The 2015 MOST Summer Research Program kicked-off June 1! The trainees are well into their research related activities. The group meet biweekly for various seminars and the students spend the remaining time in their host research laboratories. This year we have a very diverse group including 10 undergraduate students, 6 incoming DMD students and 5 students from the Brazilian Mobility Program! We also have joint activities with the SURF program in the College of Pharmacy. A mini-symposium is planned for August 18 where the students will have the opportunity to share their summer research experience in a poster presentation format.
Daniel Kulakowski has recently joined the MOST program as a recipient of an NIH T32 postdoctoral fellowship. He will work in Dr. Guido Pauli’s group the College of Pharmacy in a interdisciplinary project with Dr. Ana Bedran-Russo that has recently established the ability of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (oPACs) to modify dentin for restorative/reparative dentistry procedures. These compounds are isolated from botanical sources, including cocoa, grapeseed and witch hazel, and currently their effects on dental pulp cells are unknown. He will be assessing the toxicity and bioactivity of oPACs on dental pulp stem cells in a biomimetic 3D extracellular matrix scaffold in collaboration with Dr. Sriram Ravindran.
Daniel received his B.S. in Biochemistry from Rutgers University and earned his Ph.D. from The City University of New York (CUNY) in Biology/Plant Sciences with a focus on phytochemistry and ethnobotany, where he studied a tea from Micronesia used to stimulate the immune system. While he misses the crystal clear waters and waves of Micronesia, Lake Michigan is a good replacement (in the summer). When not in the lab Daniel enjoys cycling, gardening and cooking.
On May 9, MOST dual-degree student Mat Wietecha successfully completed a 7 year PhD-DMD program! Mat defended his PhD thesis in December 15, 2014. His PhD dissertation is titled “Negative regulators of angiogenesis during wound healing” and he was mentored by Dr. Luisa DiPietro. He is soon moving to Zurich, Switzerland for his next career step as a post-doctoral research at the ETH (Federal Institute of Technology). He will be working in the laboratory of Professor of Cell Biology Dr. Sabine Werner, and his research project will involve investigating molecular parallels between tissue repair/regeneration and carcinogenesis. Mat received his BS from UIC, he has been part of the MOST family for over 7 years, has received many honors, published many papers and was incredibly dedicated to patient care. He successfully balanced the high demand of a dual degree program, always with a great smile. Indeed an amazing role model! We will miss him! Wishing Dr. Wietecha all the best on the new chapter of his academic career!
MOST trainee Ellie Jhun receives all-expenses-paid award to participate at the The St. Jude National Graduate Student Symposium (NGSS). She is one of 44 students selected from a pool of over 1800 applicants. The event will be held at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee on April 7-11, 2015.The event allows PhD-level graduate students from around the U.S. to show their work and learn about research done at St. Jude. Ellie will present her work on sickle pain pharmacogenetics. Her mentor is Dr. Jim Wang in the department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences. Additional information from the symposium can be found at http://www.stjude.org/ngss.