a picture of global veterinary research. This year’s speakers were Michael D. Lairmore, DVM, PhD, DACVP, DACVM, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California-Davis; and Kimberly Dodd, DVM, PhD, director of the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Plum Island. Dr. Lairmore’s presentation was entitled “The Critical Role of Veterinary Agriculture, and Biomedical Research in Advancing the Health of Animals, People, and Our Planet,” and Dr. Dodd’s presentation was entitled “Adventures of a Veterinary Scientists: From CDC and across Africa to Plum Island.”

Veterinary, undergraduate, and graduate students, House Officers, faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and staff presented current biomedical research that is relevant to diseases of man and animals. Those 81 posters presented by students and post-doctoral researchers were judged by a panel of scientists for monetary prizes in four categories: (1) Dissertation (PhD) students 2) Basic research for thesis (MS), professional students (DVM students), and house officers (veterinarians pursuing advanced training in veterinary medical specialties); (3) Clinical research for thesis, professional students, and house officers; and 4) Post-doctoral researchers.

This year, 23 PhD students submitted posters for the competition. In the undergraduate, veterinary student, MS degree student and House Officer competition, there were 17 posters for consideration in the Basic Research category, 28 in the Clinical Research Category and eight in the Post-Doc Category. Three faculty members and one post-doctoral researcher submitted posters in the non-competing category.

Veterinary students who participate in the LSU SVM’s Summer Scholars Program enter their research projects for consideration on Phi Zeta Emphasis Day. Each year, veterinary students apply to participate in the Summer Scholars Program, in which they develop research proposals with the guidance of a faculty member and conduct research throughout the summer. The 2018 Summer Scholars Program was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Boehringer-Ingelheim, the Kenneth F. Burns Trust, the Comparative Gastroenterology Society, the Equine Health Studies Program at the LSU SVM, and Banfield, The Pet Hospital.

Winners in the PhD category were as follows.

First place went to Laxman Ghimire, DVM, who is a PhD student in PBS. Dr. Ghimire is from Bardaghat, Nepal, and his project is entitled “CXCL5 Regulates Neutrophil Homeostasis During Staphylococcus aureus- induced Pneumonia.” His faculty mentor is Samithamby Jeyaseelan, DVM, PhD, William L. Jenkins Professor in PBS and director for the Center of Lung Biology and Diseases.

Second place went to Sagar Paudel, DVM, who is a PhD student in PBS. Dr. Paudel is from Nawalparasi, Nepal, and his project is entitled “NLRC4 Deficiency Rescues Macrophage Dysfunction in Polymicrobial Sepsis.” His faculty mentor is Samithamby Jeyaseelan, DVM, PhD, William L. Jenkins Professor in PBS and director for the Center of Lung Biology and Diseases.

Third place went to Elizabeth Griggs, MS, who is a PhD student in PBS. Griggs is from Baton Rouge, La., and her project is entitled “Edwardsiella ictaluri Type Three Secretion System Effector EseK Interacts with the Invariant Chain of the Channel Catfish MHC II Complex.” Her faculty mentor is Ronald Thune, PhD, professor in PBS.

Fourth place went to Paige Allen, who is a PhD student in PBS. Allen is from Picayune, Miss., and her project is entitled “Contribution of Host Lipid Metabolism to Pathogenicity of Rickettsia During Infection in Mammalian Cells.” Her faculty mentor is Juan Martinez, PhD, professor in PBS.

Winners in the Basic Research student competition for veterinary students were as follows.

First place went to Lillian Miller, a member of the LSU SVM class of 2021. Miller is from Midlothian, Va., and her project is entitled “Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1)-mediated oncolytic virotherapy for treating ovarian cancer.” Her faculty mentor is Konstantin Kousoulas, MS, PhD, professor in PBS, director for the Division of Biotechnology & Molecular Medicine, and associate vice chancellor for LSU Research & Economic Development.

Second place went to Alexandra Ramos Ramirez, a member of the LSU SVM Class of 2021. Ramirez is from Aguada, Puerto Rico, and her project is entitled “Development of cellulose-based bioinks with decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) for accommodating tissue-derived stem cells in bio-fabrication.” Her faculty mentor is Shaomian Yao, PhD, associate professor in CBS.

Third place went to Kalie Beckers, a member of the LSU SVM Class of 2022. Beckers is from Independence, La., and her project is entitled “Associations of the Microbiome in Equine Reproductive Tract Before and During the Breeding Season.” Her faculty mentor is Jennifer Sones, DVM (LSU SVM 2008), PhD, DACT, assistant professor in VCS.

Winners in the Basic Research student competition for Master’s, undergraduate, and interns and residents were as follows.

First place went to Joseph DeCorte, an undergraduate student at LSU majoring in Mathematics and Biochemistry. DeCorte is from New Orleans, La., and his project is entitled “NLRP10 dampens pulmonary host defense in MRSA pneumonia.” His faculty mentor is Samithamby Jeyaseelan, DVM, PhD, William L. Jenkins Professor in PBS and director for the Center of Lung Biology and Diseases.

Second place went to John Le, an undergraduate student at LSU pursuing a BS in Biological Science working in PBS. Le is from Baton Rouge, La., and his project is entitled “NLRP6 Deficiency Enhances Lymphocyte survival and Function during Polymicrobial Sepsis.” His faculty mentor is Samithamby Jeyaseelan, DVM, PhD, William L. Jenkins Professor in PBS and director for the Center of Lung Biology and Diseases.

Third place went to Kelsey Olson, an undergraduate student at LSU pursuing a BS in Biological Sciences. Olson is from Baton Rouge, La., and her project is entitled “Reduction of Maternal Adiposity Attenuates Leptin Expression during Pregnancy in the Preeclamptic-like BPH/5 Mouse.” Her faculty mentor is Jennifer Sones, DVM (LSU SVM 2008), PhD, DACT, assistant professor in VCS.

 

Winners in the Clinical Research student competition for veterinary students were as follows.

First place went to Paige Hymel, a member of the LSU SVM Class of 2020. Hymel is from Slidell, La., and her project is entitled “Meniscal Sizing Based on Morphometric Sizing in Dogs.” Her faculty mentor is Karanvir Aulakh, BVSc & AH, MS, DACVS, assistant professor in VCS.

There was a tie for second place. One second place recipient went to Rebecca Schuber, a member of the LSU SVM Class of 2021. Schuber is from Mandeville, La., and her project is entitled “Evidence for use of end-expiratory CT in dogs with chronic coughing.” Her faculty mentor is L. Abbigail Granger, DVM, DACVR, associate professor in VCS. Second place also went to Mara Wanderer, a member of the LSU SVM Class of 2020. Wanderer is from Las Vegas, Nev., and her project is entitled “Clinical Utility of Obtaining Both Right and Left Lateral Abdominal Radiographs in Cats.” Her faculty mentors are Lorrie Gaschen, DVM, Dr.med.vet., Dr.habil., PhD, DECVIM, associate dean for diversity, faculty and student affairs; and L. Abbigail Granger, DVM, DACVR, associate professor in VCS.

Third place went to Elizabeth Dwyer, a member of the LSU SVM Class of 2020. Dwyer is from Covington, La., and her project is entitled “Effect of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation on the Fecal Microbiome of Healthy Dogs Treated with Antibiotics.” Her faculty mentor is Frederic Gaschen, Dr.med.vet., Dr.habil., DACVIM, DECVIM, professor in VCS.

Winners in the Clinical Research student competition for Master’s, undergraduate, and interns and residents were as follows.

First place went to Clarisa Krueger, DVM, MS, an equine surgery resident at the LSU SVM. Dr. Krueger is from Mission, Texas, and her project is entitled “Pharmacokinetics of Clodronate Disodium in Horses.” Her faculty mentor is Britta Leise, MS, DVM (LSU SVM 2002), PhD, DACVS, assistant professor in VCS.

Second place went to Matthew Schexnayder, DVM (LSU SVM 2016), a clinical pathology resident at the LSU SVM. Dr. Schexnayder is from Lafayette, La., and his project is entitled “Concurrent Alimentary Plasmacytoma and Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma in a Dog.” His faculty mentor is Shannon Dehghanpir, DVM (LSU SVM 2013), DACVP, assistant professor in PBS.

There was a tie for third place. Third place went to Alissa St. Blanc, DVM (LSU SVM 2016), a small animal surgery resident at the LSU SVM. Dr. St. Blanc is from Shreveport, La., and her project is entitled “Investigation and Validation of a 2.0 mm GIA Stapler for Lung Lobectomies in Canine Cadavers.” Her faculty mentor is Rebecca Csomos, BSc, PhD, VMD, assistant professor in VCS. Third place also went to Margaux Marclay, DVM, a small animal internal medicine resident. Dr. Marclay is from Val-d’illiez, Switzerland, and her project is entitled “Avascular Necrosis with Neoplastic Transformation in a Dog.” Her faculty mentor is Kirk Ryan, DVM, DACVIM, associate professor in Veterinary Clinical Sciences.

Winners in the Post-doctoral category were as follows.

First place went to Zelalem Mekuria, DVM, PhD, post-doctoral researcher in PBS. Dr. Mekuria is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and his project is entitled “Intra-host Selection Pressure Drives Equine Arteritis Virus Evolution during Persistent Infection in the Stallion Reproductive Tract.” His faculty mentor is Udeni Balasuriya, BVSc, MS, PhD, FSLCVS, professor in PBS and director of the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

Second place went Rafiq Nabi, PhD, post-doctoral researcher in PBS. Dr. Nabi is from of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The project is entitled “Intramuscular Vaccination of Mice with the HSV-1 VC2 Virus with Mutations in the Glycoprotein K and the Membrane Protein UL20 protect mice from lethal ocular challenge.” His faculty mentor is Konstantin Kousoulas, MS, PhD, professor in PBS, director for the Division of Biotechnology & Molecular Medicine, and associate vice chancellor for LSU Research & Economic Development.

Third place went to Chandra Bathula, PhD, post-doctoral researcher in CBS. Dr. Bathula is from Punuru, India, and his project is entitled “Liver-specific deletion of an RNA binding protein ZFP36L1 protects against alcohol-induced steatohepatitis in mice.” His faculty mentor is Sonika Patial, PhD, assistant professor in CBS.

Phi Zeta would like to take this opportunity to thank the poster judges: Jay Addison, DVM (LSU SVM 1983), veterinarian; Frank Andrews, DVM, MS, DACVIM, director, Equine Health Studies Program; Udeni Balasuriya, BVSc, PhD, professor in PBS and director of the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory; Michael Behnke, PhD, assistant professor, PBS; Shannon Dehghanpir, DVM (LSU SVM 2013), DACVP, assistant professor, PBS; Jon Fletcher, DVM (LSU SVM 2005), DACVIM, assistant professor, VCS; John Hawke, PhD (LSU SVM 1996), professor, PBS; Jeffrey Hobden, PhD, associate professor, LSU Health Sciences Center (New Orleans); Weishan Huang, PhD, assistant professor, PBS; Andrea Johnston, DVM, PhD, assistant professor, VCS; Charles “Chat” Kleinpeter, DVM (LSU SVM 1978), veterinarian; Ingeborg Langohr, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVP, professor, PBS; Chalres Lee, PhD, associate professor, CBS; David McDougal, PhD, assistant professor-research, Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Michelle Osborn, PhD, assistant professor, CBS; Sonika Patial, DVM, MS, PhD, assistant professor, CBS; Carlos Pinto, DVM, PhD (LSU SVM 2001), DACT, professor, VCS; Cherie Pucheu-Haston, DVM (LSU SVM 1992), PhD, DACVD, associate professor, VCS; Mario Rivera, PhD, professor, LSU Chemistry Department; Jennifer Sones, DVM (LSU SVM 2008), PhD, DACT, assistant professor, VCS; Krisztian Stadler, PhD, associate professor-research, Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Rhett Stout, DVM, PhD (LSU SVM 1994, 2003), DACLAM, associate professor, PBS; Guoshun Wang, DVM, PhD, associate professor, LSU Health Sciences Center (New Orleans); Sita Withers, BVSc, PhD, assistant professor, VCS; Shaomian Yao, PhD, Associate Professor, CBS; and Masami Yoshimura, MSc, DSc, Associate Professor, CBS.

This day would not be possible without the support of Agilent Technologies, Biocytogen, Blue Buffalo, Boehringer Ingelheim, Dechra, Fisher Scientific, VWR, and Zoetis.

Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day is sponsored by the Tau Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta, which was established on March 30, 1977, with Dr. C.W. Titkemeyer as Chapter President. Phi Zeta is the abbreviation of the Greek word Philozoi, which means “love of animals.”

Photo: Award recipients and mentors at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s Phi Zeta Research Awareness Day on February 27 are (from left to right) Dr. Joseph Taboada, Dr. Samithamby Jeyaseelan, Dr. Clarisa Krueger, Elizabeth Griggs, Paige Allen, Lillian Miller, Dr. Matthew Schexnayder, Dr. Lorrie Gaschen, Payge Hymel, Mara Wanderer, Dr. Karanvir Aulakh, John Le, Joseph DeCorte, Dr. Laxman Ghimere, Dr. Rafiq Nabi, Dr. Sagar Paudel, Dr. Zelalem Mekuria, Dr. Rhonda Cardin, Dr. Chandra Bathula, Dr. Michael Lairmore, Dr. Fabio Del Piero, Dr. Konstantin “Gus” Kousoulas, Dean Joel Baines, Dr. Udeni Balasuriya, Dr. Kimberly Dodd, and Dr. Yogesh Saini.

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. The LSU SVM is dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, research, and service. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.

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