Inaugural Research Week Features Larner Faculty and Trainee Investigation & Innovation

April 29, 2022 by Jennifer Nachbur

In celebration of its standing as a top 100 public research university, the University of Vermont held its first “Research Week” April 18 to 22 to showcase the work of faculty, student and trainee investigators. A number of Larner College of Medicine faculty and trainees received recognition and delivered presentations during the week's events.

Madaline Schmidt (far left), an M.P.H. student, and Hannah Despres, a Cellular, Molecular & Biomedical Sciences graduate student, stand next to a screen displaying a slide from Schmidt's presentation during the Student Research Conference.

In celebration of its standing as a top 100 public research university, the University of Vermont held its first “Research Week” April 18 to 22 to showcase the work of faculty, student and trainee investigators. The week’s events included a Research Resource Fair, UVM Innovations’ annual Invention to Venture (I2V) Conference, a two-day Student Research Conference, and a Postdoctoral Research Conference.

An impressive list of Larner faculty inventors received recognition at I2V, which took place April 20 at Hula, a technology-driven co-working campus in Burlington’s South End. Among the companies housed at Hula are several founded by Larner faculty members, including THINKMD, founded by Professor of Pediatrics Barry Finette, M.D., Ph.D., and CoreMap, founded by Professor of Medicine Peter Spector, M.D.

“I2V is a wonderful networking opportunity for every corner of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to come together in one place and learn about what each other have to offer and explore different ways to work together for the common goal of building the ecosystem in Vermont,” said Corine Farewell, D.V.M., M.B.A., director of UVM innovations, in an April 8 UVM article.

Gagan Bajaj, Ph.D., Larner grant proposal developer and moderator for the I2V “Successful Government Partnerships” panel discussion, said her session “discussed how some of the most successful companies in Vermont were able to leverage federal and state resources and funding to help their companies grow.”

The university’s annual Student Research Conference, launched in 2007, also took place during Research Week on April 20-21, and was delivered in a hybrid format, with posters available for viewing online and in-person oral presentations in the Davis Center.

On Friday, April 22, the week’s events concluded with UVM’s inaugural Postdoctoral Research Conference, a showcase of postdoctoral research presented by the UVM Postdoctoral Association and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Postdoctoral Association co-chair Brandon Bensel, a postdoc working with David Warshaw, Ph.D., professor and chair of molecular physiology and biophysics, said the event’s two-fold goal was to provide opportunities for peer-to-peer professional networking and a chance for the UVM community to view the type and quality of research done by postdocs.

Among the honorees and presenters at Research Week activities were many Larner College of Medicine community members:

I2V Awardees
2022 U.S. Patent Plaque Awards:Inventors:

  • Inventors: Jason Bates, Ph.D., Sc.D., Professor of Medicine, and Bradford Smith, Ph.D. - "Variable Ventilation as a Diagnostic Tool for Assessing Lung Mechanical Function"
  • Inventors: Jason Botten, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Emily Bruce, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG), and Christopher Ziegler, Ph.D. - “Modified Arenavirus”
  • Inventors: Frances Carr, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology, and Nikoletta Sidiropoulos, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine - "Molecular pathogenesis of microcarcinoma of the thyroid"
  • Inventors: Christopher Francklyn, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry, Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology, and Jason Botten - "Methods and Compounds for Reducing Threonyl-tRNA Synthetase Activity"
  • Inventors: William Geiger, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, Kevin Lam, Ph.D., Claire Verschraeger, M.D., Jon Ramsey, Ph.D., Faculty Scientist in Biochemistry – “Cymanquine Compounds and Derivatives Thereof and Uses Thereof”
  • Inventors: Christopher Huston, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Kovi Bessoff, M.D.’15, Ph.D.’14, and Rajiv Satish Jumani, Ph.D.’18 – "Methods for Treating Cryptosporidiosis Using Triazolopyridazines"
  • Inventor: Peter Spector, M.D., Professor of Medicine (2 patents) - "Catheters, Systems, and Related Methods for Mapping, Minimizing, and Treating Cardiac Fibrillation" and "Catheter Systems and Related Methods for Mapping, Minimizing, and Treating Cardiac Fibrillation"
  • Inventor: Jeffrey Spees, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine – "Compositions and Methods for Vascular Protection Against Reperfusion Injury After Myocardial Ischemia"
  • Inventors: Daniel Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Darcy Wagner, Ph.D., Spencer Fenn, Ph.D., Rachael Floreani, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Engineering, and Nicholas Bonenfant, M.D.’17, Hospitalist, Department of Pediatrics – "Decellularization and Recellularization of Whole Organs"

2022 UVM License Awards:

  • Prolocor, Inc.UVM Inventors: David Schneider, M.D., Professor of Medicine, and Chris Holmes, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine
  • Kainomyx, Inc.UVM Inventors: Kathleen Trybus, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Gary Ward, Ph.D., Professor of MMG

Student Research Conference presenters:

  • Hannah Despres, Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences (CMB) graduate student (mentor: Emily Bruce): in-person lightning talk and virtual poster presentation – “Predicting Infectivity in SARS-CoV-2 Clinical Samples.”
  • Christina Hansen, Class of 2023 medical student (mentor: Bruce Beynnon, Ph.D., professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation): virtual poster presentation – “Non-contact ACL injury alters posterior horn meniscus centroid position immediately following the index trauma in males and females.”
  • Catrina Hood, Class of 2023 medical student (mentor: James Stafford, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological sciences): virtual poster presentation – “Visualization of autism risk genes ADNP and POGZ as PRC1.6 interactors across neurodevelopment.”
  • Kyra Lee, Class of 2022 undergraduate and laboratory research technician, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (mentors: Gary Stein, Ph.D., professor and chair, and Prachi Ghule, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry): virtual poster presentation  -- “Ultra-Highplex Protein Analysis of Breast Cancer Tissue Sections.”
  • Madaline Schmidt, M.P.H. student and research technician in MMG (mentor: Emily Bruce): lightning talk and virtual poster presentation – “Viral Infectivity in Pediatric SARS-CoV-2 Clinical Samples Does Not Vary by Age.”
  • Amanda Sidwell, Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) student (mentor: Kalev Freeman, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery and pharmacology): In-person lightning talk and virtual oral presentation: “Neurovascular coupling in traumatic blast brain injury.”
  • Anna Quinlan, Class of 2022 medical student (mentor: Paula Deming, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical and health sciences): virtual poster presentation – “Rewiring of glutamine metabolism in STK11-null lung cancer.”

Postdoctoral Research Conference presenters:
Poster Session:

  • Brandon Bensel, Ph.D. (Molecular Physiology and Biophysics) – “Kinesin-Frive Transport of Lipsome Cargoes through Microtubule Intersections.”
  • Elizabeth Corteselli, Ph.D. (Pathology & Laboratory Medicine) – “Increases in Glutathione Based Protein Oxidation Impair Airway Basal Cell Differentiation.”
  • Rebekah Honce, Ph.D. (Medicine – Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine) – “Role of areavirus defective interfering particles in protecting reservoir rodent fitness.”
  • Debora Kamin Mukaz, M.S., Ph.D. (Medicine - Hematology/Oncology) – “D-dimer and the Risk of Diabetes: The Reasons for Georgraphic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study.”
  • Brian Katz, Ph.D. (Psychiatry) – “Difference in the Relation Between Smoking Status and Either Education or Executive Function.”
  • Michelle Kloc, Ph.D. (Neurological Sciences) – “Early-Life Febrile Status Eiplepticus Alters Entorhinal-Hippocampal Synapses and Hippocampal Signal Throughput.”
  • Vitor Mori, Ph.D. (Medicine - Immunobiology) – “Vermont Lung Center: Bates-Kinsey Lab.”

10-Minute Oral Presentations:

  • Brandon Bensel – “How Do Molecular Motors Transport Cargo through Complex Cellular Highways.”
  • Rebekah Honce – “Role of arenavirus defective interfering particles in protecting reservoir rodent fitness.”
  • Robyn Kent, Ph.D. (MMG) – “Stage specific differences in T. gondii motility dependent processes.”
Link to the Office of the Vice President for Research web page.