Senior Biology major Stephen Woodall ’15, who presented his Departmental Honors research in March at the 2015 National Meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Boston, MA, was recently named the recipient of the Thematic Best Poster Award for the conference’s theme on Molecular Mechanisms of Infection and Immunity. Stephen’s poster was selected by theme organizers from among 84 posters in his category for its outstanding research, which involved the genetic engineering of a mouse melanoma cell line for the purpose of evaluating anti-tumor CD8+ T cell immune responses. Stephen’s poster was selected from presentations from graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research scientists from around the world. Stephen conducted this research in the laboratory of Elliott Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01. He will be attending N.C. State in the fall for a Master’s in Physiology Graduate Program.
The ASBMB annual meeting is recognized for the breadth of the science covered. Held in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2015, the ASBMB sessions and events at this year’s conference represented an unrivaled opportunity to learn about the latest discoveries in the range of subdisciplines that fall under the biochemistry and molecular biology umbrellas.
Stephen Woodall ’15 at the 2015 National ASBMB Meeting and his award-winning poster entitled “Genetic Engineering of the Murine Melanoma D5.1G4 to Express a Model Antigen for Evaluation of Anti-tumor CD8+ T Cell Responses”
Travis Goodloe ’15 was recently awarded a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research for his summer research project that he will be conducting in collaboration with Elliott Asisstant Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01. Travis will be developing an assay to measure melanoma cell metastasis to tumor-draining lymph nodes, and he will use this assay to investigate the rate of lymph node metastasis by melanomas of differing tumorigenicity. Lymph node metastasis is often associated with immune suppression in melanoma patients, and the assay developed by Travis will therefore be a useful system for investigating factors that regulate the spread of melanomas to regional lymph nodes and for assessing the quality of anti-tumor immune responses in tumor-free versus tumor-involved lymph nodes.
The Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) program has provided undergraduate and graduate students with valuable educational experiences since 1922. By encouraging close working relationships between students and mentors, the program promotes scientific excellence and achievement through hands-on learning.
On March 24, five Hampden-Sydney College and four Longwood University students were inducted into Sigma Xi, the international honorary scientific research society. Founded in 1886 to honor excellence in scientific investigation and to encourage collaboration among researchers in all fields of science and engineering, the Society now consists of over 500 chapters at academic, industrial, and government research institutions and has nearly 60,000 members in more than 100 countries around the world. The Longwood University/Hampden-Sydney College chapter of Sigma Xi was reactivated in 2013, and the two institutions now alternate hosting an annual Sigma Xi Research Symposium that features a keynote speaker and student poster presentations highlighting recent research activities on both campuses.
2015 Sigma Xi Initiates. From left to right: Back row – Stephen Woodall II, H-SC ’15; Bryan McQueen, LU ’15; Davis Carter, H-SC ’15. Middle row – Adam Lynch, LU ’16; Aaron Gilani, H-SC ’15; Brant Boucher, H-SC ’17; James Lau, H-SC ’17. Front row – Sara Jacobson, LU ’15; Kelsey Trace, LU ’15.
Six Hampden-Sydney College students were recently selected to participate in the newly established H-SC/Centra Pre-Health Rotational Shadowing Program. Benjamin Lam, Brant Boucher, DJ Bines, Jake Farrar, James Lau, and Robert Kerby will begin their rotations this semester and will have the option to continue their shadowing in the Fall 2015 semester as well. Through this program, these students will be exposed to various fields of medicine as they rotate through departments that include: Family Medicine, General Surgery, Cardiovascular Medicine, Emergency Medicine, the ICU, Gastrointestinal Medicine, OB/Gyn, Radiology, and Pharmacy. The shadowing experience afforded by this partnership will provide these students with valuable healthcare exposure hours that will increase awareness of potential career paths in healthcare and enhance preparation for graduate and professional programs in medicine and the health sciences. Together, these benefits will provide H-SC students with a competitive edge as applicants to medical and health professional schools.
The H-SC/Centra Pre-Health Rotational Shadowing Program will be ongoing, and applications will be solicited in the Fall 2015 semester for a new set of rotations to begin the following spring.
H-SC’s Spring 2015 participants in the Centra/H-SC Pre-Health Rotational Shadowing Program. Pictured left to right: Benjamin Lam ’17, Jake Farrar ’16, DJ Bines ’17, James Lau ’17, Brant Boucher’17, and Robert Kerby ’17
On November 13, the Longwood University/Hampden-Sydney College Chapter of Sigma Xi hosted the 2nd annual Sigma Xi Research Symposium. Sigma Xi is an honorary research society that promotes excellence in scientific investigation in all fields of the life and physical sciences. The Symposium was held at Longwood University’s Chichester Science Center and featured a keynote speaker and poster presentations by undergraduate students from both institutions. Dr. Pieter deHart, Assistant Professor of Biology at the Virginia Military Institute, delivered the Symposium’s keynote address entitled ““Feeding the Beast: Explorations into the Feeding Ecology of Apex Predators.” This engaging talk focused on work that Dr. deHart has conducted with several undergraduate students at VMI and included ecological studies on the feeding habits of a wide variety of predators, ranging from praying mantids to coyotes. Following his keynote address, Dr. deHart interacted with several students during the Symposium’s poster session, which featured research conducted by undergraduates at both Hampden-Sydney College and Longwood University. 12 H-SC students and 13 Longwood University students from the Departments of Biology and Chemistry presented their work, and this session provided an excellent opportunity for close interaction and sharing of ideas between students and faculty from both institutions. To follow up on the success of the Symposium, Hampden-Sydney College will host an initiation ceremony in Spring 2015 for the induction of new student and faculty members to the Society.
Keynote speaker Dr. Pieter deHart delivering his address to a full house!
Just a sample of predators studied by Dr. deHart and his collaborating students!
Longwood University student Jessica Littlefield presenting her research to Dr. deHart
Jefferson Thompson ’16 (middle) presenting his summer research on free readicals to Myshake Abdi ’16 and Wes Eure ’16
Jay Brandt ’15 presenting his research on immune responses to melanoma to James Lau’17
Stephen Woodall ’15 explaining his research on prostate cancer to Dr. Nick Deifel from the H-SC Chemistry Department
Daniel Osarfo-Akoto ’15 learning about NKG2D signaling in T cells from Longwood University student and tumor immunologist Kelsey Trace
Several Longwood students presenting research conducting through the University’s PRISM Summer Research Program
On November 7, 2014 Jay Brandt ’15 presented his summer research at the Virginia Branch Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology at James Madison University. Jay’s poster, entitled “Ex vivo
Analysis of the Impact of Melanoma-altered Dendritic Cells on CD8+ T Cell Differentiation,” was based on his work through the H-SC Honors Council’s Summer Research Program. Jay worked in collaboration with Elliott Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01 and studied the effector cytokine production and cytolytic activity of CD8+ T cells stimulated by melanoma-altered dendritic cells. Jay will be attending Eastern Virginia Medical School following his graduation in 2015!
Jay Brandt ’15 presenting his poster!
Elliott Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01, recently had a major review article published in the journal International Reviews of Immunology. The article, entitled “Murine and Human Model Systems for the Study of Dendritic Cell Immunobiology,” highlights the tools and strategies employed by immunologists to study dendritic cells, a key regulatory cell type of the immune system that is critical for both the induction of immune activation and tolerance. These cells play major roles in immunity to pathogens, transplant acceptance/rejection, autoimmunity, and anti-tumor immunity, and their impact on the field was the basis for the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine that was awarded to three investigators who discovered and offered in-depth functional characterization of these cells. In addition to emphasizing methodologies that have enabled experimental analyses of dendritic cells, Dr. Hargadon’s review also offers insights as to how the model systems currently in use to study these cells might be manipulated going forward to gain better a better understanding of the development and function of dendritic cells. International Reviews of Immunology is published by Informa Healthcare and is one of the leading review journals in the field of immunology. Dr. Hargadon’s research program focuses on the modification of dendritic cell function by tumors and how tumor-altered dendritic cells impact the quality of anti-tumor T cell responses.
Drake Bishop, a recent graduate in H-SC’s Class of 2014, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Dorothy Middleton Memorial Scholarship at Eastern Virginia Medical School. This prestigious award is given to one student from each year’s entering class of medical school and provides a full scholarship that is renewable for all 4 years of medical school. Since its establishment in 2011, two H-SC students have received the award (Barron Frazier ’12 was the recipient in 2012). Drake, a biology major and Summa Cum Laude graduate with Departmental Honors at H-SC, received the Samual S. Jones Phi Beta Kappa Award for Excellence in Research for his Senior Honors Project on melanoma-associated suppression of dendritic cells. Since graduating, Drake has been a participant in the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters Summer Scholar Program at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he has conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Amy Tang on regulation of the K-RAS signaling pathway in lung cancer. He will begin his first year of medical school at EVMS this fall!
Rising senior Biology major Jay Brandt has been hard at work this summer conducting cancer research in collaboration with Elliott Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Kristian M. Hargadon ’01. Through funding from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and the Hampden-Sydney College Honors Council, Jay has been investigating how melanoma-altered dendritic cells influence the quality of cytotoxic T cell activation. Using dendritic cells that have been isolated from the spleens of mice, Jay has utilized an ex vivo cell culture system in which dendritic cells whose maturation and activation have been modulated by melanoma-derived factors are used to stimulate naïve CD8+ T cells. Jay has then evaluated T cell activation using a variety of flow cytometric readouts that include CFSE-based T cell proliferation assays and intracellular cytokine staining assays. He is also in the process of conducting ELISAs to measure T cell production of the cytotoxin granzyme B. Collectively, these studies will provide significant insights into the induction of anti-tumor immune responses. Jay will be attending medical school following his graduation in 2015, and he has already been accepted to Eastern Virginia Medical School through the College’s Early Assurance Program with the medical school!
Jay Brandt ’15 running samples on the Biology Department’s new flow cytometer!
Recently, four Hampden-Sydney College sophomores were accepted into medical schools through the College’s Early Assurance Program Agreements with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and George Washington University (GWU). Travis Goodloe and Jefferson Thompson were both accepted into VCU, and Evan Harris and Jake Farrar were both accepted at GWU. These rising juniors will complete their remaining two years at Hampden-Sydney and then have guaranteed acceptance into these medical school programs. Congratulations to our future doctors!!!